Beilas was nothing more but a quiet Agri-World with a dark and unknown past, soon however it would be host to a war of untold savagery and bloodshed. Here on these green plains and in the depths of these vast jungles, mighty Space Marines, vile Dark Eldar, savage Kroot, and twisted Chaos Marines will struggle in a war that will ring through out the annals of history as one of the most dire fought in the name of the Imperium.
Chapter 1: Bird of Prey
Silinurl Luvt looked upon a small green world from the bridge of his flagship Chance's Dagger. The pitiful Agri-World was home to over 400,000,000 humans...each a potential toy for years of entertainment and sustenance. But Luvt had not chosen this world simply because of the pitiful inhabitants, no, the Deamon that clung to his soul told of a far greater prize to come... much more exotic and durable pets to capture and subject to untold eons of pain and suffering. Luvt quivered at the thought, the Kabalites on the bridge took notice, most were quite anxious to begin the raid. Twice their Archon had brought the fleet in orbit of a planet only to suddenly order that they leave.
"M-my Lord?" A particularly bold Kabalite managed, "We..." he swallowed as the Archon slowly, menacingly, turned to face him, "We are raiding this particular world, yes?"
Silinurl Luvt turned over his favorite finger bone in the palm of his hand, "Perhaps..." he gazed at the finger bone "Perhaps not..." he suddenly spun to face the planet. "We shall let luck decide." he flipped the finger bone, high into the air, and caught it all without taking his eyes off the green sphere that lay before him. He didn't need to look to know what it landed on, nor did he truly care. "Ready the Ravagers."
Chapter 2: A Hole in the Sun
Jorden Moris was just like any boy of his age. He worked in the fields with his father and three brothers, then he'd play in the various thickets just outside the boundaries of the jungles that bordered his small farming village, sometimes, to prove just how brave he was, he'd venture to the edge of the jungle... peer into its murky shadows and imagine what wonders lay there. Well he used to do that, until his father caught him one day and scolded him, "You never know what kind of horrors lurk in places like that!" he had shouted, now Jorden always stayed well away from the jungles..but every now and then he'd find his eye drawn to the treeline.
It was a typical day, Jorden was feeding the Grox their usual slop, when the animals suddenly scattered. He looked everywhere for any sign of the usual suspects for spooking the Grox, he was unsure what was going on until he saw his youngest brother, Ferris, gawking at the sky. Jorden looked up and was astonished by what he saw, a black, swirling vortex, had opened in the sun. Suddenly, what looked like, boats poured from the hole, some went racing East towards the city where Jordens family sold their crops, but others came his way.
He was unsure how to react at first, he gawked like his brother, the sky boats came at a blinding speed, faster than anything he had ever seen. Soon he could see dark figures, hanging from the sides and on the deck of the strange but foreboding ships. Ferris suddenly sprinted inside the small cottage Jorden knew as home, screaming with terror, Jorden stood where he was, overcome by both looming fear and strange awe as the ships eldritch markings came into view. At that moment one of the ships seems to launch a blazing stream of black energy that completely incinerated a house on the edge of the village, Jorden absentmindedly thought of the people that lived there... suddenly the realization hit him, those people were dead. And those ships were...
"XENOS!" someone screamed, or was it him? Suddenly Jorden found himself running, he didn't remember clearing the levies, but soon he was in the middle of the fields. The crop was up to his head, leaves slapping him in the face and cutting light gashes at his cheeks as he tore through them. He tripped and fell flat on his face, he rolled over just in time to see one of the evil ships fly overhead, he prayed to the God Emperor that the xenos didn't see him, he prayed that everyone would be alright.
Jorden lay there for what felt like an eternity, to scared to move, it was night... the screaming and shooting was gone, but the dried tears on his cheeks still stung. Everyone was dead, he knew it, as much of him wanted to hope and pray it was otherwise, they were dead. Everything he knew about xenos told him that his parents, his friends, his brothers, all dead, no other result. He had to get out, he had to run, but he was too scared. He fought himself to move, fought the instincts of a ten year old child, his family was dead, he had to be a man now.
Slowly, he rolled over on his stomach, and inched forward on his belly. He couldn't see in front of him but he didn't care, he had to get away, anywhere was better than here, anywhere. It was pitch black, the sky only lit by pale starlight, Beilas didn't have a moon. Suddenly he felt something, cold, lumpy, he felt his hands across it, he felt something wet, he smelled blood. Realizing that this was the body of a human being he recoiled from it like it was a poisonous serpent. He crawled around it but soon another blocked his way, and after that one, another. He had worked his way though more bodied than he would dare count, in his mind he kept reciting the litanies he had learned in school. 'The Emperor Protects, The Emperor Protects...' he turned the thought over and over in his mind, he wanted to stop, oh how he wanted to curl up and cry, but something wouldn't let him, something egged him on.
He never knew the Scourges were watching his every move...
