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Xandrek was lost ahead in the press of bodies, busy practicing his deadly craft. Veptus gunned his jump pack, his sword slicing diagonally through the helmet of a nearby Raven Guard as he took off. Only a short burst was needed to make it over the thronging masses killing one another and reach Xandrek. Veptus had anticipated landing in the middle of a furious melee with Azrael and Xandrek taking lives with every swing of their blades. Instead he found a comparative lull, and Xandrek pointing his blade at Azrael.
"I will deal with you later Azrael, you will not be getting off lightly so hope that you can find your death on his field before you deal with me." Xandrek turned away from them ad Veptus glanced sideways at his Terran brother.
“What have you done?” His tone came out harsh over the melee, but there was a heavy note of sadness in it.

However, the roar of Xandrek’s jump pack told him that the time for talking was over. What time they might have had had been squandered already and they had many hours of killing to get back to. He hoped that he would not have to stand over Azrael and visit Xandrek’s punishment on him. Azrael was one of the few Night Lords he could trust, and that was a rare thing in the VIIIth Legion. As Veptus rose up in a parabola behind Xandrek, he took in the sights, hit volkite raining down on those below. In the distances two demi-gods, one glade in shimmering amethyst and the other in blackened iron, moving in murderous blurs of motions that he could not follow. There was the rise and fall of a silver shard, whir of a golden block, but more than that he could not tell. For certain though, it was a combat only one would survive. Perhaps neither if the day continued on its course.

Veptus briefly wondered where his father might be, but daren’t look to catch a glimpse of a flying shadow in case he caught the murderous attention of the wrong bird. He wanted to keep his power sword at the ready, but as he descended after his captain Veptus drew his plasma pistol. In a syncopated succession of thuds, Xandrek, he and other members of the First Claw landed with Xheng’s Raptors, who were bust disembowelling the closest Raven Guard squad. By Terra this was a massacre. There was no reprieve in any corner. He imagined the Iron Warriors sitting safe in their bunkers and wondered if they missed the feeling of the blood running between their fingers, the rush of adrenaline and the cries of exhaustion as men too tired to go on fought to stay alive.

His closest quarry was a quartet in black, each either with an autocannon or a lascannon in various stages of readiness. Veptus’ plasma pistol was up in and instant, blasting into the barrel of one almost shouldered lascannon. The bolt of plasma bored right through and ate away the Astarte’s shoulder. As soon as he had fired, Veptus was moving. An autocannon was moving to fire on him, the man behind it already depressing the trigger so that the first bolts ate only earth. Veptus closed the distance fast and took the end of the barrel off with a flick of his sword. Another few bolts fired blindly into the sky, exploding the shortened barrel and ricocheting in unpredictable directions. He went so slash as the man wielding it, but his opponent brought up the now useless weapon to block the strike.

Veptus’ sword bit deep into the body of the gun, and then became stuck fast. The Raven Guard hurled Veptus around, forcing him to let go of his power sword and stumble backwards. The Raven guard fought to free the stolen weapon from his gun. Veptus went to charge him when another swung at him with a chainsword. He side-stepped one blow and ducked under another. The Night Lord delivered a right hook into his opponent’s side. Although it only winded him, a moment later the Carnifex from his Narthecium sprung into life and tore through the fibre bundles and soft flesh beneath. With a savage yank, Veptus pulled the adamantium piston through flesh and fibre, causing a deep red gash in his opponent’s side. An instant later a scalpel was in his hand and he drew it across his opponent’s throat, leaving the marine to collapse and bleed out on the black sands.

The other lascannon wielding marine had finally got his gun to bear and would have fired it if Veptus had not blown his legs out from under him with his plasma pistol. The XIXth legionnaire dropped to the floor. A moment later Veptus kicked his head with such force that he was certain he heard the vertebrae in the Astarte’s neck snap and the body went slack, either paralysed or dead. The one-armed Astarte came at him with his combat blade in a clumsy swing. Veptus turned the blow aside, embraced him and stabbed him in the side with his scalpel. Again and again the razor sharp metal bit through flesh and muscle, causing him to bleed profusely. When his fury was expended, Veptus brought his fist up against the man’s head and sent his Carnifex into his brain.

Veptus ended his deathly embrace and heard the sound of a power field being activated. Veptus turned. The Raven Guard had finally dislodged Veptus’ sword from his gun. “That’s mine.” Veptus growled. The son of Corax barked a harsh laugh.
“Oh really, traitor…” The words were practically spat as the two circled each other. “…then come claim it.”
“Fine.” Veptus said, his voice still its odd sing-song. The raven guard came at him with an admirable opening strike that Veptus would have been hard-pressed to block or counter, even if he had a blade.

So he shot him. It was a draw shot that was barely aimed on anything other than instinct, but it still tore away a good chunk of the man’s side and caused his strike to falter. Not wasting a moment Veptus kicked the man’s left shin with such force that it buckled underneath him. The pain in his side and suddenly being off balance caused the Raven Guard to falter and fall. He stamped on the Astarte’s neck and held his foot there, compressing what was likely and already fractured wind-pipe. “Shhhh…” Veptus cooed, stooping down in the little centre of serenity he had created in this maelstrom. His Narthecium gently pressed into the base of the Raven Guard’s brain-stem. “…be at peace.” And so he was. Veptus quickly gathered his sword and looked for Xandrek. He did not want to find himself apart from his captain when he needed him…

105 Posts
The horribly distorted voice retorted in turn. It was somewhat funny listening to the undoubtedly ancient Destroyer marine speak. He was likely held up by nothing more than sheer willpower and hatred at this point; Serhiy couldn't help but wonder what human bits of the Sergeant remained. The entire claw produced grenades and flamers geared towards the same sickly art that he so thoroughly indulged and belched death. Within a moment his own view of the 1st Claw subsided into the background still present but not nearly as much as that within 10th Claw. He did note that at the moment Xandrek seemed particularly perturbed although at what he could only speculate. Undoubtedly he would know when a Night Lord didn't return or only returned with some of their extremities intact.

The thought subsided and Serhiy depressed the trigger on his own flamer and the slight spray shot out just before the pilot light caught it and belched outward joining in the destruction of the 10th brought. Within scant moments he was airborne and baring witness to the entire bloody scene. In the distance he thought he caught a glimpse of two warriors separate from the entire conflict. Two Gods only visible in their stark contrast to their surroundings seemingly locked within a bubble at a higher speed than the rest of the scene. They had to be Primarchs, fathers of their respective families bloated with such power that he only could fantasize about. He could see the monstrous Titans looming on the horizon like ominous harbingers of untold destruction. They were colossal beings and a special place in his heart was held for those machines that brought the destructive force of most of a legion to bare in a single terrifying entity. And then his attention came back to the ground where they were landing. He found his weighty frame landing directly onto a scout marine. The poor soul could likely not understand the immense gravity of the battle he was locked in and what the outcome would mean and now he would never be able to share his story.

The marine crunched underneath him as the less robust scout armor buckled and crumpled under the blow and a magnificent fountain of blood involuntarily shot skyward from the marine's now bloody maw. He stomped the marine's abdomen again, and again, chuckling in the same grating distorted garble as the marine spat blood like a squirt gun until he didn't move anymore and a twang announced the presence of another scout trying to save and then avenge his brother's death but the lack of armament did little to help the Neophyte's cause. With superhuman reflexes his left arm shot out grabbing the armored chest piece of the scout; he was still laughing. The collar proved a capable handle and at once the scout was airborne being pulled towards the Destroyer like a catapult to have his soft unprotected face meet the brunt of the Mark III helmet pulling back revealing a face little more than hamburger but still breathing. Seeing the likely last two scouts from the group he cast the soul at them like a ragdoll watching the others try to dodge or catch their dying comrade which only eased his intent as he brought the flamer to bare and bathed the unsealed scouts in toxic fire. By now his chuckling had become a maddened laughter with the likeness of an unoiled machine screaming as it's metal parts scraped against each other only matched by the screams of the charring scouts as they became little more than black husks. He moved to join the 10th only to fall face first into the soil. He couldn't hear it; how could he over the noise where cannons the size of cities thundered forth. He couldn't be certain but judging by the fact that his left knee screamed in pain could only tell that a scout had used the precise sniper rifle to plant a round in the back of his knee cap. He felt it move so thankfully it was fired from a higher angle and moved down through his calve instead of blowing the knee cap out fully but it caused him agony for the moment.

Pain suppressants flooded through his system and he found himself numbed to the gunshot and climbed back up and kept moving. There was no second shot thankfully meaning either the scout was dead or moved onto other targets. He moved with a limp which meant little to the already slow lumbering speeds of the 10th Claw but that made it no less annoying.

Reaper of Souls
1,303 Posts
“What have you done?”

Veptus’ tone was harsh over the combat and I laughed bitterly. “I didn’t strike down the Raven Guard Champion when I had the chance, because I owed him a life debt older than you brother. Now I will face Xandrek’s judgement on my crime. I hope only that the punishment will leave me with the ability to continue with my duties.”

Then combat snatched away any chance to continue the conversation as Xandrek’s jump pack launched him into the sky. Veptus followed closely after the captain, both of them landing amidst the Raven Guard some distance away. I didn’t follow, instead standing in the open space that remained. Night Lords surged around me, pressing deeper into the Raven Guard forces. I knew that I wouldn’t be returning from Xandrek’s punishment the same man that went into it, but then again the Azrael I once was died when we turned on the Imperium.

It all seemed so hopeless then, so pointless. I had no wish to fight in this war, doing so only because I was loyal to Xandrek. But did he deserve my loyalty? I had followed him for decades, but little I had seen truly explained my previously unwavering loyalty.

I was so tired. So weary of the struggle, the struggle to keep who I was amid the bloodthirsty savages that were my brothers. There were those who I respected and even liked. Xandrek, Raskreia, Veptus. But my legion was sick. It was a sickness that had been spreading ever since we found Curze and began taking recruits from Nostramo. That planet had corrupted my Father and my brothers, corrupted them beyond salvation. So many of them were twisted and vile, people who delighted in cruelty and revelled in blood lust. I sometimes wonder if it would’ve been better had we simply destroyed Nostramo when we first arrived in orbit. Maybe then we would’ve remained as the proud legion we once were, instead of what we became.

I was to be punished and the punishment would be a cruel one. It would be painful and long. I was being punished because I spared the man who saved my life one hundred and seventy years before.

It was a simpler galaxy then. We knew who our enemies were; we knew why we were fighting. Now? Now everything is blurred. I no longer know on which side of the line I stand, whether I am right or wrong. During that time we were told we were fighting for a cause. That we were fighting because the Emperor couldn’t be trusted to lead Humanity. But look what became of us, of all those who fought in the Heresy for Horus.

Horus died to the Emperor and his legion fled to the Eye of Terror, painting their armour black in mourning and sallying out against the Imperium occasionally in an attempt to finish what was started on Isstvan and ended on my home world. On Terra itself. Each time they are thrown back by the people they declare weak and incapable of defeating us.

Lorgar and his ilk would see all of reality condemned to madness and corruption, I often wonder if our father made a mistake saving him from the claws of the Raven. They sacrifice everything they once held dear for the power granted by fickle gods, gods that care naught for the struggles of mortals and watch us only for their own amusement

Angron and his World Eaters are now berserkers in truth. There is no sanity left in them, only the rage and the desire to kill, maim and burn everyone in their way. They led their Dominion of Fire across the stars and struck the Imperium in the first war for that planet they call Armageddon, but both times they failed. In their desire for what they believed to be power, they sacrificed that which made them great

Magnus is now far more powerful than he ever was before, despite the interference of the Son of Russ known as Ragnar, but his legion is broken. Save for a few, his once proud marines are nothing but dust in ancient armour. All the power at his command couldn’t save his Thousand Sons.

Mortarion and his legion are nothing but bloated plague carriers now. Festering husks filled with disease. Everything that made them who they once were is gone, replaced by the ‘benedictions’ of Nurgle.

Perturabo cowers on Medrengard and his Iron Warriors do so with him. They hide in their fortresses of black steel and stone and call themselves masters of the siege while practising their skills on each other.

Alpharius vanished and his Alpha Warriors did so with him. They wreak havoc throughout the Imperium, infiltrating its worlds and its infrastructure and tearing them apart from within. But they fear to face the Imperium in open warfare and flee when danger threatens.

Fulgrim and his legion are now a mockery of what they were before. They yearned for perfection once, a noble if unattainable goal. Now they revel in excess, uncaring of all they once strove for. Fulgrim was once called the Pheonician in remberance for how his legion rose from the ashes but now they have willingly returned to them once again.

Curze is dead, the Night Lords are broken. We haven’t been a legion in a long time. We are a motley collection of war bands, led by men who once called themselves captain but now demand to be addressed as lord. These men who call themselves lord fear each other to the point where they always stand alone. They stand alone, they fight alone and they die alone.

These are the names that once made the whole galaxy tremble. Some of us were praised by the people we met, greeted as heroes and saviours. Others received respect, viewed as conquerors. Now we are demons in the night, terrors that haunt the dreams of Humanity

How far we’ve fallen.

More and more often as of late I find myself thinking that it would be better if I just put my pistol to the side of my head and pulled the trigger. But no. My debt to Xandrek is paid in full and I would have my death mean something more than my life did.

On that dark day however I followed my captain into the thick of it once again. I cut down two men without breaking stride, but lost my left forearm to the third when he opened fire with a plasma rifle at point blank range. My power sword sliced the weapon in two even as my arm was incinerated and the Raven Guard screamed as the gun exploded, bathing him in incandescent blue.

I was in agony from the lost arm, but I refused to cry out. I knew I had far worse to look forward to when Xandrek punished me for my actions. Still, it dazed me for a few seconds and gave a fourth Raven Guard time to leap at me, firing several shots with his bolt pistol and swinging with his Chainsword, only for me to duck out of the way.

He too fell to my blade, recovering too slow from his wild attack to stop it plunging into his throat and out the other side. I ripped the blade free in a spurt of blood and drove deeper into the chaos.

