Shadow Fire : 50K

For Warhammer fiction not strictly from either universe.

Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:22 pm

Nice touch with the three abrupt closing sentences. That communicates the impact well.

Also; NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! TYMMMMMMMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!! :o
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
User avatar
LordLucan
 
Posts: 3561
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:05 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:39 am

:o

:(

Aww, nuts.

Also, is Douglas no longer kicking, then? Because it may mean I have to make a few changes to Scions of Polyphemus if he isn't.
User avatar
Colonel Mustard
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:58 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:50 pm

Only one more chapter and an epilogue left to go. I guess its 'nice'' to see how much of an impact Tyme buying it had.



Chapter 17: Finest Hour

‘If an Astartes lives for a thousand years, then his brothers must say, that in death was his finest hour’ – First Bull Charles Alacant

‘And they shall know no fear’ the dead Emperor had said long ago, referring to his Astarte armies. Fear was beaten out of them via the most violent training imaginable, psychosurgeries worthy of war crime hearings in more civilized times and mass hypnotherapy that rewrote their psyches into premade mental tropes. For Reclusiarch MacCallister, the immense amount of effort and expense had been completely unnecessary.

There had never been any fear.

Berserk, ruthless and dying, MacCallister tore Casr Abaddon apart like a wolf shaking a lamb to death. His plasma anhilator roared and a shrine to the Dark Gods went up in flames, along with a squadron of artillery pieces. His armored talons slammed down and smashed a platoon of Cadians to paste. Holy Crozius swung and the tank sized weapon screamed with power as it crashed into the ground, tearing a baneblade in half. The Cadian regiments drawn up in the city’s parade ground melted, literally, away.

‘We are the flame that burns the world clean!’ screamed MacCallister, his mind in a hundred different places and times, ‘We are the beast that devours the sun! Upon the white horse I ride and my name is death! I bring the end of days behind me! Cower oh yea unclean, for his day of judgment is at hand!’

The Cadians, brave and tenacious even in their bondage, attempted to fight back but they were severely handicapped. Massive 20 inch artillery pieces studded the fortress’s walls and the gatehouse of the Casr was capped with an ordinates weapon the size of an ocean going promethium tanker. But they were aimed at outside threats, not anticipating the berserk giant who had appeared inside their city.

Stomping a random, swaying pattern across the city, the Fire Beast titan left a train of devastation in his wake. His Crozius toppled buildings, his cannons leveled armored formations and his smashing feet were coated in squashed Despoiled. MacCallister laughed as his plasma annihilator barked again, blasting an armored citadel into shrapnel.

He left the Casr’s main parade ground behind him; a shattered pit filled with corpses and destroyed armored fighting vehicles. Thousands of Cadia’s best lay dead on the ground, entire regiments irrevocably destroyed down to their unholy banners. Those that remained were scattered into chaotic rabble, lacking officers or a communication net.

Except for a small knot of control, ice cold and iron hard.

‘Cadian 8th!’ shouted Grasceilia Creed, pushing a piece of burning chimera armor off of her legs, ‘Fetch the banner and rally to me!’

The Despoiled Cadian’s words proved effective drawing nearly a company of unwounded survivors from the rubble. Kasrkin, Shocktrooper or Blackshield, they were all that remained of a regiment ten thousand strong. Someone pulled the millennia old banner from the carbonized hands of its bearer and the charred synthsilk fluttered in the breeze kicked up by the burning city.

‘Transport is top priority,’ ordered the Lady Castellan, her soldiery gathering around her, ‘Sergeants, find us some working chimeras or trucks. Anything with wheels and an engine. All infantry is to attack the Alcazidar prison immediately. A captaincy to anyone who kills a Fire Beast, a Lord Generalship to the one who downs their commander.’

‘Ma’am, what about the titan?’ some misfortunate Blackshield from a lesser regiment asked.

The bullwhip crack of Creed’s power lash sounded, the energized lash burning an ear off of the offending simpleton.

‘Despoiled to focus on the prison,’ repeated Creed, ‘there are wards for the Titan.’
…..
‘First Bull come in,’ voxed Weyne, ‘First Bull we are almost there.’

He paused, firing a burst of bolter fire into the face of a Black Legionaire. The bolt rounds chewed apart the traitor’s face plate, cracking the Ceramite and pulping the post-human’s brain. It was the first burst he had fired in several minutes, the Wolves and Beasts finally achieving a breakthrough towards the central passages. Scores of Wulfen, the Fire Beast was unsure how many there in fact were, rampaged ahead of him, tearing apart Despoiled Cadians and a few Black Legionaries.

‘Something’s gone wrong,’ the Captain said to Ragnar, the two having formed an adhoc command squad for the allied force. Loose platoons of Wulfen formed the army’s flanks and its spearhead, while Weyne’s four squads of Fire Beasts provided fire support from the center.

‘They’re collapsing faster than I expected,’ continued Weyne, ‘even with Tyme and the chapter on the other side there should be more resistance.’

‘There is something in the air,’ growled Ragnar, his nose twitching, ‘by Russ corruption is thick in the air here, even considering the locale. Expect witchery.’

‘There are fewer Astartes here than I remember,’ said Weyne, ‘they’re probably gathering somewhere for a larger push.’

The last barrier to the main hall fell, the Despoiled autocannon team manning it eaten alive by the hulking wulfen.