Marsgrech could hardly contain himself, here was a perfectly innocent soul, a human boy of such pure heart. 'Oh how I love children...' Marsgrech thought to himself, he circled the child for the hundredth time, sucking up his despair and sorrow. Then an errant wingbeat disrupted his focus, he glared at one of his fellow Scourges, Menshad's way of showing his displeasure that his talons were not deep in the child's soft flesh at this very moment. Marsgrech's glare silenced his charge, he was the Solitaire after all, and Marsgrech ruled by fear and fear alone. His Scourges did well to entertain their Solitaries "refined" appetites lest he rend them apart.
Marsgrech watched as the child stopped at the edge of the field, there was that small expanse of flat, open ground before the "safety" of the jungles. He sampled the wide array of emotions that suddenly rushed through the child, hope, fear, regret, uncertainty. Subtle emotions that Menshad's underdeveloped pallet refused to savor.
Menshad saw the child dart into the jungle, it took every ounce of will to resist the urge, nay, the NEED to swoop down and drag the little morsel from the perceived safety of the thick undergrowth. But he followed his orders, and followed his Solitaire and two comrades, Simragoach and Falismcar, over the jungle. He felt the child's pure joy at making it to his goal. But then the fear... Oh such exuberant fear! Perhaps Marsgrech did know a thing or two after all.
Chapter 3: Black Wings
Jorden ran for as long as he could before he collapsed from exhaustion, the sun began to rise but he had no clue what time it was, the jungle canopy blocked out any light. He crawled into a hole in an ancient looking mangrove tree, he let sleep take him. It was no pleasant sleep, it was the sleep of necessity, dreamless, black as the void. He awoke to a faint sound, and as soon as he opened his eyes, hoped this was a nightmare. Looking back at him were two ghostly green eyes, set in a black, avian helm. It reached out so quickly he couldn't even react and flung him from his hole and face first in the dirt with one fluid motion. Jorden scrambled to get himself upright as the xeno alighted before him, clad in sinister black armor adorned with finely preened feathers and remains of various beings. What was most disturbing was, aside from the wings, helm, and taloned feet, the creature bore the body of a human female, an attractive one at that.
It took one menacing step towards him, at this moment he realized that three others had alighted upon the surrounding trees, as if and audience to some dark spectacle. The xeno placed a taloned foot upon his chest and slowly dug in, the pain was excruciating. Deep enough to draw blood, but nothing deadly... yet.
"Make it quick Simragoach, I want to be b-back in the air before my S-s-shudderstep wears off!" Falismcar jeered from his perch, his usual twitch (a result of a nasty crash a few years back) on full display now as he was easily excited.
"Falismcar... one dose not simply..." She pinned the human child to a tree with her dexterous yet powerful talons "make it quick... you savor morsels like these."
Menshad scoffed "As I know it Simragoach, you like to 'savor' more than the rest of us care to watch."
Simragoach shot a venomous glare at Menshad who simply crossed his arms indignantly in response. Simragoach then turned her eyes to her prey item, a small, well muscled, human boy. He could not be much more than a juvenile, such was his stature and fear in his eyes, already tears streaked down his cheeks and the smell of urine permeated the air, Simragoach took in the 'ambiance' of this, and relished it so. Slowly she dug her talons deeper into soft flesh, a pained wine worked its way out of her preys mouth followed by a feeble, "Please!" Oh how that word enticed her...
Suddenly she heard her comm system insider her helm crackle to life, "Marsgrech, why is your squad knee deep in the blasted jungles?!" It was her Archon, he was addressing the Solitaire though a squad wide communication, "Your orders were very very simple, an idiot like you certainly has some vastly entertaining reason to abandon your post, but I am in no mood to entertain your pitiful excuses. Regroup with the main force at the eastern hovel or I will have my brother flay you alive and I will dine on your heart, seeing as your brain matter would be lacking in sustenance!"
"My Lord we wer-"
"Are you actually trying to excuse your conduct after I expressly said I was not interested? Tell me, Marsgrech, when the Haemonculi put you under the knife, did the happen to have an Ork go poking around in your head?"
At this Marsgrech silenced himself and the comms followed suit... a long silence followed... "Leave the child."
Simragoach was appalled by this order, "But, Solitaire!"
Within the blink of an eye he was on her, talons biting down onto her throat, "YOU WISH TO CHALLENGE MY AUTHORITY?"
"N-no... sir." Simragoach managed weakly before he released her and took off in a cry of fury, the others followed suit... save for Simragoach, who glared at the boy for a moment. Suddenly she drew a knife and hurled it at him, the blade grazed his cheek, but still it cut deep. She then took off without a sound, she had marked him, he would be hers, sooner or later.
Jorden lay where he was for the longest time, petrified, 'What were those things?' he thought but more importantly 'Why did they leave me alive?' Regardless he put his thoughts aside and managed to get to his feet only to have the stinging pain of his wounds bring him back down again. He lay there and sobbed, defeated, he could not go on, there was no way he could. Then suddenly a sound, like the hum of a tractors engine but much fainter, caught his attention. He turned to see yet another astonishing sight, as if the last was not enough, at least this one gave him hope.
