+++Former Colony World+++
+++Radiation desert, thin atmosphere, population 0+++
The blasted rad-desert sang with the wind's fury. Flecks of sand whipped into an abrasive torrent slowly smoothing the worn metal and stone of the ruined hab complex. Time and the action of the sand had filed this place down into a barely more than a few cracked walls and half standing habs. Alone and empty but for the screaming of the wind and sand.
His own armour was inviolate. Broken, chipped, ruined and stained year after year in the crucible of holy war and remade each and every time. The black ceramite was older than this place by millennia and yet where this world had crumbled and decayed, his armour had remained, reforged with zeal and fervour, worn with fury, crusading across the void in the name of the god who he championed.
He flexed the fingers of his gauntlets, reaching for the hilt of the long blade sheathed at his back and smiled beneath his helm. Not long now. The God-Emperor had smiled on them it seemed. What had been merely a chance to test the stamina of their Neophytes, to hone their will into the strength that would serve them as full Templars, had become something much worthier. Xenos had come to this dead, cold little ball of sand. Their energy signatures had been so faint they'd almost been lost in the radiation scoured auspex returns but faith had proved stronger and his brothers had seen their coming. Not long now. The rhino reignited it's engines with a growl and Zadar de Montfort, Emperors Champion pulled the hatch closed. The Black Sword would purify the xenos filth with its edge soon enough.
The rhino swung into cover behind one of the ruins, the harsh glare of it’s stab lights slicing through the darkness towards the still distant xenos signatures. Huddled in the red illumination at the vehicles core the battle brothers checked their wargear. They were the hammer. The cavalry charge waiting to spear the enemies flank and pierce their heart. The Emperors Champion was with them and he would lead them into the thick of matters when the enemy broke themselves on the fortified Black Templar position to the west.
Marshall Demetrius of Monzferrat had the ruins prepared, heavier weapons in the upper floors of the ruin with his own squad barricading the entrance and ground floor. On one side of that ruin the ancient sarcophagous of Brother Theadore a Chapter dreadnaught loomed. His scanners swept the largest spire in the centre of the expected combat zone, its lack of structural integrity and forward position causing it to be disregarded by the Marshall but it’s towering edifice cast a significant shadow in their fire zone. The landspeeder typhoon buzzed overhead, it’s engines idling as it hovered just above the top floors of the ruin, and the sound was discordantly echoed by the three bike engines on the eastern fringe. The dreadnaught rotated at the waist, it’s gimble-joint tracking the progression of the Thunderhawk gunship as it circumvented the mountains between them and their landing zone, its cargo of jump-pack laden assault marines eager to throw themselves into battle once it was joined. A pulse of data rippled across the behemoth’s auspex distorting the returns for a moment. He paid it no heed, for he knew its source. Teleportation circuits were charging and that was the first of a series of triangulations that would bring the Sword Bretherin down with accuracy into the heart of their foes. He cycled the ejection flumes for his missile pod and allowed the capacitors of the twin-linked lascannon that was his lance to charge, holding them for a moment at firing capacity before allowing the energy to dissipate once more. Today blood would be split, and the Emperors will would be carried out.
The blood rippled on the glass and the glass rippled beneath it. Like the movement of a great ocean predator something stirred in the depths of the reflection. And like the swarm of scavengers in its wake flickers swam across each of the shattered fragments glistening in the dust and the starlight.
"Is it done?" The voice, a languid half whisper, drifted to the figure amid the glasses who turned lowering his shrunken thin features into a half bow as he did so.
"The shadows will come Archon." It paused as it spoke, the musical multi-tonal language shifting into harsh echoes for each syllable, and the reflections quivered in response. The Haemonculus whose name translated as 'The Iron Spider' took a step back towards the hovering grav-craft it's flowing robes blurring some of the fragments with blood as it moved.
"Is our Archon prepared, perhaps a preferred tincture..." it left the words hanging it's mouth curving into an obsequious smile. The helmed Archon glared and his response came rich with hate and amusement.
"I have my own....tincture. I ride with my Incubi Rack. Alone. Keep my kabal company." The drugs were already coursing through the Archon's body, a vital furious strength ready to explode into action.
The Spider smiled again, swallowing the venom in it's words and bowing at the waist, the armoured bulk of it's chest and shoulder vanes almost folding to the flowing robes concealing it's legs.
