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This article, The Way of the Kasrkin, was written by BrowncoatMando. Please do not edit this article without their explicit permission.
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Introduction

This is a story written for one of my original characters, a Kasrkin named Petros Alexander. Kasrkins are the best of the Imperial Guard and more than capable of acting alone but not always. Especially not against hundreds of Orks.


THE WAY OF THE KASRKIN

“Word of advice Greenskins… DON’T FRAK WITH A KASRKIN!” He bellowed and emptied a bolt pistol into the first Ork to enter range.

  Petros Alexander was quickly losing patience with his situation. He was a Kasrkin, the elite of the already formidable Cadian shocktroopers and though he was more than capable of acting alone, he couldn’t do so here, there were just too many, he wished he hadn’t been on point, close to a 100 meters ahead of the rest.
  
“This way was supposed to be secure.” He grumbled to no one.

“WAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!!”

The sound echoed down the rocky hill in front of him, maybe 30 meters away. Orks had a sort of animal cunning about them, they had set a perfect ambush and he now hunkered down behind a flipped Chimera that for now also acted as a tomb for the Guardsmen who had died defending their cargo of arms and ammo.
   The convoy had been rushed out so fast Alexander hadn’t really gotten a sense of just how many men there were in it, he and the other Kasrkins were a last second addition, as far as he could tell there were something like 4 Chimeras and 20 men, including the rest of his squad. He knew he wasn’t alone despite being isolated, he could see the las shots and hear the rumble of autocannons echoing around him.
 “The Emperor protects.” He grumbled and reloaded. He was fast and accurate and each bolt smacked into the Orks that streamed down toward him. That was the last of his bolter ammo and that left him with the Hellgun he wore strapped to his back and lasgun magazines, enough to feed the weapons of an entire company. The Orks had their own prizes, lasguns cracked from above him and the inaccurate shots bounced off his Carapace armor.
  
  “Frakking Greenskins!” He swore and pulled the trigger. Too low. His first shot shattered a boulder into a cloud of dust and he adjusted his aim slightly higher. The heavy las shot essentially vaporized the slugga boy that charged down the slope at him. He had his range now and sprayed the stones with fire, causing loose gravel to skitter down the hill.

It was all too easy to empty the magazine and he did, blasting rocks into powder and Orks into puffs of blood and gristle. But his luck couldn’t hold forever. A pair of Ork Stikkbombs flew out of the trees and he dove for cover.

The detonations blasted a crater in the earth and scattered his ammo. He quickly pulled the now useless backpack power supply from his shoulders and reached for a lasgun. Empty. He kicked open one of the ammo crates and found only broken charge packs. The Stikkbombs had worked but, in the typical slapdash Ork way not as intended. Alexander left it where it had fallen, he had no way to tell what would work and what wouldn’t and he didn’t have the time to find out. He grabbed another charge pack at random.

“The Emperor Protects.” He repeated the phrase that had become a personal mantra and he heard it elsewhere echoing up and down the line. Something held him in place, likely stubborn pride and the knowledge that he was the only thing keeping the Orks from the cargo he protected.

He slapped the charge pack into place, dropped to one knee and fired off carefully aimed shots in pairs. This charge pack was damaged too; it emptied after roughly 30 shots when he should have gotten 150. He could live with it, 15 more dead Orks lay scattered up and down the hill.

The siege continued until sunset, he had no real contact with the rest of the Guardsmen out here, the but he could hear their frantic shouting and the continued sound of weapons fire. He did hear the words “Ferals” and “Snakebites” thrown around through his overburdened helmet Vox link. That explained why they hadn’t been overwhelmed by gunfire. But something else dawned on him as well. Even Feral Orks could have easily overwhelmed them through numbers. Something was holding them back…

 As to what- the though hit him like a hammer.

Ork Kommandos were in a word, “different.” They weren’t loud and boisterous like their lesser brethren. Their way was the knife rather than the “choppa”, deception and wit rather than simple force. It was completely in character for an Ork Kommando to use their lesser kindred as a sponge for enemy fire so they could go in for the kill. Whoever that Kommando was, he had to be running out of Boyz. The convoy must have killed more than a hundred of them by now, he had accounted for at least 30. That was the thing about Orks though- they never stopped. Ever.

He never did either.He was a Kasrkin, he had already survived things that would destroy the minds and bodies of lesser men. He had fought Daemon and Xeno, Ork and Chaos and this Kommando was just another threat, nothing special. “I’M A KASRKIN YOU GREEN FILTH! YOU ARE NOTHING! THE EMPEROR PROTECTS!” The Orks waiting their turn to face him fired off another “WAAAAAGH!” and with it another round of fire that kicked up the dust around him.

 “ORKS! ORKS! ORKS!” they chanted and pounded their choppas into the hard packed soil above him. Something, likely the Kommando, held them in check held the rest back and he spent the next several hours in relative peace while the fighting continued around him. He helped where he could but he did not stray far from cover or his ammo.

The relative peace gave him time to survey his surroundings, something he really hadn’t had a chance to do in all the chaos. He had a dozen crates of broken and partially broken lasgun charge packs, maybe 4 of laspistol charge packs and an empty bolt pistol. There was a box he hadn’t checked yet, about 4 feet long. The latches were jammed and he stomped, breaking them open. Inside was a brand new chainsword. He almost grinned, eager to drown the bright, brand new blade in gore.