Chapter 4: Web We Weave
Sinikogh strode though the burning, rubble filled streets of a nearly depopulated city. It had scarcely been three hours and already the Archon was sending the Avian Lord and his pets out on missions to clean up any stragglers of the pitiful human militias that tried to protect the citizens of this planet. Though Sinikogh could be mounted upon his Red Rarivs flying high above the burning city, he'd rather be on the ground with his beloved pets, and furthermore he didn't trust these Kroot mercenaries with his Jarveks any more than a human would trust an Ork with a volatile explosive. Regardless the patrol was proving uneventful as usual, until one of his pets picked up a sent, the dinosauriod let loose a blood chilling screech and went darting off with a small pack of three of its fellows at its heels, the other seven waited for the prey to be flushed out of the nearby building.
"Your beasts are well trained." one of the Kroot Carnivores observed, Sinikogh knew this particular Kroot as Okkin. He had remembered the name because it was Okkin that weilded a Bolter as opposed to the usual Kroot Gun, he was also noticably more muscular than his fellows, a result of an Ork "diet" Sinikogh was certain.
"Of course they are, I am known as an Avian Lord, not 'Avian Shepard'."
Okkin cocked his head in an inquisitive manner "I do not understand."
"Of course you don't. As a Lord, I order and they obey, I do not guide them, I control them. There is a substantial difference."
Okkin looked upon the smug Dark Eldar, most if his kind was insufferable, but this particular individual was almost more than the Kroot could bear. Though the Kabal of the Skewering Feather had done the Banished Kindred good in the past at this current juncture that alone was keeping Okkin from tearing the Dark Eldars throat out and feasting upon his still warm corpse.
The Javrek sounded again, this time followed by a scream, Okkin knew it wasn't a death knell. 'Very well trained' the Kroot thought as he saw the Jarveks drag a young human woman from the rubble, more or less unscathed. Sinikogh gave a quick hand signal and rattled off some quick order in his native tongue and the beasts backed off of their quarry, but never quite moved out of potential leaping distance. Okkins Shaper, Morking, gave the order to restrain the human, this one was a good find, young, fair features, she would be worth at least a few swords if nothing more. Okkin leaped forth and quickly grabbed the feeble human by the neck, dragging her helplessly to the Dark Eldar, he had to confirm the price. He stood the now babbling female before Sinikogh, a quick roar and a sharp jostling to silence her, Morking always said that the Kabalites of the Skewing Feather liked their slaves quiet when 'not in use' and having one jabber on during pricing was bad for business. "How much for this one?"
The Dark Eldar looked perplexed for a moment than a small smile flashed behind his avian mask, "Nothing, my pets found it, it belongs to me, free of charge." At the utterance of 'free of charge' almost every Kroot of the squad tensed, they would not be cheated, they were present and by their contract, were to be payed for the human regardless of how active their role was in its capture. Sinikogh new this of course, in fact the Archon had made it quite clear, but he wanted to see what would happen, now however seeing death in Okkins eyes, and knowing firsthand how violently Kroot react when cheated, Sinikogh quickly refrained as infighting would not only be a waste of time, but anger the Archon greatly.
"Two Agonisers." he stated, eyes watching the Kroot relax their grip on their weapons.
Morking stepped forward to negotiate, odd that Morking would be the one to negotiate as he could barely speak due to his heavily damaged beak, let alone haggle, yet as was tradition in the Banished Kindred, one of the few they held onto from their days of honor, the Shaper always negotiated. "This one young, last long, three Agonisers."
"Two Agonisers, and a dose of Sudderstep." Sinikogh countered, knowing Morkings weakness for the drug.
"Two Agonisers, dose of Shudderstep, me and Carnivores." the fourteen Kroot present each gave a growl of approval at this, save for Okkin who simply nodded, arms crossed over his thick chest, ensuring the female could not escape.
Sinikogh wanted to haggle the damned Shaper down to a Splinter Pistol and three doses of Shudderstep but he knew that now was not the time. His pets had begun to sniff the air which meant something was drawing near, and he didn't fancy getting ambushed while dealing for one pitiful slave. "Very well, Two Agonisers and enough Shudderstep for you and your Carnivores." The Kroot all grunted in agreement and Morking nodded to seal the deal, then directed two of his Kroot to 'escort' the soon to be slave to the waiting Kabalite camp to the west only a few miles from their current location, a signed bill of sale in their hands to ensure payment as quickly as possible.
After the two Carnivores had left with the slave, Sinikogh noticed a change in his Jarvek, they were moving slower showing far more caution, he had worked with this particular pack for years now and never had he seen them act in such a manner. It meant something was here, something that by instinct the Jarvek perceived as a threat, not a prey item. He could have warned the Kroot but, well where was the fun in that?
