onsdag 22 juni 2016

Battle 3: A key to the abyss

- Location: the desert city of Tartarus, Cerberus XIII
- Imperial Forces: Astartes of the Crimson Fists
- Chaos Forces: Renegade Krieg
- Points value: 800 points on each side
- Combat objectives Imperium and Chaos: Slay the Warlord. Annihilate the enemy.

[Author: Crimson Fist storyline - Anders A, Krieg storyline - Mattias]

Crimson Fists, Forward battle camp:


Crimson Fists advancing
The walls of Tartarus had given them fierce resistance but in the end the enemy had made a tactical retreat bringing with them their altars of worship on great chariots. After they had pushed through the gates the only remains were the charred bodies of the traitor Krieg and a sweet smell like that of exotic insense. It made Lucenzo sick. Not that his augmented body could´nt filter it away. No, it was a feeling he couldn't shake, a feeling that the renegades somehow wanted to lure them closer. The perverted dicotomy of sweetness and horror clung to his enhanced senses like flies to feces as his made ready to receive new orders.

Chapter Master Pedro and his Sternguard
A sound like thunder roared above him as a Fire Raptor decended in the square where the altar had been before. As it landed Lucenzo sensed an air of gravity had just been added to his mission. From the landing ramp strode a huge astartes, great banner attached to his backpack and a huge power fist attacked to his left arm. His retinue also stood taller and graver than any normal astartes. He barely had time to think before the sergeant next to him kneeled. Awestruck Lucenzo fell to his knee. ”Pedro's Sternguards” the words flashed through his mind. ”The chapter master, in person? There is much more to this than I first guessed.” he thought.

”Rise my warriors! I salute your progress but we have much more to attend to.” Pedro held his helmet under his arm and his cleanly shaved head shone when it was touched by the sun. He was the incarnation of strenght and sternness, his face finely lined with age and his eyes spoke wisdom. ”Mount up, we are heading deeper into the city. Zebaot shall find escaping us a difficult venture. I´m taking personal command from this point onwards."

They headed through several sectors of hab blocks and great manufactorums as they moved ever closer to the center of the city. An hour or so into the patrol and still nothing. All was quiet around them and Lucenzo looked at his battle brothers. ”They could sure use a cleaning of their armor.” He considered when a rocket hit their rhino. ”INCOMING!” ”EVASIVE MANOUVERS!” the vox crackled with furious chatter. ”Contact left and right, set up overwatch positions!” Pedro´s voice boomed. ”Lucenzo, take your squad down the left. Second squad down the right. Hernando, assist second. I shall carry the center.” He continued.

Renegade Krieg fortification
The rhino accelerated quickly and before long Lucenzos squad was exiting the transport, guns blazing. Dug in about forty feet away was a renegade Krieg squad with a light armored transport behind a thick wall. And in the center about twenty infantrymen were storming against them. Together the company opened up. Over forty boltguns sang with one voice and the scenery shattered in front of them. The infantrymen were cut down to one man, gore and guts sprayed all over the building straight ahead. From behind the wall came a sentinel, its guns hammering into his squad´s power armor. ”Meltagunner! To the front!” Lucenzo´s order was immediately carried out and the burning inferno was unleashed as the walker melted to a smoking pyre of metal and human.Then it came at them. The light transport drove at a reckless pace right into their midst, taking
a battle brother with it as it passed by, smearing his corpse against the street. As one man they let their bolters avenge their fallen comrade. From the wreckage a woman carrying a banner ran and was lost behind the walls of a close building. ”Where did she go?” Lucenzo demanded to know. ”I didn´t...” his sergeant didn´t have time to finish before corrosive gas made short work of his armour, biting its way into his flesh. ”Take cover!” Run for that building!”


Rebel Command Center:

As the centaur sped towards the main boulevard and the frontal command center Vera had felt, rather than heard, the impacts of orbital bombardment all over the sector.

Her job wasn’t to win this battle, but to show the Imperial enemy that the rebellion still was in control. That the Teacher could command the same fatalistic loyalty as the empire did.