Within the carnage was immense: Despoiled Cadians littered the deck in a ghastly flesh carpet, their shattered forms numbering in the thousands. Further on, at the great gates of the bridge, Weyne could see where the Fire Beasts had made their stand. Broken Astartes bodies lay in heaps, their corpses still in squad formation. Spent magazines and blunted blades littered the floor, they had died hard. Weyne saw the twitching pieces of Chaplain Martel, the holy man’s twitching hands still reaching for his Crozius. Saw Captain-Librarian Wallace, melted to the floor by his own unleashed psychic might, his relic blade at his corpse’s feet.

Only Ancient Douglas and a bare few Terminators still remained. The terminators battled back to back, their storm shields out front and their hammers swinging ceaselessly. Their armor bore the scars and pits of a hundred blows and shots and their foes bodies formed a knee high rampart of black armor around them. But for all their skill, the Astartes were being methodically worn down by their Black Legion counter parts, slaughtered from long distance after the foe had abandoned long range attacks.

Douglas and the Daemon Buchlein clawed at one another. Chards of Ceramite and bronze teeth were sent flying by their hay maker blows and the wraithbone deck of the fortress was a shambled mess of warped plating around them. So far the Black Legionaries seemed fine with allowing their daemonic former Brother to battle the Dreadnaught.

Weyne saw all of this at a glance, but it was what he saw in the very shadow of the bridge gates that burned madness into him.

Tyme Crooked-Mind lay slain, his own partisan driven through his skull.

The First Bull who had led the Fire Beasts for untold millennia, throughout the fall of the Old Imperium and the hideous darkness that followed, who had trained entire generations of Fire Beasts in his image, who had raised Weyne from a tribal orphan into a peerless superhuman killer, who had kept the Chapter bound together in a mad quest for their semi-divine gene-father was dead.

Above him stood the Seneschal, the broken haft of Tyme’s partisan still grasped in a malfunctioning power fist. His tiny, bead like eyes glinted black and the grin of his tiny face showed the shark’s teeth lining his mouth. With a jerk, he pulled the pole arm from Tyme’s skull and messily decapitated the Astartes with its blade.

The scene flickered in Weyne’s black eyes for a moment, the fortress covered with corpses momentarily merging with another cadaver strewn edifice, his slain commander becoming another decapitated father.

Something snapped inside Weyne’s skull then, some tiny piece of psycho conditioning that broke irreversibly and beautifully. Endless training was forgotten, historical lessons encompassing millennia of war vanished and three hundred years of warfare at the side of a man who used subtlety above all else vanished.

Rage, pure, beautiful and alone remained.

The roar Weyne relased shook the hall like the detonation of a meltabomb, several of the Black Legionaries actually turning around to see its source. His bolter fell from his hands, the weapon completely forgotten. His falchion was drawn from his side, the blade going active at the same instant his round storm shield lit up.

‘WRATH!’ screamed the Astartes, his boots pounding across the wraithbone deck.

Wulfen died in that charge, their hide and scraps of armor failing before bolt shells. Fire Beasts fell, their power armor pierced by plasma bolts and the foul sorcery of the warp. Blood from Astartes and man-beasts mixed atop the corrupted eldar structure, its stubborn purity anathema.

The clash against the Black Legion was fierce, armor colliding and bodies snapping. Chainblades roared their hideous song and power weapons screamed, as fang and talon tore into corrupted flesh. Weyne’s falchion flashed twice, sending midnight helmets flying and he was nearly through the press, only another Astartes and the huge bulk of the Seneschal before him.

‘Weyne Turncloak,’ hissed the Chaos Marine, Tyme’s head hanging from his hand, ‘you will be supremely punished for this little invasion. Abaddon offered you power unbelievable and you traded it away to see your brothers’ death. Your screams will echo in this chamber for eternity, music to soothe me as I fix the mess your actions have created. This is only made enjoyable by the destruction of one of the last corpse-slave warbands ….’

His words failed him then, as Weyne cut his last body guard apart. A falchion blow knocked the Black Legionary’s chain sword apart, while the energized storm shield gutted Weyne’s foe, spilling intestines and synth-muscle.

‘Shadow and Fire,’ snarled the Astartes, ‘you killed the First Bull and you will die.’

Rationality and the ability to comprehend language left Weyne’s mind at that point. The Seneschal’s image, whose black form occasionally merged into that of an impossibly lithe woman also holding a severed head, and Weyne’s desire to slay the foe made up his whole world.

His attack was silent and fast, chopping down hard towards his opponent’s skull. The Seneschal barely intercepted it with his already damaged power fist, chards of Ceramite flying and a power cable severing in a cloud of sparks. Weyne followed up with a thrust of his shield, scouring paint from the Traitor’s warplate and carving a wicked groove across the heretic’s chest that drew blood.

Weyne launched three more attacks, each time damaging peripheral systems of the Seneschal’s armor. Against the aging Tyme, the Chaos Marine had been able to use his superior speed, but Weyne could match him step for step and rage quickened his blows. Finally, Weyne’s falchion stabbed into the gap of the Seneschal’s armor around his left knee, severing armor and tendon.

Screaming, the traitor marine stabbed forwards with the severed head of Tyme’s partisan clenched in his damaged power fist. It pierced Weyne’s shield, shorting its power field and perforating his armor to reach his intestines beneath. Leaving the blade fixed, the Seneschal backhanded Weyne leaving the falchion lodged into his leg.