One of the Kroot Wraks alighted on what seemed to be the burnt out remains of some vehicle, civilian by the looks of it, its masked echoed the sound of it sniffing the air, deeply testing the surrounding scents, in two of its upper most hands it held a pair of chainaxes, and in its third lower arm, a primitive flintlock bolt pistol. Its heavily muscled form rippled and spoke deeply of a diet of Ork and Space Marine. "I Sssmell... Sspace Marines."
The rest of the Carnivores reacted swiftly, Okkin held his bolter at the ready and Morking sniffed the air to confirm the Wracks report, he gave a quick roar and the rest of the squad immediately went to cover behind whatever was available. The Jarvek piled into the nearby buildings in order to flush out the Astartes. They scanned, sniffed, scanned some more, Okkin however, never took his eyes off the ruined buildings that surrounded them... something told him that if they were just now scenting them...
Suddenly explosions rocked the ground, concussion grenades, Sinikogh was knocked unceremoniously to the ground as the Kroot scrambled, then he heard something, a blood curdling screech as one of his Jarvek flew through the third story of a nearby building, landing with a sickening crunch. The Space Marines leapt from the buildings, there were at least four that came, anti-gravity packs hurling them to their targets with a loud thrumming like a thousand angry bees. The first one to land crushed a Carnivore on impact, the armored behemoth looked Sinikogh square in his eyes and leveled his bolt pistol, only to have three Jarvek leap upon him. The Space Marine lashed out with its sword, not a power sword Sinikogh deduced quickly but none the less the blade was sharp enough to gut one of the offending Jarvek with ease. The Avian Lord lashed out swiftly at the Space Marine, his Agoniser finding the green juggernauts throat and promptly spilling all of its contents, yet still as it fell the gene-warrior killed one more Jarvek with a silenced bolt round to the skull.
With the nearest threat dealt with Sinikogh turned his attention to the Kroot, they were not doing well, already six of their number had fallen, and more Space Marines seemed to pile out of the various buildings and crevasses, mostly Assault Marines by the look of them though he had never seen them using Anti-Gravity Jump Packs. A group of what looked like Devastator Marines stood on the fourth floor of an adjacent building, heavy bolter fire and rockets soon filled the air. Sinikogh commanded his remaining pets to assault those damned Devastators while he had two Jarvek flank him as he sprinted towards the nearest Assault Marine.
The Marine took notice, but that was as much as he did before Sinikogh swung his Agoniser and tore out the back of his knees as the Space Marine fell to the ground, the Jarvek leapt upon him, ripping at whatever their claws and fangs could get at. Silikogh saw another one charge him, the blade narrowly slicing past him as he sidestepped it, then another slice, and another, he toyed with the Space Marine, danced an elegant dance of blades. The he leapt into the air, arms spread like some dark bird of prey, and brought his Agoniser forth with one swift motion, a smile curved his lips as he heard the Space Marine roar in agony as his blade tore through his eyes in one sweep, the helmet providing as much resistance as a newborns flesh. His Jarveks dispatched the blinded Space Marine as their distant brothers began to assault the Devastators.
Silikogh was having quite the enjoyable time, these Space Marines were much more handy with a blade than others he'd fought in the past, they would be ideal pets should he domesticate one. Soon found himself surrounded by three more of these clumsy hulks of admantium. One lunged forward, no doubt words to his dead Emperor on his lips but they would never be heard, for the Avian Lords Agoniser foraged itself a path though his vox caster and down his throat. With one motion, he sent the Space Marines internals spewing out of his mouth. The other two were not deterred by this, and rushed forward to avenge their fallen. 'Ugh so predicable.' Silikogh thought as he tastelessly tore open one of the pairs throat with his monomolecular nails. The final one suddenly dodged his half hearted Agoniser swing, much to the Dark Eldars surprise, and delivered a brutal punch. 'Perhaps I allowed that.' He thought absentmindedly as he flew through the air, when he came to a stop he found the Space Marine flying through the air on his Gravity Pack, bearing down on him, funny, it thought he was vulnerable. Silikogh rolled to the side, leapt, and was immediately in the air on a collision course with the meteor of steel and blade, he gracefully flew past his foe, his Agoniser slicing the Space Marine in twain. However, as the hulk fell past him Silikogh felt the impact of two bolt rounds punching through his lower back, the Space Marines final defiant insult.
The Dark Eldar landed gracefully but suddenly fell to his knees, 'Drat! Bleeding? Now?!', Silikogh cursed his rotten luck. How the meager two rounds penetrated his armor, including the shielding, he had no idea, but it certainly hurt. He forced himself to stand just in time to see yet another Space Marine charging him, 'Well, this is it.' Silikogh thought as he feebly lifted his Agoniser, he could at least bring this behemoth down if he was lucky. However, it was not to be as Okkin blindsided the Space Marine with bolter fire. 'Saved by a Kroot?! Ugh I'd rather be dead!' Silikogh thought outraged, never the less he grudgingly accepted Okkins intervention as he aided the Avian Lord in fleeing the field of battle. Silikogh looked back, the Kroot were in retreat, leaving some of the more blood crazed Wracks to buy them time, only three of his pets managed to survive the skirmish.