Rebel Command Center
She remembered being summoned to the Teacher's tent in person. She had expected a hulking Astartes monstrosity, but as she entered, he immediately sat down, bringing himself to her level. He inquired about the health of her men, and praised the victorious battle at the southern wall. They discussed tactical options, where to take the fight next. She felt as if his small comments and suggestions made her focus her tactical knowledge far beyond her experience, and it was she who eventually had devised the plan. They would make a controlled retreat and lure the enemy into a trap. Vera suggested herself that she defended the rear, even if the chances at survival was grim. He took her hands in his. They were enormous, strong and soft. “You would rather die fighting for freedom than for tyranny. You and I already are alike in this. I know you are brave, my daughter - die fighting, and make it count” Then he had gently removed the imperial eagle from her breast and cut his own finger, pressing his own sacred blood seal over her heart as a token of affection.

 This wasn’t about winning. This was about goading the Imperials. And to sacrifice herself for the glory of the Teacher.

A Rhino transport sped towards the barricades, skidding as it halted to release a squad of armoured astartes.
“Affix Bayonets!”

Her platoon had stormed forward, heedless of the superior enemy opening fire upon them. They had died to a man, as expected. The enemy did advance, incautious because of the easy targets the battle had offered. The sentinel was quickly brought down, smoke and fuel blasting upwards like a mushroom cloud in miniature. Behind the sentinel the rest of the fortification had turned into molten slag as an orbital missile hit home.
   As the front was crumbling Vera finally identified a price worth taking. A great dreadnought advanced, keeping the left side of the grand boulevard under control with focused bursts of bolter fire. Vera licked her lips in nervous anticipation. The voxoperater relayed her order. “Take it down. The dreadnought is the prize”

The Woman on the Roof
“Death to the false Emperor.” The whispered reply drowned in the loud clap of an explosive shell hitting the dreadnoughts front armor. And another. In the tall window an impassive skull mask put the exitus rile to its dark socket once more. Around her astartes battled hand to hand with her soldiers, but she hardly noticed. Her powersword flashed as she decapitated three, the rest died upon the bayonets of her men, but still she couldn’t take her eyes from the assassin hitting the same spot with slug after slug as the huge machine stumbled forward on protesting servos.
A white-hot projectile finally broke the dreadnought’s decimeter-thick armor and it came to a sudden halt, its limbs twitching in mechanical spasms. This was a death the Crimson Fists would mourn.
   The bright doorway was blocked for a second before the whole wall imploded. She squinted as she realized the astartes officer bore a proud banner over his armored shoulders. Her eyes widened in disbelief. “Chaptermaster Pedro Kantor”. On weak knees she barely managed a clumsy salute with her blade before the whole room was destroyed in a hail of bolter fire.


The fighting was over and Lucenzo looked around. Bodies lay heaped all across the intersection. Some astartes but so many more guardsmen. In the midst of it all his chapter master stood, eyeing a parchment. Behind him lay the ruins of Hernando, the ancient dreadnought. Lucenzo cursed but if only the sarcophagus was intact he could be restored. Then Pedro´s voice was on the vox. ”Our enemy eludes us but he can´t run forever. This map shows the entrance to an underground system of culverts. Our destination is now sector Amalthea. Or rather, what lies below I expect it is there we shall find this teacher...”
   He spoke. ”Going underground? Well we are already in hell.” Lucenzo thought and then called out to his squad: ”Mount up, we are going on a rat hunt.”

Everything had gone black. She had tumbled into the abyss with nothing to stop her. But a warm sweet smell had reached her from the darkness beyond. With a scream she opened her eyes. Around her it was quiet but the evidence of battle was apparent. From the carnage that had once been her squad she slowly rose. Her wounds did not hurt and she could feel a new kind of strenght in her veins. Her armor was ripped open in many places and a greenish fluid slowly trickled from the bullet holes. His voice inside her head!

"Return to me!" It commanded. She had but to obey.

Additional images courtesy of the ECBE (Esteemed Conclave for Battle Evaluation), Astra Militarum:

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