Weyne rolled with the blow, his armored form sliding across the corpse strewn deck to slam into the still standing body of Librarian Wallace. Dazed, he ripped the partisan from his side, not feeling the tide of blood from severed mesentery arteries. He dropped the now useless shield as the Seneschal approached, limping badly and with Tyme’s abandoned sword gripped in his fist. The traitor marine squeezed his power fist, shattering the adamantine of the falchion into shards.

‘I will do the same to you Astartes,’ promised the Black Legionary, ‘you will be broken and your mewling pieces shall be stitched back together to serve as my bodyguard for all time. Had you but told me of this incursion, you might even have enjoyed such a position, one of power and wealth. Now you will not, oh how you will not slave.’

Pushing himself up from the deck, Weyne’s hand found a hilt. Pulling it from beneath its covering of the dead, it was revealed to be Wallace’s ancient claymore, the masterwork relic blade of Ancient Douglas. Hissing, the sword went live in the Captain’s hands.

‘Fire and Shadow,’ roared the Astartes, ‘you killed the First Bull and you will die!’

His first blow struck the Seneschal’s sole hale power fist, over loading its powerfield and causing it to explode violently. Shrapnel lanced up the Seneschal’s arm, richocheting endlessly inside his armor. Fragments slashed across Weyne’s face, forming five parallel scars across his pale features. The top meter of his blade was caught in the blast, shattering.

‘Offer me power from the gods,’ ordered Weyne, blood streaming down his face as he flicked the jagged tip of the much shorter sword across the Traitor’s face. Its power field crackled, machine spirit enraged.

‘Yes,’ gasped the Seneschal, his superhuman body unable to deal with the pain.

‘Offer me warriors, legions,’ commanded the Astartes, dealing a light blow to the Seneschal’s shoulder.

‘All that I have,’ promised the Seneschal, trying to back away.

‘Give me anything I demand,’ snarled Weyne, kicking the already injured leg.

‘Anything!’ screamed the Seneschal, knocking aside Weyne’s blade with his damaged fist and punching towards his tormentor’s face.

Weyne turned aside from the blow and slashed downwards into the Seneschal’s chest, lopping off his last arm and wedging the blade into the traitor Marine’s secondary heart.

‘I want Tyme back,’ snarled Weyne, pulling the blade free and decapitating his foe.
Last edited by Gaius Marius on Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
Space Cowboy, Spartan II, Specter, Reclusiarch

'I see the fear you have inside.'
User avatar
Gaius Marius
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:14 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Midgard » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:10 pm

Just wanted to let you know I have been following this story and enjoying it greatly! :)
My Amazon writer page - check out my novel and short stories!
MIDGARD - my melodic death metal band's new album is now on BandCamp
Twisthammer - alternate WH40K fan-project
User avatar
Midgard
 
Posts: 319
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:37 pm
Location: City of Grey Flowers


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:41 am

Thanks Mid!
Space Cowboy, Spartan II, Specter, Reclusiarch

'I see the fear you have inside.'
User avatar
Gaius Marius
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:14 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby 238232 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:18 pm

Someone's been watching The Princess Bride a lot. :P
238232
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:07 am


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Midgard » Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:57 pm

"My name is Weyne, you killed my Chapter Master, prepare to die?" :)
My Amazon writer page - check out my novel and short stories!
MIDGARD - my melodic death metal band's new album is now on BandCamp
Twisthammer - alternate WH40K fan-project
User avatar
Midgard
 
Posts: 319
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:37 pm
Location: City of Grey Flowers


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sun Feb 05, 2012 8:20 pm

Midgard wrote:"My name is Weyne, you killed my Chapter Master, prepare to die?" :)


Exactly.
Space Cowboy, Spartan II, Specter, Reclusiarch

'I see the fear you have inside.'
User avatar
Gaius Marius
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:14 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby 238232 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:47 am

Haha, it was actually the dialogue at the very end that made me realise it.
238232
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:07 am


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:16 am

Gaius Marius wrote:‘I want Tyme back,’ snarled Weyne, pulling the blade free and decapitating his foe.

An excellent end to an excellent chapter; Weyne's grief and fury here was realised damn well, and I'm seriously impressed.

Now all that remains to be seen is how the Fire Beasts get out of this one. Knowing you, it's probably going to be something suitably spectacular. :D
User avatar
Colonel Mustard
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:58 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sun Feb 12, 2012 8:14 pm

Last Chapter! Only the epilogue to go.

Chapter 18: Fire and Shadow

They had come.

Dragged unwillingly from the deeper warp, chained to reality by unbreakable bonds of sacrifice and ritual they had come.

MacCallister had torn the heart out of Kasr Abaddon. Before his guns Abaddon’s Palace had burned, its priceless relics and massive architecture turned to so much ash. The great Cathedrals of the Four, raised by Erebus and his Word Bearer Hosts and consecrated with blood poured from the carotids of the Great Usikar E. Creed, had collapsed, their altars atomized and their worshippers stomped to ruin. Tens of thousands of Defiled Cadians, the steel gauntlet about the Warmaster’s right hand, had perished, their years of training a waste before the power set against them.

Tank shells detonated with enough force to gut a fortress and were felt as a minor pinprick on the Titan-Astarte’s shields. Return fire from his leg mounted weapons gutted the possessed vehicles, the daemon tanks howling in pain. The entire process took less effort for MacCallister than it took for a normal man to flex his own calf.