"Carnivore..." he managed through his own blood to Okkin who now supported the shambling Avian Lord, the bolts had done some serious damage, frag rounds no doubt. The Kroot looked expectantly at him.
"If you secure one of those-" a wretched cough forced its way though his clenched teeth "those Space Marines for me, the pay will be... substantial."
Okkin looked back to the bloody scene unfolding behind them as the Assault Marines closed in on the Wracks. The Devastators had been scilenced but none of the Jarvek that assaulted them survived. The streets were stained with blood and chunks of flesh.
The Kroot returned his gaze to the Dark Eldar, "What do you mean by 'Substantial'?"
Chapter 5: Coming of the Storm
Blackness... pitch blackness... then, a star, great and spiked... "The gate must open... the pain must be great... and the carnage... must wet the soil to the bedrock."
Ingar was bowed at the knees before his altar, the fresh blood of slaves still dripping from his gauntlets, "That is a given, Old One. But what of the prize you prom-"
"Did I ask... for your questions?" It's gaze... so awe inspiring, its form, so great.
"No my Lord."
"Remember your place... remember your creed... remember... my... generosity." He began to fade.
"Yes... Old One." The vision was gone, the blood soaked altar now lay dormant, Ingar Blackspawn, Chief Chaos Sorcerer of the Storm Draugar, rose to his feet. The hour was upon him, he hastened to the bridge of The Storm, the ancient vessel still bore an aura of might and dread that Ingar still felt after all these eons... it was a good felling, it reminded him of the task at hand. Flanked by his loyal Aspiring Sorcerers, Hane and Dauma, Ingar strode onto the bridge of the deadly Strike Cruiser, and was greeted by the usual sight of various human slaves and cultists scrambling about the various monitors and scanners, the Janissaries standing at attention, and of course, the hulking form of his older brother, Malak Blackspawn. Malak stood, a mountain of adamantium and malice, his helmet already donned for battle, the red eyes practically burning with anticipation.
Ingar knew that look all to well and a smile greeted his otherwise scared and hawkish features, "So ready for battle you forget your post brother?" Ingar mused aloud, noticing the surprising lack of barking orders that his brother often did.
A wolfish grin spread behind the helm at the sound of the familiar quip, "Why should I bother? Your only going to reorganize these sods once I make planetfall."
"True, brother, true." Ingar stood at his brothers side, his eyes fixed on the small Imperial world, green, lush, full of life. 'Somewhere on that planet lay something so-'
"Damn!" Malaks curse tore his brother from his musings, "Dark Eldar have beset the planet!"
Ingars eyes fell upon the enhanced image, sure enough there was a small fleet of Dark Eldar vessels. "This complicates things much more than I'd like brother..." Ingar began as saw his elder brothers fists clench, and in his mind could already feel his rage. "I sugge-"
"No... I will deal with the xenos scum." Murder seethed from his voice, Malaks mind was a storm of violent imagery, 'THIS WORLD IS MINE TO BURN!' His thoughts roared out and it took every ounce of restraint to keep that thought internal. "You will find the relic."
Ingar nodded, there was no reasoning with Malak when he was like this, in a way he could not blame him, this raid was long in coming and to have filthy xenos corsairs sully the moment was more than enough to ignite Ingars own wrath. Malak began to take his leave, Ingar knew what he was about to do, it was a foolish idea, he had to...
Malak came to a halt, not looking back at his brother whose back was likewise turned to him.
"Don't do anything... foolish."
Luvt paced the bridge of Chance's Dagger, 'Space Marines, that was to be expected...' he mused silently, 'then why dose something feel amiss?' A sound broke him from his musings, and he stood still, he knew the sound of the footfalls well... very well. "Something to report... brother?"
Izrivan Luvt, clad in his Incubus armor, silently took his place beside his Archon. "Chaos Marines have entered the system, and are moving to engage, I took the liberty o-"
"Call the fighters back."
"Brother? Are you alright?" The concern in Izrivans voice was genuine, but Silinurl didn't care at the moment.
"The Chaos Marines must land unmolested, do you understand me?" He cast his Incubus brother a hard glance, to quell any potential questions.
"Understood." Izrivan turned to relay the Archons orders when suddenly, his finely tuned senses felt something... off... a smell...
Silinurl too, smelt it... the smell of burnt ozone...
