Monday, February 22, 2016
The Grey Knights had called, and been answered: by the brooding Raven Guard, who massed their scouts in shadowed black; by the maddened Blood Angels, whose Death Company whispered their final oaths as they embarked upon the vessels of the steel rain; by the mysterious Dark Angels, hooded and purified; all ready to bring war. Their fleets coalesced into real-space and took orbit around the fallen Forgeworld of Delnor Prime. The guns of the mighty cathedral-ships barked until they ran empty, striking down the bastions and defences upon the surface. They had not come to inflict Exterminatus, but to reclaim this world, where the artifice of war was made. It must be purified with blade and bolter, but it would again arm the sons of the Emperor again. Innumerable attack craft and drop pods spilled from the orbital ships, hurtling towards the heretic below.
Brother-Adept Mercutio, pilot of the Storm Talon Final Witness, felt the unmistakable slip of warp-translation before the first flames of atmospheric entry limned his ship. Through the canopy, the curving grey-brown of the planet was suddenly replaced by the battle-lines of the enemy, terribly close. Flak exploded around the silver ship, and soon both engines were flaming, the ship a flaming coffin hurtling at a sharp angle downwards.
"Spend out lives dearly, Brother," came Justicar Elin's voice over the comm, his tone weighty with the knowledge of his Paladin squad's inevitable death.
Mercutio complied. He loosed the full complement of missiles the ship carried into a horde of screaming cultists below, and set the many bolters on the ship to full auto, trusting the machine-spirit to prosecute their wroth. Close ahead hundreds of cultists gibbered around a daemonic blood-throne, a horned beast ensconced within exhorting the flesh-chattels to unleash their auto-guns upon the lone enemy in the sky. As the small-arms pattered the viewscreen like a hailstorm, Mercutio made a final push upon the control yoke, sending the Storm Raven smashing to the ground, skidding through the cultists, smashing the self-destruct toggle just as the Raven careened into the blood throne.
The throne was old and had tasted blood upon thousands of worlds. It was a curse upon reality, brought forth from the warp wherever the slaughter would be thickest. The occupant's death meant little. Chains of molten brass twirled from it's base and through the wreckage of the Storm Raven, swinging the limp form of Brother-Adept Mercutio into it's seat. Baleful energies sucked the shattered flesh of the dead and the barely living strewn around the wreckage like water spiraling into a drain. The flesh ran like wax, reforming into tendrils of daemon flesh, filling the shell of the storm raven, the hands of the dead clutching the still-living Paladins within. Unconscious, shocked by the warp-translation and the sundering of their ship, the rage contained within the throne infected their minds. They cried out, desperate to bring destruction upon their foes.
"My Faith is a litany," Justicar Elin rasped, trying to bring the image of the God-Emperor to his mind. All that came was a laughing skull, horned, forged in brass, weeping blood. "For-for-"
"BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!" Mercutio screamed from within his throne-prison.
"SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE!" The Paladins replied, the daemon flesh around them becoming pliant, responsive to their rage.
Incorruptible spirits falling, their networked psychic minds screaming together to the God of Murder, finally rent the already-thinned barrier between the warp and reality. As the first flaming contrails of the Astartes lined the sky, rainbow tears opened around them, the daemons behind the veil gibbering, ready to join the fray.