Now with the city burning and its defenders scattering, older powers were drawn to the conflict. Runes carved into the very bones of the city by Abaddon’s sorcerers glowed to life as a wave of blood swept over them. Hoarfrost formed over the smoking cityscape, while the pungent tang of ozone overwhelmed the stench of gore. Lightning crackled in the sky as vast and hideous warpcraft growled to life.

On some deep, basic level, MacCallister realized what was happening. Deploying daemons on Cadia was difficult and expensive in the extreme, requiring vast amounts of blood sacrifice and careful preparation due to the nullifying effect of the famous pylons. This then was a last trap on the part of Abaddon, a parting shot aimed at any foe capable of leveling his capitol. By slaughtering the Casr’s mortal defenders, ones more durable and foul were pulled from the Warp.

And on everylevel of his mind, MacCallister welcomed what was coming.
…..

Rage filled Kaa’s hearts as he pounded up the main staircase of the prison, rockrete cracking at his passage. His chainaxe roared at any prisoner or guard foolish enough to approach, the massive weapon sending bifurcated body parts flying. Denied his long vanished Primarch, the Fire Beast sergeant was in a killing mood. He idly swatted one desperate guard aside with his axe and caved in the skulls of the three prisoners besetting him with his fist. Some desperate, foolish madman charged Kaa with a drawn butcher knife. In response the Astartes punched him through a flak board wall.

Behind Kaa came his own squad, bolters raised and blades ready. Several of them bore relics of Vulkan, liberated from the depths of the prison. Two of their number supported the emaciated Vulkan He’Stan between them, loaded pistols in their other hands. For his part, He’Stan had his drakeskin cloak draped over his naked shoulders and his thin arm clutched Vulkan’s immense spear, although it was highly unlikely he would be able to wield it, shorn as he was of power armor and debilitated by age.

‘You seem angry Fire Beast,’ said the Forge Father, his legs barely strong enough to walk along with his bearers.

‘Why would I not be?’ asked Kaa, decapitating a particularly loathsome mutant he could not identify as either guard or prisoner, ‘The prize I have spent my life searching for was a trap. My God and King are absent and I have worn the colors of the traitor for months for nothing. What is worse, I cannot even vox my Chapter to warn them because of that damn void shield going up!’

He finished the harangue by throwing his chainaxe, the double headed weapon catching a traitor marine in the stomach. Its teeth churned greedily, splattering severed intestines and fragments of armor across the already filthy floor. Kaa hit its owner before the son of Horus could recover, the Fire Beast’s fist driving the warrior’s voice-caster into his brain. He flicked his hand in irritation, blood already dripping through the jagged cracks that had appeared on his gauntlet.

‘The Emperor’s ways are mysterious,’ said He’Stan, ‘and our greatest triumphs are worth nothing if they are not gained in adversity. A victory over a child is meaningless; a victory over an army is never forgotten.’

‘Unless we can get communication’s back up, this is not likely to end in victory at all,’ replied Kaa, angrily slapping his fist against the side of his helmet.

Vox-contact returned with a final squeal of static, before dissolving into the confused mishmash of a unit in battle.

‘Sergeant,’ one of Kaa’s subordinates voxed, ‘Have you the Primarch?’

‘Not relevant, what is the status on the riot and the city?’

‘MacCallister has translated, a moving shadow, burning with wrath. The city dies around him and his roar sows terror. I wish we had him at our side, for the riot is out of hand.’

‘We are Fire Beasts and they half-starved slaves,’ said Kaa, ‘how could it get out of hand?’

‘Despoiled have entered the prison’s lower levels in significant numbers Sergeant, there are Kasrkin amongst them. Have you the Primarch? Does Vulkan stand beside you?’

‘In a word,’ said Kaa, ‘no. Pass a message on to Tyme, this is a trap. Evacuate immediately.’

The Sergeant and his small retinue moved, clambering up towards the ground level as fast as their post-human bodies could go. Rockcrete stairs crumbled in their wake and any prisoners caught in their path were trod to paste.

‘Kaa, come in damn it,’ Tavi’s voice came over the communication’s net, there was an edge of pain in his voice.

‘I am here brother,’ said the hulking Astartes, ‘listen, this is a trap. You’ve got to get out of there.’

‘It’s already sprung. We have a small window before our lines of evacuation are cut off, you’ve got to get out of there Kaa.’

‘You know about the Primarch then?’

‘I could guess,’ said the other Sergeant, ‘it gets worse. Tyme, Wallace, even Martel are dead up here. Less than thirty of us are fit to stand and I’ve got an arm off. Weyne and Ragnar are in command and as soon as they cripple the guns on this station we’re leaving.’

‘Wait, who the hell is Ragnar?’

‘A Fenryka, it’s hard to explain,’ replied Tavi, ‘look we’ve got the only Thunderhawk available to us heading down. Be on it when it takes off.’
……

Daemons.

MacCallister could smell them so strong was their stink, even behind meters of armor and thick, amniotic ooze. The immense icons of fire and Aquila on his metal frame grew hot as they reacted to the anti-reality of the atmosphere, their gold shimmering with heat haze.

The Great Unclean one was first, a monolith of putrid blubber and grime encrusted, boil studded skin. Filthy horns stood out from its head and its mouth was filled with jagged brown teeth and the black stump of a tongue. Its piggish eyes, the color of an algae choked pond, gleamed dimly, as did the immense, pitted blade in its hand.