The flash was brilliant, and Izrivan was instantly in the air, blade drawn, but was surprised that his Klaive met another blade instead of inferior armor. Izrivan looked into the red eyes of one of the largest Chaos Marines he'd ever seen, its form taking up the whole of his field of vision. Without a word the hulk lashed out with a kick that sounded like a thunderclap as it made contact with Izrivans lithe frame, the pain was fleeting, but the surprise at the massive beings speed was something Izrivan had not anticipated. The Incubus righted himself in mid air and missed no time in launching himself off the ceiling of the ship at the Chaos Lord, yet again his strike was blocked, this was no fool warlord, he was trained, experienced. Izrivan leapt back to ready another attack, in this moment he saw that the rest of the Chaos Terminators battling with the rest of the bridge crew, storm bolter rounds and bright arcs of energy mingled with splinter fire. Izrivan flew towards his target, leaping over the Chaos Lord, seeking an opening at the back. His blade only found the Chaos Lords, the hulk then forced the Incubus back and brought to bear a swing that would tear through a Baneblade to the Incubus, the blade screamed like a banshee as if flew through the air. Izrivan dove below the blade, and plunged his Klaive deep into the Chaos Lord's chest.
A cruel, razor thin smile formed at the corners of he Incubus' mouth, he had the beast. But then the Chaos Lord's fist came careening into Izrivan's face, utterly shattering his helm. The Incubus managed to recoup himself from the blow. Impossible! Izrivan was certain he had plunged his blade directly into the brute's hearts. Blood oozed from his torn skin as he readied his Klaive once more. The Chaos Lord leveled his clenched fist at Izrivan, a low growl that sounded more beast than man issuing from his throat. Suddenly an arc of screaming, burning green fire leapt from the Chaos Lords forearm. Izrivan rolled to the side, but was shocked when the beam curled like a serpent, striking him directly in the chest.
Izrivan collapsed, the arcs energy coursing through him. The pain was great, as if every inch of him was burning from the inside out, but he forced himself to stand, forced himself forward to his foe. A second arc tore into him, he fell to his knees, the Chaos Lord tilted his head in what could only be described as a cruel sneer, like a child pulling the wings off a fly. Suddenly the pain ceded, Izrivan looked up to see his brother standing before him, blocking the arcs with some form psychic of shield, the Chaos Lord lunged forth with his sword, Silinurl merely sidestepped the blow. He stood an inches from the mountain of steel and hate, and with a flourish removed his own helm, the Chaos Lord lifted his blade and swung, the Archon bent backward and the slash sailed over his body, mere centimeters from slicing through him. As he sprung back upright, he delivered a... kiss... to the Chaos Marines helmed forhead. With this and a wink, the Chaos Lord and his cohorts vanished in a flash of light, no ozone smell this time, this was magic, arcane power.
Siliurl knelt before his brother, "My dear, brother... stand... I know you can."
His very skin hurt, his muscles ached, but the Incubus obeyed without the slightest sign of discomfort.
"The Archon saved us!" One of the many Kabalites suddenly sputtered, they were awstruck, and as far as they knew, Silinurl Luvt had banished the Chaos Mairnes to the bowels of some dameon infested pit. Or into the center of a star!
"Those fool Chaos worshipers could not compete with the Lord of Chance!"
"The Ravens of Commrragh cannot be defeated!"
Silinurl regarded his minions well but then suddenly ordered them back to their posts. Izrivan hung his head, the shame was overwhelming. He had failed, his Archon had stepped in and saved him, he was his defender, his own brother, he was the eldest, HE should have slain that Chaos Marine within seconds, not been throttled! Siliurl felt his brothers discontent, he stood before him, put his hand under his chin, and forced his brothers gaze to meet his.
"Brother... you will have your chance... but I need you at your best now. Mourn not your pride...for it will rise upon the black wings of death." A light... tentative kiss... graced the Incubus' helm and determination flowed through him as he watched his brother return to his pacing before the veiw of the nearly depopulated world.
"Worthless xenos whores!" Malak Blackspawn bellowed into the humid jungle air, "I will skin each and every one of you!" his voice sent various tropical birds scattering from the canopies and his Terminators took a few steps back into what they knew from years of experience to be the "safe zone". It had been a long time since they had seen their Chaos Lord in such a rage, for Malak was usually a stoic warrior, but each one of them felt enraged that the weakling creatures had denied them their righteous battle, of course they allowed the Chaos Lord to vent for them.
In his rage Malak felled a tree that must have been hundreds of years old, yet with but one swing of Vanquisher, the whole thing came crashing down. 'Then why didn't that blasted Eldar fall as easily?!' Malak already was working himself up into a storm of fury, when one of his Terminators, the Banner Bearer Collus, dared to speak.
"My Lord, there may be hostiles within this area." Collus was Malak's second, he had little to fear from his Lord.
Malak almost beheaded Collus, but quickly understood the meaning of the statement, if there were foes within the jungle, the Chaos Lord had already alerted them all. "Phalanx formation, tight grouping."
The Terminators immediately fell into formation, guns pointing in all directions, ready for anything.
"Objectives m'lord?" This time is was Vakko, Malak's Equerry.
"We link up with the rest of the Storm at Sigma Delta, and kill anything that has the misfortune to cross our path along the way." Malak growled, all to ready to slake his lust for Dark Eldar blood.