233 Posts
The ground shook as the trampling Brother Shen tore past Tyberus, pressing into the lines of Raven Guard that tried to stand their ground and fight back the monstrous Contemptor Dreadnought. The massive power fist wreathed in crackling white and purple energies crushing and sundering Raven Guard as they rushed towards his armored form, their bolt rounds panging off harmlessly as he tore those close enough to him into pieces. The rapid thud of Shen's Kheres assault cannon echoed over the immediate surroundings, but were still somehow lost into the background noise of the awe inspiring conflict they waded further into.

"Take flight and rain terror onto them Brother Tyberus!!" The heavily digitized voice of Shen erupted over the vox, so loud and grating that it was almost painful to Tyberus' ears, but he did as ordered and fired his jet pack, bursting off of the ground and again he was able to look out onto the battlefield in its greater expanse, it was breathtaking and incredible, the flares of gunfire and screams of war as far as his eyes could see. Firing his thrusters again, he careened down into the midst of the Raven Guard that were advancing onto the position of Raskreia, some 15 or 20 meters ahead of where the banner of the 4th Company fluttered in the wind.

His power maul struck the ground with the concentrated force of a meteor, the shockwaves of the power field that the weapon created seemingly caught the advancing tactical squad offguard. Tyberus quickly scanned the squad, assessing them in the order in which he would need to dispatch of them, a Raven Legionaire wielding a meltagun quickly jump to the front of the pack in his mind. Fluidly he brought his maul back up, the Legionaire was trying to bring his gun up in order to fire off the shot that would turn the Night Lord into super heated pulp. Tyberus unusually powerful build however allowed him to wield the maul with surprising speed and accuracy, he wondered how wide the eyes were of his foe when he brought his maul crashing down into the meltagun, the weapon shattering like glass upon impact, the Raven Guard's hands disappeared in a gush of gore and crackling energies. The stroke of the weapon carried through on a downward trajerctory and the power maul continued on its destructive path, striking the Legionaire in the groin. The shriek that emerged from the Legionaire was reminiscent to Tyberus of the cries and screams of Nostramon women in the slum hive cities as they were murdered or raped. The sickening thought made Tyberus grin wildly, hidden by his helmet, tearing his weapon back from the ruined form of the doubled over Raven Guard and stomping on his neck after he hit the ground.

The crunch underfoot of the meltagun Legionaire's neck was audible to all within striking distance of Tyberus. Planting off of the dead Legionaire's neck Tyberus swung his maul around, bringing the weapon up and striking home under the jaw of a Raven Guard who had stowed his bolter and drawn a chain sword. The maul took the Legionaire's head clean off, leaving his body to fall asunder to the dirt.

Finding himself in a rather off balance position from the upward strike Tyberus quickly drew his stormbolter and unleashed a salvo into a Raven Guard that stood just out of melee range. The thudding, alternating barrage of the stormbolter took its toll as huge chunks of ceramite were gouged out of the Raven Guard's armor. When he was pushed back by the storm bolter the Legionaire tried desperately to bring his own bolter up, but at such short range the Stormbolter continued to chew into the armor until each resounding thud was no longer met with the 'shunk' sound of hitting ceramite and instead the bolt rounds made a wet slapping noise as they tore into the flesh of the Raven Guard Legionaire. The sheer volume of bolt rounds almost instantly took him down and Tyberus' arrogant laugh was the last thing the Raven Guard would hear before his world went black.

Bounding in to support what was likely his squad, a Raven Guard warrior wielding dual lightning claws emerged, sprinting, pushing his way past several Brothers to meet the power maul wielding traitor. The lighting clawed warrior was quick, even by Astartes standards. The distance he closed was incredible and at the last Tyberus was able to stow his stormbolter and take up his power maul with two hands to block the two handed downward slash the Raven Guard attempted. The smell of burning metal and ceramite could be picked up through his rebreather grille as the very tips of the Raven Guard's claws dug into the lower section of his reinforced MK III helm, his gorget also bore the claw marks of the Raven Guard. With a mighty shove he pushed the Raven Guard back, and the battle seemed to flow around them as the Raven Guard gave way to what appeared to be a Veteran Sergeant, allowing him to dispose of his Night Lord foe in one on one combat. "Whatever your name is beast of Kurze, you shall be remembered as nothing more than a traitor who's life was taken at the hands of Sergeant Atilia, Loyal to the Emperor!" The name was of no import to Tyberus, but Atilia was a veteran sergeant of with a very comendable service record and had Tyberus known who he was, he might have second guessed himself against such a master of close combat. "I shall rip and tear your wings and break you little bird!" Tyberus snarled back and lunged forward, swinging his power maul with near wild abandon with a slashing motion that took the weapon from an overhead angle down and to his right.

Atilia was as graceful in combat as a raven might be in flight and expertly brought up his left lighting claw, placing it in the path of the power maul. The Raven Guard sergeant did not place force enough on his left hand to try and outright block the strike, instead he applied just enough, redirecting the weapon just slightly to ensure that it would miss him wide to his left, leaving an opening for his lunging right lightning claw.

Too late Tyberus saw his folly, but his reaction time was still impeccable, turning his left shoulder as much as he could so the piercing lightning claw would only dig into his shoulder. Atilia sought to press his claw deeper and the claws dug in deeper, now pushing past the thick ceramite and into the muscled shoulder underneath. Tyberus let go with his left hand and with his power maul only in his right hand, he jab out with the weapon, striking Atilia squarely in the chest with the energy wreathed maul, cracking the ceramite plate and knocking the Sergeant back. "Keep using your body as a shield savage, I have no qualms with bleeding you dry!" Atilia called over the battlefield, his attempts to goad Tyberus unfortunately worked on the arrogant and savage Night Lord.

Tyberus again leapt after the Raven Guard Sergeant, again he brought his maul overhead and brought the weapon downwards. He could see Atilia setting his feet and readying his claws to again redirect and counter. The maul then crashed down with all of his fury and weight into the ground just in front of Atilia, the tremor and backlash of energy crackled upwards sending the Raven Guard Sergeant's feet back, knocking him off balance. In that moment Tyberus brought his weapon back up in a fluid followup, this time bringing the weapon out wide and then slashing it back across in a horizontal strike aimed at Atilia's right shoulder.

The Sergeant had no choice but to brace himself, bringing up his right clawed hand in an effort to shield his head and torso to 'block' the oncoming blow. In that sense his tactic was successful, but the crunch and pop as the power maul struck, followed by the laughter of Tyberus was enough to know that the lack of feeling in his right arm was as much to do with the shock his body was experiencing as much as it was due to his arm no longer being there. Tyberus snarled out and he then jabbed out again with the maul, this time striking the pauldron protecting Atilia's left shoulder. Atilia, dogged and experienced as he was made use of his remaining claw, trying to parry and redirect what attacks he could, but without his right arm he no longer held much threat of a counter and Tyberus pressed his advantage relentlessly.

Again his jabbing maul struck the left pauldron, this time the plating gave way completely and Tyberus follow up with a strike precisely at the shoulder joint. Atilia screamed in agony as his arm fell away from his body. Less in pain and more in anger and frustration that, without either arm, he would fall prey to this savage beast that belonged to Kurze's flock of murders, rapists and traitors. Tyberus kicked Atilia square in the chest knocking him onto his back. Tyberus quickly stowed his power maul and picked up the remains of Atilia's left arm, its claw was still in tact, but no longer held any power field, having been disconnected from its power source. The sadistic Night Lord hefted the ceramite covered arm in his right hand, "Lighter than my maul," he observed, his tone was tinged with sarcasm. He swung the severed arm down upon Atilia as he struggled to get to his feet. Kicking him in the torso until he fell over again and he struck him with his own severed arm repeatedly. The impact was enough to jar Atilia's head around, but these were not killing blows, they were meant to antagonize and prolong the death of an Astartes whose exemplary career did not deserve to be mocked in such a way. All the more reason he -did- deserve it Tyberus thought. Finally he upended the severed arm and drove the unpowered claws down into the vox grille of the fallen and prone Marine at his feet. He then produced his maul and drove that down on top of the severed arm, the crackling energy of the maul effortlessly tore through the arm and into the head of Atilia. The Veteran Sergeant's headless, armless body was left to be claimed by the dust and grime of the charred soil they fought upon. Tyberus strode away from his kill shouting "I told you I'd rip and tear your wings!!", wading further into the battle, seeking to rendezvous with his Captain.

1,779 Posts
Discussion Starter #145
Azrael: You manage to begin cutting your way towards the Captain and Veptus however they have been using their jump packs and you have not so they are still quite a way ahead of you and getting further and further into the main battle itself and because of the loss of your arm your reduced to using only your sword in your right hand giving any opponent that comes at you an advantage when ever they attach your left side. Which luckily for you isn't many as more and more of all the other companies of the Eighth Legion begin streaming down into the Urrgal Depression intent on claming as many trophies from their 'loyal' brothers as possible before the slaughter is complete though the three loyalist legions are putting up one hell of a resistance.

Carving your way for two assault marines of the Raven Guard Legion you see Brother Shen come charging past you and slam into a knot of Raven Guard marines scattering them like leaves in the wind as he lays about with his monstrous powerfist and opening up with his kheres assault pattern cannon, clearly intent on venting all of the rage and pain he is feeling at being turned into a dreadnought when he was still able to serve without being interred, and you think to yourself that it is entirely possible you will be joining Shen and so many others of Fourth Company sealed inside of a ceramite and adamantium tomb to wage war until Xandrek orders you torn from your coffin and burnt. (Feel free to kill up to another 3 marines before catching up with Xandrek and Veptus.)

Veptus: What ever Azrael had done had clearly annoyed Xandrek as the economical swings and thrusts of Xandrek's usual fighting style where gone as he simply hacked his way through any Raven Guard in his way leaving them without limbs bleeding on the floor, with opened gushing throats or toppling headless corpses and any that weren't within range he simple raised his bolter that was in his left hand with his tower shield firmly attached to his fore-arm, and shoot them. "Keep up Veptus, we have much knife work to do today." You hear Xheng's voice over your vox followed by the cackling laughter of all of the rest of his Raptors as they tear through the Raven Guard with six of them leaping into the air to deal with some oncoming Raven Guard assault marines.

Ravens and Crows, what an unusual aerial fight that would be you muse as you manage to catch up with Xandrek as he extracts his blade from an apocatheries face place and slams his foot down on the gene-seed vials at the marines waist. "Veptus, you have the codes for your Apprentices and Colleagues vox channels. I want an update from every apocathery under my command." While you turn your vox into the apocathery channel your plasma pistol takes the life of a veteran Sergeant of the Raven Guard helping one of his squad members to his feet, or it would of been feet if he hadn't been missing his left leg from the knee down. When you ask of a report from the others of the Apocatherion you get a reply back from almost all of them save Brother-Apocathery Thex and Apocathery-Minoris Caleb, which after some inquiry (should you even bother) you find out that the two of them got caught by as you so eloquently put it: The Wrong Bird which means that the Lord of the Nineteenth is near, something you must warn Xandrek about as you see him stop to observe the Word Bearers finally getting stuck into the fray as the Captain then nods to you and points up towards where you can see the Urizen standing with his First Chaplain and First Captain on the ridge.

Var: OOC: Still need you to post for the previous update.

Tyberus: You manage to follow the cleared path that Shen has opened up in the ranks of the Raven Guard and find yourself confronted with Azrael who is missing almost all of his left arm and judging from the marks on his arm it was taken off by a plasma weapon, something he was lucky of because if the angle had been shallower judging by the burns on his chest plate then it would of killed him almost instantly if it had indeed connected with his torso. You can either try to help Azrael or you can ignore the Champion of Fourth and set off after your captain whose crested helmeted head you can see further in the distance with the form of the Corpse-Master near by along with all of Xheng's raptor squad as they lay about a group of Raven Guard with some of the Raptors locked in an aerial duel with assault marines of the Raven Guard.

As Shen continues to smash his way through the Raven Guard to your left you see the other bulky forms of the rest of Fourth Companies dreadnoughts join him and crushing all those stand before them with their armour being proof against almost all forms of attack save those lucky las-cannon shots which rock them back or to the side thanks to the shielding build into the form of the Contemptor Dreadnought chassis. You are now able to join your Captain and Veptus where the two of them begin heading off further into the melee with only Xandrek himself having any idea what he is doing with the rest of First Claw simply just trying to keep up with him. (Feel free to kill up to another 3 raven guard.)

Pelegon: You jump forward off of the boulder and slam down in between a rough circle of ten figures and with half of them turning their helmets to regard you to see if you are an enemy before each of them giving you a slight nod. You look around at the circle of ten figures and see each one towers over you, each armed with either a power sword, lightning claw, power fist in one hand and the other carrying combi-bolters with two carrying reaper auto-cannons. You then realize you have landed admits Second Claw, Fourth Companies single terminator squad as the ten of them trudge their way forward in an effort to keep up with their faster moving brothers as you see that while each suit of armour is heavily customized and bearing trophy wracks and chains, some of which have raven guard heads and helmets hanging from them, the suits themselves are Cattiphractti mark terminator armour. Your vox then lights up and you get a message from their sergeant, Brother-Sergeant Nyx who you recall from looking over the rosters of the three companies aboard the 'Maiden' has served with Xandrek since them both being elevated at the same time.

"You are far from your squad Brother-Pelegon. The Lord of Lies and the Corpse-Master are far ahead of us, you will need to 'grow' some wings in order to catch them." Nyx appears to be speaking in low Gothic which is heavily accented given he is Nostramon. "Unless of course you wish to fight with my brothers and myself then we could use that Melta-Gun of yours. We are hunting after that." Sergeant Nyx, the foremost of the terminators raises his chain-fisted left hand to point at a knot of three Raven Guard Contemptor Dreadnoughts currently smashing their way through the ranks of the 157th Company. the third most company of the 'Maiden'.