MacCallister hit it before it could move upon him, gigantic Crozius carving into its chest. Boulder like chunks of rotting fat and maggots the size of men fell squirming to the ruined streets as the greater daemon of Nurgle was knocked backwards, fortified tenements crumbling in its wake. It splashed into the river running through the city, the water’s instantly turning to fouled sewage at the touch of unclean flesh. The Chaplain fired his Plasma annihilator, the weapon blasting away one of the monster’s arms.

Before he could fire again, something hit the Titan-Astartes from the side, collapsing shields and ravaging his armor. He managed to strike out with his plasma weapon, the immense cannon’s barrel striking something hard in the face. Claws struck out in retaliation, marring the burning Aquila on his chest, carving trenches an infantry platoon could shelter in. Psychosomatic wounds opened across the Chaplain’s chest in response, tinting his tank red. Scrambling for space, MacCallister fired blindly, the plasma weapon sending burning feathers into the air. Now able to see his enemy with electronic eyes, the Reclusiarch saw his foe, a Lord of Change, its plumage scorched by his fire.

‘Daemon,’ growled the Fire Beast, ‘I recognize your foulness and name you intruder to this galaxy. You have no place here and must be driven out.’

He ignored any response the shrieking hellspawn may have had and struck it hard with his Crozius, the baneblade sized weapon tearing through semi-existent flesh to crack bone and spill organs. Horribly disemboweled, the daemon shimmered for a second before the Reclusiarch’s plasma cannon roared again, dissolving its skull.

His triumph was cut short as the Great Unclean One surged from the water, its rusted blade driving beneath MacCallister’s shields and into his metal torso.
……
The central courtyard of the Alcazzidar Prison was a smoking maze of carnage.

An ad-hoc regiment of Despoiled had rammed through the gates with their Chimeras and few remaining tanks, stubbornly annoying attacks from the Fire Beast Devastator squad guarding the gates that took down whole squads. Hundreds of Cadian Shock deployed from the falling ramps of their APCs, each a consummate professional sworn to the Dark Gods. Kasrkin were lethal combatants at any range, especially the Lady-Castellan’s Own who were clad in semi-powered carapace and augmented with genetic implants and mutagenic gifts from Khorne and Tzeentch. They were backed up by platoons of veteran shock troops and eager Black Shields. Rioters filling the courtyard dissolved before them, hellguns and grenade launchers reaping a hideous toll.

Three squads of Fire Beasts faced them, two tactical squads fortified in the prison’s inner gantries and the Devastator squad holed up in the gatehouse. Three Cadian tanks were soon set alight, but the two remaining ones leveled the gatehouse with repeated shots from their bombardment cannons before being killed by the missile launchers of the tactical squads.

The Lady-Castellan was at the forefront of the charge, vox officers struggling to keep up with her. Her hell pistol blazed, sending over powered shots at the Fire Beasts in the gantries while her power whip circled endlessly, crackling with power as it cut through any rioter her bodyguards allowed to close. A storm of hellgun beams struck the rockrete facing of the Fire Beast position, turning the flat surface and its decorative sigils of Chaos into a moonscape.

Bolters, in particular the Heavy Bolter held by one of the squads, reaped a hideous toll on the Kasrkin, their carapace no match for the high explosive weapons. But in turn the storm of rocket powered grenades and hellgun fire took their measure, badly wounding two of the Astartes through their plate and killing another who took a grenade to his helm.

The Kasrkin squads at the fore reached the stairs leading to the Fire Beast position and their ultimate fallback point, the landing pads. This fighting was hideous and bloody, vibro bayonets and the sabers carried by squad leaders against the chainblades and serrated knives of the Fire Beasts. Despite the elite status and thorough training of the Kasrkin, the Fire Beasts still overmatched them in terms of skill and strength. They used the narrow stairs to funnel their foes towards them a few at a time, coating the stairs in bodies and gore.

‘Heavy weapons, continue fire on the foe,’ ordered Creed, arriving at the base of the melee.

‘But ma’am, we’ll hit our own men!’ one of her grenadiers exclaimed.

‘We have reserves,’ said the Cadian warlord, ‘they do not.’

Sharp krumps from grenade detonations sounded, sending shrapnel and fire through the front lines. Power armor served a better protection from the storm than did carapace, but although thirty of Creed’s own died, five of the Fire Beasts were killed out rest and most of the rest were badly wounded. Their foes swarmed over them, driving blades into the cracks of their armor or through their voxcasters. The Astartes died hard, killing from the ground but were overwhelmed. It was into this blood storm, with less than half a squad of Loyalists still fighting, that Kaa and his retinue emerged.

‘Smoke grenades,’ ordered the Sergeant, his squad following his lead by tossing ten of the oblong canisters into the Cadian rear. Thick grey smoke blurred the courtyard, turning it into a foggy miasma that human eyes could not cut through. Only the Fire Beasts in their helms and the elite Kasrkin with their mutations could see, leaving most of the Cadian force blind.

Bolters blazed on full auto, scything through the rear ranks of the enemy. Chain axe roaring, the sergeant killed five men in as many seconds, their ragged pieces flying. Aroused to this new threat, Creed directed her forces against the newcomer, firing blind into the smoke. Grenades killed two of Kaa’s squad, hellguns wounded another, but Kaa and his men cut their way through the press to reach the entry way to the gantry.

The Lady-Castellan emerged from the smoke, her veteran body guards with her and her colors flying. Hellgun fire dropped one of He’Stan’s carriers, sending the ancient Astartes falling. Bolt fire rang, killing the two grenadiers before they could fire their weapons. Creed’s whip lashed out, severing Kaa’s hand at the wrist.