He wouldn’t get the chance that night. He watched the hill and the trees atop it with his laspistol in one hand and his new chainsword in the other. He wasn’t familiar with the weight of it yet, or the balance and he waved it around to test them. He looked up into the night sky, enjoying his relative peace. Three moons hung above him in a night sky speckled with stars. He had been at war too long- he could no longer enjoy such things. Something else no one outside of his squad knew- he could sing. He could memorize a tune after hearing it once, and he’d amassed a huge mental collection of music.
 
He worked though a good chunk of it that night, getting commentary from elsewhere in the line and other barked suggestions that he should fight instead of sing. He ignored it all, continuing to scan the trees and crack off shots at the occasional feral Ork that charged him. He also reflected that his relative isolation had made him less of a target, the better fighting was to be found further down the line.

Petros Alexander’s last note hung in the early morning air, the sun slowly crept up on the horizon. With it came the dark knowledge that the Orks had changed tactics and were headed right at them.

The convoy had no choice but to let them come and Alexander headed toward the rest, he couldn’t do this alone anymore. He fell in, revved his chainsword with his right hand and with his left picked up a fallen Ok Choppa. They swarmed him before he could reach help and he stood his ground, if he was to die he would do so standing. That was the way of the Kasrkin. His Carapace armor was stronger than standard flak armor and took its share of hits. It kept him alive and fighting for a little while longer.

“DON’T FRAK WITH KASRKINS!” He roared and tore into them.

The Kommando revealed himself shortly after that. For a being whose specialty was silence he could still yell. “OI YA GROTZ DAT OOMIE ‘ARD BOY IS MINE! I’M GRIMTOOF GUTSTABBA!” The crowd of Boyz parted to let him through and were soon distracted by the gunfire that tore into them. Grimtoof was a monster, a Nob standing at least 8 feet tall and he pulled a looted chainsword on his back. “That’s new.” The Kasrkin commented, dropped the choppa and charged. Chainsword duels were rare but still happened but he never expected to find himself in one. The Ork landed the first hit chewing through his armor. He grit his teeth together and landed hits of his own. The Ork just laughed as sparks flew off his armor.

The Nob’s teeth were indeed grim, they were almost tusks, and they were yellowed, broken and jagged. His mouth was wide open and he was roaring. The Ork’s eyes radiated hate even through the goggles that covered them. Petros Alexander’s violet eyes radiated hate too, but no one could see. His hatred was evident in his body language and precise cold focus. The Chainswords locked and the teeth shattered.

They threw their weapons aside and looked for other options, they both reached for Choppas. The Kasrkin had never used one but it couldn’t be that hard it was designed by and made for Orks after all. The Orks ignored them, not really caring who won or lost, they had bigger problems. Alexander did, he knew he had to win or die. He just might die anyway. But he was a Kasrkin, he’d die standing.
 
 “WAAAAGH!” Grimtoof roared at him and swung a pair of Choppas at him, but he still got the sense the Kommando was holding back. He stayed low, trying not to lose his head. He wasn’t quite fast enough and another hit shattered his helmet and his vision went black. He was blinded now but he didn’t need his eyes. He could hear the Ork’s heavy stomping and he swung around as his vision went from black to a hazy gray.

He took stock of his inventory. All he had left was his choppa and the combat knife he had carried from his days as a Whiteshield. That was all that he had in reach anyway. If he could get to the ammo crates he might just be able to make it through this alive. He remembered the words of his first commander to this day and in his voice they were a curse to his enemies and a blessing to him.

“Kasrkins are the finest soldiers of the Imperium. There is no question that we are the best- much is expected of the best, and we have never failed in delivering it. We are the survival of Cadia, if Cadia holds the Imperium will not fall. This is your task- to preserve your homes and the Imperium. You will see the worst of war and you will survive to fight again. You will face the worst of man’s enemies and you will defeat them. You will live as victors or die fighting. You will be honored but there is a price for honor. You will carry the scars and memories of every battle, but it will not break you. You are Kasrkins- you are the finest the Guard can offer in The Emperor’s service. You will not break, you are stronger than any other. Throne guard you all.”

“Right Pretty dat is…” One of the Sluggas commented and earned a head slap from Grimtoof.
“Ya Git we’z Orks we don’t care ‘bout pretty!” He roared and bought Alexander a couple seconds. The black faded into blurry gray and then a hazy image of the Kommando Nob. He quickly moved out of the way when the Ork turned his attention back to him. He ripped off his shattered helmet and ran when the Ork stomped down on it. He couldn’t do much more than dodge and weave.
 The wind picked up and ruffled his blonde hair giving him some much needed fresh air and reenergizing him some. He fought for himself now, more than he fought for Cadia or the Imperium. If he died here he could do nothing for either. So he picked up another pair of choppas and accepted his fate- if this was his day to die then it was his day but he would die on his feet.

He heard the Orks around him all jostling for position and chanting “ORKSORKSORKS!” even amidst the crack of gunfire but at the edge of his hearing there were at least 4 distinct sounds.

Aircraft Engines.

The onboard weapons tore into the mass of Orks still surrounding them, Grimtoof Gutstubba took the brunt of a missile hit, and the enormous bulk of his dead body collapsed in front of him. a smile crossed Alexander’s face when the thought struck him. This was not his day to die after all.
 
None of the survivors said a word to each other as the Vultures finished off the Orks and escorted them out of trouble. They were all exhausted beyond words.

Petros Alexander reflected that the way of the Kasrkin was to fight and to die if need be. Their way was to die standing facing the enemies of Humanity. Their way was also one of loyalty and was what won battles and victory was what held the Imperium together.

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