Raskreia: OOC: Making you an npc until you message me.

Serhiy: You manage to keep up the members of Tenth Claw for a few moments before they gun their jump packs and set off into the skies obviously heading off towards where ever the imperial army was at the other end of the crater where their weapons would have much more effect than the heavily armoured bodies of the Astartes. As you limp toward someone crashes down beside you and you see that it is Apocathery Rasiel who is on one eye as he raises his bolter to his right eye and puts two shots into a Raven Guard assault marine blowing out both of his eyes lens with marksmanship almost equal to that of Veptus and you remember that Rasiel is the Corpse-Masters main apprentice and eventual successor should anything happen to the half-sane Nostramon Primus Medicae of Fourth. "You are injured Brother Serhiy, if you wait but a moment and keep these Ravens off of us I shall see to your knee and that you will be able to catch up with 10th Claw or set off after our Captain."

Rasiel places three move shots into the throats of two more 19th Legionaries before examining the wound on your knee for a moment before he sets to work with his Narthecarium probing your wound before extracting the solid round from within the flesh of your calve, reattaching some of the muscle together and testing the ligaments and nerves before covering the wound with synth-flesh. Standing up he nods his head to you before setting off deeper into the fray allowing you to make a decision of where you go from here. (Feel free to kill up to another 2-4 raven guard how you wish, along with either making your way to Xandrek or going after 10th claw.)

2,071 Posts
Clearly whatever Azrael’s sin was, it weighed heavily on Xandrek. Veptus watch his Captain, usually so careful and economical with his thrusts and parries. Now he simply battered his foes into submission, all grace and fluidity was gone from his motions. Xandrek may as well have wielded a hammer for all the subtlety his movements had to them. It could be simply fatigue, but Veptus had seen Xandrek fight for longer than this and not tire. No it was Azrael. If his actions cost Xandrek his life because he would not focus on the massacre around him, Azrael’s sin would compound itself and Veptus would exact Xandrek’s vengeance for him.

"Keep up Veptus, we have much knife work to do today." Xheng’s maniacal laughter sounded through the vox as he and his Raptors tore into more Raven Guard.
“I had entirely forgotten. My thanks brother.” Veptus barked back in a sarcastic lullaby. Xheng cut down another Raven Guard and did a little bow.
”I live to serve Corpse-Master.” Veptus sneered. Preening ass. Veptus disembowelled another XIXth Legionary with a vicious flick of his sword Xandrek was moving further into the press of black all around them and Veptus kept having to gun his jump pack to keep up. He couldn’t look around him. He didn’t know if they were moving up unsupported. All he knew was he had to keep pace with Xandrek. That was his duty and he would not fail in that.

Veptus landed behind Xandrek, a slice of his sword taking off the arm of a Raven Guard. A forceful kick sent the man stumbling back to be cut down by a Night Lord Veptus didn’t know. Xandrek noticed his presence. "Veptus, you have the codes for your Apprentices and Colleagues vox channels. I want an update from every apocathery under my command." He nodded curtly, his plasma pistol firing and ending the life or a Veteran Sergeant who had stopped to help his brother up. Foolish really. The only one Veptus would pause to help would be Xandrek. The others would have to struggle through whatever wounds they suffered. He would attend them later.

He blink clicked his vox channel to all the Apothecaries of the 4th Company. “Apothecaries, I want reports.” He waited as several Night Lords pushed past him, putting distance between him and the killing blades of the XIXth. Repots began to filter back from each of his apothecaries. Brother-Apothecary Ja’Thul sounded ragged and Veptus suspected he had sustained wounds to his throat or chest, but he reported in. Apothecary-Minoris Belamey reported in. This was his first battle as an Apothecary and he spoke of many casualties. That was expected really.

Several others reported in, telling of men they had killed and those they had given peace to. Each had killed at least one apothecary of the Raven Guard, some more than one. However, two he received no reply from. One, Brother-Apocathery Thex, his vox unit had died. That meant, if nothing else, that his helmet was destroyed. However, others reported see him cut down. Other merely reported hearing him die. In any case, Veptus could be sure he was dead. Another simply didn’t respond, Apocathery-Minoris Caleb.

“Does anyone have eyes on Apothecary Caleb?” Veptus snarled. His veneer was beginning to crack. A long silence.
“I’ve got him in hand.” It was Brother-Apothecary Rasiel, his successor.
“In hand?” There was a sigh.
“He’s a mess sir. Torso’s torn apart, leg missing, arm…” A muffled grunt, then a tone of surprise. “…fucking hell, he’s still alive.” Another pause, although Veptus could make out a barely audible sound of gargling. “He says it was Corax. Corpse-Master, I’m about 1 kilometer from your position.” Veptus knew that, and the thought of the Lord of the XIXth bearing down on them was not a pleasant one.
“Give him peace and then continue with your orders.” He responded authoritatively and various chimes of acceptance sounded through the vox.

Whereas they had once been at the forefront of the melee, Veptus and Xandrek were now several row behind the front-line. Xandrek was watching the hillside and Veptus followed his vision. A tide of red was pouring down the hill side. Lorgar’s sons had finally decided to join the fray. He spotted some of their number that he would swear were bounding forward on their hands and feet, like animals. Veptus’s eyes looked for any reason not to look at them, and found one at the end of Xandrek’s outstretched hand. The Urizen stood on the ridge surveying the battle with his First Captain and First Chaplain. Veptus didn’t like them. There was something serpentine about them. “That is not the primarch we should be looking for Captain. Corax is nearby, looking to take vengeance for this betrayal.” Veptus let the words hand and waited for Xandrek’s lead, for where the Lord of Lies went, Veptus was duty bound to follow…

105 Posts
The path was rough with a leg that despite the localized anesthesia still refused to function properly but Serhiy's Astartes willpower dragged him forward just enough to keep up with the 10th Claw. Unfortunately a thump of thrusters sent the squad off to fulfill their deadly deed leaving the injured Serhiy behind. The leg would likely not hold during the jump and subsequent landing which made the situation all the more difficult for the injured Destroyer. Multiple Crows surrounded him, some oblivious to his presence and others actively shooting at him plinking bolt rounds off his armor. Serhiy fell to the ground laying low while sending out bolts from his own pistol in return.

It would've been a far from proud last stand when a true Deus Ex Machina descended from the heavens with a mighty crash besides the Destroyer and with precision that rivaled the Primus Medicae dispatched the most pressing Raven before turning to address Serhiy.

"You are injured Brother Serhiy, if you wait but a moment and keep these Ravens off of us I shall see to your knee and that you will be able to catch up with 10th Claw or set off after our Captain."

The redundancy brought a mild chuckle from Serhiy who didn't bother to respond but merely produced his second bolt pistol and sent out rounds with precision that paled laughably with Rasiels but it made due it kept the assailants away from the duo. Rasiel obliterated two more Ravens and brought forth his tools tearing out a round from the leg and patching it up. Despite the anesthetic Serhiy could feel the flesh moving and spreading as Rasiel worked first removing the round then patching the area with maddening speed and like that the Apothecary nodded and was a ghost flying into the distance leaving Serhiy alone once more.

It was always a lovely yin and yang how the Apothecarion and Destroyers interacted. One to preserve life and the other to take it gruesomely. Rasiel was a capable blade and would be a very fitting replacement should Veptus ever fall but he didn't have the sheer experience that the Primus did madness or no madness and Veptus knew more about Serhiy's body than any of the Apothecarion combined. One crow, a simple tactical marine with a bolter rushed forth with combat knife in hand hoping to capitalize on the wounded marine. He had no armor markings and no heraldry, likely a fresh recruit not understanding what he was up against or attempting to claim an impressive prize. Either way it was foolish, two bolt pistols identical in design came to bear side by side and suddenly the charging marine twitched as round aver round assaulted the armor. Some simply plinked off the armor but a trained hand at close range delivered several rounds to the fine space between the breastplate and helmet where there was no ceramite. It lasted only a moment and the marine was lying beside him gasping and thrashing about as his own blood filled his esophagus. Serhiy took that moment slowly and stood up looking down at the fallen marine not with contempt or pity but with a simple non-discriminating observation like Death itself before a lumbering Mark 3 boot shot down like a piston and crushed the helmet bringing the thrashing body still.

No. . . The Imperial forces are the pressing matter.

And with that turbines hummed to life rising to a scream and the Destroyer marine was airborne following the 10th claw. Larger structures seemed to loom in the distance and Serhiy knew his prey was in hand and that the fine serum provided to him by Veptus would soon be spread like a sickly gift to all the souls unfortunate enough to be inferior soldiers ungifted like the Astartes.

106 Posts
Beneath his helmet, a tight semi-smile graced Pelegon's features. His meltagun was deadly enough, but it would not suffice to destroy three contemptors. The Iron Warrior nodded, and with the release of a lever and shrug of his shoulders offloaded his jump-pack. It was close to overheating, not being designed to take his armour's immense weight, and the Olympian had abused it to within an inch of tolerable parameters. With a slight whirr the antenna from his nuncio-vox extended itself from the powerpack's casing, and it switched itself on, hooking into the communication grid; however, it was the that of the IVth legion, not the VIIIth.

"Understand that the men you will lose to this is still far less than what those contemptors will manage unchecked"

Nyx looked puzzled, but he was not a stupid man, and understood, nodding. Pelegon scrambled up a boulder to get a better view, the scrape of ceramite on sandstone inaudible over the cacophony of battle. When up, Pelegon observed the trio of contemptors; black-armoured monstrosities that were tearing through the Night Lords with abandon. Ideally, he would have told Nyx to order the 157th to disperse, but that would risk the contemptors doing the same in order to pursue. As it was, they were tightly packed and perfectly situated, and at that moment the Iron Warrior's arms itched for a missile launcher or lascannon. With one of those in his arms, he was confident that he would be able to dispatch the three in less than a minute. As it was...

Pelegon's cogitator contained a map, and it took less than a second for the marine's augmented mind to find what it was after; gun emplacements belonging to the IVth legion, of the IInd, XVth, Lth and CXCIInd companies were south-east of their current position, and in a few moments he had voxed through to two emplacements, having already calculated exactly what was needed for the situations.

"This is Centurion Pelegon of the Ist Grand Company - 132mm saturation bombardment, 0.57 tons, 25-1, 38-5, targets moving south-by-south-west at approximately 1.7 metres per second"

There was a brief pause as Pelegon's signal credentials were verified - he licked his lips, hoping that his ranks and permissions hadn't been revoked for the duration of his placement in the VIIIth. Luck, insofar as it existed, was on the Iron Warrior's side that day.

"Affirmative. Danger close inbound, Centurion, twenty seconds. Iron Within"

"Iron Without" Pelegon growled, and disconnected, hopping off the rock and landing with a thud that shook the ground beneath his feet, Nyx and his squad staring at him as if demanding an explanation - by way of reply, Pelegon turned to watch the trio of contemptors, pointing with a finger.

The gunner had been as good as his word - eighteen seconds later, a familiar whistle filled the air - the Night Lords in and near the fire zone had time to glance up - exactly two seconds later the contemptors disappeared in the storm of mud and sand the explosions threw up. Every muscle in his body tensed, Pelegon watched his legion's glorious handiwork as shell after shell tore into the earth, beating it with fists of fury as if daring it to defy their might, the whistling of a successor audible as soon as one shell had detonated, such was the speed with which the Iron Warrior gunners could reload their pieces. Within ten seconds, it was over, exactly fifteen shells having been dropped in an area not more than thirty square metres.

The Iron Warrior narrowed his eyes, gaze well-adjusted to picking out targets - usually to butcher them with volley after murderous volley of bolter fire before they could recover from the hellish barrage that Perturabo's master artillerymen had just unloaded onto them. However, this time it was purely an intellectual pursuit, and he nodded in satisfaction as he saw that the three giants had been reduced to twisted scraps of ceramite so bent and broken that no individual surviving part was larger than Pelegon's arm, covered in mud, dirt and strewn this way and that. Of the handful of Night Lords, Pelegon would guess no more than two or three, that had been caught in the barrage, nothing remained. Those near the explosion zone, but not within it, had been thrown back off their feet, but the Iron Warrior could see them rising to their feet, shaken but alive. The fools, not to divide so much as a meltagun or meltabomb among so large a company. That, or they had been so busy clambering over each other in an attempt to save their own skins that no weapons of sufficient power to bring down the dreadnoughts could be brought to bear.

"Iron Within, Iron Without" Pelegon growled, the tension simmering in every clenched muscle and the strain of his voice. How he yearned to fire a cannon, to feel the earth rumble from its recoil, to see roaring death sailing toward his enemies...all this and more he yearned, but was not to be, at least not for now. Pelegon would do his duty, and that was good.

"Brother sergeant, I hope that I have been of assistance. Do you require further help, or may I regroup with Captain Xandrek?"

233 Posts
Tyberus moved forward, "My thanks Brother Shen!" he shouted to the massive Contemptor who carried on with his carnage, his Brother Dreadnoughts joining him in savaging the lines of the Raven Guard before them. Much of the fire was now shifting towards the assemblage of Dreadnoughts and Tyberus walked forward, towards Captain Xandrek.

As he pressed forward, firing into Raven Guard as he did so, he saw, embroiled in combat the Champion of the 4th Company, Azrael. The Champion's left arm was gone almost in its entirety. TYberus had few words for Azrael, beyond simply urging him onward, "We must rally to the Captain!" His march continued, as he got closer to Xandrek and Veptus, and further from the Dreadnoughts the Raven Guard paid him some attention.

Two Raven Guard quickly came at him ins swooping passes utilizing their jump packs with expert skill. They dropped down low, their lightning claws positioned to rake along his power armor. Tyberus grinned beneath his helm, bringing his storm bolter up, the thumping percussion of rapid fire bolt rounds roared to life, chewing into the ceramite of one of the Raven Guard. His jet pack was struck and the propellant within was ignited by the percussive bolt rounds. With a wail, the Astartes was engulfed in explosive flames as he was veiled in a sudden wreath of fire that plumed out and up. The second Raven Guard landed and made reckless attacks with his lightning claws, the signature weapon of his Legion. Tyberus snarled, bringing his maul up in both hands and bringing the massive weapon down in an overhead strike. The distance was just enough that the Raven Guard was out of range to use his own lightning claws, and his only means of defense were his lightning claws, brought up braced against each other.