‘I am His Fire unleashed!’ came the cry, overwhelming the noises of war in the courtyard.

The outer walls of the prison gave way as the massive, foul shape of a Great Unclean one fell through them, daemon and wreckage killing platoons worth of Cadians. It was covered in wounds, massive chunks were taken from its face and chest and a tangle of maggot filled intestines poured from its stomach. Its soul remaining arm hung by a thread and one of its eyes was missing.

Above towered the shape of MacCallister. His banners burned and his Crozius sparked, its power field giving out. One of the barrels for his plasma anhilator was simply gone, while a massive, dripping eye ball was impaled on the horn of his helmet.

‘Burn ye unclean one!’ shouted MacCallister, raising up his plasma weapon.

The explosion was twofold when it came. First, the Daemon’s head evaporated, along with a significant portion of the courtyard and the Cadian tanks beneath its bulk. Secondly, the plasma annihilator on the Reclusiarch/God-Machine’s arm exploded, scorching his already damaged torso and collapsing the outer face of the prison tower.

Kaa stumbled up through the smoke, his axe vanished, a two foot chunk of rebar was jammed in his left thigh and his left helmet lens cracked crazily from the blow of a brick. He saw a light flash in the smoke and barely ducked under the blow from Creed’s power whip. The woman was half his size and had none of his enhancements, but her skill was undeniable and her fury nigh unmatchable. Another whip cracked took the horns off Kaa’s helmet, barely missing his skull. The Castellan stumbled then and screamed, as a hand grabbed her ankle from the rubble.

The appendage was midnight black, thin and scarred from age and war. But Vulkan He’Stan squeezed with a power that belied his age, breaking Creed’s ankle. Kaa used the moment to his advantage, darting forth and seizing the Castellan by the right wrist. He jerked her arm out of its socket and simultaneously crushed her skull with a headbutt.

He picked up the whip, the only weapon within sight, and used it to cut down two Kasrkin emerging coughing from the rubble. The way apparently clear, he offered the stump of his arm to He’stan, pulling the ancient onto his shoulder.

‘Thank you for that,’ said Kaa, ‘it was most helpful.’

‘I am not yet entirely useless,’ said He’stan, still gripping his spear in one hand.

‘Anyone still alive, chime in,’ voxed the Sergeant, his ears picking up the sound of a Thunderhawk.

There were only six affirmatives.

……
Half his pictcasters were gone and his auspex was barely working. His left leg dragged behind him, its joints melted solid. The explosion had completely removed his left arm and exposed core systems in his torso to open air. Blood soaked the amniotic tank so thoroughly it was pure red, the twitching form within invisible. More Daemons were announcing their presence, a half dozen of the gigantic things being pulled through the warp to challenge the injured Chaplain. McCallister coughed in his tank as his brain took in this data, the tiny metal shards in his vena cava beginning to slip into his heart.
He barely blocked the axe of a Blood Thirster and the claws of a Keeper of Secrets severed vital servos in his good leg. A Great Unclean One’s blade drove through his chest, even as his Crozius crushed its skull. Blackness formed in his vision and the servo-reactors in his sole remaining arm exploded out, leaving the Crozius jammed into the dead daemon’s skull as its hideous kin closed in. He turned, barely, taking the blow of the Blood Thirster’s axe into his side and driving his own horn into the monster’s throat.

‘With the Emperor’s hate I burn thee,’ murmured MacCallister, seeing not but fire, burning the galaxy clean, ‘From Terra’s heart I stab at thee. Know my soul shall prey upon you in the darkness and the warp shall sound with your cries of pain. Vulkan returns from the shadow and all is fire.’

And with that, Reclusiarch MacCallister died.

But not before his reactor core was triggered.
Space Cowboy, Spartan II, Specter, Reclusiarch

'I see the fear you have inside.'
User avatar
Gaius Marius
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:14 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:20 pm

That...was...epic.

The final sendoff of one of the most badass marines in Warhammer lore was as suitably fitting as it could possibly be; mortally wounded, battling the most horrific foes humanity could face. He manages to take out a final enemy, and then blows himself up in one last act of defiance. In a sense, I guess that sound pretty standard for a Marine. Except he's in a Titan and the daemons are the size of skyscrapers.

This is why you are awesome, Gaius. :D

Also, I noticed this little tidbit:
Gaius Marius wrote:‘We have reserves,’ said the Cadian warlord, ‘they do not.’

Someone's either been watching Braveheart or reading TVTropes. ;)
User avatar
Colonel Mustard
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:58 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:22 pm

Or both. Yes both. :D

Got one more send off before it finishes.
Space Cowboy, Spartan II, Specter, Reclusiarch

'I see the fear you have inside.'
User avatar
Gaius Marius
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:14 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Midgard » Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:40 pm

Looking forward to the epilogue/conclusion!
My Amazon writer page - check out my novel and short stories!
MIDGARD - my melodic death metal band's new album is now on BandCamp
Twisthammer - alternate WH40K fan-project
User avatar
Midgard
 
Posts: 319
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:37 pm
Location: City of Grey Flowers


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:14 am

And done!



Epilogue: Song of Entropy

‘Kaa and his party have returned,’ announced Weyne, his armored frame limping into the fortress’s bridge, ‘we are leaving Ragnar. The long range scanners have picked up something massive moving into the system. It has to be Planet-Killer, Abaddon has returned.’

