“Stand before me and die Scum!”
“The Lord Castellan will be avenged, meet your God Traitor!”
“You meet my master Khorne first... Bahaha!”
Not today trai.....”
The Black Templar's words were cut short as the Chainaxe of Karvis the Forsaken cleaved through the Space Marine's throat, removing his head from his shoulders. Watching the Astartes fall to the earth at his feet, Karvis reflected on the battle through the city as it had played out so far. The streets ran with the blood of the innocent and bodies littered the ground every step you went.
“The ritual seems to be proceeding as planned Skull Champion,” A voice spoke as it stepped from the shadows.
“Ensure you keep your end of the bargain Arthalax, or your head will be the next I mount,” Karvis growled as he turned to face the Sorcerer.
Arthalax the Warpbringer would not be an especially impressive sight, compared to the servant of Khorne, if it wasn't for the aura of power that constantly surrounded him. Despite the incredible dislike of sorcery that came natural to servants of the Blood God, Arthalax was necessary for the ritual to succeed.
The forces of Chaos made planetfall months prior to either the Orks or the Black Templars, all the while remaining covert in their activities. After several attempts to enter the main city and failing to do so, while also keeping their presence a secret, the Chaos Space Marines enacted a plan to bring a war to the world. Arthalax called upon the mighty power of the Warp and lured a great Space Hulk from the Immaterium, and the Greenskins that were within. The appearance of the Space Marines turned out to be a bonus, creating havoc and bloodshed across the world and allowing the Karvis' personal warband, the Skull Reavers, to remain out of the fighting until the right time.
When the war reached the walls of the city Karvis needed to gain entry to, the Skull Reavers Warband mobilised and took their opportunity, knowing the Orks would bring explosives to bear. The death of the Warboss sent the Waaagh!! into disarray, and following the death of the Black Templar's Castellan at the Forsaken's own hands left the defenders leaderless.
“Skulls for the Skull throne my warriors!”
“Blood for the Blood God!” came the reply from Karvis' Warband, bringing a smile to his face, hidden underneath his helmet.
Arthalax the Warpbringer strode alongside the servant of Khorne as they approached the center of the city. “What is the next step in your plan Sorcerer?” Karvis asked of him.
“This area must be sealed from any disturbance, I need to be given time to complete the ritual and bring the great beast forth.”
“Do what you must, but be warned... do not fail me...,” The Forsaken allowed the threat to trail off as he stepped away and began organising his berserkers into a perimeter.
“I have much more to gain from this succeeding than you barbarian,” The Black Legion Sorcerer muttered under his breath as he continued towards the place he had designated as the central point of the ritual. Stepping amongst the various cultists and prisoners that had been assembled, Arthalax placed his staff before him and began to chant. The very air nearby seemed to shift and move under the warp energy that began flowing in and around this focal point. The key was all in the timing and each Cultist had been instructed on their place and the timing involved. Failure would not be tolerated.
Not far from the activities of the forces of Chaos, Sword Brethren Barus stood before the assembled Black Templars. All that remained of the force that defended the city stood here, and with the death of both Castellans, Barus had assumed command.
“Sword Brethren, what is that?” another Astartes questioned, pointing and looking at the sky in the distance. The air could be seen vibrating and shifting.
“I'm not sure brother, but it cannot be good. We should investigate, perhaps this is the reason the Traitors are her.
The Black Templars Space Marines formed up into a defensible formation and set off towards the disturbance they had seen. The death and carnage in the streets was sickening to even these hardened warriors, such was the ferocity of the attack from the Khornate Berserkers that many of the people laying dead in the streets would never be identified.
Not even a hundred yards from the apex of the ritual, the Astartes spotted the cause of the problem, a Sorcerer of Chaos weaving his unholy abilities into a torrential vortex. Standing between the force of Templars and the Chaos Sorcerer stood a line of Berserkers. Amongst them stood the one who had slain Castellan Tyron mere hours earlier.
“No pity! No remorse! No fear brothers!” roared Sword Brethren Barus as he charged at the line Traitor Marines.
Karvis stood amongst his Skull Reavers, chuckling to himself as his Warband began moving restlessly, itching for the bloodshed that was soon to come.
“Hold dogs... do not charge yet or I will personally punish each of you,” Karvis warned his Berserkers.
The Space Marines were no more than a dozen yards away when the Skull Champion's trap was sprung. Unlike many servants of Khorne, Karvis the Forsaken was a strategic thinker with an unnatural finesse on the field of war. He had been prepared for a full frontal attack from these servants of the False God, having fought them many times, and did not wish to mindlessly waste his Warband or risk a disruption of the ritual being performed no more than half a dozen yards behind him.
Without warning, the building walls either side of the Black Templars burst open, a large number of Khornates stepping forth and unleashing their full fury on their adversaries.
“Skulls for the Skull Throne!” the Forsaken roared and all the remaining warriors surrounding him entered the fray. The Skull Champion stood back to watch and prevent any escape his way from the enemy.
The Astartes that appeared to be leading the force had already passed through the battle at hand and headed straight for Khorne's Champion with a mighty roar. Millennia of experience assisted Karvis in avoiding every attack thrust his way. Choosing not to draw his weapons he dodged around the attacks sent his way.
“Give up stripling, you do not have the power to defeat me!” Karvis laughed as he spoke, sending the Astartes into a rage.
Sensing a change in the air behind him, and a distinct smell of the blood of thousands, Karvis decided to stop toying with his opponent, grabbed him by the throat and easily knocked the weapon from his hand.
“If you are so interested in what is here, let me show you.” Karvis spoke as he walked back towards the ritual, all the while clutching the struggling Astartes by the throat.
The ritual was reaching it's climax. Arthalax bellowed out the words of power to bring it to fruition as the Cultists surrounding him, almost simultaneously, thrust a knife through the heart of the prisoner they each had. The streets were flooded with blood, bodies littered the ground, the circle of power was coated in the blood of the innocent as those just slain bled profusely. Only one piece remained for the Sorcerer. Drawing on the warp energy surrounding him, he pulled the souls of the Cultists from their bodies. The looks on their faces as they realised they had been betrayed were the last expression they would ever make as their very essence was drawn from them and offered to the Entity waiting in the warp.
With a tremendous blast of wind, a tear in the fabric of reality opened. From it stepped a beast from the nightmares of mortals. Grey skin covered rippling muscles and several large horns decorated his head, from which flowed a mane of fiery hair. Great bat like wings blotted out the sun for all below. Zarkhol the Implacable had stepped forth, the High Handed Slayer of the Blood God had once again entered the mortal realm and was a sight to behold.
“Slaughter! Blood for the Blood God!” The mighty Bloodthirster roared.
Far below the towering height of the World Breaker, Karvis the Forsaken threw the Space Marine at his hoof where he immediately rose to his feet and backed away from Zarkhol. Looking down at the small inconvenience, the Daemon of Khorne bellowed with laughter as he buried his great axe in the ground nearby. Reaching down and grabbing the Astartes in his great claw. Almost immediately Sword Brethren Barus of the Black Templars began to burn in the fiery grip he was held in.
“Doom has come to all your kind on this world mortal. You however will not see it.” Zarkhol growled as the Black Templar screamed in agony. With a last horrific scream the Sword Brethren spontaneously combusted in a fiery explosion, what remained burned up in the grip of the great beast.
At his hooves knelt Karvis the Forsaken, the Skull Champion waiting for the Greater Daemon to finish with his fun. “I have brought you to this world mighty Zarkhol as the Blood God wished, what would you have us do?”