The crushing force of the maul was simply too much for the Raven Guard to repel. The maul broke through, under the sheer power of Tyberus, the power fields briefly flared up in unison and then the sickening wet thud of the maul connecting with the Raven Guard's helmet echoed out. The Raven Guard's body fell lifelessly as Tyberus kicked the body over and pressed forward, calling out to his captain. "Captain Xandrek! What are your orders!?" He bellowed readying himself to be flung along with the rest of his Claw deeper into the waves of combat that crashed about on the surface of Istvaan.

369 Posts
Kesh Yael (introduction) - please let me know if this sounds ok?

Lamentably late to the battle, their lander had impacted hard upon the rocky surface, crushing it's skids and undercarriage into nothing due to the pilots' eagerness to make up for their tardiness.
Showers of sodium yellow sparks cascaded from it's belly as unyielding rock tore screeching rents in the transport's belly, carving huge gouges along it's flanks and smashing apart the nose before half-burying itself into a small outcrop.

Momentarily dazed and confused, a handful of voices cursed the aviators. But a glance into a demolished crew compartment sprayed with arterial juices told them that vehemence towards already-departed souls would be pointless.

Almost half the unit had already been lost...granite and other rocks had impaled and torn them in two. Halved bodies still strapped into their chairs, they hung like so much dripping meat upon butchers' hooks.

"Spare no thoughts for the dead!" his Sergeant shouted to the remaining men as Kesh thought of the loss of his brothers before they could even draw weapons.
"It only leaves more enemy for the rest of us!" he yelled back in reply, drawing laughter from the rest of the unit.

With his brothers already trying to manhandle the remaining door open, Kesh took a little extra time to turn away whilst attaching the shield along his back. Although it was too bulky to wear during flight, he still swore at himself for the time it took.

Kesh had never really put much faith in luck or chance before, but those additional seconds certainly saved his life: The whoosh of several incoming rockets could not be masked by the battles outside, but there was scant cover amongst the scattered boxes of wargear and none of them would ever stoop so low as to use a living brother as a shield.

The Krak warheads took care of the (formerly) reluctant door, opening it in milliseconds and -like peeling fruit- broke open the Astartes armour ranked behind it.
As flaming plate-sized pieces of metal and armour careened through the hold, only his remote position and shield saved Kesh from a similar fate.

When the hellish reverberations had stopped and he picked himself up, Kesh scanned for signs of life but found none. Finally he knew in his heart that there could be no turning back from the war he had been thrust into.

Cautiously peering around the edges of the shattered portal, he spied a shotgun-armed Raven Guard scout approaching to inspect their Legion's handiwork.
When the enemy rounded a corner and peered into the darkness of the smashed craft, Kesh drove his deactivated chainfist deep in, shattering the man's carapace armour chest-plate. The Raven Guard's young body spasmed wildly as it came to terms with the sudden impalement.

Gazing into his foe's clouding eyes, Kesh whispered: "You thought my unit dead, but the 8th Legion shall show you there is still one who draws breath."
Thoughts of revulsion and loss filling his mind, Kesh turned his face away as the chainfist activated and tore the trainee into a bloody mass of chunky gobbets and rent entrails.

Cold rationality returned to his mind: with no unit to call his own, Kesh would need to prove his mettle to a new leader. He began scrolling through his memories of names and unit-designations for a suitable chief, settling upon one named Xandrek as a worthy leader.

Reaper of Souls
1,303 Posts
I was at a disadvantage without my left arm, and many of those that targeted me took advantage of it, coming at me from that side. Nevertheless, I cut them down time and time again, sheer bloody skill making up for the loss of a limb.

I was in a rage at everything, but unlike many where rage reduced them to unskilled brutes hacking and slashing at anything in range, I had honed my anger into a weapon in its own right. Ice cold fury drove me to be faster and stronger, better in almost every way.

The number of men attacking me had declined however, for more of the Eighth Legion were swarming down into the Urrgal Depression. They seemed intent on claiming as many trophies as possible and I shook my head in disgust at the sight of Night Lords tearing their loyalist brethren apart and fighting over the scraps. It was conduct I would’ve expected from animals, not the marines of my once proud legion.

I let myself fall to my knees and skidded beneath the roaring chainblade of a Raven Guard assault marine, swinging my sword back to hamstring him as I did so. A shout of pain was my reward, but I had little time to savour it as a second marine leapt at me, forcing me down onto my back with his weight. He fired two shots from his bolt pistol, but one glanced my pauldron and spun off while the other only dented my chest plate.

I used his own momentum from his leap against him, rolling back and using both feet to kick him off me before coming to my feet. The hamstrung Raven Guard attacked me again. While I’d severely hampered his movement by my actions, he could still fight it seemed. It was the work of a moment to throw his weapon wide and drive my power sword through his breastplate and into his left heart, and it took only a flick of the wrist to slice it through his secondary heart as well.

I kicked his corpse off my sword and flicked the blade to divest it of his blood before bringing it round in a backswing that stopped the second Raven Guard dead in his tracks as it scythed through the air mere inches from his throat.

His second of hesitation was all I needed as I stepped forward, attacking with fast lunges that drove him back. I let my foot slide out from under me on the bloody plate of a fallen marine and cried out in feigned fear as I did so. The Raven Guard roared his victory and raised his Chainsword above his head, preparing to bring it down in a devastating blow that would’ve cut me in half had it connected.

He never got the chance to strike.

The crackling tip of my sword’s blade erupted from the back of his skull, sending a spray of blood, bone fragments and brain matter into the open air.

I pulled my sword free and stepped away from his body, my attention already focussed elsewhere as it collapsed to its knees and keeled over behind me. I found my eyes faced with the mighty form of Brother Shen as he smashed through the Raven Guard lines, laying about himself with his monstrous Power Fist and letting loose barrages from his assault cannon.

As I looked at his mighty form I wondered if that was the fate that awaited me. To be locked in a metal box and driven insane, released only in times of great crisis and simply pointed in the direction of the enemy. For a man such as me, it would be a fate worse than death. To lose all that makes me who I am, to reside in a hellish trap of ceramite and adamantium until Xandrek decides it’s time to tear me from it.

Tearing my mind away from the dark pit it had fallen to, I searched for Xandrek’s iconic helmet in the melee, finding it some distance away as the captain tore through his foes with Veptus by his side. I ducked beneath the slice of a Raven Guard Lightning Claw and activated my jump pack, rocketing into the sky in the direction of my captain, leaving my attacker behind.

I landed on the shoulders of a Raven Guard about to attack Xandrek from behind and drove him into the dirt. Still standing atop his dazed form I deflected the lunge of one of his fellows and flicked my blade out in a counter-stroke that the man had to throw himself backwards to avoid. In one smooth motion I withdrew my blade from the attack and thrust it downwards, slicing deep into the spine of the man I stood on and killing him instantly.

I stepped off his bloody corpse and moved swiftly, striding towards the second Raven Guard. He’d already recovered from his earlier stumble and he swung at me. I paused for a moment to allow it to pass me before taking another step forward and raising my sword so that the tip of the blade was pressed against his chest plate. His eyes widened and he tried one last desperate attack as he brought his weapon back around in a backswing that would have cut my head from my shoulders, but before it could move even a few inches I was pushing my sword through his breastplate and deep into his chest.

His eyes widened and his jaw slackened as I pulled my sword free, and it was in those eyes that I saw the crackling of a Power Fist just a split-second before I heard it. I ducked and the incandescent weapon went over my head and caught the dead Raven Guard in the chest, pulverising it in a wave of force even as I rolled away.

I came to my feet with my sword held out behind me in half of a classic duellist’s pose. Unfortunately, the other half required my left arm.

The marine with the Power Fist was older than all that I had fought that black day save Nirantius, and more skilled too if I was any judge. The Power Fist was a clumsy weapon, but in the hands of a master it was one of the most dangerous tools possessed by the Adeptus Astartes and the man I was facing proved himself one such master.

The trick to using a Power Fist was to always keep your body covered, so that an opponent couldn’t take advantage of the slowness of the weapon. There were certain techniques through which a man could do so, but they were hard to learn and difficult to put into practise on the battlefield, but this man managed it. After our second exchange of blows I stepped away and gave him a slight bow, which he returned.

Then I leapt forward.

I didn’t bother to block his swing at my left side, instead letting it connect and using the force to spin me around and bring my sword around in a scything backswing that decapitated the Raven Guard.

But while it had won me the fight, my move had the consequence of almost completely demolishing the armour of my left side and leaving much of the flesh exposed.

Ignoring this dangerous disadvantage, I hurled myself into the fight alongside Xandrek, knowing that if he fell this day because of his anger at me then I would never forgive myself, nor would I survive what Veptus would do to me.

1,779 Posts
Discussion Starter #152
Azrael: As you charge forward to side with Xandrek, the Captain of Fourth goes flying passed you after your helmet auto-senses reduce a loud metallic 'clang' to bare-able levels and you see that where Xandrek once was is now the iron clad form of a Raven Guard Contemptor Dreadnought bearing two monstrous power fists. Playing back the moment in your mind you remember Xandrek looking to the west at the Urizen and the Word Bearer attack before Veptus shouts a warning to him. The captain had then brought up his stormshield just in time to intercept the Dreadnought's mighty fist which was the source of the resounding gong ling clang. However as you back up out of the way of a swing of the Dreadnoughts fist you notice that the link to Xandrek has gone completely dead without even the sound of his armour flat-lining, which means he is either dead and his armour heavily damaged aswell or his power generator has been destroyed and his armour has completely shut down making him even more of a target as you then see the Dreadnought unleash a hailstorm of shots down at the prone body of Xandrek, luckily though Veptus is there with that fortress of a shield that Xandrek wields.

You notice that you have been joined by Pelegon who seems to of been fighting with Second Claw if you pay attention to the Tank-and-Dreadnought hunting terminators vox channel which you have of tuned into to request their aid, and Tyberus who seems to of come out of no-where. Though it appears that Serhiy is still fighting with his brothers of Fourth Claw. You will need to come up with a plan while the Captain is down to deal with the Dreadnought along with the Servitors and Raven Guard Forge-Lord that have now appeared behind it.

Veptus: You watched Xandrek as he continues to look at the Primarch of the Word Bearers and you notice something large rear up infront of him over the ridge and just have time to shout a warning as you see the silhouette of a Contemptor Dreadnought with two monstrous power fists bearing the heraldry of the Raven Guard. Xandrek is able to turn in time to bring his shield up to intercept a power fist which still sends him flying from his position and crash into the ground behind him and you hear him swearing as he flies through the air and then the vox goes quiet as his head smashed into a rock and he lies still but from your position you can see its just that his power back has been heavily damaged and his power armour has lost all power.

Turning from Xandrek you see the raptors scatter away from the Dreadnought as it stomps down towards you and the other Night Lords including Azrael who has joined you and you now can see he is missing his left arm from what looks like plasma weapon scorch marks. At the moment none of you have the weapons to deal with a Dreadnought though if you can contact Second Claw (Nyx) or Pelegon then you may be able to stand a chance against the Dreadnought as he raises both of his power fists and you can see the build in stormbolters aiming at the Night Lords gathered and especially Xandrek. If you dive now you would be able to grab the stormshield that Xandrek uses and protect your Captain though you might end up taking a couple of bolter shells into the back.

Var: NPCED until you contact me.

Tyberus: You see Xandrek turn to look at you as something large rears up behind him on the ridge over the bodies of the Raven Guard and hear Veptus shout a warning to him, you then watch your captain get smashed from his feet to slam into the ground behind Veptus by the power-fist of a Raven Guard Dreadnought who stomps his way down towards Veptus and Xandrek firing at the two of them as Veptus manages to get Xandrek's stormshield up. You see that Pelegon has now arrived aswell however Sergeant Xheng and his Raptors appear to be backing off as none of them have any weapons capable of harming the dreadnought although their Chain-Glaives could probably harm it they all appear to be unwilling to get within range of its two power fists.

Ducking behind an out crop of rock as the Dreadnought fires in your direction you are able to see what standing behind and to its right appears to be a Raven Guard Tech-Marine wielding a Thunderhammer and directing Servitors bearing heavy bolters up the shallow hill and points down towards you and the others as the Raptors of Fourth Claw scatter as the servitors open up with their high caliber weapons, it seems that today is just getting better and better. From your position you can see Pelegon eying up the Tech-Marine though he wouldn't be able to get close with those servitors and Dreadnought keeping all of you pinned down, if you were able to dispatch them someway then you might be able to allow Pelegon to deal with the Tech-Marine as Veptus and Azrael deal with the Dreadnought.

Pelegon: Sergeant Nyx and the first of Second Claw watch the Dreadnoughts get smashed apart by precision Iron Warrior ordinance and chuckle to themselves over the vox which you are able to hear and simply continue smashing and tearing apart Raven Guard who get too close as they stomp forward. "You may return to First Claw if you wish Brother-Pelegon, though when you do see if you can convince the Captain to allow some more of you Iron-Wearers aboard to over see the use of our war machines. You seem far more competent than our own Tech-Marines." says Sergeant Nyx. How do you take this request from the Second Claw Sergeant?

You are able to go and find First Claw now if you wish, and when you do get there you see that Azrael is missing his left arm from what looks like Plasma weapon scorches, and Veptus is running towards the downed form of Xandrek who appears to not be moving though he doesn't have any visible wounds. With a crunch and the sound of swearing you see that the reason why Xandrek is down is because of a Raven Guard Dreadnought stepping towards you with two large power fists and under-slung stormbolters aimed forwards Xandrek as it begins to fire down at the Captain though Veptus manages to bring up Xandrek's shield to protect the Captain, with Veptus, Tyberus and Azrael you might be able to deal with this Dreadnought as it seems Xheng and his Raptors are backing off and you are able to see that next to the Contemptor stands what appears to be a tech-marine with a four armed servo-harness wielding a thunderhammer and bolter directing some servitors up the hill to engage First and Fourth Claw.