‘We are staying here,’ declared Ragnar, his voice brooking no dissent.

The Fenryka’s armor was coated in gore, blue grey plate streaked with red viscera. His frostblade purred unevenly, fragments of armor jamming its mechanisms. Ragnar’s ancient face bore fresh wounds and his pupils were curiously dilated.

‘If you stay here Ragnar, you will die,’ said Weyne, ‘I would not lose another friend this day.’

‘We can bleed Abaddon here Weyne, he would not dare destroy his own fortress.’

‘His minions are countless Fenryka,’ observed the Fire Beast, ‘there can be no victory here.’

‘We have our own avenues of escape Vulkan-Son,’ said Ragnar, ‘I wish you luck in what is coming. Burn this galaxy clean.’
……
The Fire-Beast fleet was dead.

Cruisers looted from a score of petty empires burned in the void, their crew’s ash and their armor reduced to orbiting detritus. Destroyers had been atomized by the Despoiler’s overwhelming fleet, the escorts never having a chance to fight back. Even the great Dreadsmith, the enormous Demiurge citadel vessel that was the heart of the Fire Beast armada was gone, an irreplaceable loss in the form of material production and fire power. Only the light cruiser Waste Song, now rapidly fleeing from the vengeful fleet of Abaddon remained.

‘Run your engines hard Captain,’ ordered Weyne as the cruiser pulled away from Cadia’s gravity well, ‘we can repair later once we enter warp.’

His remaining officers, Kaa and the badly wounded Tavi were on the bridge behind their leader. The few surviving squads and Ancient Douglas were deploying across the cruiser, preparing to defend against what would surely be a flood of boarding parties.

‘Its going to be close Weyne,’ said Silvia, the mortal human at her command helm, ‘their forward elements are already closing on us.’

‘Are any going for the Wolves?’ asked Weyne.

‘Their isolating it with their heavier cruisers,’ Silvia replied, ‘they’re not useful in a chase anyway.’

‘And the Planet-Killer?’ asked the Fire Beast, his voice heavy.

‘Closing, for something so huge its speed is phenomenonal.’

‘Do we know its range?’

‘No but we can assume it is massive.’

‘It is a shame,’ Kaa opined laconically behind Weyne.

‘The failure?’ asked the other Astartes.

‘The fact that we won’t get to fight boarders,’ said the other Fire Beast, his hand falling onto his looted whip.

‘Is He’Stan secure aboard?’

‘He is in the med-bay, the last of our apothecary’s tends to him,’ said Kaa, ‘he was raving, too far gone. He kept saying something about the last relic. A song.’

……
Something stirred in the debris field.

It had killed many in the battle, guns and ram tearing apart the fleets of the corrupted. Fleshlings had frozen and shattered in the void, after she had broken their flimsy ships. The followers in her wake had collapsed, their weaknesses made manifest in their failures. What few of her family she could sense had fallen with them, the Fire Beasts dying of asphyxiation and cold. Lacking a crew of her own, the great battleship had gone dormant at their deaths, glutted on the carnage.

But now, now Loyal Fiend sensed something.

Her family, a small grouping of them, but still family survived. It had felt some sorrow at their supposed loss and was gladdened that some of the Fire Beasts still lived. But there was something pursuing them, something hideous and vast, corrupted by the touch of the four. Massive generators were building inside it, powering obscene cannon.

If that ship fired, then the last Fire Beasts would die.

And that could not happen.
……

‘Sir we have something moving in the debris field from the fleet engagement,’ announced Silvia.

‘Is it one of ours?’

‘Its not answering hails,’ replied the human.

‘The Planet-Killer is charging its guns,’ said Tavi, idly observing a console ‘I wonder… will I dream?’

‘You’ll dream of me punching you in the face short one,’ said Kaa to the smaller Fire Beast, ‘the afterlife is but more war against the unclean.’

‘Those are my dreams great-snake,’ said Tavi.

‘As are all of ours,’ said Weyne, ‘How long until we can jump into warp?’

‘Not long enough,’ said Silvia, ‘their auspex has us sighted.’

‘It has been an honor brothers,’ said Weyne, ‘I will see you again in the last battle.’

‘Vox-hail coming through from the unknown contact,’ said Silvia, ‘it’s the FIEND!’

‘Does it have a firing solution?’ asked Weyne.

‘Its on a ramming course,’ replied Silvia, ‘its requesting an emergency teleport.’

‘Allow it,’ ordered the Captain, ‘shields won’t do us much good anyway.’

‘We’re down, wait… Planet-Killer is turning, its turning towards the Fiend!’

‘Keep running,’ ordered Weyne, ‘it’s dying to give us a chance to live. We’ll take it.’
……
A dozen cruisers burned in her wake, a fitting honor guard in the afterlife. The squadron flanking Planet-Killer had attempted to slow the vengeful Fire Beast flagship, but had been scattered like ash in the wind.Planet-Killer’s escorts had hit her hard, but the Loyal Fiend powered on. Fires raged uncontrolled on all her decks, her guns were dead in their carriages and her shields were dead. The few hundred progenoids held in her hull had been teleported away to the fleeing Fire-Beasts, allowing the demon-ship a clear conscience that her family would live on. But her purpose was clear.

Planet-Killer had to die.

The Loyal Fiend gunned her engines, pushing hard at the immense bulk of Abaddon’s flag ship, which turned ever so slowly at the onrushing battleship. Imperial ships could occasionally reach .75 C when in the void, usually only the lightest escorts could hope to breach this though. Now, in its last moments, Loyal Fiend hit .9 C, its 8 kilometer bulk going nearly nine tenths the speed of light.

