House of Wolves
An original story written by Cryptomania.
It was nearing midnight when the bone-chilling explosions began. The strikes were well placed and strategically fired, crushing vital choke-holds in their defenses and crippling any chance of reinforcements. The entire barrage lasted about 4 hours, with short intervals in between, giving the poorly armed defenders a chance to bury their dead. Once the rain of fire began to pour, none were left alive. It was not like the Imperium to use such wanton methods of devastation, but these were the orders of the Holy Emperor himself. "The Thousand Sons must be purged. Use any means necessary to destroy them." Those words gave the orbiting fleet above Prospero a green-light; shred the entire planet, hoping that the Thousand Sons would die in the cross-fire.
Of course, it was a good plan; but such a simple one could not defeat the 15th Legion so easily. Magnus, unlike many of his men, wished to die. He had accepted the punishment of the Emperor, and was ready to face the consequences, even going so far as to hide any information of their impending doom to his Legion. Once the Imperial fleets arrived, it was clear that the Thousand Sons would not give up without a fight.
After all, Russ did not want to destroy Prospero without sending a private message in the form of Kasper Ansbach Hawser, a Hidden One of the Thousand Sons who was tasked with sending a private message to the Red Primarch. Little did Russ know that Haswer was merely a pawn of Chaos, who purposely failed to deliver the message to Magnus. This would be the beginning of the Thousand Sons' impending damnation.
'Run! The Holy Emperor Himself will purge this world!' cried an old fool from the crowded streets of Tizca. It was the mighty and beautiful capital of the backwater planet, and would be where the Thousand Sons would make their last stand. After all, Prospero's orbital defenses were all but naught against the might of Imperial interdiction vessels that began to bombard the planet with high-velocity artillery, leveling mountains and reshaping Prospero's surroundings.
Their orbital attacks would have completely obliterated Prospero, if not for the barrier of the Raptora Cult over the only remaining city of the 15th Legion's homeworld: Tizca. Although the Raptora Cult had suffered major loses, the real battle for Prospero was yet to come...
City in Flames
'Fall back to Tizca!' This same message had been flooding Kepri's vox channel as he and a few fellow legionaries sat uneasily in the rear of a Land Raider. Tizca was the last city in Prospero that still stood, held up by the powerful psychic barrier of the Raptora Cult, although after heavy pounding from artillery shells the veil of energy began to weaken. Kepri and his men were just a few miles away from Tizca when the initial bombings occured.
The Land Raider they were riding in immediately shook with violent intensity, followed by a series of deafening blasts that capsized the vehicle all together. As soon as Kepri pried open the scorching door, he could already see the wanton devastation brought about by the orbital bombardments. The once beautiful landscape of Kepri's homeworld was now a charred ruin, marred with cyclonic torpedoes and countless other weapons used to level the place. In the smoky haze Kepri could make out the charred ruins of Rhokepsh to the north and Sekhmotekh to the east. They were both places of great historical value to his Legion, but now they were mass graveyards for the damned. Kepri had lost all his faith in Magnus.
For all of his supposed wisdom, Magnus had doomed them all when he tried to contact the Emperor after the Council of Nikea. Already then many of Magnus' supporters began to distrust him, especially Ahriman, who was coincidentally Kepri's mentor. Ahriman was an introspective individual, rarely having any substantial talks with Kepri, save for when he would teach him various methods he learned over the past decades.
Ahriman was a powerful person; but Kepri feared this would be his undoing.
In the result of the bomb blasts, fully half of Kepri's battle-brothers had perished. His fellow battle-brothers were utterly crushed as their Thunderhawk was obliterated by the powerful explosions. Those in the Land Raiders fared slightly well, but Kepri knew that his Fellowship would never be the same. Soon his vox-caster was filled with Isidorus' voice, a fellow Legionary from another Fellowship. 'Can anyone hear me!' he spoke into the vox channels.
Kepri responded with standard radio communique, but spoke with Isidorus in a more familiar way, for he had always considered him a brother. They had been student-aspirants together and they soon developed a close bond, brothers not by blood but by friendship. 'What happened to Kenaphia?' he demanded on the vox channels. Kenaphia was a neophyte who was placed under Isidorus, and they both developed a close bond similar to that of Kepri.
He already knew what happened to Kenaphia. Kepri could remember the neophyte being herded into a Thunderhawk to be transported off-world, but he never believed that the Imperium would strike them down. In happened in an instant; a flash of artillery fire and a sizable explosion that signaled Kenaphia's death. Kepri let the question hang for a few seconds, and at that moment Isidorus already knew. 'He was a great man.' he said in a melancholy tone, and even through his vox-caster Kepri could feel the pain in his voice.
'We are to fall back to the city of Tizca.' he said in a nonchalant voice, issuing the orders he was given to by Ahzek Ahriman himself.