Serhiy: You are once again joined by Tenth Claw and crash in admits the Imperial Army loyal to Terra with a grin on your face and you can hear the chuckles of the other members of Tenth Claw over the fox as they unhook grenades and chemical canisters from their armour and send them hurling into the human forces. You do the same and enjoy the results of weaponry designed to kill in the most gruesome ways especially against unprotected humans as you watch some of the grenades explode and cover guardsmen in chemical fire that burns through clothing and skin, liquefying muscle and turning bones black. Others you see falling to their knee's retching as blood spews from their mouths as their lungs and internal organs are turned into bloody mush as the virus and chemicals eat their insides.

You then also see the affects of the chemicals that Veptus had created begin to take affect as humans stand there looking terrified as their blood simply seeps through all of their pours plastering them a deep rust red before they collapse from exsanguination, and it is in this moment that you realize how much you miss being apart of Tenth Claw after being promoted to First Claw, as it is Tenth Claw who are able to kill and maim in the most gruesome fashion of all of Fourth Company though at the cost of pain and sickness throughout all of their service in the Destroyers.

Kesh: You easily dispatch the scout who had come to investigate and upon scrolling through the names you settle upon the Captain of Fourth Company: Xandrek Kealisar, The Lord of Lies and your HUD indicates he is not too far from you. The only problem is that between you and your new captain is a battlezone filled with enemies legionaries of the Raven Guard who while they are retreating, in some positions they are making last stands or daring counter attacks. Moving off towards your destination you dispatch another three Raven Guard scouts who were apart of the squad whose other member you just killed and you rest a ridge to look out across the battle field and see a sea of midnight blue and shadow black bodies hurling themselves at each other to tear each other to pieces but behind the Night Lords front wave you see that further back those wounded or dying and being preyed upon by the Eighth Legion and turned into grisly trophies.

Sliding down the ridge with you spy what appears to be the Fourth Company command squad as you see their banner being held high by Raskreia as he fires into the Raven Guard putting bolter rounds through eye lens and throats but you see the Captain of Fourth, or who you assume to be, get send flying as he raises his stormshield to fend off an attack by a Contemptor pattern dreadnought as then an apocathery rushes to his aid and oddly an Iron Warrior steps in to help depend the fallen captain. You also see that a group of servitors bearing heavy weaponry are being directed by a Tech-Marine just behind the dreadnought.

106 Posts
The sergeant’s request was, to the Iron Warrior, an odd one, and one he was not confident of his ability to fulfil. Since being assigned a liaison officer, Pelegon’s own command abilities within his native legion were something uncertain, as he officially belonged to no Grand Company for the time being. The terminator stood silent, patiently awaiting the Olympian’s response, and after a few moments was rewarded with one.

“My command within my legion has been revoked over the course of my tenure with the VIIIth, brother-sergeant” Pelegon murmured, his eye-pieces level with Nyx’s even though the latter was clad in terminator plate “but I would be happy to personally assist in any way I can. It would not suffice for me to be the sole recipient of learning while in your company, after all. Good hunting, Nyx. Ave dominus nox

Pelegon finished with the traditional IVth legion salute of smashing his right fist into the palm of his left hand, inclining his head – combining the traditional hails of the two legions seemed the most sensible course of action for the time being, one that would be a way to avoid offence. To greet the Night Lords entirely as they greeted one another would be becoming too familiar, something that the more tenebrous among them might take issue with.

Turning on his heel, the Olympian set off in a jog, checking his armour’s cartograph for Xandrek’s location – it seemed that the majority of First Claw were with him, dots denoting Azrael, Tyberus and Veptus surrounding the captain. As they were a few hundred metres south-west of his position, Pelegon could only assume that they had made good progress cutting a bloody swathe through the ranks of Corax’s sons.

Before long, Pelegon found himself in a small rocky gully about ten metres deep – there were no bodies here, but the distant sounds of battle grew louder with each clanging step. The Iron Warrior took this short downtime to check his ammunition bandolier and reload his meltagun, all the while scanning his surroundings and staying mindful of his auspex, lest a surprise attack should catch him unawares. It would not be unlike the Raven Guard to conduct guerrilla-like counter-attacks when on the retreat. Fortunately Pelegon found his journey unimpeded, and the gully floor began to slope up, taking him to level ground once more – and the battle in sight once more, though significantly diminished from before, as it seemed that most of the Raven Guard constituted a sea of corpses rather than a co-ordinated fighting force of any sort. In the distance he could see First Claw, along with a squad of raptors, fighting their way through a squad of black-armoured tactical marines, standing on a little hummock that raised them above their opponents. It also made them prime targets.

For a moment Pelegon did not move, considering what was the wisest course of action – to stay in this boulder cluster by the gully, see if he could scavenge a heavy weapon from one of the many corpses and provide support from afar, or throw himself into the fray once more. Fortunately, that decision was made for him by the screeching of failing engines and the whooshing of displaced air, and Pelegon looked up to see a thunderhawk coloured in the midnight blue of the VIIIth legion screaming toward him, trailing fire from one of its wings, the pilot clearly failing to keep it under control. The Iron Warrior reflexively threw himself into the dirt, as he had during many a bombardment, covering his head with his hands, calm even in the face of destruction – either it would hit him, or it would not. There was nothing he could do but accept the course of fate.

The Olympian felt it rush over him, missing his back by perhaps a metre or so, and then the ground shook as the vast craft smashed into the ground with the force of an 109cm bombardment, and Pelegon glanced up to see its underside and body shredded by the sharp rocks it had ploughed into, and briefly questioned the pilot’s competence; on a planet mostly made of sand, he had picked the one boulder field in sight as a place to crash land. Amazingly, its engine did not burst into flames upon landing, and the wing that had caught fire detached itself on impact – but from the fact that the craft had been crushed and broken apart like a child’s toy Pelegon reasoned that it was unlikely that any aboard had survived. However, the Iron Warrior found himself proven wrong as the door to the crew compartment and a single Night Lord emerged – one with a pair of strange, primitive looking bionic arms – looking somewhat dazed and spattered with blood, but uninjured. A single Raven Guard scout (perhaps he had been hiding in the rock cluster) moved forward to investigate, but was quickly dispatched by the Night Lord’s monstrous chainfist. Pelegon could hear the splatter from where he lay, even over the gunfire, and decided that the marine looked to be capable of taking care of himself.

A heavy clang snapped Pelegon back to attention, and he glanced up just in time to see Xandrek fly back, as if struck – the source of this became clear as a contemptor dreadnought crested the hill on which First Claw stood. The Iron Warrior jumped up to his feet and sprinted forward, priming his meltagun with a flick of his thumb. The bodies under Pelegon’s feet rolled and moved with each crushing fall of his iron boots, but he managed to stay on his feet, used to marching and running through the mud created by ground churned and wounded by the fire of artillery as he was. He lost sight of the fight as he reached the bottom of the hill, and as he moved up he felt the muscles in his legs burning with the effort of running against the gradient, but gritted his teeth and pushed on. Once he neared the top, anger turned to dismay as he saw two things that stacked the odds further against them – alongside the contemptor was a techmarine, armed with a bloodied thunder hammer, though fortunately he appeared to be trying to direct servitors with a cortex controller, and they were as yet not functioning. But once they did, Pelegon realised that First Claw would be shredded in a hail of heavy bolter fire. What stacked the odds further against them was the fact that the raptors, upon seeing this, were falling back without so much as firing their bolt pistols over their shoulders as they did so.

“Cowards!” Pelegon roared at their retreating backs, his voice betraying his fury, making a grab at the legs of one who passed too close. His fingers slid over the ceramite, but failed to grasp, and he was rewarded with a kick to the face that sent him stumbling back. Fist clenched, the Iron Warrior levelled his meltagun in one hand, taking careful aim, and fired. His vision flashed red as the blast of superheated air sent his armour’s sensors wild for a moment – both his fury and the raptor’s body disappeared in purifying fire, and the few twisted, melted remains of the Night Lord fell to the sand with a series of thumps. With a tight smile on his face, Pelegon turned back to the fight, ignoring the shrieks that he received from the other raptors that had seen what the Iron Warrior had done.

“If you want to kill me, you’ll have to come back here!” he bellowed at them, but it seemed they valued their lives above their comrade’s honour and continued their retreat. Doubtlessly they would try to make him pay for that later, but the fools failed to realise that if they had attacked the servitors then they might have stood a chance. Now there remained little but to sell their lives dearly.

The contemptor was advancing on the downed Xandrek, the techmarine standing in its shadow, emptying its storm bolters into the downed captain. Veptus stood over their leader like a guardian angel, keeping Xandrek’s stom shield between him and the hail of metallic death – Azrael did nothing, but looked at his charred stump of an arm as if fascinated. A plan began to formulate in Pelegon’s mind, but it would require co-operation on Tyberus’ part.

“Take this” Pelegon grabbed Tyberus by the pauldron and spun him round, handing the marine a meltabomb. “I do not have a jump pack, but you do. The contemptor cannot shoot straight up, nor can it swing its arms high. Drop the bomb onto the top of its carapace, the armour is strong there but it can’t defend itself. I will distract it”

Without another word, Pelegon ran forward, right at the advancing contemptor. It saw him coming, registered the meltagun in his hand, and raised a huge arm to crush him into the dirt. The Olympian saw it, predicted the trajectory of the incoming swing, and threw himself forward into a rolling dive, right under the attack, moving between its legs. Landing on his feet, Pelegon saw that he had maybe half a second to make a perfect shot at its back when he felt his chest explode.

To those watching, the attack had been obvious enough; while the Iron Warrior had been advancing, the techmarine had noted him as a threat and moved into intercept, raising his hammer in preparation. He had clotheslined Pelegon with it, smashing the hammer’s crackling head right into the grey-armoured warrior’s solar plexus with both hands, leaving an enormous dent and crack in the armour’s breastplate. As soon as the hammer made contact the shockwaves it sent through the Iron Warrior’s armour shorted it out, causing his status to disappear from First Claw’s HUDs, but not before giving a glimpse of a worrying pressure spike in his heart rate. Commendably, Pelegon did not fall down, though he staggered back several steps, ingrained warrior reflexes trying to keep his failing muscles upright, arms dangling loose and hands relaxing, dropping the meltagun. After a few seconds of ragdoll-like swaying, the Iron Warrior’s head sank down, chin touching his chest, and he fell to one knee. He stayed there, armoured shoulders rising up and down with each laboured breath, the impotent hatred palpable behind the eye-pieces of his helm.

The thing was, he could feel his thorax compress down and expand outward under the impact of the blow, he could feel the immense blast of force that would have crushed his body had it not been for a combination of artificer armour and an adamantium skeleton. Worst of all, he had felt that which he would not wish on even his worst foe; the bursting of his own heart under the pressure. It had been a muted popping, like a large knuckle, right inside his chest, heard as much as felt, and dazed as he was by the electrical shockwaves and his armour’s own malfunctioning computational systems, Pelegon was vaguely aware of a sick heat spreading throughout his chest as his body struggled to staunch the heavy internal bleeding.

He tried to grunt, tried to swear, tried to stand upright, but his scrambled nervous system was failing to transmit to stunned muscles. His mental consciousness returned, and though his vision swam he saw the form of the techmarine standing before him. There was nothing left, now. He could not move, and felt his muscles involuntarily relax as his breathing turned into a heavy, moist rattle, flecking in the inside of his helmet with blood with each breath. Every fibre was dedicated to keeping himself on his knees, to stay off the ground. If he went down, it was over. No. He could not die, not yet.

Anger. Like a light, a lifeline, a rope to a drowning man, it came to him. He was Pelegon, veteran of nearly a hundred sieges, son of Olympia, centurion and siege breaker. He had seen the warriors of the IVth legion fall by the thousand at his side, had watched their staunch resolve even in the face of decimation at the hands of their father. He had carried on where so many others had failed, had pushed himself to his limits and beyond them. He could not fail his father, could not fail Xandrek, could not fail himself. To dedicate his entire existence to the pursuit of war, become the very best that he could be, throw off the shackles of the petty empire that had abused and hated them for so long, only to collapse at the threshold of victory? To die to this filth, this technomancer of a lesser legion who relied on augmented slave-machines to fight? He was an iron man, a son of Perturabo, and if he were to die, he would do so standing. Iron within, iron without.

Pelegon’s armour systems flickered back into life, showing that his breastplate’s integrity had been compromised, and that he had, as suspected, lost a heart. Stimms began to pump into his blood, but the Iron Warrior suppressed them, switching off the armour’s dosing system. Pain. He needed the pain, deserved it. It was his reward for his foolhardiness, for his lack of caution, and it was also his fuel. The techmarine had already turned his back on the Iron Warrior, assuming the lack of life signals to mean that he was dead, and continued programming his cortex controller. He would pay for his presumptive folly.

The Iron Warrior’s shoulders began to rise and fall more quickly as he prepared himself, built up the anger, honed it to a razor’s edge, set it on his target. The dirt would be removed, the Imperial muck cleansed from his senses. The rest of the battlefield disappeared into a red mist, unknowing, uncaring of what happened. To Pelegon there was only himself and the techmarine…and now a servitor, who had stepped between them with a shuffling tread, the clicking of the heavy bolter that replaced an arm showing it to be arming to fire. With an augmented roar, Pelegon threw himself forward, exploding into a leap.