On every vox-channel its machine spirit screamed, a hideous caterwauling that shorted communications on every ship in the Cadian system and drove Despoiled Vox-officers mad with its purity. It was a chant for the end times, the last tune to ever be heard, the sound of entropy.

When Loyal Fiend was two hundred meters from impacting its target’s prow, Planet-Killer fired.

…..
Six months later…..

The First Bull had run them through training, again and again and again. Munitions were limited, so practice was focused solely on close order combat. It was his only way on keeping them from the grief, from keeping his Astartes from turning to ennui and eventually heresy. To rebuild his decimated numbers, Weyne ordered his last remaining apothecary to begin recruiting from the small amounts of children present upon Waste-Song.

‘We’ll need more weapons,’ Kaa told Weyne, ‘more resources of every kind if we are to be a chapter again.’

‘We will get them,’ said the new First Bull, recently elevated from Captain.

‘How Weyne?’ asked Kaa, ‘we have nothing to barter with, no stores to speak of. All we have are thirty Astartes and a mad dreadnaught.’

‘We will buy it via war Sergeatnt,’ said Weyne, ‘I have been talking to our guest Vulkan He’stan.’

‘He is lucid again?’

‘Occasionally,’ said Weyne, ‘his mind wanders. He claims that before he was captured, he and a bare few remaining Salamanders were on their way to a new war. We had heard rumors of it before we left on our last mission. We can sell our services to the petty Imperiums embroiled with in it, gain enough material to become a great force once again.’

‘Where is this war?’ asked Kaa.

‘It is in Segmentum Solar,’ said Weyne, ‘on Armageddon.’
Space Cowboy, Spartan II, Specter, Reclusiarch

'I see the fear you have inside.'
User avatar
Gaius Marius
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:14 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby LordLucan » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:02 am

Hooray!

Overall, a great piece of work which really effectively portrayed the out of place defiance of a group dislocated witihn a hostile galaxy. Your emphasis upon loss and regret reminded me of the Night Lords series, which I think is the best narrative route you could have gone for with the subject matter.

A lot of over the top death scenes, but you do develop these characters beforehand to make their doom worth something to a prospective reader. I did feel you relied a bit too much on your previous 'Fire beasts' work to codify your characters. I think sometimes you threw in characters for a deliberate big name factor, which isn't a criticism, merely an observation.

As ever, your dialogue is sharp and compelling to read. I do like when dialogue isn't merely expositional, but actually grants a distinctive voice and flavour to the individuals speaking.

The relish shown in torture or torment scenes gets across a sens eof raw, sadistic enjoyment amongst the fire beasts I don't think other authors manage. You actually make them seem properly deranged int heir zealous love for carnage. As a writer of similar characters (in my Lychen Guard) I really understood this.

Your descriptions were also very well executed and your battles were frenetic and fierce at every turn. Work on avoiding naming each specific weapon so technically though, as it jsut kills momentum in a scene when you have to specify exactly what KIND of weapon your men are using to mash someone's brains into paste... the key part we are interested in is not their kit, but the characters.

But overall, a marvellous 50K spin-off tale. I feel a little biased if I say I like the setting, but arguably this story is good regardless of what setting it was placed within. I'm just glad you liked my setting enough to place yourself within it.

Cheers for a great read.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
User avatar
LordLucan
 
Posts: 3561
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:05 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:18 am

Ill definetly agree on most of the criticisms LL. There are parts of this that I'm unhappy about, but I do feel that it strengthened massively as it went along.
Space Cowboy, Spartan II, Specter, Reclusiarch

'I see the fear you have inside.'
User avatar
Gaius Marius
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:14 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby 238232 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:01 pm

Gaius Marius wrote:‘Vulkan’s trail leads to a bloody place, a site of a million battles between the Imperium and its ancient foes. A place of red sand and twisted manufactories where war never dies and hope has no place,’ said Wallace.


So will they ever look back on this bit and realise that while it was true, they read it completely wrong?

I predict much facepalming and head banging. Or just more slaughter...
238232
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2011 3:07 am


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:17 pm

Well it was completely true, in a way they didn't anticipate. However, as everyone who was at that meeting but Weyne is dead its unlikely he'll ever go, 'hey remember that meeting all our dead officers were at?'
Space Cowboy, Spartan II, Specter, Reclusiarch

'I see the fear you have inside.'
User avatar
Gaius Marius
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:14 pm


Re: Shadow Fire : 50K

Postby Colonel Mustard » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:58 am

Aargh, nearly missed this!

That was an extremely impressive ending indeed, Gaius, and a truly spectacular sendoff for MacCallister, Tyme and even the Loyal Fiend (I forgot to say, the idea of an Imperial Quasi-Daemonship is excellent, and fits the personality you've given the Beasts excellently). And the absolute end was really quite fitting; the Beasts had taken one hell of a battering, are desparate and nearly down, but there's that glimmer of hope, and in a way I guess that's almost a metaphor for 50K's humanity in general. Or alternatively, that's just me getting into English mode. ;)

Anyway, brilliant stuff, and I'm looking forward to whatever wonderful tidbits of madness you unleash upon the forum next. :D
User avatar
Colonel Mustard
 
Posts: 711
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:58 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Board index

Return to Warhammer Adrift

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests