The Prophet's War

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The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:54 am

Chapter 1

The soldier travelled his evening patrol route cautiously, his weapon slung loosely about the shoulder and his rank of subedar crest stamped on his drab red combat armour.

A medallion of the pantheon star hung from his neck and the same sigil was carved on his crimson helmet and rebreather unit.

Lorterstown’s inner blocks were annoyingly claustrophobic and compact, but their deserted roads and alleys were easy to guard, single man patrol was the norm since the second purge of the township, not many were left to resist the garrison.

The subedar had volunteered when the time came for his squad’s rotation, to the surprise of his worn troopers; he wanted them to rest after the successful prosecution of their sacred duties in the southern provinces.

He had deemed their efforts against the enemy as exemplary; commendations and citations were already given out by his Sardar-Commander.

Yet there was another reason for his volunteering; he had regret in his heart, the loss of two of his senior warriors was a personal blow for they were his rivals as much as trusted comrades.

He remembered the two lost, whose names shall be mourned till his oath-end.

The remembrance was broken when the subedar heard the shuffling and clinking of chains and barked commands with threats tailing them.

Around the corner from his route the subedar came across a gang of the enslaved, bound to each other by thick black chains and filthy rusting manacles draped in tattered clothing, they were directed and whipped by a throng of interdictor-guards.

The subedar paused for a moment and watched the wretched beings whitewashing an old group of Administratum buildings of the signs and words of their old masters, farther down the street a group of ordained acolytes, new converts to the True Faith scribbled runes and symbols that assailed their minds and dreams, an after effect of the initiation rites to the Temple of the Warp Pantheon.

A skull on impeller-fields studded with red visual slits and clusters of antennas scanned the writings and gleaned some information from them that was beyond the subedar.

Then it began to chitter, click and whistle at a particular section of the wall.

One of the acolytes began to claw at the wall and mutter something he was not close enough to comprehend. A team of interdictors unlocked his fetters and was thrown into a battered truck nearby.

The subedar noticed four other emaciated and filthy figures inside the truck gibber and dribble like idiots as the newcomer was thrown in.

A nearby interdictor approached him and raised his free hand in a salute with a clash of his mailed fist over his breastplate, “No, troubles here, serkar.”

The subedar casually returned the salute and nodded to the truck, “What was that about?”

“He drew a falsified sigil, he is being removed for blasphemy, serkar” the interdictor explained in a monotone voice.

“Just shoot them all and of to the butchers with their remains,” the subedar flicked his hand at the truck unceremoniously and walked away from the interdictor.

A few steps back into his patrol, a familiar half track carrier advanced down the main central road and the driver gave a hearty wave and halted the carrier.

The Subedar recognized the four eyed driver named Vargu as his squad’s assigned driver during their southern campaign.

“Subedar Haum, by the gods it is well to see you, what brings a Sedukhar like you amongst the wretches?”

The Subedar nodded and studied the scaled face of the driver, “It is good to see you, Var, I am on patrol duty for now.”

The driver looked surprised, “A Subedar? A Serapis even, serkar?”

“Why not? Only fair that my warriors sleep while I share their burden, and my familial name is for me alone to speak,” he chuckled, “Lest I rip your tongue and feed it to my dogs.”

The driver nervously smiled exposing brown, dirty teeth.

A random vox blurt distracted the driver for a moment and he reached the cabin vox and began twisting the dials,

“Damned, signals, been playing havoc all morning, serkar. Fleet was on alert was the notice, now it is all jumbled.”

Haum was about to ask why, when a blinding explosion ripped through the building across the street, vaporising a group of interdictors and a dozen of the chained acolytes working on the walls.

The subedar was thrown from his feet and fell hard onto the wall of the old hab unit ten meters from where he stood.

He began to sink into blackness an abyss of nothing, his mind aflame with searing heat. A sudden flash brought him back from the brink as a bang sounded somewhere close to him.

Something hard smacked into his rib, winded and half-conscious Haum fought to gain his bearings, willing to draw strength from the pain of the impact.

His combat training took over, instinctively he started to crawl away from the firestorm he felt through his faceplate, shots smacked the ground about him, a lancing pain shot through his ribs once again and then dissipated, he felt something hard ricochet from his helmet and jerked his head up, he spotted a blown out and open window.

An exit from the combat.

Using all the strength he had left the Haum Serapis dragged himself into the window of the building he was thrown against; shots chased his retreat and puffs of plascrete and pulverized masonry spat from the abused walls of the place.

The subedar collapsed onto the floor as shots whined above him through the window, he sat there for a moment, thinking, trying to clear his head from the deafening combat and the dull throb in the back of his head.

Slowly gaining trusting his training he groped for his rifle, he found the strap but the rifle was missing, he cursed under his rebreather and threw the strap away.

He reached to his aching rib and felt a still hot gash through his gloves, intense weapons fire sounded outside followed by the rush of boots and shouting men.

Someone began banging on the door, and then he heard the sound of boots ramming against the frame of it.
The enemy was trying to get in.

He needed a weapon, the subedar reached for his sidearm and pulled it from its holster, he checked the charge of the laspistol, it was a full green, ten shots, and he had to make it count.

Suddenly the door blew off its hinges and men in light blue and white urban combat fatigues and flak vests barged in rifles to their cheeks.

They weren’t his outfit.

Instinct and training suddenly gave him purpose, he immediately knew what to do, he took aim and fired.

The pistol cracked and whined twice in his hand as he put two cauterized holes through the visors of the first two troopers, but the third leapt away from the door toward a cabinet and flipped the nearby heavy table over as cover.

The sedukhar was on his feet and he ran behind a couch as a dozen las shots splintered the wall he was leaning on, just a second ago. Something clipped his shoulder pad and the sizzling smell of blood entered his nostrils.

Ignoring the pain Haum raised his profile up to a crouch; his pistol aimed at the approximate area of the third trooper and fired three shots.

Haum heard a howl and the trooper broke cover with a bayonet affixed lasrifle and charged at the couch the subedar was behind, just then two more soldiers ran into the building weapons up.

The Subedar weighed his options, none of them were good, he was bleeding, nearly out of ammunition and he was sure that the world had just been invaded by the Imperials.

So as pragmatic as he always was accused of the subedar drew his long war-knife, reciting the sacred philosophies of his oathed Eighth Host in his mind, he prepared for death as a Sedukhar should.

With a terrible battle cry to his beloved Prophet, Haum leapt over the shot up couch and laid into the advancing trooper.

The bayonet wielding imperial lunged at him, but Haum tried to avoid the thrust; a combination of poor stance and luck the knife connected with his combat armour which slid the weapon harmlessly over his shoulder guard, the subedar thrust his blade into the exposed neck of the trooper in return, with a gush of blood the tip erupted on the nape of his neck, severing the imperial soldier’s spine.

A momentary struggle the body fell limp on to the subedar, gathering his last reserves of strength and pushed ahead with the body as a shield, the other two troopers fired and the subedar fired the last of his shots in reply all the while advancing at them.

The two remaining imperials fell dead one shot in the neck the other through his visor, the subedar stood there, the limp body resting on him, his knife still stuck in the enemy throat and wondered how he is still alive collapsing back onto the floor in exhaustion.

He breathed heavily and fiddled with his rebreather pressure controls, a hiss emanated from his air-mixture tank by his hip as Haum felt a rush of sacred and blessed fumes from the healing temples seep into his body.

Clarity began to return along with some strength, he sat upright among the bodies of the dead imperials, he sat there and breathed deeply from his rebreather for a few moments and turned the small tank off as he rose back up.

“Blood for the blood god!” Haum whispered as he raised the dead imperial up and pried the knife out of his neck, he let go of the body unceremoniously.

Haum discharged the expended cell from the pistol and retrieved a spare cell for his weapon, slotting it home with a click and whine he checked the scene once more.

Learning from the enemy dead was a tactical as well as practical priority; the persecution of this crusade and war itself against the Imperium would only succeed through the understanding of the enemy.

The theories and lectures given by the Disciples of Khas said as much, to fight any threat; one must first know what it is.

Haum noticed that they all wore the same fatigues and armour; most carried a lasrifle of a pattern he was unfamiliar with. However he did identify them as guardsmen and the patched on their shoulders indicated that they were Elysian, it meant nothing to him.

Haum grunted in pain as he bent down and picked up the weapon, a sudden thunderous quake shook the building and heard more of the weapons fire and the rattle of tanks outside, he paused.

Tanks.

Something wasn’t right here, slowly Haum approached the window he came through and peered out at the smoke and fire filled street, mobs of Imperial Guardsmen were racing through it and a couple of immense beastly tanks in rust brown and beige began rolling steadily and firing at distant targets.

The subedar was still amazed at how the Imperials had so thoroughly vexed the planetary defences and landed right into the heart and meat of their occupation in the north-eastern sectors.

Something began clicking in his ear, he realised his vox was still online, he thanked the Gods and dialled his squad code, he got static in reply.

He dialled his company code.

Nothing.

Haum began fearing the worst now.

He feared that he maybe alone, surrounded by enemies.
Last edited by exitus_10 on Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:42 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:26 pm

Chapter 2

The world of Kanith was a cold and ruined battlefield, one of the many worlds fallen to the sweeping advance of the Chaos armies within the sub-sector from the Vales.

A reply from the Prophet, beloved of the Gods, for the dishonour they did to him and to pursue the destiny of return; the conquest of worlds that would start the fall of the Imperium.

Fire, war and riches awaited them beyond the Vale, an entire empire decadent in their ways and corrupt in faith, at the verge of dying yet powerful in arms.

The promises, the pacts, the sheer amount of sacrifices that each of the worlds had made were immense, the conversion of entire populations in to the war machine of the prophet.

Such glories and horrors he had seen, all in the name of the True Gods, the monoliths of the warp who ruled and saw all.

Haum considered these things when he awoke that cold, ruined morning under a roof full of the dead guardsmen.
The situation outside his shelter was worse than he had suspected, combat was still in full swing outside.

With his stolen lasgun and a grim outlook, Haum deigned to break out and find a way out of the town.

First he needed to get a bearing on how to get out of the town and where to run; he fished into one of his pouches and came away with an old cracked and folded map that came with his garrison order.

He splayed the old map flat on a table and began to trace his hand on the street lines and crude markings that constituted the parts of the town and the roads out.

According to what he remembered before the attack he was on the single large main street that bisected the town into two sections, the north section and the south section. Haum reckoned himself to be somewhere near the north west of the northern section, three hundred meters from the north-west barracks.

He began checking all the landmarks he could see from the windows of what he found were a leisurely two storied summer house of the previous owners.

Haum spied a firestorm over the north-west barracks, to the south near his barrack there was smoke plumes leading toward the watchtower near his barrack he heard and saw flashes of heavy fighting and explosions about that area, the barrack resisted still; but distant lumbering forms of advancing tanks and collapsing buildings indicated it won’t be for much longer.

Haum observed that his only way out was the south-east; the fighting hadn’t spread toward the area for some unknown reason, he hoped that was because it was still in garrison hands.

The subedar collected his weapon and slowly crept toward the door, cautiously aiming his weapon at the street outside.

As he reached the door frame the subedar swung his rifle up and checked either stretches of the road, he carefully stepped outside and saw two enemy troopers jogging away from him.

Haum took aim and fired, the subedar found that the weapon was light and did not kick as much as the rifle he used; the lasgun sprayed a brilliant flash of solid blue rounds that ripped and shredded the unwary guardsmen, both fell ignorant of their killer.

Wearily, Haum approached the bodies carefully covering all corners of the nearby buildings and alleys, advancing down the ruined street his rifle up to his chin and his posture intent on harm.

He kicked over one of the bodies and saw that they were wearing a different set of fatigues to the dead Elysians, he couldn’t identify the patches as they were burnt and scored by his las shots, he kicked the other one over.

This one wasn’t dead and gurgled something, Haum put a round into his heart as soon as he memorized the patch; the two were from the 74th Hekartus Armoured.

A sudden noise startled Haum, his rifle raised the subedar began scanning the long stretch of road before him. He heard the clattering and grunting of a engine.

Two buildings over a palisade collapsed as a armoured vehicle crunched onto the street on broad tracks.

Haum was immediately on his feet and running, the tank behind him turned its cannon toward him and fired.

The shell went over his head and hit the terrace of a building adjacent to Haum, autoguns and las bolts chased his retreat as he turned into an alley and gathered speed to vault a chain fence.

Haum felt his chest compress as he laboured himself, the wound at his ribs ached; his booted feet propelled him forward, he grabbed the top railing of the fence and hauled himself over the fence on to an opposite street.

He checked the street and found it abandoned, he turned to his planned route and began advancing to the south-east.

Within a few moments Haum came across three dozen dead, all imperials gunned down in a compact alley.
The next street over, Haum came across Subedar Rushil and his squad, all dead and before them lay the three ruined Chimera carriers and two dozen dead guardsmen.

A good account, Haum concluded as he picked through the dead comrades. He discarded his stolen weapon and took Rushil’s more familiar pattern lasgun stamped with the icon of the pantheon star and the bead charms of Rushil’s clan; he also took the explosives on the soldiers and a rocket launcher he slung across his back.

In one of the packs he found a small chapbook stamped with the black sigil of the Prophet, the chaos star over the Eternal Flame.

In a silent moment of loneliness, he kissed the book and touched it to the temples of the dead and muttered a short prayer before leaving.

He found his lonely walk exhausting and futile at times.

Street after street was littered with the dead and dying populace or defenders of the town, he came across a few scampering locals who grovelled and prayed to him for protection, he shot the first few so the others wouldn’t approach him, after that they kept out of his way.

Within the hour of his trek however he came across a firefight between a throng of red armoured Sedukhar troopers and a company of Elysian guardsmen with a behemoth tank with the Hekartus Armoured crest.

The troopers were stuck in a wide clothing complex and were hemmed in toward the central plaza where they held against the assaulting Elysians, the tank was firing volleys into the building weakening its structure intent on burying the warriors inside.

Knowing his vantage in the firefight, he approached the rear of the engaging unit, he noticed that in the haste to assault they had not covered their rear and were wide open to insurgency, he smiled beneath his rebreather.

The first two troopers beside the tank wielding long las sniper rifles did not hear him approach, with two quick shots he put them down.

A fire team adjacent the snipers, in cover noticed the lack of suppressing fire from nearby and turned to see the Subedar aiming his rocket launcher at them, before they could react the fire-team erupted in a wash of fire and blood.

Without losing a moment he threw the launcher down and swung up his Rushil’s lasgun and shot down another three of the Elysians before approaching the tank, he removed the explosives from his belt and set it near the growling engine block of the vehicle’s rear.

Haum set the timer and looked up to see a dozen Elysians advancing toward him, he began to fire from his hip and retreat.

The guardsmen began firing and advancing toward the doomed tank as Haum fell back to a nearby husk of a once-vehicle and leapt behind it; the tank erupted in a massive fireball within moments and the clutch of guardsmen after him perished in the fire of the tanks death.

The confused Elysians’ fire began to drop as they tried to comprehend why their tank had just exploded and began to mill about in confusion.

Haum reloaded his rifle and affixed war blade to the rifle, with a cry to Khorne he charged out and shot three more of the enemy, bayoneted the fourth kicked, the fifth down and shot him in the head, two shots punched his shoulder and breast plate, another deflected from his face plate and cracked his glare-visor, more shots blistered the air around the lone Sedukhar and drove him back to cover behind the ruined land car.

Ducking from fire behind the husk of the car, Haum checked himself and found no new wounds, other than an aching jaw and a malfunctioning rebreather, otherwise he was combat ready; replacing his spent las cell Haum took a firing position he rose and advanced again his rifle spat precise las bolts taking down the approaching Elysians.

The two Sedukhar squads freed from the enemy suppression advanced across the open entrance of the building and caught the retreating Elysians in disciplined volleys, a stubber team set up and hosed the area gunning a dozen guardsmen before changing position.

The troopers cheered as they advanced against the Elysians, their war knives in hand, howling oaths to the gods and throwing whistling axe-grenades that hacked into running bodies and exploded.

Two of them fell to the few Elysians still keeping their wits.

Haum lobbed a few of his scrounged grenades at the Elysians and charged out firing from the hip until his weapon clicked dry, he reloaded while advancing.

Within moments last of the most of the Elysians were dead or dying; the freed Sedukhar had killed most of the remnants of the company, the shot them down, cursing them and laughed as they died praising the gods for their deliverance. They set about immediately looting and taking trophies from the dead.

Subedar Haum watched them warily and walked slowly toward the cheering troopers, his rifle gripped across his chest his finger on the trigger.

“Who leads here?” Haum asked with as much authority as he can muster present in his tired voice.

The surprised troopers looked up at Haum from their trophy taking and then at each other unsure of what to make of the new comer.

“And who are you of the sacred Hosts to ask us that?” asked one of the troopers who stood aside.

Haum tapped his battered breastplate’s sigil, “So fast you forget to recognize by rank, warrior. Subedar Haum, Sedukhar Eighth Host, Tenth Brigade.”

The troopers suddenly felt cowed and withdrew from the bodies bowing their heads in compliance.

One of them stepped forward; this one wore an open faced helmet like his kin and had scarred armour and a young, dirt streaked face, “We apologize subedar, the blood of battle courses through us. This is our first time and the Blood Lord’s call echoes in our skulls.”

Haum grunted in amusement, “You are fresh bloods?”

The youth bristled at the title, “We are hunters all, but warriors we are not yet, serkar.”

Haum chuckled and shook his head, “What clans do you oath to?”

The soldiers all looked at the helmetless youth, “Keshar house, Subedar Haum. I am Reigner Kobutha’s first son, Kolan. These are my brothers and sisters oathed with me, born on the same day and all oathed to my father.”
Haum unclasped his damaged helm and uncoupled his rebreather set and threw it on the ground, he took a deep breath of the burning, bloody air.

“It is suffocating wearing that all the time. You have the right idea, Kolan, an open helmet without the damned gear”, he said indicating at his ruined helmet.

The youth studied Haum’s lined and scarred face carefully, the bronzed skin and the reptilian eyes and the ridged chin indicated he was one of the warriors from the central clans of their homeworld Khedur, possibly a clansman from the venerable Serapis hordes Kolan concluded.

“We...were certain we would perish here. But for the miracle of the metal beasts death.”

“Metal beast...the tank you mean? Yes? No miracle that. I did that.”

The troopers’ eyes widened in surprise, “You are of the bravest clans then, my subedar.”

“I suppose I am,” Haum replied with amusement in his tone, “You are now nominally under my command.”

The warriors all drew their blades in a ceremonious move. Haum raised his gloved hand and stopped them.

“Oaths are during the eve of wars and battles, not in the middle of a war. Now tell me this, what in the hells is happening here? My vox set is malfunctioning and the sudden appearance of all these guardsmen vexes me.”

“The enemy fell from the sky, much like how we came here, except that they flew with metal boxes on their backs, subedar,” the youth explained, “Weapons on ships bigger than mountains shot out pieces of this place to hell. I saw them float west in the sky.”

Haum nodded and considered the information for a moment; the boy was describing orbital strikes by ships in-atmosphere, that must mean the fleet was compromised he listened to the others explain how the ‘sky split as loud ships spewed men at them,’ yet he could not make sense of the time frame or the sudden assault so deep into the conquered systems.

He must have been knocked out for a long time for the imperials to touch down right after an orbital strike. He shook the thought from his head and looked back at the troopers.

“Why are your lot and you here? I don’t believe young warriors are sent to garrison duties.”

“We were here on a combat purge in one of the outer hamlets, subedar, under the command of Sardar Feghan North-West barracks.”

Haum tutted, Ferghan was a senior commander of his brigade, “He is most likely dead. Last I saw his barracks, it was on fire.”

Kolan looked upset at this and whispered something under his breath gripping a charm around his neck.

“You can pray later, young blood,” Haum explained as he beckoned to the soldiers about him, “Now our task is to leave this place and warn our brother hosts that the enemy is come.”

The young Kolan nodded, “Lead us then, subedar. We will follow you and learn.”

Haum smiled and led the way out of the doomed town.
Last edited by exitus_10 on Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby kurisawa » Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:41 am

Hey exitus_10,

I'm sorry to say I didn't get all the way through this, but I focused on the opening and decided to give some precise feedback, which you of course are free to completely ignore! :lol:

The soldier travelled his evening patrol route solemnly, his weapon slung about his shoulder and his rank of subedar crest stamped on his drab red combat armour.


OK. This is good because it starts with something happening now, even though it is a pretty quiet and ungripping starting sentence. To improve your "hook", I would have started with; "What was that?" he gripped his rifle and peered into the shadows. (Or something like that)

But let's stick to your version. I'm not sure about the pairing of the verb travelled and adverb solemnly. A single, stronger verb, like "executed his evening patrol, rifle slung tight" might be more interesting.

A medallion of the pantheon star hung from his neck and the same sigil was carved on his crimson helmet and rebreather unit.


Nice, sharp bit of description there.

A unit patch on his brown fatigues with sigil and six blades indicated he was of the Sixth Clan Company.


OK, but seems a little too much information for now.

Confined roads and alleys of Lorterstown’s inner blocks were annoyingly compact, but easy to guard, single man patrol was the norm and that day the subedar had volunteered for his squad’s rotation, to the surprise of his troopers, he wanted them to rest after the successful persecution for their sacred duties in the southern provinces.


Confined as an adjective made me think of someone in prison. Maybe you could simplify to, "The compact roads were claustrophobic but easy to patrol." I was surprised any military unit would use single-man patrols. The volunteering thing started some alarms bells ringing for me. You are painting him as a nice guy, then? A chaos traitor? Are we getting a chaos mary-sue character here?

Three entire regiments of the enemy were engaged and destroyed in a major action near the southern massifs.


Uh oh. This is called infodumping. You, the writer, are dumping information directly to the reader, and stopping the story (the patrol) dead in the process. Little chunks are ok, if important and timely, but there are better ways to get this information to us.

'Got three whole regiments of the scum!' the subedar raised a mug of ale in toast.
'In one nice charge!' cheered his second.

He still remembered the day as he marched with his oathed outfit; the Eighth Host of the Sedukh Warclans, the Sedukhar, tithed to the Lord Prophet Khas in his holy war-effort.

They had just been assigned garrison duty after their scouring and had told his men to get all the rest they needed while he patrolled.


Yeah, you're dumping more here now, so I thought it better to stop reading and give this feedback to you. If this is very important, perhaps you should start the story in the middle of that battle so you can show the reader what happened instead of just telling us.

He was a harsh taskmaster, but their efforts against the PDF were exemplary, commendations and citations were already given out by their Sardar-Commander.


Beware describing someone as a harsh taskmaster then showing, through their actions, that person to be precisely the opposite.

Right then. Crit finished. Hope it is not too blunt, but I feel it important to be honest and try to give ideas to help you make what might be a good story better.


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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:53 am

Hello, kurisawa.

kurisawa wrote:OK. This is good because it starts with something happening now, even though it is a pretty quiet and ungripping starting sentence. To improve your "hook", I would have started with; "What was that?" he gripped his rifle and peered into the shadows. (Or something like that)

I did not want a eventful start, it was always going to be a build toward it. Also changes made.

kurisawa wrote:Confined as an adjective made me think of someone in prison. Maybe you could simplify to, "The compact roads were claustrophobic but easy to patrol." I was surprised any military unit would use single-man patrols. The volunteering thing started some alarms bells ringing for me. You are painting him as a nice guy, then? A chaos traitor? Are we getting a chaos mary-sue character here?

I have made changes. Explanation for the single-man patrols. He is not a mary-sue, neither is he a traitor in the IG sense. Not a mary-sue, but plot armour.

kurisawa wrote:Uh oh. This is called infodumping. You, the writer, are dumping information directly to the reader, and stopping the story (the patrol) dead in the process. Little chunks are ok, if important and timely, but there are better ways to get this information to us.

'Got three whole regiments of the scum!' the subedar raised a mug of ale in toast.
'In one nice charge!' cheered his second.


Yeah, you're dumping more here now, so I thought it better to stop reading and give this feedback to you. If this is very important, perhaps you should start the story in the middle of that battle so you can show the reader what happened instead of just telling us.


Took out entire parts of it, re wrote it.

kurisawa wrote:Beware describing someone as a harsh taskmaster then showing, through their actions, that person to be precisely the opposite.


Once again reasoning is given.


Also being blunt meant telling the truth. Truth never hurts that bad.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:15 am

Chapter 3

Haum looked back at the darkening sky over the doomed town and gritted his teeth in frustration watching the dozens of gunships and fat bellied troop ferries descend in a huge tide from the roiling sky above the burning town.

He had been in major battles before, fighting from the front and committing necessary massacres to keep the conquered enemy compliant and please the gods with sacrifices, he had seen and done things that would turn the stomach of lesser men, yet this was one of the most awesome sights, mass invasion by the Imperials was something his own Host could not pull off which such precision and ferocity.

The rest of his ragtag group of survivours watched the scene in awe and confusion. Two of their number was missing, casualties of the breakout when they deigned to fight their way out of the doomed township.

They ambushed a platoon of local resistance fighters near the south barracks and managed to link up with a motorized company of Interdictors riding six-wheeled light tanks and a few battered old hauler trucks on their way out of the south gatehouse which was still under Interdictors control.

Haum found the Interdictor’s a strange and thoroughly alien arm of the Prophet’s war-machine; supposedly they were as vital as the soldiery, they were the body that ensured the host-command's conquests were utilised, protected and requisitioned to help the enormous war-effort to bring the Imperial systems to heel. In essence the Interdictors were the suppression, conversion and propaganda enforcement troops assigned to oversee the citizenry and police them and ensure that they were compliant to their sacred cause.

A way to pause the widespread pogroms that were the norm of the early years of the crusade, the Prophet deigned that the population need not be wasted but used as a source of labour, spare organs and limbs or even meals for some of the maneater warriors like the Amuligar Hosts.

The interdictor leader, titled as an Akan, or company head, had told him that host command believes the enemy had been waiting beyond the third planet with a full fleet muster and had coordinated a enormous offensive in concert with the dozen PDF regiments that remained and scores of resistance groups across thirty-seven prefectures that had sprung up in the aftermath of the invasion.

The Akan had explained with a measure of uneasiness that all host forces were ordered retreat from the entire north-eastern frontier and to report to third reserve lines seventy miles to the west.

Then the enemy forces had attacked in terrifying force; compact buggy like vehicles with las and auto cannons sliced into them, Haum and his throng barely made it away from the exploding Interdictors vehicles and they fled past the barracks and into the outskirts of the town. From there they had run into the open fields that surrounded the township.

Haum saw the soldiery from other units flee into the surrounding woodlands and thicket covered hills, most were being harassed by flights of gunships.

They were lucky as they fled over toward the west highway, the gunships were more interested with the fleeing armour units

Between the Sedukhar squad and the highway lay a series of flood mounds, stop banks created to collect and irrigate water into the surrounding farms which were now just abandoned graveyards to the thousands of dead from the occupation.

"Heads down and follow, dont get sluggish, you runts, keep up," Haum ordered as he walked past the youngster Kolan.

"We are hunting, subedar?" Kolan asked eagerly, but to no avail as Haum simply walked past without replying.

Kolan snorted and looked at the scene around him anxiously as his comrades began to huddle and chant prayers of protection clutching their totems and beads. He found the whole ordeal slightly unnerving and utterly alien to all his experiences, just like his hunters, he nodded to those looking at him for guidance with agreement and fingered his own totem of witch bone around his neck.

In a foreign land, with sworn brothers and sisters fighting now what seemed like a losing battle, yet led by a veteran subedar who saved them and still kept his wits about him in all the confusion.

Kolan looked down at his boots and grimaced at the sticky mud coating it, the high raised banks were mostly dry, but the recent rains had made the mud on the troughs between slippery and slick with mud.

The young hunter watched his hunters all struggled and slipped in the mud; they did not stick to advance patterns the subedar had explained to them and were acting up , showing to be a poorly trained force, or atleast that is what the subedar kept telling him.

Kolan had watched helplessely as Haum admonished fully half of the troopers in the past half-hour for not keeping line discipline and making too much sound advancing in compromised territory.

He heard the subedar grunt in anger and bark something about the plummeting quality of the warriors as more and more replacement’s were being asked of the Sedukh.

Never had Kolan ever expected to such sentiment from a subedar, he was disillusioned and at times dissapointed at what he heard, the more he experienced the way the subedar led, the more he doubted the subedar's ability, there was no bond, there was no connection, only commands. Yet that was not the worst of it, his words, the cruel swearing and oaths thrown at his lot being an untrained force, of being ametuers and a burden.

Such audacity!

Only he had the authority for such things, he was a Chieftan's Son!

Not some dustbowl rat to be smacked around as he watched his kin be sworn at and kicked about!


Kolan sighed at the misfortunes of the past day that seemed to be testing his resolve, he was getting angry, he wanted Haum acknowledge him as the leader of the hunters, as a peer, or he would have to kill him, he was sure of it.

Close to the last bank, Haum called for a halt and the ragtag force of Sedukhar crouched amidst the tall grass that grew from the wet mud at the foot of the unkempt embankment trying to stay low as gunships made random passes overhead.

Haum climbed up to the edge of the embankment and looked out the road fifty meters away, he smiled as a plan came to him.

Kolan walked toward Haum who was looking west toward the highway and peered that way.

“Subedar...we are alone, I wish to speak like an equal, serkar. This...”

“We need vehicles to get out of here,” Haum cut in as he lifted his salvaged magnoculors to his reptilian eyes, over to the west highway where he spied a group of armour units fleeing in full speed, and to their sides lay a row of abandoned vehicles, pock marked with gunfire and rocket impacts.

“There,” Haum said pointing at the distant forms of a pair of abandoned half track carriers.

Kolan felt annoyed at the slight his one hand fiddled with the totem as the other crawled toward his blade.

“What?” he blurted out unceromoniously.

“Our rides, abandoned armoured carriers,” he explained smoothly as he removed the magnoculors from his eyes and looked back at the rabble he led, “Can any of you fools drive a vehicle?”

The huddled and crouched soldiers all looked at each other and Kolan.

Haum grimaced in annoyance, “I asked you a damned question! Have any of you driven hunt vehicles or airships?”

Three of them raised their hands, the first one stood, “I am Euran Ilko, serkar, oathed to the clan...”

Haum raised his hand, “Names will be fine for now, rat, formal introductions after we kill our way out of here and I am drilling you lot out of your stupidity.”

The group began to growl and threaten at the heaping disrespect, Euran simply nodded and stood rigidly to attention, the subedar indicated the other two up, one was a young woman with a purple and red eyes which switched every time she blinked, there was a strange beauty there behind the dirt and grit on her sweet face.

“G’jan Salur, serkar,” she said smartly and raised her rifle in salute.

Haum nodded, “Switch your damned safety, you are in a combat zone fool.”

The girl simply followed the order and looked unfazed. Haum noted the calm demenour and filed it away in his mind.

The last one was a burly, muscled youth with thick and heavy shoulders and a tall stature, his face was a mess of fang like tattoos of the Amaru clans, “Heku Amaru, serkar,” he growled as he slapped his meaty palm to his tiny bone-fang covered rifle.

“A Amaru walks among us, are you as worthless as your misbegotten clan or are you willing to show me the might you bear in the field?”

"Gladly you horde scum!" Heku growled as he lunged at the subedar his right fist aimed at Haum's face.

Haum expertly dodged the blow and grabbed the youth's wrist and gave a swift blow to his armpit below the armour followed by a grappling throw that landed the youth face down in the mud.

Haum gave a strange smile, "Good, atleast one of you is worth my time," he explained as he kicked the recovering Heku in the rib once more. "Get up and back in line, anyone else?"

The rest of the group Kolan included just stared dumbstruck at the subedar for a moment, Haum nodded to himself satisfied and beckoned the two standing hunters toward him and they helped pick the fallen youth up to his feet, Haum picked out four more that he had noted to have potential.

They were , Tejh Orik, Jeth Orik the twins, Mej Arin a sharpshooter with a repurposed and scoped autorifle and Soca Rau a silent brooding trooper who kept a long hunting knife and a silenced pistol at his waist.

“You rats will be my strike team, I will lead you,” the seven chosen looked at each other and seemed fairly pleased with the selection, "You deviate, you die. Or I will kill you, bastard of Kobutha."

Kolan howled in anger at the insult and charged at Haum, anticipating this Haum turned to face him and easily deflected the first blow toward his face with his forearm, he anticipated the second fist and caught it with a slap on his palm before it landed on target, he squeezed the fist in place and within the same second rammed his other arm's elbow into Kolan's chestplate cracking it, while winding and throwing Kolan to the ground.

The new bloods watched the scene in shock, utterly captivated by the savagery of the subedar, the admiration for strength and ability was bred into all who were born of Sedukh and a culture of martial dominance and violence was the way of their home.

“You do not hold any sway here, little man, your father is a coward and you are his bastard,” Haum explained as he approached the sprawled and gasping hunter and knelt beside him, a knife flashed in his hand, "disobey me and raise your hand again I will gut you and eat your heart you pampered little shit. I am already having a bad day, your death will only make it sweeter, understood?"

Kolan lay there smouldering in anger and pain, but he had to assent, he gave a disheartened "Yes, serkar!"

"Good, now get up and watch carefully, no deviations, no running away. This is it you shameless rotten rats."

The subedar began drawing the plan of approach on the dirt he stood on with his blade as Kolan struggled getting up, he grolwed at those who came to help him, he now saw what the subedar was doing. He was creating a split in his hunters, already a portion was behind Haum, his chosen and the a number of others were impressed by the strength of the subedar. Kolan at that moment realised he could not best Haum and shooting him in the back will only end with everyone shooting each other. Old rivalries will be reborn and half of the oathed behind him would turn the moment they saw that heriarchy through prowess meant nothing and those behind the subedar, like the dog Soca would gut him if he the subedar lost his chance. He had to be careful, he realised, Haum was more cunning than he expected.

“Kolan," Haum called to him breaking the young man from his reverie, "Listen well you Reigner Bastard, you will split your hunters in two fire-teams, one will advance behind my strike team, the second fire-team will approach from the flank with rocket launchers and heavy weapons.”

“If we suffer resistance, and we will, I want you to sweep in from the flank, you lay down a field of fire with your fire-team and secure a position for the heavies to get in place, you advance, create a fire line, let the second fire team follow, understand?”

Kolan looked at the commands and looked at his oathed and then back at Haum who spoke still.

Haum paused and grabbed Kolan by his las strap, “You will not engage, until we do, is that clear?”

Kolan snarled, “Yes,”

"Yes, serkar!" Haum growled as he backhanded Kolan's face.

Kolan seethed with caged frustration and hatred for the subedar, "Yes Serkar!" he whispered through gritted teeth.

"Louder, heathen!" Haum ordered.

"Yes! Serkar!" Kolan screamed in anger.

Haum let Kolan go and swept his hand toward the highway.
Last edited by exitus_10 on Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:05 am

Chapter 4

The seven Haum had chosen moved with the awkward precision he expected from new recruits, they were clunky and noisy in their advance, their footing was off and their barrels were over cautiously raised.

The subedar learned half way into their advance that his group, even for all their initial merit lacked discipline and cooperation; Heku and the G’jan had some sort of connection because they kept sharing a look between each other; Haum assumed they were mates because they didn't seem to leave each other's side, this would be a problem in the long term.

Euran was slightly more irritable, he carried a stubber and kept making the most noise in their advance up the war torn highway, his bandoliers clattering with his charms and totems, the heavy weapon scraping and knocking into the smoking tank husks.

More than once Haum had to double back and chide the irritant for his careless manoeuvring, a swift knock to his forehead had seemed to drive the point home, he was much more careful in his advance.

The twins on the other hand worked great in unison but paid little heed to the others; they listened intently and watched with great reverence as Haum explained how to approach a stealthy advance, both of them seemed to only communicate between themselves and mostly avoided the others.

Both were armoured and armed the same way, even the rifles which were usually unique to every individual trooper was of the exact same mold, almost to every charm and totem upon the weapon was positioned in the same place, the only thing identifiable as unique between the two was the short braids, Jeth had it on his left while Tejh to his right. This would cause more problems as unity in squad order and command was expected for an efficient unit.

Soca and Mej were the only exceptions to his critique, they were the best of the lot and seemed to have a instinctive flair for stealth, they were silent and swift, almost as good as stalker-teams that formed the elite of the Sedukhar.

Mej cradled his sniper rifle with the care of a professional hunter and his subtle movements were admirable, emulating the old hunt technique used in the upland basins on Sedukh.

Soca on the other hand was a cold predator, deadly in his hunched movement, his calloused and scarred hands compressing between a fist and claw as he breathed, his right hand never too far from his blade and the other close to his pistol, a belt of fingers hung around his waist and a pair of scalps adorned the thigh guard. Typical tribal fetishes of teeth and ears wrapped around a shrunken eyeball hung from his thick neck.

Thirty meters down the highway lay the two abandoned carriers, the strike team moved forward slowly toward the burnt out carcasses of two large battle tanks.

Haum paused for a moment and signalled Mej over, "Count the enemy over there, by the first embankment trough toward the Highway."

Mej nodded raising his rifle, he carefully adjusted the scope to his eye and scanned the area ahead, debris and burnt out shells littered the roadway and then moved his sight toward the side of the road and past the bank.

There he spotted two dozen enemy troops in brown and grey with raised black rifles marched up from the town toward the highway scrambling up the steep bank toward the highway, behind them a company strong unit of more guardsmen was approaching in an swiftly.

Mej swore under his breath, “Subedar, I count over forty of the enemy in sight, twice as many beyond the second trench, maybe more.”

“Good, I can finally show you fools what a real battle is. Keep tracking the targets."

"Yes, serkar," Mej said as he relaxed his trigger depression and posture and rolled his tightening shoulder.

Haum ignored him and waved the rest of the team to him urging them to rally on him.

“It looks like this is it you rats, Mej and Euran, open up, once I do, keep your line clear and pick your targets. Tejh and Jeth, swing about right and shadow our advance and stay low, rest of you with me, we advance up the center.
Euran, you are my reserve driver, if either of the other two drivers are hit you are the replacement.”

The twins immediately broke off and settled along the ridge as the others nodded.

Haum grinned and looked at the rest, “Soca with me, Heku and G’jan behind us, eyes up and rifles on the ready, steady advance; start the vehicles as soon as we are close enough, clear you rats?”

“On my mark,” Haum chopped his hand and they began to advance.

Kolan watched as the figures in red began darting from wreck to wreck with commendable speed, following the subedar’s lead, he noticed the twins edge on the raised slope their heads down and their rifles up. He always found them to be the most distant and alien of those who had oath bound to him.
It seemed a lot more of them were distant and alien to him.

He watched as other figures in dark grey breastplates and brown fatigues of the invaders, the guardsmen, the subedar had called them suddenly appear near the wreck and shells of the burned out vehicles, one of them began checking the surroundings and aimed his rifle down to the woods where his fire-teams hid.

“They are close to the carriers, Master Kolan, should we assail them?”
Kolan felt an urge to order an attack, but he remembered Haum’s words, and Kolan was a man of his word, “It may indeed be time, brother. That fool Haum doesn’t know that we can take them. Let him make a fool of himself, first.”

The Sedukhar nodded and waited beside him obediently watching the approaching fire-team close in on the first lot of guardsmen that stood beside the abandoned carriers.

************************************************** *******************************

Subedar Haum watched the Guardsmen carefully go about their business celebrating prematurely; a banner man and another trooper with some sort of pict or capture device was gathering and lining men up to take picts. Haum carefully saw their patches, and identified one of their banners as of the Sarox Rangers; Haum had met them before in battle and knew they were tough bastards. The imperials knew how to raise a fighting man, Haum thought grimly as he inched closer to their target.

Soca crawled forward watching the subedar unsheathe his blade and gently part the laspistol from its holster, a trickle of sweat roll down from Soca’s constricted temple and down his cheek as he steadied his breathing and tried to channel the hunter within him; he hated the tight helmet and the taut combat armour that hugged to his sweaty fatigues. Yet he was utterly concentrating on approaching his target, to his right the subedar inched closer toward the enemy.

Both their targets were looking the wrong way with their backs facing them, watching and cheering the foolish guardsmen who were waving the banner in front of a burnt out tank, the subedar looked at Soca and then back at the drivers, he raised his pistol up.

“Now,” he ordered.

Soca leapt onto the first surprised guardsman, his tough arms wrapped around the target, his forearm squeezing his throat and drove his blade into the man’s shoulder in between his shoulder pad and breastplate, and his other hand began blazing his unsheathed autopistol at the surprised trooper taking the pict.

Soca grinned savagely as he shot the pictographer and three other Rangers, they dropped with wet thuds jerking as bullets pierced their face, arms and legs, to his left he heard the crack and whine of las pistol discharge, four more of the troopers toppled down.

With a cruel pull Soca wrenched the blade out of the weakening guardsman he supported and leapt for cover as return fire sizzled past his head, the twins appeared behind a ruined tank and catching a pair of Rangers off guard and killed them with perfect shots, they moved on to the guardsmen scattering for cover in the confusion.

Soca flashed his teeth savagely at the twins and shot two wounded Rangers on the ground, he approached the lip and shot two more guardsmen trying to clamber up the steep side, shots smacked the dirt around him and forced him to retreat from their line of sight, he turned about and settled behind a piece of broken tank skirt as cover and looked around, the twins were finishing off the last of the troopers, but farther down the road he saw the subedar and understood for the first time just how powerful Haum really was.

The man was a storm of death, he laid into five of the enemy, he shot the first in the face, slit the throat of the second, kicked a third’s legs from under him, slapped the barrel of the fourth aiming at him with his blade and shot the legs out from under him, the fifth staggered back as the subedar landed his knife through the Ranger’s visor, he dispatched the remaining fallen soldiers with shots to the head.

The twins moved up to him and began covering the subedar from the fresh troopers clambering from the slope onto the road.

Soca heard a stubber open up behind him with its steady thumping punctuated by solitary thwacks of Mej’s autorifle at targets below in the trough between the bank and the highway.

Heku and G’jan arrived beside him as he fired two shots into a trooper who emerged from a nearby wreck and dispatched another dying trooper on the ground with a blade to the throat.

“We need to move up and stop them!” shouted Haum as he reloaded and took position at the lip of the highway firing down at the clambering enemy.
The sedukhar all began to approach the lip and lay down fire at the advancing Guardsmen.

“Bloody hell,” the gruff Heku swore as he raised his gun and fired at the scores of Rangers scrambling up toward them, “I hope the subedar is right about this.”

G’jan gave a sultry laugh and nodded to the twins covering the subedar as he duelled with a enemy squad-leader, “He is the fine warrior,” she said over the roar of her rifle discharge, “I choose him over that damned Kolan any day.”

Soca simply stared at either of them and drew his lasrifle, “You should go start the carriers,”

G’jan acknowledged and withdrew, Heku made sure he finished his rounds before he withdrew and reloaded his weapon.

“Where the hell is that, Kolan?” grunted Heku as he laid down a new barrage of fire at the enemy.

Soca was too busy killing to answer or care.

************************************************** *****************************

Kolan saw his opportunity as the last of the guardsmen die and smiled; he raised his weapon and waved his hand forward, “Advance!”
Twenty warriors in two lines advanced up the slope chanting their war hymn, led by their oath master Kolan at the fore.

They clambered over the wrecked metal and dead to come across a busy pair of Soca and Heku emptying their chattering weapons into the enemy.
Beyond them a clutch of enemy soldiers were trying to advance up the slope, a company sized formation was assaulting this section of the highway, Kolan raised his rifle and fired a few shots at the approaching enemy, they went wide, he growled in anger and fired again, one of his shots stuck a Guardsman’s chest and a grenade cooked off killing two others beside him.

Kolan shouted in joy and began to fire wantonly at the clambering guardsmen.
Suddenly he had forgotten all the petty squabbling, he just wanted to kill, a strange rage was overcoming him. He began to shout his own name and fire at the enemy without regard for cover.

Suddenly a shot stuck his chest and threw him on to his back.
A powerful hand grabbed him by the shoulder and dragged him toward cover, “Stay down, rat, you got it? Stay here and shoot the bastards!”

Kolan looked up to see the Subedar with a bucking pistol in one hand dragging him with the other.

Strobes of las fire lit up the air about him, “You!” he screamed.
With a rush of adrenaline, Kolan pushed up to his feet slammed into an occupied Haum facing away from him, the tackle knocked the subedar to the ground, Kolan began raining blows on the prone subedar who began to raise his arms in defense.

Haum grinned beneath his shielding arms, now he can finally kill the bastard, he anticipated the next blow and grabbed the offending arm by the wrist while his other arm grabbed the upper bicep of Kolan’s other arm. With a grunt of effort Haum used his knee to leverage the young Kolan over and off of his body.

“You fight at all the wrong times, but your spirit is admirable,” Haum mocked as he raised himself up.

Kolan rolled over and got on his knee in a swift move a pistol appeared in his hand and fired.

Haum dodged the shot and rolled toward Kolan as another shot whistled past his ear, Haum grabbed Kolan’s wrist and squeezed, weakening the grip on his pistol, in almost the same instant Haum’s open palm struck Kolan’s jaw knocking him backward.

“You never learn do you, bastard son?” Haum explained as he loomed over the prone Kolan.

Haum looked down with contempt at his younger foe who struggled to recover from the blow to his jaw. Kolan strained hard as he looked up at the subedar standing unfazed as a rocket arced over him, overshot by some overzealous trooper and exploded, “Let us hope your hunters make better choices than you.”

“You will pay for this! Oathed of Reginer! Kill this traitor!” Kolan shouted over the sound of the raging battle.

No, single answer came to him, not a shot or a raised hand against the looming Haum

“Your oathed betray you, because they follow me,” he explained as he ripped the armour from Kolan’s chest.

Kolan realized that his oathed has seen the brief fight and the lack of intervention confirmed his worst fears, those who were loyal to him were either dead or turned.

“NO!” Kolan shouted in defiance and raised himself pushing the subedar of his person, “I will kill you, subedar!”

Kolan charged the subedar intent on killing him with his bare hands.
Haum slapped the speeding fist away from his chest and hammered two precise blows with a clenched fist to Kolan’s temple, right shoulder and a chopping blow to his axillery line, all pressure point blows that crippled the young master who fell to his knees like a defeated man.

“Now you know the shame of defeat, I claim all your inheritance and title. I seal this claim with your death,” Haum explained as his killers hands wrapped around Kolan’s throat.

With a quick twist Haum broke Kolan’s neck and let the body fall.
Haum looked up from a truimph only to see the defeat of the Sedukhar around him, they were being overwhelmed, they were dying.

To his left he heard the coughing and revving engines of the carrier bought to life dragging itself from the wreckage around it.

Soca the killer was there beside Haum, firing at the enemy with a salvaged rifle on full auto, he killed three troopers and looked down at the corpse of Kolan.

“May he burn for ever!” Soca spat on the corpse.

“He has all eternity for that,” Haum retorted as he picked up another weapon and fired at the clambering enemy.

A crashing sound turned him around to see a half-track ram through the carcass of a wrecked tank and swivel near him. The subedar activated his vox, “All warriors, converge to me, we are done here.”

Within moments a handful of warrior had gathered and filing into the transport, his strike team seemed the only unit in strength with the exception of Euran, “Where is Euran, Mej?”

Mej looked away toward the enemy, “They got him.”

“A fitting end then,” Haum looked at the blood and dirt caked faces and nodded to them, “This was a disaster but this isn’t the end.”

Haum watched the survivors of his chosen squad and noticed the three other survivours he knew as the brutish Samnir Gol, a silent woman named Eseth Jikra who veiled her face with a veil of chainmail, covering a giant with a rocket pod named Dersh Kurud as he darted to the transport.

The remaining warriors piled into the vehicle, Haum was the last one inside and hopped into the rear stubber cupola swivelling the weapon around and depressed the trigger spoon and hosing the advancing Rangers as they sped away down the abandoned highway.

Toward the distance Larterstown burnt with the fury of the Imperium.
Last edited by exitus_10 on Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:44 pm

Chapter 5

The half-track carrier had ridden the whole night until the fuel reserves had run dry and it was forced to pull over into an abandoned refuel station, where the subedar and his makeshift squad found little promethium, but enough to get them to the closest allied checkpoint, some three miles away.

Haum had established vox contact, after he was woken to the squawks of incoming signals on Host-Command frequencies, the situation was dire, and the emergency regroup signals were being broadcast on all the tertiary channels.

The next morning after their stop at the refuel station they reached the outer picket of the occupation forces.

A long line of scarred and battle-damaged vehicles waited revving their engines in impatience, troopers in the grey fatigues and scaled vests bearing the black trident over the chaos star sigil of the Vale-Host Footmen.

They patrolled the length of the vehicle queue in squad or fire team strength, huge wolf hounds with metal collars stalked amongst a few of them sniffing and smelling the vehicles.

Heavy Predator battle-tanks and the sleek and low Marauder mediums, rolled past the line carefully scanning the area, they were accompanied by a shoal of half-tracks with quad barrelled anti-air batteries on their backs. The vehicles were all painted in the dull grey and black of the Vale-Hosts.

The footmen were one of the hosts forged from the amalgamated tribes from the ten core-worlds who had joined the Prophet’s first conquests in the Vale. One of the Vale-Host Footman, with the three silver circles of a Bashur on his shoulder-guard, a squad-leader like Haum, approached the vehicle; he was tailed by a fire-team taking cautious tread as their counterpart team on the other side of the road stopped and began checking an old battered troop-truck in front of them.

The bashur approached the passenger side where Haum was seated and he reached into his pocket to pull out his identity slip; cards with tiny electoos pressed into cured human skin, his skin, it had his gene-print and officer record engrained.

“Greetings, serkar, may the warp-bless you,” the vox-grille on the bashur’s helmet grunted, behind the slits the eyes searched the crew and the vehicle carefully.

“Hail and salutations, serkar,” Haum returned as he passed his identification to the bashur.
The bashur was handed a datapad and he ran the card over the screen, data scrolled and he studied it carefully, after a moment he looked back up at Haum.

“Subedar Haum Serapis of the Sedukhar Brigades; your unit was listed as destroyed in Lorterstown,” he peeked into the driver’s cabin and into the back compartment; he saw the other tired and damaged figures talking and smoking amongst themselves, “they don’t match your squad description, serkar.”

The footmen surrounded the half track and the wolf hounds smelled anxiously at the damaged vehicle.

“They are not my squad, bashur...”

“Virah,” the bashur said with a bow of his helmeted head.

“Bashur Virah, my squad is most likely all on the soul-trek in the warp,” Haum said with a measure of regret in his voice, “I came across this lot, all recruits.”

Haum paused, “Am I being suspected, serkar?”

“Your identity checks out, serkar,” bashur Virah explained looking over his datapad and returned the card back to Haum, “But we have to be vigilant, serkar. There have been a lot of imperial infiltrators blowing bridges and ambushing supply and relief convoys from the western forts.”

“They have broken in past the lines?”

Virah sighed, “Orbitals, they have a huge advantage to drop troops all over the place, it is a nightmare.”

“Just how I find myself in this situation,” Haum chuckled emptily, devoid of the intended humour.

Virah nodded an assent and entered something into the datapad and handed it to a nearby trooper, “Well consider yourself lucky then brave subedar, less than a hundred of the Lorterstown garrison survived, that was one of the hardest hit zones of the enemy offensive. Host-command will commend you.”

Haum snorted, “There is no glory in loosing, bashur,” jerking his thumb to the line behind him, “No glory in waiting like pigs at a butchers.”

The bashur grunted in agreement, “I will continue my duties, serkar, you and your squad are re-enlisted as recovered, march with the fates,” he saluted Haum with a fist over his breastplate, the fire team followed suite.

Haum nodded in reply and stared ahead at the long line as they moved forward a few meters.
******************

An hour later when they were finally allowed into the outpost by a platoon of armed interdictors and were asked the same questions and biometrics as the Footmen Bashur had asked him; tired of the questions and processing Haum had shouted at them that he was impatient and that he needed to report to senior command.

An interdictor Akan finally appeared from the guardhouse, a bald man with a strange complexion and three horrific gashes that ran down his pale and hairless head to his shaven brows, a vox grill and rebreather fashioned like a howling mouth was set on the lower part of his face, a familiar click and hissing sounded from the device for assisted breathing.

He raised his mailed hand and placated Haum.

Grabbing the datapad from his junior the Akan read through with speed.

He looked up at Haum “Please, serkar; you will anger the Scions,” the Akan growled from his false-mouth as he nodded to a parked behemoth tank, “I have checked and processed your records, serkar, you are requisitioned to nearby fire base. Command is too busy to process you now, as they are coordinating a line.”

Six massive men, or higher men, in mud brown suits of baroque armour and massive blocky weapons sheathed, slung and holstered about them. They were all occupied either discussing something with Vale-Host officers’ or each other.

Except for one of them.

The one who wore no helmet who looked up from his conversation with a footman officer right into the cabin of Haum’s half-track.

Then he realised that it was Haum who the Chaos Marine was looking at. He averted his eyes from the holy warrior and rubbed the medallion on his neck like a charm.

“Serkar?” the Akan waited patiently before him.

The subedar shuddered and shook his head clear, “Fine...fine, where am I commanded to?”

“Motor Pool Camp A in Gaerin, a mile down this roadway, straight down and you will see others of my lot; they will lead you in,” the Akan replied smartly, with finality and marched away.

Haum told Heku to continue down the route, the gate neatly swung open and the half-track moved. Haum looked back at the Chaos Marine, the helmetless giant who had looked at him.

He was now conversing with the Akan reading a datapad, the Akan’s datapad.

The giant looked toward him once more as the half track slithered into the gate and past the guards.

Haum felt a small flutter of fear in his heart once more.
Last edited by exitus_10 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:07 am

Chapter 6
The half-track was surprisingly sturdy; an efficient carrier that had lasted well beyond Haum’s expectations, as they approached the fire base, the engine finally began to smoke and splutter, more than once Heku said that the engine died and started without break at random intervals, either the spirits of the machine was refusing to carry on, or the tank was nearing empty was Haum’s best guesses.

The base was situated near the empty and cleansed township of Gaerin, an old farming community that had tended to the agro-domes toward a clutch of hills to the west.

Now that community was no more, according to what Haum had picked up from chatter before going on the southern assault; the entire township was executed near the agro domes and burned because of their continued offence toward the great powers by poisoning the food they supplied to the local garrison and almost shameless display of anti-mutant sentiments which saw three hundred unarmed colonists from Kuhk murdered along with the local Sardar.

The bodies of the perpetrators their families and neighbours, which essentially became the whole population, were forced to mass near the domes. It is said to still smoulder and burn in the death-trenches they were forced to dig before they were all shot.

Haum was at first indifferent toward the plight, but wouldn’t he have fought tooth and nail if the damned Imperium had tried to burn Sedukh?

Someone behind him started chanting a prayer, it echoed over the grinding tracks and the grunting engine of the halftrack.

Haum felt relieved finally as they pulled into the motor pool park, they were guided in by a trooper and shown to an empty spot.

An arsenal-clerk; a short plump man with a gaggle of robed and hooded lexigraph slaves, midget and crooked in stature, approached their vehicle and began cataloguing it and labelling the damages on the half-track, the clerk approached Haum as he exited the smoking vehicle, his squad following suite.

“You are the leader?” asked the plump man in a small tinny voice.

Haum nodded, “Subedar Haum.”

The clerk stared at him for a moment with its whirring, augmetic goggles and chattered something to his slave nearby; the clerk entered something into the datapad and tutted when it beeped, “This vehicle, Mark IV Half-Track Carrier, serial IIC-4A was in the Lorterstown Vehicle Pool, but it was not attached to you or this unrecorded squad you lead.”

Haum shrugged, “I think not, serkar, we found this abandoned in the west highway and we choose it as a vehicle to hasten our withdrawal.”

“Acceptable, at least you have returned a war machine to our Prophet’s Arsenal, the technophytes won’t be happy with the damage though.”

Haum grunted in amusement, “Things happen in war, serkar, the enemy tend to shoot at us a lot. Now I need to get my soldiers some rest, they have been through enough.”

“They are new recruits?” the clerk asked as he began going through his datapad once more, “Subedar Haum, combat duties, garrison in Lorterstown, assigned to the Second Sect, First Coterie, with the Sixteenth clan company; that is a decorated sect, not new bloods. ”

“I know that, I lost my sect in the invasion, I found these recruits barely holding their own, I dug them out of their mess and they are under my command for now; due to priority sixteen of our protocols, to take command of a leaderless unit in the field of battle...”

“In the absence of higher authority, yes, yes I am well versed in the protocols,” the short man said uncomfortable with the time being wasted, “You choosing to replace your sect with raw recruits is your choice then subedar and alone your burden, may victory greet you next Sedukhar, your billet is barrack seven in the east quarter,” the clerk explained as he handed Haum a slip of paper and then entered something on the Datapad, “Find the local Sardar Commander and confirm your status tomorrow when they will come for the muster.”

The clerk and his gaggle of servants moved onto the next set of vehicles without another word.

Haum and his squad stood in the dimly lit motor-pool amidst hundreds of damaged and scorched war-machines as they were left alone by the clerk.

The squad found their billets right outside the motor pool, a lonely Interdictor sentry sat outside in his brass chainmail and leather hood armed with a shotgun and stun pike, a brown greatcoat wrapped around him to ward from the cold day. The interdictor gave a stiff bow and beckoned the troops into the barrack.

“Brave warriors you are all, serkar, welcome to the barrack, food and sleep await you inside.”

Haum thanked him and ordered his squad inside to rest and recuperate, he he turned to the interdictor, “We are short of ammunition and weapons.”

The interdictor nodded, “Armoury is open for resupply, serkar.”

Haum smiled, “Good, go get me these things then.”

The interdictor was handed a slip and waved away as Haum entered the barrack and slammed the door behind him.

The new squad was already making themselves at home, dumping their kits and removing their dirty and damaged combat armour with their sweat-covered, stinking fatigues.

Haum walked down the row of beds and lockers and noticed that his was the alone in the barrack.

All the other beds were empty.

He relaxed himself and headed to the far end of the long barrack and found a neat and tidy bed, a change of fatigues and a pair of boots neatly stacked on the foot of the bed. At the other end of the bed, a lone book with the livery of the Prophet upon it, the pantheon star and the eternal flame; the sacred Book of Khas.

Haum went to pick it up, but then saw the state of his ripped, bloodied gloves. He paused and checked himself looking over his armour and his torn fatigues; blood was leaking from the gashes of his plating, pain flared all over his body, the effects of the past days began to assail him.

He began to peel the gloves and armour off in painful gasps, the pressures and damages of being in combat for a whole day began to take its toll on him, even the sleep in the half-track was plagued with discomfort and cramps.

He stripped himself to his breeches and looked down at his hard muscled torso, criss-crossed with scars and bumps, dozens of flesh wounds bleeding and a terrible gash across his rib close to his left lung, he touched it.

Haum crashed to his knees as the pain returned and he howled in agony. Once more the blackness sought to claim him, but he fought it, he prayed to the gods for strength, and he soon felt them granting a measure of his wish.

The subedar regained his footing and stood to see that he was surrounded by terrified young faces taking in the scarred body of a war veteran.

“Bring me a fysik, Heku,” Haum grunted through the pain, he turned to see the form of the killer, Soca with a strangely stupid concern on his usually bitter face, “Soca you are in charge, while I recover, you are hereby declared to be my second, vice subedar.”

The surprised Soca looked around at his squad mates.

“I do not think, that is for the best,” Soca grumbled as he scratched his head.

Haum beckoned him closer, Soca approached the subedar and bent close, a thick palm slapped into his neck and the iron-like fingers tightened around it.

The Subedar was far stronger and faster than Soca had ever expected, Haum dragged him face to face and gave him a humourless smile, “I am in a lot of pain, so I will make this short and straight. Never disobey me again or I will twist your neck till your soul bled, then as old rites dictate; I will eat your heart and own your afterlife.”

He felt the neck beneath his palm tighten and the body shudder in panic, Haum grinned a bloody smile as he let go of Soca and blinked at the rest of the squad, they all stood there in a loose semi-circle looking at him, shocked and unsure.

“By the gods who damn you, attend to your duties wretches! See to your bloody filthy gear and yourselves! Next one of you to stare at me without a reason will find himself in the gallows hanging by his own innards!”

The order from the subedar was like a waking bell for the youths, they immediately broke from the gathering and set about to clean and prepare their gear and themselves; only Soca remained behind, still rubbing his neck.
“What are you waiting for, killer?”

Soca’s brows creased and he stared at Haum, “Why me?”

Haum growled at Soca,“You are the best damned fighter and hunters in this worthless squad, not sect warriors yet, still a new squad. You have conviction and you can use it to kill and lead. You are my vice-subedar, and I want a proper bloody sect, not new bloods, I will be pushing you all till you break, deal with it.”

Soca scowled at Haum’s assessment, “I am no-good at leading, I am better off transferred, subedar.”

“That is what you think; Soca, but you have potential. I know this from the moment I saw you in the first firefight,” the subedar explained as he moved the Book of Khas from the bed to the nearby table and placed it there reverently.

“You are angry and raging at something that is beyond me; you can channel this anger and not walk the red-path like Euran. You have ability, behind this facade of a killer.”

Soca held his glare "I do not understand, serkar."

"You think that fool Kolan was worth his title for command?"

Soca looked uncomfortable at the question and broke his glare, Haum smiled, "Sedukh is a world mired in politics since before the ascension of our master Khas."

"Politics that weaken the right of true strength and ability and replace it with dynastic incompetence. For over twenty years I have fought for the gods, Soca, twenty years of my life, three winters younger than you I was when I shot my first infidel and took part in sacking a world. I was not with the glorious Sedukhar then, no Sedukhar even existed then, they were all myth and legend, relegated to roles of protecting chieftans of the clans and draw quarters on hunting lands."

Haum looked distraught as he looked up at the musty paneled ceiling, "I was with the Blackhand then."

Soca's eyes now moved back toward Haum, who met the youth's gaze and for a moment, just for the tiniest moment, Haum noticed a flash of acceptance to his words in his eyes.

“You were a Blackhand?”

"That is for another time," Haum hissed in pain as he lay himself down on to the cot and exhaled deeply, “First order of business is to keep the ‘squad’ busy, keep them doing tasks and drills. Pull your chapbook and go through the protocols, recite them to me when I am recovered. Now before all that, take my gear, replace them and find me a new gun.”

Soca nodded and set about to do them in a excited jolt. His demenour sought changed when Haum had mentioned his darker days with the Blackhand. How little the poor boy knew, Haum wondered.

A few moments later Heku had arrived with a fysik; a tall wiry man with a beeping wand that he ran over Haum’s body, he tutted and began scribbling something on parchment and referring to notes on a datapad he produced from his musette bag.

Haum nodded to Heku and dismissed him.

“Subedar, you have been in heavy fire fights?”

Haum chuckled, “Yes, yes I have, fysik, was it all the scars?”

The fysik simply nodded not understanding the humour, “The only major damage was the las shot to your rib, seem your armour must have absorbed a large part of the shot or at least partially deflected it. The kinetic force has caused a lot of bruising within. Rest of your body is riddled with minor and superficial wounds that will be healed soon enough.”

“How long till I am ready for battle?” Haum asked concern in his bloodshot eyes.

The fysik checked his pad once more and then counted on his fingers, “A minimum of a day’s heavy rest and medication for a full recovery. The pain will return though.”

Haum nodded, “I can live with the pain. Do what you have to do, we are at war.”

Fysik nodded and set about to patch Haum up.

Outside it began to rain, the cold winter rain of the worlds late year turn, the mud became slick and wet once more and the flood of retreating forces from the east began to cease, the thunder of ranging artillery and clatter of tanks mixed in with the wash of the falling rains.

Thirty two miles eastward near the bombed out hamlet of Locis seven Imperial Guard Mechanized regiments and a division of droop troops prepared to advance on the Occupation picket.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:34 pm

Chapter 7
Nine troopers in the dark red and brown of the Sedukhar Hosts panted and sweated as they ran, clambered and crawled through the obstacle course under the dull grey twilight of the shrouded sun, a lone figure in a brown storm-coat yelled and shouted abuse at them, a loaded pistol firing into the air and for a good measure near those who were faltering.

Dersh looked up at the brightening sun through the grey clouded sky as he jogged around the outer circuit toward the firing ranges, his combat armour felt heavy and the pack he was lugging did not help the situation, the long-barrelled Mark II ‘lancerifle’ anti-tank rifle was the only thing that felt good when carried.

He adjusted his helmet and jogged on to the firing range where Samnir the Gol; the squad flame-trooper was already spurting spears of reddish flames onto his designated targets left of the firing field; the area was blackened and charred from all the previous sessions.

Dersh signalled to his subedar and he replied by firing into the air, a husk of an imperial tank and three moving targets appeared from the right end of the field, he raised his spear rifle and lined a shot carefully, the targets began to move about to cover the vehicle in a preset pattern, the turret turned toward him.

“Die, please,” he whispered to his target through the gunsight and squeezed the trigger.

There was a solid bang and the husk erupted in flame and smoke, Dersh grinned. Three solid bangs soured the grin as he turned left to the source of the shots only to see the Jikra woman, Eseth, easily picking of moving targets with every shot. She did not even pause.

“Trooper Eseth! Inform your squad-mate that you are covering him!” the subedar shouted, “Communicate you damned heathens!”

Eseth finished her routine targets and bowed to the subedar, Dersh grinned at her like he always did.

“Trooper Dersh! Get the bloody hell up and moving, Eseth! You are his cover, now act like it!”

The subedar’s sanctioned training regime was punishing, his rifle drills and close combat spars was a source of great pain and discomfort to the new bloods.

Haum had led the bayonet training himself earlier, with ample footing and vigour for a man who had been bed ridden by dangerous wounds a day ago, he vigorously trained them in techniques in close combat.

The subedar had walked amongst the squad practicing their techniques adjusting the faulty blows, admonishing the clumsy ones and punishing the squad at the end for all their combined failures of his stringent standards and each failure was met with repetition of the tasks.

Dersh felt especially burdened by the failure of his comrades, and his role as heavy support along with Samnir and Heku had seen him relegated to special duties of weighted training and double circuits in the trench crawl.

Mej especially was unhappy, seeing how his scoped autorifle freshly painted and repaired from the armoury, was already scratched and chipped in places due to the rough movements and accidents that accompanied the training.

Dersh grunted with effort as he ducked into a trench and ran past Mej covering him with his scoped weapon; behind him Eseth struggled past the razor wire and crawled up behind Dersh.

“Keep it moving Dersh, faster!” he heard Soca howl from ahead.

Dersh strained his arm as it ached with the constant effort and movement. The added effects of the fight out of Lorterstown had still not worn off from the majority of the new bloods and it did not help this situation, he leapt past a small box on the ground and clambered onto the broken edge of the trench and advanced into the mucky pond that separated a small bridge dangling perilously over waste water.

Dersh sighed at the prospect of repeating the run.

The subedar was working them to the ground since they were woken at dawn; they had all complained to the vice-subedar at their short break, but Soca as unconcerned as ever had just told them to harden up.

Dersh saw other sects of sedukhar and footmen trained and left at hourly intervals, yet his sect was the only one that remained in the training fields, practicing and training under the relentless eyes of the subedar. It was like he was training them up to be as ready as possible.

He nearly slipped near the bridge mouth, snapping him out of his brief glimpse of his day. He had to stop thinking of his situation and concentrate on his tasks. Atleast that is what the subedar kept shouting at him.
An hour before sunset prayers of the temple the squad was relieved from their combat-training; Haum had been summoned by Command and he had left Soca in charge.

The exhausted Soca had simply ordered them to retire.

Dersh took to this order with relish as the squad retired to their lonely barrack.
“Haum sure is putting his whip on us,” Heku grumbled as he walked beside him.

Dersh grunted in assent, “I heard he has a reputation, rather his sect does.”

“Did you mean, otherwise this is as you say,” agreed Eseth as she dragged her pack along the ground.

“Where did he go to anyway?” Dersh ventured his voice loud enough to reach Soca.

Soca ignored the question.

“Well vice-subedar?” Heku asked pressing the matter.

Soca hissed in annoyance, “I don’t know. Maybe it is a briefing. He still hasn’t reported back to Host command. Maybe he is going to have us shot for being weak. I don’t know.”

The vice-subedar hastened his walk and hurried ahead toward the armoury, the other members waited till he was out of earshot to grumble and complain about him.

Dersh simply grumbled and agreed to his comrades, he didn’t really care at this point; he was too tired to care.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:42 am

Chapter 8

Haum hurried along the edge of the heavily guarded cloister of the repurposed Administratum building, moving past a pair of sedukhar troopers. He was sweating within his taut new combat armour from the training he had been overseeing and participating in, his new sect was as fresh as ever, he privately cursed his luck for being stranded with the new troopers.

He walked toward an ornate set of doors daubed with warp runes and symbols, the older layer of Imperial signs were defaced and scarred. It was guarded by a pair of sedukhar troopers, both bowed and opened the doors, Haum returned a hurried salute and entered into the briefing room.

Dozens of chatting subedars and sardars from a number of companies were assembled in the place and were all sat facing an empty platform; he noticed that the majority were young and fresh faces that he hadn’t seen before.

To one side of the platform the Sardar-Commander Avigun of the First Brigade, was in consultation with a pair of Sedukhar officers who kept pointing toward the side door, a nearby slave-adept with a lexigraph writer, recorded all the words passed between its Sardar master and the other two with monotonous keystrokes.

Haum slunk into a nearby chair and undid his helmet; exhaling deeply from the effort of the day Haum yawned wiping the sweat from his tired eyes.

“Busy day, subedar?”

The subedar looked up to see a bald man with dark red eyes and a pair of dirty crossed scars that segmented his face; he smiled as he recognised him.

“Subedar Edil Taro, bastard and warrior supreme,” growled Haum with a look of delight in his eyes.

They both slapped their palms and gripped each others’ wrists in a show of old ties. Haum noticed that he was wearing a long, odd looking brown trench coat completely covering him to his boots.

“Tell me; why are you sweating so?”

Haum sighed as he adjusted himself on the chair, “Damned new bloods, from my old garrison. They are terrible soldiers, no discipline and sense; I was training them and showing them how to be a match against the Guard, been up on daily drills because I only serve with the best.”

“So they arrived here untrained?” Edil asked as he slipped on a pair of glare-visor.

“Oh absolutely, no discipline and no objective, they are so ignorant of everything around them that I fail to understand why exactly they were sent here. We don’t need replacements for garrison duty...or in this case a stalemate of a war in the east.”

Edil chuckled, “I share in your resentment, old friend. But I must ask...must’ve been hell back in the east when they first hit.”

Haum soured at the mention of the east, “It is a hellhole and you know what happend.”

“I read the reports in Lorterstown, so you made it once again through the fire, eh Haum?” Edil Taro said with his trademark drawl adjusting his glare-visor.

Haum finally relaxed and smiled, “I guess I am simply charmed by the will of the Lord of Fates.”
“Just like old times, eh?”

“Just like old times,” Haum agreed, “tell me why did you just put on a pair of glare-visor we are inside the building.”

Edil gave a sly grin, “My eyes haven’t cleared since an explosives incident and my eyes aren’t adjusting to the light in here, so I wear these.”

Haum felt something wrong as he paused from conversing, his heart leapt a beat as he felt...something.
“Kuid make it?” Edil asked, snapping Haum out of his strange premonition.

“Uh...” Haum stammered.

“Kuid Shoken, Haum, remember old Kuid?”

Haum nodded, “Yes, yes.”

Kuid Shoken, much like Edil, Kula was an old comrade from their Reaver days; they were members of the same company and had formed a tight comradeship through the wars they had fought for the gods. After the bloody Mosikur Persecution a decade ago all had changed, by then the Khas had returned and with him the Sedukhar were reborn.

Haum, Edil and Kuid had all oathed to the Host and Khas as soon as they had reached back on Sedukh following the conquest of it by the Prophet, after that they had drifted apart, until Kuid and his lot were sent to reinforce Haum’s Clan Company, he remembered promising Kuid a drink after his fateful patrol.

“Yes, Kuid was martyred...”

“Expected as much,” Edil sighed, his eyes hidden behind the visor.

Haum’s mood darkened, “Hardly the way to go caught out by swarming enemies.”

“That much is true, but these days the prospect of death doesn’t seem so bad.”

Haum sighed, “Why haven’t we deployed with the Footmen already? We are simply stuck here waiting for them to come to us?”

Edil nodded, “No, but there are bigger things at work.”

Haum chuckled at what he was a joke and left it at that.

Edil chuckled and slapped Haum on his shoulder, “Regardless, it is well to see you, First Brigade now, eh?”

Haum shrugged, “Apparently so. I couldn’t believe that we are in the first, but in any case it is as it is.”

“Well, Haum, all I can say is welcome to the First,” Edil gave an unenthusiastic shrug with the last part.

“I still don’t understand one thing. You had sent a message for a meeting a week back?”

Edil waved his hand, “It is a business of great import. We will resolve that matter...” he paused and put a hand to his vox bead in his ear and twisted the other to check the time on his old wrist-chron he had looted from an imperial officer. He looked back at Haum, “Soon, very soon.”

Haum frowned at Edil’s peculiar words.

“Silence!” the commanding voice swept through the room like a chill wind, all speaking halted and the heads turned toward the scarred brute with a metal rod in hand.

Sak’ul Avigun, the brilliant commander of the First Brigade stood at the center of the altar, a fine figure in the traditional crimson and brass armour of a Sardar-Commander raised his horned head as his charred lips spoke words of power.

He looked down at the assembled officers and licked his black lips.

“By the sacred oaths that bind us to the Eternal Powers and their wars, I hereby call a council of warriors. Make it known that the last Sedukhar of the Eighth Host meet on the eighth hour of the eight cycle, the numbers are portentous as the holy ones have forseen, change is already taken to the minds of the hosts and a damaging defeat suffered at the hands of the enemy.”

The sedukhar assembled looked at each other in confusion, one of them a Vice-Sardar by his markings stood from his chair and bowed before speaking, “What defeat is this, oh serkar? We are yet to strike the enemy in the east with the Footmen, yet we are lost?”

Avigun bade his junior to sit and took a measured breathe, “It is not in the east that we have failed, but in the stars. Our lord and master Tyrant Sorith Serkar has been slain.”

Wails and gasps of horror rippled through the seated sedukhar, prayers to the gods began being murmured across the assembly. Haum simply watched the debacle around him as officers, sedukhar wept and wailed.

The Lord Sedukhar, Master of the Brigades was dead, the ruler and uniter of Sedukh and the earliest proponent of a systematic holy war on the Imperium and a formative member of the Reclamation War, was dead. The shock of the words was palpable; Haum though a sceptic of the Host Lord, was shaken at the news.

“Our oath-bearer and master lies dead with ten of our brother brigades. The pact our world has made to master Khas and his sacred war of reclamation is now seen as void beneath the gaze of the gods. As our rites dictate the Brigades of the Sacred Host is annulled,” bloody tears streaked down Avigun’s scarred and mutated face.

“What will become of us?” yelled one of the subedar’s from the throng of officers.

As if in reply something enormous thudded outside, the room was silenced. It was followed by the clatter of gunfire and explosions, the building shuddered and dust fell from the unkempt ceiling beams overhead, Haum like the officers began to worry and began to mill around the room, another thud followed as cracks formed on the walls.

Haum tried to fathom the situation and turned to Edil beside him, he sat stock still hands braced around the armrest.

A sudden bright flash and keening thunder erupted at the centre of the room, officers in meeting were all thrown from their chairs as they bleated and cursed, some clawed at their faces, the blinding light burning out ocular nerves.

Haum felt someone push him to the ground, a gloved hand clamped around his eyes, but his ears were the noise, the noise echoed in his head like a nightmare, some word of power multiplied in his brain it coalesced as the sound and pain loud as a gunshot rumbled in his head.

He felt his consciousness slipping, but still felt the hand on him; he hung on to the feeling and shook his head and strained his eyes open, his ears were ringing.

Haum’s vision was dotted by black gaps as the smoky room began to resolve.

Everything was slow, he saw sedukhar officers grasping their ears and eyes, some were weeping blood like their sardar, but not because of devotion, others were having seizures and fits. Something flashed to his left as blurred figures with what could only be weapons, raised and primed began filing into the room from the entrance, las bolts fizzled and flashed from their weapons as they advanced.

Haum felt a stranger over him crouching and warding the unknown gunmen by strenuously waving his hand toward the far end of the place.

The ringing in his ears diminished slowly as he felt his vision clearing, his mental faculties returning he tried to assess and observe what was going on.

He saw Edil shouting something and sweeping his hands, it seemed that one of the figures was conversing with Edil, two other were covering him pointing their weapons at the crouched Edil wearing black fatigues like the rest; the unit markings were too blurred by all the smoke and strobe flashes of las discharge, but he felt a strange inkling in some half forgotten memory.

He saw Edil stand, and pull his trench coat off; beneath it he was wearing the exact same fatigues as the assailants, he flashed something at them and pointed to Haum. They lowered their weapons and walked away.
Edil bent close and took Haum’s hand in which he pressed a crest-badge into, his eyes still hidden behind the glare-visor, but not because of his poor eyes.

Strong hands grabbed him and supported him up, Haum felt his senses finally return with his control.

“Can you hear me?” he heard the muffled voice of Edil beside him.

“Yes!”

“Stop shouting,” Edil grunted carrying him through the pock marked and burnt door way into a burning and rubble littered cloister.

Haum watched all the destruction and death around him completely lost for its reason, figures in black were swarming through the place gunning down sedukhar troopers.

A tracked carrier was parked at the far end of the entrance into the cloister, its doors were open and an unknown black clad trooper was waving for them to approach, the wind picked up around them and dust began to swivel in circles, Haum looked up to see the bellies of a pair of dark grey gunships ropes trailed from either side of the wings.

The gunships thundered as it began hammering the face of the structure behind them with a blistering rate of autocannon shots. Troopers rappelled in all around them and advanced past, he could hardly make them out in the dust kicked up by the gunships.

“Who are these soldiers? What the hell is going on?” he gasped in the choking dust being kicked up around them.
“You remember Akaris and what we did there?”

“That was a long time ago and I hated that place...” Haum paused as he realised what Edil was implying, he looked around to a black clad trooper behind cover, he noticed the eight fingered hand imprint on his shoulder pad,
“The Blackhand!”

Edil met Haum’s reptilian eyes as they looked up, “We are re-called, Haum. I called in the favour. They accepted.”
He felt himself being carefully put into the carrier, Edil followed him and the another trooper joined them.

The other trooper was in the black fatigues of the assailants, he wore a dulled silver skull mask with a pair of kill markings stamped beneath the left eye.

“Welcome, brothers!” the vox-altered speech of the trooper grated Haum’s ears, “How does it feel to witness the momentous fall of the sedukhar?”

“It’s all the same, serkar,” Edil said casually as the carrier growled to a lurch and started moving, he nodded at Haum, “This is Subedar Haum Serapis, and he was with me since Horxan Extermination, he was in Ged Hamar’s Cadre Auxilis on Akaris.”

The gloved hand of the trooper undid the skull mask and slid it off to reveal a brutalized and pale face, a savage gash dominated the width of his left jaw to his torn ear, and yellowed jutting teeth of his molars could be seen through the wound, his left eye was a red bionic replacement, the cheeks were scarred ritually and a marks of Khorne was branded into his bald and gashed head.

But his other eye, the unnatural eye with the unmistakable black orb and white pupil, the hate and horror behind them, Haum recognized the man.

“Ghar Xukol...” Haum said it like he had touched an old aching wound.

“That is Hetman Ghar Xukol,” stretched his cut lips into a feral grin of yellowed fangs, “but at least you remember your betters, Serapis.”
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:28 pm

Chapter 9

Soca Rau looked out of the barrack window into the creeping black night, patiently scanning the flickering fires and explosions of a skirmish beyond a small hab block, another thud followed a bright flash and a pillar of smoke rose from the town center.

A pair of gunships zipped past overhead and spitting death at some distant building.

Headlamps of hurrying vehicles flickered past a burning checkpoint, the sound of gunfire intensified outside, Soca did not recognize the vehicle patterns at all and it seemed to him that they were not escaping from the town, they were going in.

“So? Are we being attacked?” Mej asked as he smacked a magazine into the receiver of his scoped autorifle.

“There is fighting out there,” Soca replied turning toward the squad who were arming themselves, “but I am uncertain who it is that they are fighting.”

“Does it matter?” Heku enquired wrapping a bandolier of stubber ammunition across his body with G’jan helping to strap it in. G’jan turned Heku about and gave him a kiss on his lips.

“Of course it matters!” Soca snapped looking disapprovingly at their display.

“You should not mate while on duty,” Tejh said in the droning voice that the twins shared along with their square jawed, beardless and swarthy faces. Jeth simply grunted his assent to his twin-brother’s comment.

Gorl laughed, “That is not mating, if they were mating, I would like to join in.”

The Eseth, Gorl and Dersh began to jeer and laugh while the couple walked toward the near wall embracing each other ignoring the jeers.

Soca stared at them, disapproval in his face, “Shut up! I am watching the road.”

He saw a tracked-carrier pull up toward the barrack muster-field, its lamps were dipped and pointed at the ground, Soca raised his gun and aimed at the vehicle, it reversed and swivelled about bringing its body parallel to the barrack as the rear doors opened and three figures jumped out.

Soca squinted out in the darkness punctuated by flashes of combat to find out who they were in the lowlight; one of them had a glint of white on his face, like there was something where his face should be. The figure in-between the two was bulkier wearing combat armour of red and brown, Soca immediately recognised his subedar.

“It’s Haum there are other men with him,” he paused, “Dersh get the door,” he added.

Dersh lumbered over to the door as swung it open.

Haum looking haggard tired and utterly angry, he was followed in by two armed figures in black fatigues.

“Serkar,” Dersh bowed to Haum, the rest of the squad mimicked him.

Haum waved at them for silence, one of the strangers, a skull-masked man stepped forward and watched the group closely, scrutinizing them. G’jan and Heku had quickly separated each other and were standing beside the rest of their comrade.

“These are the ones?” the masked man asked Haum, annoyance in his tone.

“Yes, they are all that exist of the Host at this rate,” he nodded outside at the burning town.

“We only induct the worthy, not untested children,” the skull-mask said as he turned to go.

“They are under me and they won’t fail me, I can assure you that.”

“Not good enough, Serapis,” the skull mask growled with particular venom added to the subedar’s last name.

The scarred man blocked the exit and raised his hand toward the masked man, “Come now, Hetman. It is hardly fair that you judge him so, he is fated, you know it, Lor Sader knows this and the Lord Sectator knows this, after all were you not sent specifically for him?”

“And that is the part you should not forget Edil Taro, it is only Haum not his fresh charges.”

Haum looked frustrated, “I will prove them worthy, they will do and die by my word,” he turned to his troopers and asked of their loyalty.

They beat their fists on their chests enthusiastically.

The Hetman raised his hand to stop, “We have a very stringent process of acceptance, subedar. We are not a fold were all are welcome. Trial by fire will convince me.”

“Give them an operation, I am sure the fifth column needs all the bodies it can get for forward operations,” Edil suggested, a slight smile creasing his scarred face, “I know you are going in daily, send them as a raid team, if they are worthy they will be better than fodder for the rest of the Cohort.”

“They can do this,” Haum agreed, “Attach me to a raid, put us on the field, I will prove that they are worthy of the oath.”

“You can assure me of their skill?”

“Absolutely, but then I can say that about most of my brigade out there.”

The masked man nodded, “The purge is necessary, you are aware why.”

“So, do I have an operation?”

The skull mask nodded, “I have one in mind. Make sure they know why they fight and you must remember that your record is the only reason I am allowing this.”

“Excellent,” said Edil Taro as he moved away from the door and the hetman exited the barrack and stomped away, “tell them what happend, Haum, a little anguish might make them desperate.”

Edil Taro gave Haum a knowing wink and walked out of the barrack.

Haum ignored him and turned toward his troopers with a sigh, “Form up and ditch all your insignia, oath parchment, pack and combat armour, carry only your assigned weapons and side arms.”

The squad paused for a moment and looked at each other.

“What the hell are you waiting for? We are the end-times, move it!” Haum shouted rage in his eyes.

Immediately moved about as they stripped from their gear to their bare fatigues, within five minutes they were ready with all that was ordered.

“We will be leaving in ten. Now what I have to tell you may anger you, but I do not care, it is the Prophet’s decree and you owe me your lives for this opportunity, understood?”

A chorus of uncertain ‘Yes, Serkar’ followed.

“As per the decree of our Lord Prophet Khas and his immovable word through the authority of the Four Powers, the Sedukhar Host have been disgraced and blasphemed against the pantheon. Our lord’s command for its destruction is being carried out. The Sedukhar are declared an affront to our Lord Khas and his sacred war. I do not know the details, but such are the times.”

“By the gods...” a thoroughly stunned Dersh let slip as he stared at Haum in disbelief.

Heku scoffed, “Is that’s why that Hetman and the other was here? Are we...”

“The Blackhand are here to enforce Khas’ will,” Haum said interrupting Heku, “to eliminate our brigade, at the same time their master has shown me and a few others an opportunity to avoid the penance and serve our Prophet due to old oaths and allowance owed.”

“We are no longer the Sedukhar and you no longer have a home. Forget Sedukh for it burns in guilt for the betrayal of its true master. Forget your past for the price of that sin will be too high. By the laws of the Blackhand Cult you are all initiated for penance and the oath.”

“Sedukh burns?” Eseth asked anxiously.

Haum nodded, “I would think so.”

The others began to protest and mourn at this.

“...Blackhand...we are Blackhand?” Soca stuttered.

“Not yet, you must prove yourself on the field.”

“How will we triumph when all we know is lost?” Samnir Gorl growled.

“You are given a second chance, seize it and thank the gods you aren’t facing the death end of a Blackhand rifle, understand.”

The squad grunted in approval.

“It will not be simple, this will be a one way mission, if we survive long enough to be extracted, and then we can take the cult-oath.”

Mej always stoic and the only one who was silent throughout the whole incident finally spoke up, “We did this before, subedar, we did this in Lorterstown, and we can do it again.”

“You might think so Arin, but you don’t know how the Blackhand think, wherever, the Hetman intends to send us I assure you it will be into the worst sort of raid mission.”

Soca cleared his throat to call Haum’s attention, “How do you know this, subedar. If I may ask.”

“Because I used to be Blackhand a long time ago,” Haum said as he turned to door, “embark on the transport now, we will be on call in an hour for deployment.”
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:27 pm

Chapter 10

Hetman Xukol watched the robed man closely as the blood rune was incanted, the three acolytes carefully followed their master’s instruction as the intricate patterns of the godsmark, the warp-tongue revealed to the few Touched when the Ascended, Khas’ sacred text is, read by them.

“Do we have to be so precise in the choice?” the hetman repeated his earlier question.

There was the same pressure of concern and the subtle hint of resignation and the delivery was almost in the same measured overlay that diverted a normal ear’s opinion, the robed man thought.

“Mago Arich, bequeath me a reply.”

The bald headed Arich eyed the Hetman still chanting the sacred verses, his eyes blazing with witch light, and then it shot back to the task at hand meticulously going over each of the runes.

With a final burst of complex syllables and a marked decrease in the heat of the room the chanting ended abruptly, the three acolytes fell their bodies suddenly lifeless and shattered like glass as they hit the rune marked floor.

“The sacrifices are accepted,” Arich spoke with a measure of difficulty as he bled from his nose and mouth.

A pair of other acolytes who had stood by approached the Mago and handed him a towel with which he wiped the blood with.

“It is a bloody ritual communing and sealing pacts,” he continued, “As for your interrupting and seemingly stupid questions, yes, yes, they are to be precise.”

Xukol watched the drained old man inch forward to a nearby acolyte who was holding a large book reverently.

“This,” Arich indicated to the book, “this sacred text assures me that my divination according to the numerical significance of the names and the alignment of the local clusters is true and my warp instinct has never lead me wrong.”

“There is always a first,” Xukol said matter of factly.

“I am not dealing with matters of war, little Hetman. I do not chop things until they are dead or until your chopping hand is. I do my duties with subtlety and devotion that needs many qualities a...warrior...of your cult lacks.”

“You know very little about me or my cult,” protested Xukol.

Arich gave a dry laugh which turned into coughing; one of his acolytes helped him stay standing.

“So I know little,” Arich gasped as he clutched his Acolyte and pulled himself straighter, “I understand your inability to trust other warp-hands. That is what they are called aren’t they?”

Xukol nodded.

“Yes, warphands...all with the hand; a sacred symbol for your lot,” Arich said as he scanned the pages of the book, “do you know how to read Hexani?”

“What is Hexani?”

“It is a sacred tongue of the old ancestors, the ones long before this age; those who thrived in this part of the galaxy and sent their own to settle and conquer these stars in the name of the powers.”

“I do not have time for legends, warlock. I need to know whether my trepidation about Haum and his lot are justified.”

“Ah, yes. Always wanting to be on point eh, Xukol?” the old man gave a small chuckle and closed the book. He beckoned his throng of servants to leave and shuffled over to a bench nearby.

Arich sat himself down and exhaled deeply, his pale flesh began to regain colour, the liver spots and white of hair disappeared and vitality began to return to the pallid fleshed man.

“Listen, Xukol, just listen. The souls I have marked and spared are the ones who will lead us to a great discovery, they are chosen, not because of some random and fickle meaning or sign from the gods. It is much more...complex. This matter is of the utmost importance.”

“Utmost importance? I do not know any such mark being assigned to them; they are rabble, local garrisons alive by chance.”

“That chance, yes, exactly,” the wrinkles and veins disappeared from his face and Arich began to take a middle aged appearance, “That chance is exactly why they are chosen, Haum especially.”

Xukol watched the transformation without interest, “You are blathering nonsense. He is a combat veteran, but he is not some saviour. The others just hung on to his coat-tails and managed to run from the enemy.”

“Your faith in the proclamations is disturbing, Xukol. You should know that this has been ratified.”

“There were a number of survivors from the Imperial assault, why only them? He...rather they are...how do I put it. A focal point of events, they have no say in the matter. Events seem to congregate around Haum at certain parts of his existence, those around him benefit from this same affliction.”

“You say it like it is some disease.”

“Being chosen by the gods is akin to that, your soul is at stake though, it is much more serious than a disease. Destiny is often a test to a believer, he is one such being tested and in effect we are all tested.”

“So you are saying that Haum is somehow an important figure?”

“Not important, but a vital piece, nonetheless in the context of the great game; besides it is not I who said it.”

“Then who?”

“Your master, our master, master of this whole endeavour and purpose.”

“You are blathering nonsense again. Khas or his coterie does not single out a line trooper for glory by some chance.”

“True enough, but the gods would. You remember what happend on Ulair don’t you Xukol?”

The Hetman’s demeanour changed; suddenly there was a slight change in his stance, “How do you know, warlock. Not even my patron knows.”

“The gods know. They know all, do you understand now? They told me, like you he is marked.”

Xukol suddenly felt unsure. Could it be? The gods do work in unknown ways...

Yet the strictures of his cult were clear, their divine master had made it clear, worth was to be measured by deeds for induction.

“No, I refuse to accept such conjecture.”

Arich sighed and gently wiped the beads of sweat from his tightening forehead, “It hardly matters. I have communed with the Prophet and his closest Disciples, they tell me the same. He and his lost must be accepted into the cult, they must become Blackhand.”

“I will see if they are worthy. No exceptions.”

“You would defy your master?”

Xukol grunted in what seemed like a twisted chuckle, “My oaths are to my cult master, not to your prophet. Khas requested our presence, do not forget that little warp caller.”

Arich stared at Xukol, his eyes darting over the mask, “You speak like an infidel, Xukol. But I insist you must bring them here, you must induct them.”

“As I said before, my purpose is clear, they are to be tested.”

Arich suddenly became serious, “What do you mean? Have you done something with them?”

“They are already tasked.”

Arich shouted in frustration as he got up, “You are playing a dangerous game here, Xukol. My masters will here of this. If this does not go well your head will be departing your body.”

“Whatever you say, warlock.”

Arich stormed out of the room cursing and flailing his hands at Xukol.

The hetman watched the agitated warlock, he relished at the man’s frustration.

Xukol followed him out a while later, two Blackhand troopers were waiting for him outside, one of them handed him a cured human hide bound data-slate.

“They have been deployed?” Xukol asked looking over the glowing screen.

The trooper nodded, “The aspirant squad was deployed near a contested area, near the 4th Salient, there is a air battery that needs eliminated.”

Xukol adjusted the settings on the pad, “Our closest forces are?”

“Hetman O’xiao, and the fourth column; they are preparing a rolling advance past the aspirant objective into the township held by an Imperial battalion.”

Xukol paused for a moment and buttoned a few more blisters and runes, “The imperial commander is due at the aspirant objective?”

“The reports from the field confirm that he will make the round within the hour.”

“Almost exactly when they reach there,” Xukol said with amusement, “truly he is marked.”

“Marked, hetman?”

“Indeed, have command update their objective, eliminate the imperial commander.”

“As you order, Hetman."
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:16 pm

Sorry for the long wait. A few more chapters to go.

Chapter 11

Haum felt the resistance member’s struggle became more subdued as the gloved hand pinched at his throat with a killer’s grip, the iron fingers beneath was choking the life from the youth’s throat.

“Speak, how many?” the subedar growled in broken and guttural low gothic.

“J-Just the platoon...” the youth gasped, “I...am sure...please...”

“Akhadu!”Haum swore in his black tongue, “I heard of reinforcements, how many?” he asked switching back to low gothic

“They...aren’t...” the youth choked as Haum loosened his grip, “most have left...armoured column left this morning...”

“What?” he asked as he further loosened his grip.

The resistance fighter coughed weakly and spoke, “Another platoon, is due in an hour...”

“From?”

“T...the western prefectures,”

The subedar gazed angrily at the weakling imperial, “Colonel is in the village?”

The youth assented weakly, “Yes...please...he is, he won’t leave!”

“The platoon is the only shield? His guards, platoon?”

“Yes...please, sir...lord, let me live,” the youth begged.

Haum ignored the pleas as he squeezed harder, his anger turning into a mirthless smile, “Become like your false god, a corpse.”

The youth’s muscles began to slack and the resistance gave way in the form of sputtering of gasps and protests. Haum bent close to the resistance fighter’s ruined face and whispered the name of one of his old dead troopers, a placation to see that his comrade’s soul was exchanged for imperial.

With the final words of incantation Haum dispatched the captured resistance fighter; the knife shearing into the meat of his neck in a flood of bubbling blood.

“I consecrate this heathen soul to the True Gods,” he incanted in a more familiar tongue as the subedar released the body from his death grip.

Haum turned and motioned to the thick shrubs behind him; six figures in unmarked Blackhand garb rose in unison from the bushes and advanced forward just as he had shown them, rifles up, heads down, eyes scanning the area around them covered in thick growths of shrubbery and forest trees.

The Hedge; that was what the imperials called the area, a vast swathe of woodland and forests that separated the eastern and western continents of the world. This place was dotted with isolated settlements and villages, a peaceful and ideal place before the horrors of the Subjugation; the forces of the Prophet had swept in from the skies and broken the back of the world by their terrible might.

The populace of the once content world were subjected to the harsh reality of the gods as hundreds of thousands perished in the hundred days of massacres, given as sacrifices to their terrible gods.

But in the Hedge the fleeing masses found solace and the Resistance, the Imperials gathered there and sought methods of dislodging the formidable armies of the great enemy that had so ravenously broken the world, so for a chaos soldier such places were only tread with caution.

Solace from the truth of the gods was something no one escaped, blood and retribution had always caught up to them.

Haum considered that he may be a precursor to that fact as he carefully advanced through the thicket his eyes fixed on the lush greenery before him; he spotted three figures a few dozen meters ahead in a wide spread, approaching a small rock outcropping beyond a gully.

It was Soca and the twins forging ahead checking the ground for tracks, he was leading with a solid determination and was absolute in his decisions so far. Soca was more confident by each passing day, a mark of an aspirant leader of men...and a threat to his authority Haum reminded himself.

A grinding noise suddenly alerted the creeping soldiers to a halt; they raised their heads to look over the sloped rise.

Haum cautious as ever had dispersed the rest of the squad and himself advanced toward the three others, he saw Soca waving the twins to cover a small raise in the sloped woodland; the twins covered either side as Soca went over the top.

Sound of marching feet and clinkering gears and grinding metal approached somewhere beyond them.
The troopers all paused immediately and began to take defensive position, the training he had drilled into them was taking effect, the jitters of fresh bloods was being replaced by practice and his scalding regimen. Haum felt a little satisfaction at this fact.

“Two miles north, subedar,” Soca explained Haum clambered toward him, his free hand clutching a vox headset.
Haum nodded, “Area is secured?”

“Last of the resistance stragglers are dead, area is cleared, but for that...” he nodded toward the sound of the tanks.

“Soca, form the squad up,” he ordered as he produced a data slate and began scanning its glowing feed.

Soca nodded, “You won’t be leading us, serkar?”

“I will forge ahead with the twins; you will lead the rest of the squad and back me by swinging around here,” he pointed to the data slate; Soca saw what the subedar meant.

Three hundred meters ahead of them lay the solitary road that leads directly toward their objective village. Haum was going to reconnoitre the area with the twins while the rest of the sect formed up to the left in support.

“As you will, subedar,” Soca assented and signalled the trailing squad to form on him.

Haum signalled the twins to close in on him as he advanced toward the road, the twins formed up perfectly behind him as they advanced through the thick bushes that grew toward the edge of the raised road.

He still heard the clinkering of gears and the sound of raised voices from somewhere south west of their position.
“Troopers on me,” Haum announced over the vox as a plan formed in his mind.

The squad immediately began to break from their cover and run toward Haum’s position, the twins were awaiting impatiently their weapons held high and aimed at the carnage wrought a hundred meters ahead of them.

As soon as Soca reached the gathering he crouched down beside Haum who was working something on the data-pad, he looked up at his second in command and back to the data-pad.

“This is the layout of the village,” he explained handing the data pad and pointing to the map of the village to Soca, “there is an overhanging hill to the north of the village, two thousand five hundred meters north east of us past the bend in the road, their lies our primary target, a set of anti-air weapon systems. You need to double time it there scope the place.”

“I do not understand,” Soca said unable to comprehend what Haum as planning.
“You will learn. Kurud and Gorl check and prime your explosive charges,” he ordered as he pulled out an empty back, “rest of you a single las-cell each into the bag and get combat ready.”

They all obeyed without much doubt,tossing their las cells into the bag while Gorl and Kurud began to wire and prepare the brick shaped explosives.

“We need to set up a stalling action here, Jikra, Arin, Kurud and Gorl you are with me,” Haum explained as he checked his weapon. The three chosen nodded and readied their weapons.

The subedar pulled Soca away to the side from the clustered troopers who prepared themselves for battle, “Soca, you will take the rest of the troops to the hill, kill only when I need you to, when you are there set up and observe them and keep our presence low,” Haum fished into his pocket and retrieved a battered old chronometer, “Give us twenty minutes, if you hear a battle we have engaged I will vox you with further instructions. If you don’t hear from me and the time runs out you are in command, complete the objectives at all costs. Understood?”

“Yes, serkar.”

“All costs, Soca.”

With that Haum was up and advancing quickly toward the road as his three man team advanced with him. Gorl and his flamer were on point with Haum while Dersh lumbered behind tightening the strap for his anti-tank rifle with one hand while he hefted the bag of explosives with the other and Mej Arin the sharp shooter bought up the rear, his rifle held low but his head held high and his eyes alert and scanning.

Meanwhile Soca and his group had began to run through thick bushes and past old trees, they leapt over the rock outcroppings and fallen trees advancing north east parallel to the curving road toward the intended overlooking hill, closer they approached their target a solitary structure began to come into view, an old brown cabin like building.
One of the twins, Tejh or Jeth he couldn’t tell, was the first one to spot a lone imperial trooper walking up the hill toward the cabin, by the time she alerted Soca and the team the trooper was halfway up an obscure dirt path that they had all completely missed.

Soca watched the trooper who casually strolled up the hill whistling some strange tune, he was hefting a large can of what looked like water as he took a swig from it and dunked a little on his face.

Soca didn’t feel hot and wondered why the trooper did that.

“What do we do now, Soca? Do we kill him?” Heku whispered as he crouched down beside him.

“No...no, we best shadow him for now, his death may alert more of them,” Soca realised there was uncertainty in his tone, he looked at the impassive and tense face of the team and they all stared back. Except for the twins, they looked unconcerned behind their plain metal masks and cyclopean visor slit.

“Ok, we move, shadow the bastard,” Soca said with a little more conviction and moved.

The team followed behind him as they tried to match the troopers climb as carefully and silently as they can.
Within a few minutes the imperial reached the cabin where another guardsman stood beside the door with a lho stick smoking from his mouth, the exchanged a few unheard words when the guard rapped the door three times, it opened and a pudgy fellow answered, he accepted the canister and shared a joke with the trooper, all three laughed.

Soca checked the chronometer given to him by Haum as the troopers began to take firing positions around him thirteen minutes had passed. They saw four more guardsmen approach from the opposite slope of the hill, all armed and armoured.

“Do we engage, Soca?” Salur enquired as she adjusted her aim two one of the newcomers. His troopers were getting uneasy being so close to the enemy, he realised.

He wanted to engage but his orders were clear, when you are there set up and observe them and keep our presence low.

Soca understood a measure of Haum’s frustration on leading inexperienced troops like them and his detailed and specific orders, all he and his team wanted to do was engage and ignore the chain of consequences that followed, that was why he would chide and punish them, he was a taskmaster because hardship bred caution, it honed patience and formed the basis of discipline for soldiering.

“We hold for now, we do not engage until I get the word,” Soca was absolute about the order this time as he checked his chronometer again. Or the time runs out.

Seventeen minutes.

“Come on...” Soca began to get nervous as his chronometer ticked to eighteen minutes.
Something must have gone wrong; he checked the cell on his las-rifle and affixed his blade, “Ready weapons and standby.”

Soca’s ear buzzed as the vox call came in, “Engage at will.”

Soca smiled as he aimed and fired.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:17 pm

Chapter 12

Dersh Kurud stabbed the pins into the putty like substance on the top of the explosive charge and began to finger the detonator cable into the wire cradle on the top of the pins, he ripped the rubber insulation with his teeth and exposed the copper wiring which he tied around the pin, then he produced a hollowed out las cell and shoved the brick explosive into it, just like the subedar had showed him.

“Ready!” Dersh growled as he set the explosive at the lip of the road, the shaped charge’s detonation angle aimed at the road.

Trooper Eseth Jikra who was crouched nearby immediately grabbed the wire from near her feet and ran the six meters across the road toward Samnir who was trying the straighten the cables and avoid loops and sharp bends.
Gorl took the wire tossed at him and ran his pinched fingers over the wire and straightened it, and attached it to a det-control box, once satisfied he stood up and raised his hand, “Charge set, that’s the last one!”

Dersh gave a thumbs up sign and hefted his antitank weapon placing it across his shoulder, He looked west down the road and saw the distant figure of the sniper Mej Arin lying beside a rotting trunk of a long fallen tree and scanned the approaching enemy column.

Thirty meters behind the sniper the subedar set up his improvised explosives, the las cell batteries tied around a vox-activated charge bundled with the dozen shrapnel grenades they had. The subedar yelled for Jikra and she sprinted toward him, she was their errand girl giving a hand here and there, pulling and setting the wires pulling the batteries from the las cells, while he, the subedar and Gorl went about preparing the explosives.

Dersh joined up with Gorl on the other side and helped the flame-trooper fit the hose of his flamer to his back mounted fuel canister.

“That subedar is a dangerous man,” Samnir growled as he lit the pilot flame on his weapon, “this ambush is a suicide run.”

Dersh gave a small laugh, “I have to agree to that. Damned if he isn’t one convincing, bastard.”

Gorl nodded as his fuel tank gurgled as the fuel flowed into flamer’s primary hold, “But I got to say, if this was anyone else, I would have been on my knees and praying to the gods, Haum knows his stuff.”

Dersh had to agree, the subedar always seemed to know what to do.

“That stuff with the las cells, he planned this all out like a hunter,” Gorl continued as he tested the flamer with small gout of flame toward the road which dissipated, “I don’t even know, eh?”

“Gods help me, the subedar is a mad bastard,” Dersh said in agreement as they began to jog down the road toward Haum who was busy checking his las weapon. The section they were jogging through was the kill zone, Dersh reminded himself, it was the area where the column was to be stalled and murdered, a column estimated to outnumber them at least a dozen times, Dersh was uneasy at the thought of the odds, “ one crazy and Khorne-beloved mad bastard.”

Samnir Gorl gave a throaty laugh at that, but Dersh really didn’t know what else to say, he was after all trained by the old Brigade in explosives and was ranked as a specialist novice for explosives but he knew so little when compared to the subedar and what he called ‘tricks of the trade’ that he had learnt on ‘Bastion Souris as a guerrilla’, Dersh had simply nodded and absorbed all the so called tricks of trade with an interest he thought he never had. He had thought them to make shaped charges out of their standard explosives and empty las cells, so gods-damned practical and obvious.

“Charges are all set?” Haum asked tersely out as they jogged toward him.

“By your will, it is done, subedar,” Gorl replied as he looked toward Mej, “the sniper is up.”

Haum cursed as he looked back at the retreating sniper, “Status?” he spoke into the vox-bead near his mouth, he waited as he was informed with his free hand on his ear bead and the other hand hefting his las rifle.

The subedar dropped his free hand and flicked the safety of his weapon, “Alright, troopers, we are in it.

Opposition we are facing are a platoon sized detachment of corpse-worshipping dogs, three armoured personal carriers and three squads of ten man foot troops, each squad follows a packed carrier, there is no doubt the carrier is packed with troops, but we have the advantage of surprise and the will of the gods,” Haum held up the detonator in his hand.

“Trooper Kurud take the high ground to the south there,” the subedar pointed to a rained knoll with a single gnarled and thick tree a dozen meters away from the ambush corridor, “when you fire aim for the front, adjacent to the driver’s vision slit, understand? Disable the vehicle then hit the weapon turret then the engine block. Back the traffic behind, then move on to the next, don’t worry about anything else, not the troopers or stragglers. Go.”

Dersh nodded as he picked up his weapon and ran to his designated position.

“Gorl, place yourself behind the thicket there,” Haum pointed to the shrubbery a few meters to the west of the knoll where Dersh would be, “Cover, Trooper Kurud and cook the damned fools IN the vehicle, before they get out, when the other men rush you burn them, keep them away from Dersh. Got it?”

“On my life, subedar!” Gorl growled as he hefted his weapon and loped of behind Dersh.

Haum finally turned to Jikra, “Trooper Eseth, you are on the north end of the road parallel to the ambush corridor, place yourself there,” the subedar pointed to a small rock outcropping, ten meters from the road “when they turn to engage Trooper Dersh and Gorl, you will open up not before only after they turn to engage, I will provide a cross fire from down the road, now go.”

The woman simply nodded and wiped her finger across her veil that she still wore, a sign of acceptance, Haum had learnt. She bowed and ran toward her position.

Haum exhaled slowly as he turned toward Mej who approached him, “I got the tree here,” the sharpshooter said confidently as he slung his rifle over his shoulder and pulled himself up onto a sturdy branch of the thick tree providing a perfect over watch over the road.

“Get the officers and squad leaders first, you see a pompous arse in a black coat and hat shoot him in his spine!” Haum called out as the sharp shooter climber onwards.

The distant sound of the clanking gears and gripping tank treads grew closer as the first of the Chimera carriers turned the corner into the roadway from the west.

The subedar watched the vehicles slowly make their way down as he darted from cover to cover toward the north-west end of the thirty meter ambush corridor he had rigged with explosives. The column came into view just as he reached his pre-planned cover, a large rotted tree stump jagged and torn, with enormous cleft like roots that rose well over a man’s height and thicker than most tank cannons. It was like the gods had placed the tree there as the perfect spot for a warrior of chaos to ambush the hated enemy, Haum thought as he eased himself around the roots of the tree.

Something beeped in his pocket that startled his attention and he reached into the pocket and fished out a chronometer. The number nineteen was flashing.

Shit.

He dialled Soca’s vox and said three words that he knew the young protégé would relish.
“Engage at will,” he spoke into his vox.

A twig snapped somewhere to Haum’s back as he felt a presence behind him, Haum turned to see the butt of a lasrifle swinging toward him.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:08 am

Chapter 13

The butt of the weapon smacked into Haum’s breastplate with enough force to wind him, the detonator slipped from his hand, the second hit smacked his head aside his ears ringing; but the helmet protected him from the worst of the blow.

Haum was quicker when the third blow came; his palm slapped against the descending butt of the rifle and used his arm as a leverage to slow the blow and control it, with the other hand he grabbed the stock near the trigger guard and pushed up.

The muzzle of the weapon crashed into something hard and there was an audible crack of a shattering visor, he also heard the distinct imperial cursing but there was a twang, an accent to it that he had never heard before.

His enemy reeling from the blow backed away still cursing and covering his face, the subedar took the opportunity to search the root of the tree to find the detonator, he felt the cylindrical object in his fingers which he grabbed, suddenly a thick and strong arm wrapped around the subedar’s neck and pulled him backward, another hand hooked around his right arm through the elbow and locked with the offenders hand around his shoulder pressing down in a disabling lock.

Haum dropped the detonator and shot his hand up and hooked his thumb below the offending forearm and pinched down with the rest of his fingers until he found the adjoint between the bone and the muscle and squeezed with all his strength, he heard a grunt of pain and the grip on his neck weaken as the pinch on the pressure point enflamed the nerve clusters, the offender’s advantage was weakened slightly as his stance changed; just enough space for Haum to counter.

The subedar kicked behind him with his heel and felt the offender’s leg buckle, the lock on his right arm slipped as the choking arm slipped and eased into a grip on his left shoulder, the imperial used this grip to drag Haum back and then he felt the imperial punch a heavy blow to spine.

For a moment the subedar thought he was dead when he felt his limbs go limp, but his grip and the motor skills came back to him as the imperial wrapped his arm around his inner thigh and pushed forward like a late tackle throwing Haum to the ground.

Haum kicked out randomly and felt the body on him shudder back and lift with a lot more cursing.
Haum he turned about intent on intercepting a blow, but he saw the imperial hop away with one arm wrapped around his right knee, cursing, and his voice was different.

There were two of them; both wore strange dark green gear and breastplates, completely at odds with the column troopers wearing brown and mustard garb. The one with the broken faceplate had ripped his helmet off and was recovering from the blow.

Haum cautiously raised himself up he felt the solid form of the detonator beneath his fingers, he grabbed it, the Imperial on his knees had noticed this and was also on his feet, still cursing.

The hopping imperial had stopped, supposedly recovered from the pain; he reached up to his vox and sent out a warning his other hand was bringing up his rifle.

Haum charged him and began raining blows on the man’s arm and helmet, the first two blows struck his chest and right arm, the subedar grabbed the weapon and unlatched the power-cell and twisted it, the las-rifle fell from the imperials grip, suddenly the second series of blows stopped short when the other imperial intervened blocked a practiced strike intended to snap the larynx of his comrade with a intercepting knuckle strike, Haum turned swiftly to push the other Imperial away before attacking the first imperial with a downward claw strike ripping the webbing off of his armour and a palm strike to the chest plate which sent him tumbling back, the helmetless imperial was suddenly on him swinging blindingly swift blows.

Three caught Haum on his jaw and shoulder he caught the fourth blow with a counter punch just under the wrist of the approaching fist, but the imperial retaliated by knocking Haum back with a elbow to his face, followed up with a kick to the subedar’s flank throwing him back onto the ground.

Haum saw the helmetless soldier pull out a pistol and was about to activate and fire, Haum leapt up from the ground and caught the pistol by its stock, he twisted it and felt the magnetic shielding at the rear of the weapon give way, he ripped the thing off, immediately shutting the capacitor power off, a little safety measure incorporated into all las weapons so that the capacitor doesn’t randomly draw power from the cell and go critical.

The imperial realising that he wasn’t dealing with an ordinary heretic punched the subedar’s waist twice and freeing his weapon hand from the defunct weapon grabbed the man in a chokehold and threw him to the ground, the imperial pulled out his war-knife and smiled through his bloodied face.

Haum braced himself as the helmetless soldier followed through by leaping on his prone form and attempted to drive his knife into the subedar’s throat, he blocked the blow by shoving his forearm into the wrist inches from the blade and struck the helmetless and bleeding face of the imperial with the heel of his palm.

But the strike was stopped by the imperial by a casual knock of his elbow that deflected the angle of the blow away.
This man was good, very, very good.

The subedar heard shouting behind him where the column had stopped and heard the order to take defensive positions was being shouted.

The detonator...

Haum looked at the detonator in his struggling hand and back up at the imperial over him, who also realised what Haum was intending.

The subedar smiled as he pressed down on the button.

The twenty meter section of the road behind them, marked as the kill-zone erupted in fire and flame as dozens of the imperials were cut down by the impact of the explosion knocking the wind out of their lungs or shrapnel piercing their flesh. Eardrums burst and eyes bled, a chimera’s flank was blown apart and was thrown onto a squad nearby grinding them beneath its weight.

The destruction was sweet to Haum’s ear as he laughed out at the Imperial over him, whose fight was wearing thin as he looked up at the carnage before him.

Haum took this opportunity to grab the man’s knife hand, twist the wrist and give a stiff punch to the face, Haum then followed through by lifting the man up on his knee and throwing him off him.

Haum reached his las pistol strapped to his thigh with his left hand as he got on his feet and shot the helmetless imperial twice through the chest and once through the head, he then turned the weapon on his comrade.

As Haum turned his weapon on the other imperial, a throwing knife embedded itself into the stock capacitor of the pistol coincidentally as the subedar pulled the trigger, the gun exploded in his hand.

Haum screamed in pain as he clutched his bruised hand in agony, he backed away from the imperial grunting and swearing as he tried to control the pain. By some stroke of luck his hand was mostly intact, the plasteel and Kroc hide had taken the brunt of the explosion but metal fragments from the gun was still embedded in his skin, Haum pulled the pieces out one by one hissing through his teeth as he exchanged his sight between the Imperial and his hand.

The Imperial stood there glaring at him through his emotionless and dented face-plate, his stance was aggressive as there was obvious anger at the loss of not only his comrade but all those imperials, even now being picked off and burnt by Haum’s hidden fire team from the surrounding bushes and trees.

“I killed your men. Run away, Imperial,” Haum growled through the pain at the soldier.

“I am going to rip your head off, warp filth,” there was a smug chuckle and the same twang of that accent in the Imperials voice; “we both know I will break you.”

Haum grunted in pain, “You are amusing, little imperial.”

There was nothing funny about his size though, Haum thought, he was easily as big as him maybe even more. If he still had his other hand maybe he can take him.

“Kill me if you dare!”

“Maybe I will, but not with this,” Haum said indicating his ruined hand, “come on,” he said folding his left hand behind him and raising his right hand and faced the palm toward the Imperial.

The Imperial undid his helmet and threw it on the ground, he revealed a glowering face of pasty and sweating skin set with a dark pair of eyes, a heavy set jaw covered in unshaven stubble, the infidel mark of the corpse-god’s bird was marked on his left cheek and scribbles of words, prayers maybe were scribbled in tiny stanza’s down his right temple to his jaw.

“Know that I am from the Throneworld as you die, warp filth,” the imperial declared as he raised his arms and formed fists and charged Haum.

Haum smiled as the imperial closed in, his own war knife was still latched on his left hip, he would have to be quick or else the Imperial will have him.

The subedar controlled his breath and felt his legs shifting his center of gravity; he assessed the speed and direction of the first blow that would land. He did not have time to be quick, the blade needed to be drawn in a critical moment, this wasn’t it. An unrelenting fist aimed for his nose, intending to cripple and disorient, overwhelm his senses was approaching him, he couldn’t block and counter with the knife, not with one hand.

When the blow came Haum swung right away from the blow and bought his knee up, the imperial blocked with his left palm robbing the attack of its force , the right arm swung back toward Haum’s head and the elbow smacked into the subedar’s helmet.

The force of the hit was so much that the helmet cracked and the strap snapped of as Haum hit the ground.
Haum as tired and his head swam, this man was much tougher than he expected, he rolled away as quickly as he can when he felt the Imperial loom over him.

A boot crashed onto the ground where he was just a moment before.

The subedar rose slowly and watched the Imperial round him breathing heavily his arms thick with corded muscle, his steps careful and measured, Haum reached up and removed his helmet dropping it to the ground, his mind forming a way to trap the imperial’s aggressiveness and use it as a advantage.

Then suddenly the imperial launched himself fists swinging, Haum dodged the first two punches backing away, a kick followed his retreat only for his left elbow to suddenly come crashing onto the anterolateral shin as the foot brushed his stomach, the momentum of the blow was carried as Haum knelt with the downward blow and pinned the leg between his elbow and his thigh, his right hand freed the war knife with which the subedar expertly sliced into the meat of the pinned leg repeatedly, drawing cries of pain from the man who struggle to free his damaged leg.

Satisfied with the wounding Haum released the imperial who fell over clutching at his bloodied limb.

The subedar wandered over to him with a bloodied and dripping knife grinning, “You are very good imperial, just like your friend,” Haum nodded toward the body of his dead comrade, “if there were more of you, this would have been done with long ago.”

“Stop gloating, traitor and finish this, the Emperor awaits!” the imperial said defiantly through gritted teeth.

“The powers of the warp are the only true gods,” the subedar replied as he crashed his knee into the Imperial’s chest, weak hands tried to relieve the pressure clawing at Haum’s leg, but the blood flow from the cut arteries on the imperials leg was too much, life drained was too much.

“I commend your souls to them as sacrifice,” Haum said as he drowned the weapon into the meat of the imperials neck, a terrible smile splitting on his face as the body beneath him twitched and shuddered as his soul ascended to be immolated by his gods.

Gun fire and screaming still came from the road as his fire team still fired at the stubborn imperials, Haum stared at the road and back at the corpse beneath his knee, he began to search the body and found a ident-pass and a journal, he searched for his patch and only found the words ‘Seventh-Sind Terrae Praetorii’ on a field of two lightning bolts with the blasphemous imperial eagle stamped over it.

He had never seen or heard of such a regiment or insignia before.

Haum found a aid pack in the imperial’s thigh pack and immediately set about attending to his left hand, he poured some of the salve on his wounds and wrapped it quickly with a bandage, just as he injected himself with a pain killer shot his vox bead buzzed in his ear.

“Subedar? Subedar? I don’t see you, serkar! Are you there serkar?”

Haum sighed, it was the crackling voice of the sniper Mej Arin.

“Yes, I am here, Mej. I was caught out by a pair of infidels, they are dead. What is the situation there?”

“There are still a few here, serkar, they are putting up a stiff fight, one of the vehicles made it over the kill zone, and it is returning fire.”

Haum swore as he collected his knife and the items he noted from the dead imperial and ripped the unit patch of his fatigue, he grabbed his rifle that he had dropped earlier, the pain-killer he injected was kicking in and a second wind came to Haum’s damaged body.

He checked his rifle as he limped toward the burning road ahead of him leaving the two dead imperials behind to rot.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby Praetorian » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:08 pm

Nice.
The ranks, are they 'invented' by you or actually used in canon universe?
I ask since I may need some ranks later on in my own.
(I doubt I am well versed enough to actually give good or bad advice, so I'll settle for a simple I like it)
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:24 am

Ranks I come up with are basically all drawn from the real world, Black Library novels, historical books. etc. I read a lot to gain ideas and then collect them. If you are lacking in them, I suggest making notes of cool names, words and titles you come across, then make notes on how you can incorporate it into a idea or a story that is in your mind.

Also, I don't think it is much about advice, just let me know what you think about the piece and what you think I could have done better, any part your did not like or anything like that, I would be glad of some criticism.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:39 pm

Chapter 14

Soca’s first shot took the first guardsman in the head, the las charge burning through the helmet and boring into the head leaving a melted hole, cauterized and perfect in dimension, the exit wound however was a horrific mess of missing flesh and broken chips of skull.

The second shot smacked into the same guardsman’s back dropping him, Soca depressed the trigger as more shots spat from his weapon toward the cabin and the soldiers around it.

The others of Soca’s small strike team fired at the enemy guardsmen; the unprepared soldiers jerked and spasmed as the torrent of shots struck them from the bushes.

“Forward!” Soca shouted as he charged out of cover his bayonet pointed forward, his muzzle above flashing with las shots.

Amaru was the second to break from cover and placed himself beside Soca; the heavy stubber gun in the giant’s meaty hands was spitting death at the now alarmed guardsmen mowing them down in the steady thud, thud, thud of the deadly weapon.

The twins Jeth and Tejh had hooked around further down from their position and were laying down heavy fire at the guardsmen who were approaching the cabin.

Salur was there too beside Soca on her knee taking careful shots at the guardsman who was returning fire from the window of the cabin, she shot him twice, first shot hit his hand and blew the trigger of the weapon, the second smacked into his neck and the soldier pitched over dead.

Soca charged forward and bayoneted the first guardsman he encountered, the thrust was savage and weak, the blade simply rang off the butt of the guardsman’s lasrifle, the guardsmen used the momentum to barge at Soca with his shoulders, Soca fell, but he lashed out with his feet knocking the guardsman off balance.

Salur appeared next to him and fired twice into the falling guardsman and continued on toward the cabin.

Soca recovered himself and took stock of the situation.

There were at least seven dead Imperials in the open, one dead in the cabin, Soca unclipped a grenade from his webbing and primed it before throwing it into the cabin through the broken window, there was a dull crump followed by smoke and fire the belched briefly from the cabin’s windows and the locked door crashed open.

Three burning and bloodied figures walked out dazed and mewling in pain, Amaru stepped up and gunned them down contemptuously.

Soca grinned as the fighting began to die down, he signalled Salur and Amaru to follow him as he began to advance past the cabin.

On the dip past the structure a scene of brutal carnage awaited the three, the twins had made short work of the dozen or so guardsmen who were resting and cleaning their gear, the sudden shots and the swiftness of the assault had caught the imperial completely off guard.

Tejh and Jeth were walking over their handiwork administering kill shots to the head of each of the prone guardsmen.

“By the gods,” Amaru cursed as he approached the carnage, “You killed them all! I am jealous!”
Jeth simply waved his hand over his face, a sign of warding against others jealousy; Tejh simply grunted in affirmation and shot a struggling survivor under his boot.

“This seems simple enough, Haum taught us all we need! We are warriors now! No longer hunters!” Soca proclaimed proudly, “Look, we engaged and killed so many!”

“Don’t get carried away,” Salur warned as she walked right at the lip of the sloping hill and looked down at the village below.

Soca stalked over to her and looked over with her.

“By the blood of the gods,” Soca swore as he backed away from what he saw.

Fifty meters below them, squads of guardsmen in the khaki of their regiment were amassing in force.

Soca beeped Haum on his comm-unit, “Serkar, the village below is seething, we have the hill but the imperials are preparing to advance up here in force!”

He heard a keen whine and a static burst before Haum’s voice came through, “You are in a perfect defensive position, scrounge up all the gear and ammo, grenades and suppression weapons, stop them from advancing!”
“But, serkar, we are too few! There are dozens of them!”

Haum’s voice once again broke through the static, “Hold, position Soca! We are on our way and we need you to hold that damned overlook! Fail me and I will hunt you down and bleed your soul!”

Soca heard the communication die when the static fizzled out, he sighed to himself and turned to his makeshift team, “Alright, scrounge all weapons and ammo you can, Amaru, you are our only suppression take a good position and fire, Salur find all the grenades that you can, Jeth and Tejh you both can snipe well, find some cover and give us an enfilade. The Cabin is the fall back area, we hold there.”

“And you, where will you be?” Amaru asked as he hefted a ammunition hopper and fixed it around his hip.
Soca dropped his rifle and checked his autopistol; satisfied he gave Amaru a smile unsheathing his long blade with his free hand, “Right in the thick of it.”

Haum fixed his grip on the drivers flak and pulled him from the idle chimera and onto the bloody and burnt road.
“Now! Tell me now! Who are the Praetorii!” he shouted at the bleeding form of the dazed crewman.

Between the fits of coughing and wheezing the defiant crew man said, “Don’t know, go back to the warp heathen.”

Haum had no choice but to make the crewman’s pain extremely painful, as an abject lesson to the rest of the captured guardsmen, who were lined up and knelt ad the edge of the road.

“So no one imperial dog knows! This,” Haum held up the unit patch from the dead Terran who had faced him in the duel moments ago, “is from one of your elite! He faced me and I killed him, that much I am aware of, but how many more are there? Tell me now and I free you!”

The knelt men held their discipline and never uttered a single word, most were bleeding, more than half would not live to see the next day and every single one of the sixteen were dazed and shell-shocked, maybe even deaf.
“Fine!” Haum cried in frustration and grabbed the only officer to survive, a lieutenant, somewhat young but had fire in his eyes, with a half burnt scalp where tufts of dirty blonde hair was still visible, he hoisted the officer up and made him stand in his damaged state.

“For your eyes!”

Haum’s hand chopped into the officer’s neck, there was an audible crack, the imperial fell on his knees and gurgled spitting blood and gasping as the collapsed larynx and the broken arteries led hi to a very painful death.
There was a visible pang of loss across the lined imperials, a handful of them wept quietly but none said a word.

Haum knew that this was fruitless, there was no other information he could gather, he had to dispose of them and move onto the village. Already Soca had informed him of an assault to take the overlooking hill back from his fire team. Haum pocketed the patches and unsheathed his pistol from his thigh holster; he shot the closest man in the line of kneeling imperials.

“Kill them all,” Haum ordered as he turned to the serviceable and relatively undamaged chimera and climbed into the cockpit of the vehicle. The sound of his squad executing the prisoners echoed inside the vehicle as he fiddled with the controls.

Mej Arin approached the open hatch on the driver side and smiled, “Done, serkar, what now?”

“Pile in, we are driving right into the heathen’s heart,” Haum said without ceremony as he found the activation stud on the panel before him and activated it, the chimera rumbled at first, then it growled as life flooded its engines and the vehicle was idle no more.

“Yes Serkar!” Arin shouted over the growl of the engine and signalled the rest of the soldiers to enter the vehicle.
Dersh Kurud clambered onto the railing on the hull and climbed toward the cupola, he hung his long rifle on his shoulder and manned the heavy stubber mounted on top with wolfish grin on his face.

“Feel at home?” Jikra called out to him as she rounded to the rear hatch of the vehicle.

“Oh, yes dear, Jikra, but I would be happier with a wife next to me,” Kurud teased as he racked the weapon.
“You wish,” was all Jikra hissed before she entered the cabin.

Gorl grunted at the anger in her voice, “Don’t play with fire, Kurud boy, you liable to get burnt.”

“We all burn in the end, Gorl,” Arin said as he joined them.

“But, first, let us go kill some imperial bastards!” Gorl shouted as he entered the troop cabin.
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Re: The Prophet's War

Postby exitus_10 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:42 am

So I am back after 3 years. Yes it took me that long to resolve my writers block and overcome my laziness. :lol:

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 15

Sharp cracks of las discharge lanced over head as G’jan struggled to unlatch the cell from her rifle, one of the khaki clad soldiers clambered over her cover and tried to bring his weapon up, G’jan rammed the barrel into the crotch of the guardsmen who fell howling in pain.

She finally detached the cell and rammed home a new one, she shot the soldier on the ground and aimed down the hill.

There was at least forty men that seemed to be clambering up the steep, carefully advancing between the rock outcropping which they used as cover, there advance was precise save for a few who managed to clamber right up over the lip, they were dealt with swiftly but the relentlessness of the attack was wearing on them.

“They are not letting up!” Heku shouted as he threw a pair of grenades at the imperials in cover, two thuds were followed by shouts of pain and sprays of mud, blood and limbs.

They had been in the firefight for just under half an hour

G’jan unloaded another cell and dropped back into cover, “Where is the Subedar?”

“He is on his way,” Soca said as he fired of the last of his autopistol ammunition.

“How do you know?” Heku asked as he lifted up his heavy stubber and began to gun down another pair of advancing imperials.

Soca leapt up from cover and charged the nearest imperial, he rammed his knife into his face and reached for the webbing, he ripped the strapped las cells and grenades off and tossed it toward G’Jan and Heku, “Just load up and keep firing!”

#####################################################################################################################

Guardsmen Wylon and Kepta marched toward the gate non-chalantly, behind them, just three streets over, some score meters above on a hill some heretic insurgents were firing at the foot of the hill where the PDF were billeted.

The PDF were desperately trying to storm the slope and by the looks of the khakis on the ground it seemed they were not faring well.

A loud explosion echoed and shook the dust of the roof of a nearby house, the pair of Guardsmen stopped and turned about to look at the engagement. Two burning PDF troopers rolled down the hill as other clambering troops leapt out of the way.

“What the hell was that?” Wylon asked as confused as Kepta who coughed twice.

“Bloody hell, what is the ruckus about?” Guard Sergeant Mathis grumbled as he dragged himself out of a discarded bath tub, his eyes immediately turned to the gunfire his hands reaching for his weapons.

Wylon walked over to the Sergeant and pointed at the gunfight, “That is the pride of the Kanith PDF trying to dislodge four or five heretics from the overlook.”

Mathis turned to him and blinked, he reeked of liquor and his clean shaved face and bald head was bright pink instead of the usual pale, “You don’t say! So we are under attack! Why aren’t you up there slitting those heretic throats like any good Guardsman of the 11th?”

Kepta pulled a letter from his webbing and gave the Sergeant a sheet of paper on it was stamped the official seal of the Commissar and an order of non-intervention punishable by death in the matters of perimeter defence and intervention only if the gate and the command billet is threatened.

Mathis read the contents slowly his eyes straining and his lips miming the words, he looked up at the pair, “What the hell happened last night?”

Wylon clicked his tongue, “Disagreement or some form of shouting, we were doing the perimeter patrol. All I know is Commissar Krauz was insulted and then struck, Captain Berenger had enough and smacked the PDF Captain, the Colonel stepped in and threatened to execute the PDF for insubordination.”

Mathis spat phlegm at the mention of the arrogant PDF captain, the man was a piece of work, all he had to do was hold the village and maintain the Anti-Air battery, the Colonel was right to come and check the operational area personally.

“Hmmph,” Mathis looked up at Wylon and smiled a hung over smile, “You know that must be why Berenger called in the rest of the 2nd Company. We are the replacement to the PDF.”

“Are those two from Terra with them?” Kepta asked as he unhooked his helmet and wiped his brow.

Mathis nodded, “Maybe, but I must say, those two and their whole battalion are hard bastards, precise like a las cutter.”

Wylon grinned, “You sound like you don’t like being an Edanite or a Rifle.”

“Watch your tongue and notice the pins,” Mathis said as he flicked the sergeant’s badge on his collar, he walked away without another word to where he was actually billeted.

The two guardsmen walked toward the gate and turned to watch the 4th Platoon of the Kanith PDF try and storm the handful of heretics who were firing into the village, they seemed utterly unconcerned to the casualties.

“They have mortars right?” Kepta asked as he lit up a lho stick.

Wylon shrugged and nodded toward a neat row of mortar tubes and boxes of stacked ammunition, “They probably missed it.”

“By the Emperor, no wonder this world fell,” the helmed guardsman sighed.

“Can you idiots keep quite? I am trying to look for the convoy,” chimed in the sentry who was on perched 3 metre long tower staring into his binoculars at the enemy.

The two guardsmen at the gate looked up and recognized him, just as Wylon was about to reply an enormous explosion thundered from somewhere down the road that the gate led to, the road was straight for 20 meters and it curved around a small hill that blocked the cause of the explosion.

“What in the name of Terra was that?” the sentry asked confused as he trained his binoculars and tried to see.

Wylon and Kepta were immediately clambering up the gate trying to look over into the road but saw nothing.

Behind them the gunfight reached a crescendo as crumps of grenade explosions peppered the scream of another platoon bloodily pushing up the hill.

After a tense few minutes Wylon and Kepta got off the gate and shook their heads.

“What the hell is going on?” Wylon wondered and looked up at the Guardsman on the sentry post.

Just as the Guardsman was about to reply his head exploded in a mist of blood.

#####################################################################################################################

Haum put the vehicle on throttle and boosted the chimera down the plascrete road toward the gate, the metal barricade was a single rectangular piece two inches thick.

He heard Dersh call out a target, “I see a guard on the gate!”

“Kill him!” Haum shouted as he as he shifted gears to the lowest with his wounded hand.

His fireteam held on to the hand rails as the chimera smashed into the gate tearing it off the hinges, throwing two guardsmen behind into the air.

Dersh was yelling and shouting in glee as he depressed the trigger of the heavy stubber, the spray of high velocity bullets began hitting the handful of soldiers who were staring stunned at a chimera with scorched and burnt second company colours firing at their own.

Haum looked back at his team and picked out Eseth, “You, on the autocannon controls, aim and fire!”

Eseth Jikra leapt onto the fire control and looked at it puzzled, the words and instructions were unknown to her, her eyes scanned the control seat, the panel beside her had the outline of the imperial eagle, the medallion there was ripped out by Samnir and defaced, there was a handle and a trigger, there was a vision oculus screen and a vision slit.

“What the hell are you staring at?” Haum cut in, “hold the handle and press the trigger, quickly!”

Jikra grabbed the handle and aimed it at the nearest troopers, she depressed the trigger and the steadied the servos as it moved, then she realised she didn’t know what she was aiming for.

“Where do I aim?” she asked unknowingly as the chimera jerked forwards and she heard several impacts and screams and the vehicle shook wildly as dust and masonry rained in through the copula.

Dersh was yelling in glee shouting to the gods above her.

“Too late, you rat! Next time aim for the troops!” Haum chided as he reversed the vehicle and it hobbled over the dead PDF troopers under its treads.

Jikra checked her sights and saw a cluster of soldiers trying to hide behind a ruined barricade, she aimed at it and depressed the trigger, high velocity shells began to issue from the main gun in steady staccato as the area was pummelled into dust.

Eseth began to cry her ululating war shout as she hosed the dozen PDF troopers and maintained the rate of fire sweeping toward the right flank.

Haum stalled the vehicle and retrieved his rifle, and charged it.

He turned to his fire team, “Gorl, Mej with me outside, we will rally the Soca and the rest,” he paused and looked at Eseth, “you and Kurud lay down cover fire!”

A chorus of “Yes, serkar!” followed.

Mej and Gorl jumped out onto the ruined street slick with the blood and body parts of the PDF troops.

“Bloody entrance, eh?” Gorl joked as he lit the pilot on his flamer.

Mej gave a killer’s smile, “Blood for the blood god!”

Gorl Laughed loudly as he doused a crawling figure with flames and moved to join Haum.

The subedar looked at the carnage around him, dozens of dead figures littered the ground in distinctive khaki of the broken PDF, he looked up and saw another dozen of khaki clad men trying to storm the slope which was also littered in their dead.

“There!” he pointed to the lip of the slope and led Gorl and Mej, “no survivours!”

Bright spears of flames licked up the hill into the cowering PDF troopers, as sniping shots began to pick off the rest.

Haum exposed his teeth in a cruel grin as he lifted up his rifle and fired.
I have not returned! Be afraid or something.
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