He grabbed the servitor’s heavy bolter with both hands, and with calculated viciousness tore it off its shoulder at the same time he stamped on one of its legs, ripping it free with a screech of tortured metal. Every muscle in Pelegon’s body sang with strength and his remaining heart threw itself into overdrive to keep him fuelled, each beat of it accentuating the agony in his chest to a new high. The servitor began to collapse, and as it did so Pelegon smashed its skull with a headbutt, pulverising it, coating his helmet with a layer of fuel and blood. The techmarine turned around in time to see the enraged Iron Warrior charging him. He tried to duck to the side but with his heavy armour and servo harness lacked the agility that his brothers had and could not avoid the incoming blow.

Pelegon smashed the heavy bolter into the techmarine’s head with enough force to smash the weapon apart into metallic fragments, knocking the techmarine off his feet and onto his back. With a snarl, the Iron Warrior hurled himself onto the black-and-red armoured marine, pinning his arms down with his knees, and raising a huge, armoured fist, punched him in the face.

With both hands Pelegon brought his fury, the hammer of Olympia, down onto the techmarine’s armoured face. The latter tried to co-ordinate his servo-arms to pull the Iron Warrior off him, but his frenzy was so that the repeated blows to the head soon left him stunned. For Pelegon, there was nothing but his foe’s head in his sights, and his beating fists, raining down a hail of blows. Every impact made the ground under him shake, made his arms rattle in their sockets, but he did not relent, beating until the heavy red helmet first cracked, then splintered, showing the bloodied face beneath. With a frenzied growl, Pelegon tore the remains of the helmet off, throwing them aside. The techmarine looked up, dazed, his blue eyes adjusting to the loss of armoured display. Pelegon’s own dark eyes locked on. Justice.

“I’LL SHOW YOU A REAL IRON MAN!” he roared, bringing both of his hands together, interlocking the finger, and smashed them down with his full force, bringing his body down for more momentum. The combined fist crushed the techmarine’s head into a pulp, covering the Iron Warrior’s hands with blood and fragments of skull. Pelegon straightened up, breathing like a bull, the inside of his helmet now sprayed with his own blood. As suddenly as it had come, the anger drained away, and his limbs felt heavy and languid. The techmarine was dead…one of his hearts was gone…the rest of First Claw? He looked around, struggling to his feet with slow, aching movements, grabbing the techmarine’s thunder hammer, the dead man’s slack grip releasing it easily enough. Through a haze of pain and exhaustion Pelegon pulled the headless techmarine upright and realised with dismay that he had smashed the cortex controller to pieces. Had the techmarine had time to program the servitors?

369 Posts
Sprinting forwards, the Scout’s three squad-mates had been taken unawares:
The first had had no time to bring up his shotgun before Kesh battered it out of his hands and the reverse shield-stroke shattered his jaw.
The second had primed frag grenades and rolled them into his path, but ceramite proved too hardy for the shrapnel to penetrate. An uppercut with his chainfist split the second from groin to head, showering the third with gore.
Looking around for safety, this last scanned the area for a safe route out. Finding none, Kesh’s growled enquiry stopped the youth in his tracks:
“Going somewhere, little bird? You can see your comrades beset on all sides, the only choice is join or die. Yet Corvus Corax has already made the decision for you. Run and you shall be cut down...a traitor to your Primarch.”

Drawing himself into a fighting stance, the enemy replied: “Whereas staying and fighting will prove me a betrayer of The Emperor like you have done?” The young man’s riposte cut Kesh to the bone and his shoulders slumped.
The Scout took that moment to launch his attack, twin swords flashing out, scissoring to catch Kesh’s midriff or shoulder, regardless of which way he turned.
However, the Night Lord stood still and both steels perfectly hit their marks, digging halfway into the plating before sticking fast.
Kesh grasped the young man’s wrists as he still clutched the blades. A moment passed between them, the younger man looking up into his opponent’s face, knowing his fate was sealed.
“Your training is good...was good...in another time, perhaps we could have used one with your passion.” Kesh smashed his helmet into the scout’s unprotected face repeatedly until it was a caved-in mass of flesh and leaking brains.

Getting his bearings, Kesh’s eyes alight on his oaths of moment which had been torn from his armour by the grenades' blasts. Remnants torn and fluttering upon the soft breeze, a figurative reminder that nothing can ever be the same again after today.

Dropping the body, with a hiss of sliding scree, Kesh skids down to the base of the mound to get better bearings.
He’s seen bloody close-quarters combat before, but it was previously a lot more one-sided as the Legion’s superior tactics and weaponry had prevailed against the lesser races.
However, the ferocity of these melees is nothing like anything he has ever experienced, even during the oldest grudges decided in the practice cages.
Now brother fights brother, with equal training and skills: despite their element of surprise, in a few places Night Lords casualties seem to be equal to -or perhaps greater than- those of their foes.

There was something to be admired in their enemy: a resilience which would simply not yield, no matter the odds or the foe. Yet Kesh knows that an equal fortitude resides within the hearts of his own Legion, too.

“Yet now is not the time for shying away...now is the time for mettle and accounting” Kesh promised himself as he advanced to the melee.

Bolter rounds buzzed and hissed all around as guns and pistols played their part in point-blank savagery alongside the more usual singing whine of chain-weapons.

A Raven Guard sees him alone and charges, figuring an easy kill. Perhaps on any other day, Corax’s son would have prevailed but, when a God’s sons offer each other no quarter, it cannot be said to be ‘an ordinary day’.
The man’s pistol barks twice in his hand before emptying, Kesh catches the first round on his backpack, sending sparks and leaking fluids across the broken ground; the second is met by his shield. The Raven spins as he tosses away his useless pistol, carrying on his motion brings his chainaxe round in a doublehanded sweep aimed at the Night Lord’s face. The howling teeth gouge away a top corner of Kesh’s defences. Laughing in victory, the Raven fails to notice Kesh has brought up a gun inside his guard, placing the cool vanes of the plasma weapon under his chin.
“Your soul shall have no rest, brother Marine.” Kesh whispers and looks away as the cerulaean bolt evaporates his opponent’s face and head. Although he feels the heat-blast wash over him, the situation leaves him cold: his usually ebullient nature shock-chilled by the enormity of the events which have been set in motion and all he can do is to follow them to the end, wherever or whenever they lead.

Keeping his head down, Kesh runs towards the embattled standard bearer:
As he quickly traverses the distance, he takes care just to smash opponents to the ground, or send them flailing back into the melee with heavy shield bashes from his arm-pistons, avoiding prolonged combat.
Although the veteran's loyalty is much-vaunted and his accuracy is clear for all to see, Kesh attempts to get close to the banner: the heart and soul of the company...what Kesh hopes will be his source of salvation.
“A soldier without a leader is just a beast...a nothing...” he reminds himself under his breath.

105 Posts
Heavy boots slammed into the soil leaving imprints and chuckling could be heard over 10th company's vox and Serhiy realized what was going on. The stink of fear, the absolute pungency of it like rotting bodies seemed to envelope them. There wasn't that stink around astartes, no they had fought too many times and were far too superior to cow down to such lowly emotions but simple humans? That was a different story. He looked around only a moment seeing the guardsmen some as little as seven times his youth staring back at his crimson eye lenses. Their own unprotected faces betraying the look of terror as they gazed upon the blackened charred armor of the 10th claw. The others of 10th claw unhooked various grenades and lobbed them into the crowd and the foreign Destroyer could only engage his helmets camera array to record the proceedings for later. He missed this, he missed the bloodied mess, he missed the fear, he missed the twisted gargled screams as men attempted to exclaim agony through their own viscera rising up in their throat. One daring enough soul scrambled towards him, his vision blinded by toxic fire and his skull slowly eroding away along with his helmet that did nothing to protect him. He clawed at the waistline of Serhiy, "Please! Oh fuck help me! Help me! Mercy Emperor! Mercy!!!"

With one hand the Destroyer plucked the hapless guardsmen from the ground like a dandelion and brought him close to his face plate. The man was lost in the terror and pain and began laughing and rejoicing, "Oh yes! Yes! Thank you! The Emperor is here for me! He's saved me! I'm saved!"

He belched out in laughter wheezing and hissing like a poorly maintained tank engine before speaking, "No. . . No I am not your Emperor, I'm your death," with that he cast the guardsman to the side and unhooked his own grenades, the ones that Veptus had crafted for him personally and let one loose. The results were extraordinary as men ran about screaming as blood drained from every orifice, contaminating others that were just beyond the reach as they scrambled away from the charred ceramite terror and back into their own ranks and like a wildfire consuming a dried forest they rippled outward as blood and death consumed seemingly everything. The simple art with which they died was delicious and a low chuckle protruded from the Destroyer marine, rising up slowly almost like an ancient car attempting to start and rising into a genuine laugh.

"Oh Phalx! . . . I do so miss it. . . They sing a symphony of praise!"

The thumping of guns throughout the rest of Isstvan V that echoed back to Terra itself as colossal armies epic in their own right clashed against one another, it all drowned out now fading into the background as the horrific display continued before him.

2,071 Posts
Xandrek continued to watch Lorgar. The Word Bearers called him Aurellian, ‘The Golden One’, and Veptus could see why. Lorgar’s beauty was not smothering blackness like Curze’s or necessarily obvious like the Lord of the IIIrd Legion, but there was something refined and alluring in him. However, the middle of the greatest battle in the history of the Imperium was no time to become distracted. Once the three legions here were dead, they would have time to marvel at the majesty of their new tyrants. “Captain, we have to move on from here!” Veptus yelled over the cacophony of death around him. Still Xandrek paid him no mind. Veptus cut the legs out from under a Raven Guard and then stabbed his prone form in the gullet, leaving him to bleed out on the red sands.

Suddenly a massive black shape appeared over the lip of the ridge. The thoughts of Corax descending on them still at the forefront of his mind, Veptus screeched. “Xandrek, look out!” The silhouette took on a more solid form. It was not Corax as Veptus had feared. However, the looming shape of a Contemptor Dreadnought with its power fists about to power into the Lord of Lies was not a welcome sight either. Xandrek turned just in time to intercept the blow with his shield, but the kinetic force of the blow still sent him flying, a slew on Nostraman curses echoing from him. His signature went dead, but his chest still moved sluggishly. He was alive for now, but his armour’s power was shot.

Already Veptus was moving, heedless of the Night Lords and Raven Guard clamouring around him. He didn’t stop to kill or maim except when absolutely necessary. Nothing would impede him from his charge. “All available units in service to the Lord of Lies will converge on my position or I swear by our Father you will die a most slow and horrific death.” Veptus hissed down the vox. Veptus noticed that Pelegon, Tyberus and most other members of the First Claw were already converging on Xandrek’s position. Good, they had not forgotten their place at least.

The Night Lords had a curious relationship with their fallen commanders. Whereas most legions would fight to defend their leaders, the Night Lords more often chose to run and leave them to their own folly to die. Indeed, if it were anyone other than Xandrek Veptus would not have looked back. He would be far away from here by now, relatively safe and leaving the fallen commander he abandoned to whatever death awaited him. Even his charge as Primus Medicae would not be enough for him to risk what he was risking now. He was a skilled Apothecary and would not easily be replaced even if Xandrek died. But the only life he had ever known had been in service to Xandrek, and he was not yet ready to shed that cloak of familiarity and comfort. He doubted he ever would be. He knew the Atrementar would understand.

The Raven Guard Dreadnought was no fool. He could have lumbered closer and smashed the bodies of the traitorous XIIIth Legion to pieces. But at such close range he exposed himself to the bites of grenades and short range melta-blasts. Instead he decided to hose down Xandrek’s prone form and any other Night Lords foolish enough to be nearby with his storm bolters. As they cycled up, those Astartes foolish enough to be near the Captain included Veptus. The bolt rounds began to chew up the earth as they approached the prone form of Veptus’s friend. Coming to a sliding halt Veptus scrabbled for Xandrek’s massive shield with his right hand, swinging it round to protect both of them from the incoming hail of fire.

Veptus planted the bladed edge in the dirt and held it fast against the repetitive drumming of the storm bolter shells. Only once he was relatively certain he was protecting both him and Xandrek from harm did his brain register the piercing pains in his side. There were three bolt wounds. One where a round had crumpled the armour, breaking the skin beneath and likely giving his third rib a hairline fracture. The second was lower down and the round had detonated inside the armour, tearing a hole in his flesh about the size of a golf ball. Likely the kinetic force of the blast had ruptured his kidney. The final round was lower down. It had struck the vulnerable exposed tubing just above his waist. There was now a fist-sized hole missing from his side and it was already beginning to bleed profusely.

Veptus snarled. He prided himself on his rationality, but when it came to Xandrek he had risked far more than was logical to save his captain. The top of his hip bone was visible in his side, although Veptus could tell a portion of it was missing. Likely broken off and shattered into shards of bone which now had imbedded themselves in the meat of his obliquus abdominis. He would remove them later but now, as gunfire still hammered on the boarding shield protecting the pair of Night Lords, was not the time for that. Veptus’s left arm, the one with the Narthecium mounted on it, reached round. First, he cauterized his wounds. He simply burned them to stop the bleeding. Then layers of medical concrete to seal the wounds until proper work could be done on them. Finally, he injected pain killers directly into his spinal column.

His own wounds attended to he needed to see to Xandrek’s. Xandrek’s armour was heavily customized to install fear and dread in his foes, like most senior Night Lords. However, with his power pack dead, all that ornamentation was dead weight. Veptus knew there were trophies on his suit of armour that even Veptus didn’t know the significance of. It was unfortunate, but he had to get rid of it. He could head Pelegon yelling over the din of battle and he could see from his HUD that several of the First Claw were moving to intercept the Dreadnought. In the commotion, he could make his escape with Xandrek.

Working efficiently, his narthecium cut away at the joints of Xandrek’s armour. Veptus tore he limb armour and jump pack off, leaving only the chest plate and helmet intact. If Xandrek was hit, his limbs could be replaced, but Veptus wouldn’t risk harm to the Captain’s vital organs. “First Claw, keep the Dreadnought busy. Xandrek’s armour is shot, he can’t stay here. As soon as we are clear, retreat. We’re done here.” Veptus hauled Xandrek over his shoulder and gunned his jump pack. The extra weight meant his fuel wouldn’t last long, but it didn’t matter. All he needed was to reach the Word Bearer lines on the other side of the ridge. He angled the stolen shield downwards to protect from upwards fire. His only real fear now was the skies above him…

Reaper of Souls
1,303 Posts
I was coming up on Xandrek’s flank when I heard Veptus cry out a warning.