Chapter 6: Blood and Steel
"Come to Beilas in the Sarctune System, or the enemies of man will reap many innocent souls."....
The message still rung through Sarran's ears, could it be trusted? The message had to be a trap, yet the Astropaths spoke that it carried a sense of urgency. The Chapter Master had dispatched the 4th Company to investigate, much to Sarran Lockhearts dismay.
'A whole Battle Company?' The Captain still thought, he understood that the Steel Wardens defended the innocent but this, this could be a colossal waist of valuable time and resources... especially if it was some trap set by devious xenos or agents of chaos! Yet Andreas Randolph had been adamant, if there was even an inkling of hope the Wardens must deploy whatever they could spare at once, and who was Sarran to deny him?
The Fist of Thanatia translated out of the Warp at the edge of the Sarctune system, along with her complement of assault and support vessels, soon the whole fleet of 4th Company of the Steel Wardens was witness to quite the sight, a massive fleet, bearing obvious Chaos markings.
Sarran stood at the bridge, taking in the ominous sight, vessels that he had never seen before nor could be identified by Imperial eyes were deploying hundreds, nay, thousands of invaders onto the planet.
"Captain!" One of the bridge serfs brought Sarrans attention to another ominous reading, ships he knew all to well were soon brought into the view of the bridge, their eldritch markings and sleek design were unmistakable.
"Eldar..." Sarran spat in disgust, "ready all ships! Prepare for battle!" His orders sent the serfs scrambling to spread the order out amongst the fleet. "My lord, the commanders request a priority target."
Sarran stood from his command throne, eyeing the xenos and heretic fleets with indifferent spite, "All targets valid, butcher anything that comes within range, and I want boarding squads on those xenos ships!" The serfs again transmitted the orders, and the fleet roared forward towards their respective targets.
The collision between the chaos and Imperial fleets was a spectacular one, broadside cannons roared silently through the black void while unholy and unearthly weapons responded in kind, ravaged hulks blew apart and debris rushed toward the planet. Meanwhile the Dark Eldar ships seemed to vanish without a trace, though a contingent of the Steel Wardens forces continued to search.
'Most troubling, but...expected.' Captain Sarran thought as the xenos corsairs vanished, he knew from experience Dark Eldar run when cornered, and they were unlikely to be back...still he ordered a contingent of three Vengeance-Class Cruisers and a number of smaller interceptor craft to keep an eye out for the xenos while the rest of the fleet did battle with the traitors.
The Fist of Thanatia shook violently in response to a direct hit from an unknown heretic vessel, throwing Serfs from their feet, yet Sarran did not budge.
"Status report?" Sarran asked calmly, one of the serfs took a few precious moments away from his monitor "The starboard bulkhead has taken a severe hit! We are venting atmosphere! Orders my lord?"
Sarran stood, "Prepare all Thunderhawks and drop pods for deployment. Torren." He gestured to the veteran Serf who was currently working with the various switches of his monitor, "Yes my lord?" Sarren rested his hand on the serfs shoulder "You are in command, bring death to these heretics." The aged serf looked his master in the eyes, the fire in this mortals eyes reassured the Captain that his mortal brothers would not fail him. "Give them hell Captain."
Chapter 7: A Day Amongst Giants
Jorden looked upon his Space Marine "Handler" with such awe, even though he had been with this squad of Space Marines since they found him but a day ago, he still couldn't believe his young eyes. 'Space Marines!' The thought still shook him, in spite of all that had happened a smile spread across his lips, he had been told that they were the stuff of myth, that nothing could defeat the Emperor's Angels of Death! If anyone could avenge his family, it would be them. He stared at the Space Marine as he knelt in the undergrowth next to him, he could faintly hear the hum of his holy power armor, the armor was a very dark shade of green with a trim of purple so dark it might as well be black. The Space Marine hadn't budged for hours, Jorden didn't mind, though he would like to know what they were doing, the rest of the squad vanished into the jungles not but a few minutes ago and left Jorden and his handler completely alone.
Suddenly the Space Marine acknowledged Jordens assistance for the first time since they first met, "Stop staring boy."
Jordens vision immediately flew downward and his cheeks flushed, he was so overwhelmed, so much had happened, his vision began to blur as new tears rushed forth. Jorden curled himself up into a ball, and did all he could from making his sorrow audible, but he sniffled.
"Look at me." Space Marine commanded, Jorden obeyed without question. "Do you want to survive?" Jorden nodded weakly. "Then keep your eyes on your surroundings, and keep your mind sharp." Jorden opened his mouth, he wanted to apologize for upsetting his guardian but the Space Marine interrupted him, "And most importantly, keep your mouth shut." Jorden complied, but the tears wouldn't stop. A long silence followed before the Space Marine spoke again a knowing sigh leaving him before he spoke, "I was nine when they recruited me."
Jorden was dumbfounded, he had no idea how they made Space Marines but he had always thought they were grown in some Mechanicus Lab or made from only the bravest of soldiers. "Nine?" Jorden inquired, scarcely a whisper.
The Space Marine never took his eyes off the clearing before him, "Yes, I was terrified." he spoke so calmly, almost nonchalant, "They grouped me with five others, and we trained."
"Didn't you miss your family?"
"I never had one."
Jorden was perplexed, "No mother?"
"Brothers and sisters too?"
Another pause, this one was different than the last, it was a sad pause. "One."
"W-wha-" Jordens question was cut off as he heard rustling in the bushes, he saw his guardian level his holy bolter, this one was bare of any decorative insignia and bore a large suppressor. Jordens heart leapt as he saw a PDF solider stumble into the clearing, he was scarred and haggered, but quite young. Three more piled out behind him, all young men, one couldn't have been over seventeen.
The Space Marine suddenly stood, revealing himself, as did the rest of the six man Spider Squad. The PDF troopers were so surprised by the sudden appearance of these eight foot warriors that the youngest actually fainted, landing face-first in the muck of the jungle.
"Identify yourselves!" Jordens guardian ordered the PDF troopers. As the other two worked to revive their comrade, the first solider saluted in a rather alarmed fashion, and, while straightening his battered helmet began rattling off his credentials, "Higgs, Aloe J., First Sergeant, uhh, two-two-sigma-..." The PDF Sergeant looked rather flustered trying to remember the final word in the code then one of his comrades declared over his shoulder "Chi."
At this the Space Marines lowered their weapons and stepped into the clearing. The troopers had finally revived their fallen comrade, that's when Jorden finally shuffled out of the brush, unsure of what to do. The Sergeant set his eyes on the child and was clearly startled, he opened his mouth as if to say something, but then Jorden's handler spoke. "You're late."
The flat statement pulled the Sergeant out of whatever he was about to say, "We were ambushed! This jungle is lousy with-" "Kroot." One of the Space Marines interrupted, "We know." The Sergeant nodded quickly, as if to dismiss his previous sentence, "W-we will escort you to the HQ." The term 'Escort' felt woefully inaccurate.
With that the group began making their way through the jungles, it was brutally humid and the native insects were biting furiously at the child and PDF troopers. Jorden began to lag behind, he hadn't slept in over a day and the fatigue from last nights events was taking their tole on him. "My lord..." he managed weakly at the Space Marine as he leaned feebly against a tree. The Space Marine wasted no time, easily picking the child up in the crook of his arm like one would a log of firewood. "W-" a large yawn interrupted Jorden's question, he could barely keep his eyes open "What happened to your siblings?" The Space Marine did not answer until the child drifted off... only then did he whisper, "They did not survive training."
Chapter 8: Look Upon Hell
Malak Blackspawn fired his wrist mounted Possessed Volkite Serpentas at yet another Kroot Carnivore as it lunged from the trees, daggers in hand, and watched as the xenos disintegrated in mid air. He had regrouped with the forces deployed to overrun the planets sole space port and evacuation point for civilian and PDF forces, but had found his lines bogged down by the jungle and savage xenos mercenaries under the Dark Eldars control. Very few of the Dark Kin had yet to show themselves, save a few pockets of Kabalites and Scourges. The going was slow, and Malak was growing more and more impatient every moment. He strode to the fore of the convoy, a force of over three hundred mortals, with a corresponding number of vehicles, forty Storm Draugar, and the mighty Contempter Pattern Dreadnought Geudan the Vanquished. As the Chaos Lord neared the front of the convoy a hail of splinterfire broke itself against his armor, drawing his baleful glare to the treeline. Without even needing to utter an order, his retinue of Terminators unleashed a volley of fire, hewing down a vast swath of the jungle at the convoy's flank. "Find the corpse." Malak snarled over the vox, prompting three Janessaries to leap into action, sprinting into the devastated foliage.
He wanted to see that evacuation point burn, to trap the people of this world to the grizzly fate that awaited them... his mind drifted to his brother, and how soon the rite would be complete.
"Careful with those explosives you wretches!" Ingar bellowed at the slaves as they readied the charges. The slaves were a mix of dutiful stock whose line had served the Storm Draugar for millennia, and fresh flesh taken from the very streets of Beilas' cities and farming villages. They toiled to set the charges in a massive slab of rock, which sealed off the cave entrance. The great slab stood at the cave entrance, here in the depths of the jungle. Ingar surveyed the area from his position atop the Land Raider Phobos Neambhri Laoch, it had clearly been untouched by mortal hands, and the slab within the cave mouth looked like a primeval structure crudely left by some ancient race of giants. But there could be no mistake, as Ingar set his eyes upon the massive carving at the center of the otherwise unadorned hulk of stone. A great eye, with eight points jutting from it's center. The ancient touch of Chaos still lingered in this holy place, and deep within, an evil older than even the Dark Gods slumbered.