Scarcely a moment had passed before a great clang sounded and my captain went flying past me.

Where he had stood there now was a Raven Guard Dreadnought, two crackling power fists adorning its arms. I grinned wolfishly, at last there was a challenge. I went to take my sword in both hands, remembering too late that my left was long gone, incinerated by a plasma gun earlier in the battle. I stared at it in confusion for a few seconds, before Pelegon’s roar broke me from my reverie.

I heard Veptus’ voice over the vox, calling all Fourth Company to his location and I followed the Apothecary’s signal to find him kneeling next to Xandrek, hefting the fallen captain’s massive shield to protect the two of them from the bolt rounds the Dreadnought was hosing the area with. I threw myself out of the line of fire and felt my lips curl into a snarl.

The Raven Guard was trying to kill my captain, my friend. This was something I would not allow.

I kick-started my jump pack, feeling the exhaust erupt from it as it fired me up into the air. I aimed myself with minute adjustments to my trajectory and then let myself fall. Landing next to the gigantic form of the Dread, I lashed out. The crackling blade of my power sword sliced clean through the barrels of its left storm bolter and I went to destroy the right one, but was forced to duck as it swung round, the sizzling power field surrounding its fists singing my helmet and power pack.

I straightened and my power sword sliced a second time, destroying the second storm bolter and destroying any ranged capability the Dread had possessed.

I felt a moment of triumph, then the Dread kicked me.

I slammed to the floor, dazed and in pain, and for a few moments I could only watch as the Dread raised its massive fist to bring down on my chest and turn me into bloody pulp.

I activated my jump pack with barely a second to spare, rocketing out from under the Dread and back towards Xandrek. With the thrust still active, I pressed both hands to the ground beneath me and pushed, flipping back onto my feet and letting the jump pack boost me into the sky, landing after a few moments at the location where Xandrek and Veptus had been. I looked around for them, and spotted the Apothecary’s armoured form carrying Xandrek towards the Word Bearers. But I also saw something the Apothecary hadn’t.

Only a few hundred metres from Veptus’ destination, Corax was tearing through the Word Bearers like a knife through butter, sending crimson armoured bodies flying in all directions.

“Veptus,” I shouted into my helmet mic, repeating it when I got no response except static. After a few moments of static, I tore off my helmet and cursed when I saw the melted vox wires, presumably from the Dreadnought’s power fist.

Without taking a few moments to think about my actions I rocketed after Veptus. I could only hope I got to him before Corax did.

146 Posts
Corvis had never seen so many Astartes gathered together on one planet. Tens of thousands of “brother” marines from over a dozen different Legions gathered here on Isstvan. Yet by the time this planet was abandoned, it would be synonymous with the crippling of three Legions of the False Emperor. Corvis relished the thought as he saw the beginning the Raven Guard lines coming up the hill expecting relief. What they would find though is only spitting death from their supposed relief. Gathered together with the rest of First Claw at the top of the hill behind the lines of Night Lords awaiting the word to fire, Corvis seethed in anticipation the closer the Raven Guard came towards them. Not even a century old and yet even Corvis could tell the impact of this Massacre would have; this was a game-changer in the great scale of the Imperium. From here the Primarch would take revenge against the False Emperor and Corvis would follow in his wake. “Where is that flare?” his inner voice seethed. Anxiously, Corvis looked towards the sky and awaited the signal that would usher a sound Corvis could never have anticipated.

Like a warped sun, the sickly radiance of the flare shot from Horus’s bastion showered the battlefield in its malevolent glow. Focused on the flare, Corvis did not see which Night Lords opened fire first but what happened next practically rocked the Young Blood to his knees. Thanks to the stabilizers in his armor there was no need to worry, but the ringing of thousands of Astartes weapons kicking off nearly overwhelmed Corvis’ senses. As rows of Night Lords fired mercilessly into the ranks of the XIX legion, the Young Blood felt a deep desire to join them; to look into their own pitch black eyes and see their look of betrayal. The sight of Xandrek, Azrael, Var, and other of First Claw along with an Iron Warrior leaping skywards to press the attack stirred the Young Blood’s memory. This was not his place in the battlefield, stretching his arms to get the feel of the jumpack Corvis braced himself before activating the device and racing upwards towards the lines of the Raven Guard.

Some Terran Night Lords and even Nostramo born might have felt pity for these soon to be dead Legionaries. Many had probably fought together on more than one occasion on some distant planet in the name of the humanity and the False Emperor. Some of these veterans may ask for forgiveness never to be received or simply fall back on the training of the Astartes, but Corvis had no such qualms. Coming from some of the last waves of recruits accepted into the ranks of the VIII Legion, Corvis had been raised among killers and learned well. He felt no remorse for these wretches as he arced through the sky downwards towards the impending murder that sang to him. This was where three Legions would be crippled; this was where Corvis’ legacy would begin.

Slamming into ground, the stabilizers absorbing the shock of the landing, Corvis could already see Xandrek and his champion wading into the thick of the fighting. Corvis allowed them only a cursory glance before he sought out his first victims. It took only a second to find it. Sheltering next to a wounded Rhino Transport were two Raven Guard Astartes, one already heaving to one side with plasma burns scorching his armor, guarding a Tech-Marine desperately trying to appeal to the Machine Spirit of the vehicle to return to life and whisk the survivors to safety. “As fitting a start as any” Corvis said with a murderous smile flexing his lightning claw. At a dead sprint it would only take a matter of seconds to reach their position but that would allow them to get a bead on him and fire. Taking advantage of the jump-pack, Corvis let out a short burst and braced for landing.

With an audible crunch leaving imprints on the metal, the Young Blood crashed onto the top of the Rhino. In a fluid motion Corvis drew his plasma pistol and obeyed his cardinal rule: always kill the strongest first. With the tech-marine too focused on repairing the damage to the engines and the wounded Raven Guard too sluggish to properly bring his weapon to bear, that left only the one unwounded Astartes to deal with first. Before either Raven Guards could bring their bolters to aim on Corvis, the Young Blood squeezed the trigger and enjoyed seeing the Raven Guard’s helmet and head disappear in the bright plasma flash. Jumping down from the Rhino and holstering his plasma pistol, Corvis immediately addressed the injured battle-brother with a swift hook that disoriented the Astartes long enough for the Young Blood to grab the Raven Guard with his free hand. Distracted, the poor fool did not even have time to see Corvis drive the talons of his lightning claw into the exposed armor from the previous wound. Searing the flesh and eviscerating the internal organs of the Astartes, Corvis held him in an almost embrace until he saw the life fade from the XIX Legionnaire. That left only the tech-marine to deal with, and he was only now just realizing the doom that was upon them. Corvis flung the dead Raven Guard onto his brother and wasted no time. Before the tech-marine could rise the Young Blood gave him a nasty kick to the head and planted his foot on the Legionnaires chest. Gripping the mechadendrite on the back of the Astartes, Corvis sheared through it and held it before the Raven Guard’s eyes before tossing it like it was garbage. Like the killer that he was, Corvis stepped back from the Astartes enough to draw his plasma pistol again and finished the tech-marine, his last hope dashed in a matter of seconds.

The Young Blood stopped to catch his breath long enough to take in the scenery now that he had a free moment. All around chaos ruled as shells from both sides now filled the air. Tracer fire seemed almost to dance from the firing lines of the four Legions now decimating their former comrades. Searching for his captain, Corvis finally spotted him addressing his champion just as the Apothecary Veptus landed. Even from a distance there was something to Xandrek that spoke a seething fury. The Young Blood made a point of finding out what had transpired after the battle. Corvis moved through the press of dead bodies of the XIX Legion as he made his way to his captain. The vox channel was a cacophony of different battle brothers experiencing the Massacre in their own way. It was hard to believe that any Raven Guard, Salamander, or Iron Hand could survive this day, even their respective Primarchs. It was almost a shock then when an iron grip wrapped around Corvis’ leg. “Betrayer” voiced a half-dead Raven Guard, bolter rounds having ripped apart his armor and flesh, looking at the Young Blood with nothing but hatred that before was reserved for the Alien and the Malcontent. “Gladly” was the only reply he heard before Corvis reached down, gripped the helmet of the Astartes, and drove his talons into the opening between the helm and the chest armor. Drawing the now freshly red talons from the corpse, Corvis stood and paid the slain Raven Guard no more notice as he tried reaching First Claw.

As he trekked up the hill trying to reach his captain, Corvis spotted a squad of three Raven Guard marines and one of their Sergeants pinned down exchanging fire with a squad of Night Lords slowly pushing in on their position. Though he had no true loyalty with his fellow brothers yet, more akin to an Iron Warrior in that regard, Corvis did relish the opportunity to slay these wretches who resemble Nostramans but could never stomach what Night Lords went through to ascend to earn their battle armor. Deciding to be a charitable soul, Corvis activated his jump-pack once again and leapt into the air, aiming for these doomed fools like he was the Angel of Death personified.

Before he landed however, Corvis decided against just landing amidst them and tearing them to pieces. Half-way through the air, the Young Blood drew one of his Frag Grenades and pulled the pin seconds before landing on the opposite lip of the crater that the Raven Guards held. Laughing inside his helmet, Corvis lobbed the grenade into the middle of their positon and quickly knelt down facing away from the explosion. A loud thump followed by the death cry of at least one of them signaled that now it was time to wade in and finish them off. Jumping into the crater, Corvis maliciously grinned seeing the Astartes disoriented with one in fact dead with his armor blasted apart and his gun a wrecked ruin. Corvis blasted one of the remaining three marines square in the chest with superheated plasma, sending him rocking back to the ground. With a savage swipe, Corvis raked his Lightning Claw across the exposed face of the Raven Guard Sergeant as he was about to draw his chainsword. Against bare flesh the Lightning Claw tore through and seared the Sergeant before killing him, leaving great gouges where the talons ripped through his face. Before Corvis could savor the kill of an Astartes who looked twice his age, the Young Blood was rocked forwards by a bolter round to his shoulder armor. Whipping around and crouching down, Corvis immediately emptied the remainder of his clip into the one remaining Raven Guard, angry more with himself for letting his mind wander before his prey were dead. “Primus and Secundus will definitely be busy upon my return.” Corvis mused as he climbed out of the crater to view the squad of Night Lords walking towards him. “Hail, Brother” the lead Night Lord spoke as he casually made his way through the carnage. “What Claw are you with?” He asked. “First Talon, Fourth Company” Corvis said, only half interested in conversing now that more killing was called for. “Reports say Lord Xandrek has already pressed deeper into the XIX Legion and is fighting that way as we speak” He stated, pointing in the distance where Xandrek fought. Corvis nodded his head in acknowledgement, “My thanks, brother” the Young Blood said, half-sincere. Before taking off for his captain though, Corvis had a trophy to collect. Jumping back down into the crater, Corvis found the slain Sergeant and with his bare talons severed the marine’s head, being careful to preserve the studs above his eyebrow indicating his rank.
“All available units in service to the Lord of Lies will converge on my position or I swear by our Father you will die a most slow and horrific death.” Veptus hissed down the vox.

Corvis swallowed hard at the sound of the Apothecaries voice over the vox. The Young Blood knew enough of the Corpse-Master to know that he made no idle threats. To disregard Veptus and have him visit his wrath made the idea of a dreadnaught’s shell seem appealing. Without a second thought, Corvis kicked whatever life was still in his jump-pack into gear and gunned it to where First Claw was reported to be.

It was a grim and confusing sight that Corvis took in when he landed. Xandrek lay unconscious on the ground, Azrael was missing an arm, a Raven Guard Dreadnaught was spraying First Claw with suppressive fire, and to top it off a tech-marine with a cadre of servitors opening up with heavy weapons. Still, Tyberus, Veptus, and even the Iron Warrior along with others from First Claw converged on Xandrek’s position. Before being spotted, Corvis immediately began opening up on the servitors below the hill, desperately trying to draw their fire before they found their mark in someone from First Claw.
“First Claw, keep the Dreadnought busy. Xandrek’s armour is shot, he can’t stay here. As soon as we are clear, retreat. We’re done here.” Veptus’ voice echoed over the vox as he began lifting the fallen captain up to whisk him to safety.

Corvis was unsure about this order. Xandrek’s folly, whatever it was, had laid him low. “This is not the Ultramarines Legion and we most definitely are not the sons of Dorn either” Corvis thought in the back of his mind. “We are Night Lords”, if one of our own makes a folly that costs them dear, they pay the price. It is not common place to make a stand to defend a fallen comrade. Still, this was Xandrek, and one way or another Corvis knew his fate was tied to his commander.

“Veptus, this is Corvis, we’ll have you covered. “ Corvis said plainly into the vox. Drawing his plasma pistol, the Young Blood took aim down the hill at the servitors. Watching the Iron Warrior Pelegon wade into their midst and engage the tech-marine hand to hand, Corvis continued firing plasma shots at the servitors even after he delivered the death blow to the tech-marines head. Glancing to his side Corvis could see that the Dreadnaught was closing in on First Claw’s position, hoping to finish off the captain of 4th company. Knowing it was stupid to try and fight against a dreadnaught with naught but a plasma pistol, Corvis nonetheless started taking shots at the dreadnaughts hull hoping to distract it. “And maybe see about getting Lord Xandrek out of here before 4th company needs a new commander and First Claw” Corvis said, half-joking half-taking-cover-from-incoming rounds.

1,779 Posts
Discussion Starter #159
Azrael: You rocket up after Veptus and Xandrek as you see the form of Corax cutting his way through the Word Bearers on the ground before launching himself into the air obviously heading towards Lorgar but it fate it seems has placed Veptus and Xandrek in the way, with Tenth Claw shortly joining them however a rag-tag squad of destroys is little match for the Primarch of the Raven Guard as within moments of them appearing three of them are tumbling through the air dead with their chests torn up and limbs removed by swings of Corax's lightning claws. Pushing yourself to the limit you manage to impose yourself between Veptus and Corax but like Tenth Claw it is futile as an almost casual backhand sends you sailing back towards the ground giving you the perfect view of your own chins and feet go sailing off in the opposite direction away from you leaving trails of red through the air before you slam into the ground almost entirely helpless within the Word Bearer lines.

Through all of the pain of your injuries though you are able to push yourself up with your remaining arm to see Veptus and Xandrek fall to the ground aswell deeper in the Word Bearer lines to the west of an almost heart-breakingly handsome, kind yet stern faced Demi-God as he rushes forwards to meet his brother in combat to save his sons from the wrath of betrayal and you might be relieved to see the remaining members of Tenth Claw land in the location of Veptus and Xandrek. As Word Bearers around you continue to stream down towards the main source of the fighting you see a blood-covered midnight blue form stand above you bearing the white shoulder pad and helix insignia of the Apocatherion stand above you before crouching down to examine your wounds and looking over the apocathery you can see that is infact one of Veptus's apprentices: Xheng who begins to stem the blood flow from your wounds while injecting you with a potent cocktail of chemicals to keep you from passing out as he then hooks his arm under your half-missing arm and hauls you up so the stumps of your legs dangle down as he hands you a bolt pistol. "Come brother-Champion, we need to get towards the captain as I had no desire to anger Lord Veptus, if it gets within three meters of us and does not stand in Midnight Clad. Shoot it."

Veptus: You receive both warning shouts from Azrael and Pelegon (perhaps even Serhiy aswell) and hear the shouts of dying Word Bearers behind you, and you think also the curses of Tenth Claw over the vox aswell as something is killing Astartes quicker than even the World Eaters and as your attention fully focuses on what is being said you know what it is that is carving its path along the ground before launching into the air behind you, the Raven Lord, Primarch of the Nineteenth Legion: Corvus Corax and while you gun your jump pack into full power you are able to feel Xandrek shift on your shoulder obviously watching the Shadow of Death come hurtling towards you both and you are able to turn your head just enough to see Azrael appear in the sky between yourself and the Raven Lord and quicker than you can blink see the legless (below the knee's) Champion of forth go tumbling from the sky to crash to crash onto a group of Word Bearers below. If Azrael somehow survives this battle then he is going to need extensive surgery.

Once again you feel Xandrek shift on your back as he manages to force his arms around to grab ahold of your jump pack and simply tear the fuel lines our deactivating it and send the both of you plummeting towards the ground and you should be thankful for the Captain doing so as if you hadn't then you would of suffered alot worse or possible died as you feel the bite of lightning claws shear through your armour behind your right shoulder biting around three inches into your flesh as Corax barely 'slaps' you with his Lightning claw. Angling yourself into falling position to reduce impact damage you slam into the ground and roll with Xandrek coming lose and rolling aswell slamming into a Word Bearer sergeant knocking him to the ground and staying there though your auto-senses can hear Xandrek's muffled cursing through his helmet as he shouts. Biting through the pain you are able to force yourself to your feet as your armours own pain killers depress into your system and you can now move to Xandrek to deal with him as the remains of Tenth Claw land around him, and from your position you are able to witness one of the most brutal fights between Primarchs in the entire of the Heresy.

Pelegon: The servitors stand there like slack-jawed idiots with gritty drool running from between their teeth and vacant expressions on their faces and somehow their bionic eyes, giving you a time to give a sigh of relief before as one their vox-altered voices ring out. "Input accepted, Targeting Iron Warrior, Night Lord, Word Bearer and Alpha Legion Legionaries". Their heavy bolters then snapping up to face you and those other night lord legionaries who were now streaming into the small gully to aid in bringing down the Raven Guard and soon a stream of heavy caliber bolt rounds is zipping your way only to ping and ricocheted off the terminator armoured forms of Second Claw who have managed to catch up as their sergeant turns his head to you. "Leave these half-men and walking-corpse to us, Brother Pelegon. Captain Kealisar is injured and as a member of First Claw it is your job to project him." With that the terminators begin to stomp their way up the hill towards the servitors and the Dreadnought with their own bolters answering in kind.

You are now free to disengage and head towards the Word Bearer lines that are now finally joining the fight as you catch glimpses of Azrael, Veptus and Xandrek in the air but you then notice a flicker of movement, a great black form that seems to absorb all light moving like a shadow on the wind towards the Word Bearer lines, following the path of Veptus. You focus on it and see the mighty yet slender form of the 19th Legions Progenitor, the Raven Lord, Corvus Corax and if you do not do something then your current captain, his apocathery and the champion are as good as dead but with no jump pack all you are able to do is charge back through friendly lines and try to vox a warning to Veptus or Azrael to warn them of the incoming threat. (Feel free to hammer your way through the Word Bearers and other Night Lords if you wish to get to Xandrek, or avoid them if you don't want to earn the attention of Corax.)

Serhiy: Tenth Claw stops and look at their sergeant for a moment, you included before you then hear the vox tune in and the voice of Veptus some shouting through: " “All available units in service to the Lord of Lies will converge on my position or I swear by our Father you will die a most slow and horrific death.” This causes the squad to stop allowing the crackle of chemical fire and the dying screams and whimpers of the guardsmen to carry on before Phalx turns to look at his squad and you aswell. "We are heading back to Veptus and Xandrek, I would rather not get on the Corpse-Masters bad side for without him none of us would be able to return to battle in the states our bodies are currently degrading." With that the sergeant motions for you to follow and him and his squad set off into the air leaving several chemical grenades as parting gifts for the humans. Following Phalx and the first of Tenth Claw you see what appears to be Veptus taking off from a gully that is now being surrounded by members of Fourth Company as they engage a survivors of the Raven Guard however as you fly through the air at the front of the squad with Phalx you hear the screams and curses of the rest of Tenth Claw and see the anger filled features of none other than the Raven Lord himself.

Spiraling away from the back of the group you see the shattered and bloody limbs of four members of Tenth Claw crash into the ground and remain still as Phalx and the remaining members do their best to get out of the way of Corax with Phalx himself being relieved of both of his legs below the knee's and yourself only managing to get out of the way of Corax's claw as it smashes through your jump pack sending you hurling towards the ground and the lines of the Word Bearers who are now finally deciding to join the fight. As the ground rushes to meet you, you see Corax almost catching up with Veptus, Xandrek and Azrael and some way infront of them, the Urizen, Lorgar.

Kesh: As your hand moves towards the banner of hear the voice of Fourth Companies Primus Medicae, Veptus the Corpse-Master, call out for all members of fourth company to converge on his position as the Captain is down and if you do not then you will find out just exactly how and why he earned his title. You can either decide to take the banner and become a magnet of anger for all the Raven Guard still alive which could slow you down considerably or you can leave it and begin to head off in the direction of where it is that Veptus has signaled for Fourth Company to converge. Surely if you help save the Captain of Fourth then you might be able to earn a place within the vaunted ranks of the First Claw answering directly to Captain Xandrek Kealisar the Lord of Lies, who in turn only answers to the First Captain and the Primarch himself. (If you take the banner you encounter 4 Raven Guard assault marines who try to take it from you, if you do not then only a single Devastator Sergeant.)

Leaving the site of your previous battle you manage to make your way to where Veptus has signaled for Fourth Company to converge and see the Apocathery himself activating his jump pack carrying the limp form of what must be Xandrek with him followed by a heavily injured company champion. Reaching the gully you see that a squad of Terminators is currently engaging a group of heavy bolter armoured servitors and a Contemptor Dreadnought while oddly there is also an Iron Warrior setting off in the direction of which the Apocathery was headed. What do you do when you reach the gully, do you stay to fight the Dreadnought with the terminators or do you carry on towards the captain?

Corvis: You remain in the gully as the other members of First Claw begin to leave to follow Veptus and Xandrek with Azrael being the first to leave as you continue to fire into the servitors taking our three of them before heavy caliber rounds come streaming your way along with the dreadnought stomping his way to you as his power-fists swing left and right smashing Night Lords to a pulp when they get to close as he closes on you. As you begin to fire at the Dreadnought with your plasma pistol, weakening some of its armoured hull with near continuous shots from your pistol you hear the whine and then deep thudding noises of auto-cannon shells come screaming through the air to impact heavily on the Contemptor staggering it and you turn your head slightly to see the ten members of Second Claw in their Terminator Armour come stomping through the gully with power fists flexing and chain-fists revving as their bolters begin to reduce the servitors to ruined sacks of flesh and bionics.

Now that Second Claw has arrived to deal with the Dreadnought and the Servitors you now have a chance to leave and follow after Veptus and the others but you see the form of the Raven Lord go hurling through the air after them deeper into Word Bearer lines as he then lands and begins to carve his way through Lorgar's legion before taking to the skies again, should you leave the gully you see three members of Tenth Claw die almost instantly as they are ripped apart by Corax and Azrael fares little better as both of his legs are removed by an almost casual back-handed slap from the 19th's Primarchs lightning claw as he goes crashing into the ground shortly followed by Veptus and Xandrek as Corax continues to head towards Lorgar. Now that Veptus and Xandrek have landed, sort of, you can either head to them to protect the captain or you can go to Azrael to see if the Champion is still alive, though you catch sight of Apocathery Xheng heading in his direction.

Tyberus: NPC until you pm me.

2,071 Posts
Shouts from other Night Lords echoed faintly in Veptus’ ears, their words lost on him. His mind was focused solely on his charge, his sacred trust. Their corvid screeching of worry, indignation or betrayal meant nothing to him. He needed to get the captain to safety, and that was where he thought he was heading. The death screams of the Urizian’s crimson sons and of the Tenth Claw was the first indication that he might not be. Veptus focused in on their deaths, but it was mostly unintelligible gargling of blood and frantic shouts. Something was slaying the Astartes below at a terrifying rate. “Corax.” Veptus breathed, his tone suddenly ashen.

He risked a glance over his shoulder. Veptus wasn’t sure if his sight was obscured by Xandrek’s form, the speed at which he was careening through the air or by whatever mysterious powers the Lord of the XIXth Legion possessed, but much of Corax refused to come into focus. The lighting arching from his hands was all that betrayed the presence of the Primarch’s lightning claws and although Veptus knew he must be riding on his Korvidine Pinions he could scarcely make them out.

In stark contrast to the rest of his features, the face of Corvus Corax seemed to be focused beyond even Veptus’ naturally enhanced eyesight. What he saw mirrored faintly the face of the Father he admired. Dark locks of hair framed a pale face contorted by rage. Although Veptus had been told that the pupils of the Raven Lord were jet black, he would have sworn in that moment and in times to come that they glowed red hot with fury, like coals plucked directly from the heart of a forge. Veptus silently willed his jump pack to give a final burst of speed, although he doubted the mere techmarines of the 4th Company, even Var, could match the artificer wrought ingenuity of the Raven Lord’s flight pack.

As Veptus looked back he saw the form of Azrael appear between him and Corax. Clearly Azrael had offended Xandrek in the most grievous manner that he was so ready to die such a pointless death. Skilled as he was with a blade, it would not save him against the wrath of a betrayed Primarch. Nothing baring blind luck that went against all reason would. Swiftly Corax relieved him of his legs and sent him tumbling into the red sea of Word Bearers below. If he still survived he would need extensive surgery to replace his lost limbs, which at this moment Xandrek didn’t seem inclined to grant. A noble gesture but ultimately fruitless.

Veptus felt Xandrek move on his back and a moment later his jump pack spluttered and died abruptly. Gravity took over and the two of them fell from the clutches of death. Corax still swiped at them. Although the strike was only a grazing one, the Raven Lord’s meter long lightning claws bit deep into the meat of Veptus’ shoulder as he fell. The corvine primirach decided to seek other prey and didn’t follow them in their descent, but that didn’t mean it was safe.

Without the jump pack, Veptus could only vaguely control their meteoric descent. The storm shield was still below both of them and Veptus angled it flat to slow their descent and hopefully allow them to skid to a halt rather than imbed themselves in the earth. Veptus landed with his right shoulder down and the bounced once before skidding through the earth. Xandrek was thrown from his should and rolled through the advancing Word Bearer lines, swearing as he went. Veptus felt his collarbone snap clean and pierce the skin between his shoulder and neck. He also felt his right shoulder dislocate as if to add insult to injury, as well as his fused ribcage sustain a series of hairline fractures.

The pain from the fall and the wounds he had sustained was substantial, but Veptus still had a duty to perform. He pressed down sharply on his collarbone, forcing it grindingly back into rough alignment with its counterpart. It would not hold like that. His narthecium drilled a small hole into the shoulder plating of his armour and a needle pierced the skin and injected medical concrete around the greenstick fracture to hold it steady while he fought on. His advanced physiology would force his bones to heal rapidly, but they would set poorly. Veptus wagered he would have to break the collarbone again after the battle was done in order to set it properly.

He popped his shoulder back into its socket and moved to find Xandrek. He could have dosed himself up with some painkillers, but he was already short stocked after the battle and his physiology was dampening the pain well enough to keep him one the tolerable side of irritable. Remains of Night Lords, most likely the 10th Claw by the rather their icons were disappearing from Veptus’ HUD rained down around Xandrek, and Veptus as he approached. Corax was tearing through them and scarcely slowing. Nothing would stop him, save another Primarch. As Veptus reached Xandrek, checking the captain over for wounds that required immediate attention, looked up to see a brutal melee unfolding. Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers had challenged Corax in order to preserve the lives of his sons. This was one of the most vicious battles in the Imperium’s history and, although Veptus could not ignore his charge, he kept half an eye on the battle. The outcome would mean life or death for more than just its combatants, and he had to be ready if he needed to move Xandrek away from the vengeful lord of the XIXth Legion…
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