"As our Archon desires."
Another horned impassive helm tracked the Spider as it sashayed to the largest of the grav-craft. Comlacht Cré-umha crouched on the deck of the raider as his attendant wracks continued their work, careful to remain out of his gaze as they filed his horns and carefully arranged a freshly flayed face to his bronze scalp. He played with a small octahedral gyroscope as he watched the armoured shape board the Tantalus. The micro-portal at the device's centre spun under its own power, ready to expand at a moment's notice and breach the boundaries between realities. And waiting for that moment, the engines of the Coven and a cadre of carrion corsairs from the Glass Splinters.
An avian chorus rose as the gravitic engines increased their power raising the two raiders and the large tantalus from their resting places on the dust. The Bone Crows unslung their weapons on the wing, swooping ahead towards the ruins fast approaching, eager to hunt down their land-bound prey. Whether the Eachuisge had accepted the Coven's entireties would tell in time, though the payment had been small only a handful of their jetbikes had been requested rather than the custom skycraft that was their speciality.
The four ruined structures were easily visible to the eyes of the Dark Eldar, as were the shapes of the mon'keigh warriors and warmachines that clustered around them. Approaching the central spire from the south east they entered the combat zone in its shadow. Using it's bulk to shield their approach from the fortified position to its north west. The Bone Crows and the Tantalus covered their flank with one ruin, behind which the Black Templar rhino idled, whilst the two Raiders trusted to the night to position themselves in the open between the spire and the building they had approached over, dumping slave nets into its upper floor as they did so. In the lowest reaches of the central spire the shadows themselves shifted, broken shards of aeon old glass opening like the surface of a pool to allow the mandrakes to climb forth.
Though the Black Templars were prepared, though their plans had been formed even as the Dark Eldar had still been miles from the combat zone, and though theirs was a righteous zeal borne of crusading warriors; the speed of the Dark Eldar was unlike anything made with human skill. The grav-craft burst into the combat zone and without slowing began to engage the enemy, stealing the initiative from the Space Marines as the first signs of dawn illuminated the far mountains.
The two raiders maintained their forward flight, keeping to the south of the central spire and spinning at the last instant to angle their guns towards the rhino. The most forward of them disgorged a single passenger, Comlacht Cré-umha landed in the sand with a thump, his bare feet caring not for the twisted rubble at the base of the spire as he joined the shadow-kin within. The Tantalus arced it's flight, turning towards the rhino as well, now using only the spire to shield it, and the Bone Crows moved similarly, landing on the sand to aim their weapons.
Twin beams of dark on dark slashed forth from the raiders, but the gunners' aim was thrown by the extreme manoeuvre of their arrival and vaporised scores in the dust was all that came from their shots. The Bone Crows were similarly ineffective, one electrical discharge grounding in the sand, whilst the other was resisted by the ancient machines brutish machine spirit. The occupants of the tank had barely even registered that they were under fire so rapidly had the assault come, and yet it had come to nothing, until the moan of the pulsed disintegrators began. Balls of cold, smouldering plasma raked the vehicle, scouring it to the core and forcing its occupants to exit the wreck. The hail of splinters from the Tantalus' passengers bounced off the ceramite plate of the Initiates but one Neophyte was not so lucky, poisoned needles bringing him down before he could reach the cover of the ruins.
In the shadows of the central spire Comlacht Cré-umha cast the octagonal device up and the multiple spinning sections aligned with a flash of jade light. The device itself vanished from view, swallowed by the portal that blocked him from view.
The Xenos had come. Faster than expected, but that was no matter. They had simply speeded their journey into death. The dreadnaught strode clear of the fortified building its missile systems fighting to lock onto the fast moving Eldar craft now revealed to it. The Landspeeder banked and pivoted, following the trajectory and aim of its armoured fellow. Seeing the smoke rising from the ruined tank the bike mounted marines revved their engines and powering around the debris field they closed the distance to the shadow-kin in the lee of the glowing portal. The Emperor's Champion rallied his squad, positioning themselves in the cover provided by the ruin.
+++Suffer not the Unclean to live+++ intoned the dreadnaught through its vox and fired at the nearest raider. The pilot of the craft dipped the craft and the missile lost its lock exploding harmlessly against the tower itself. However the ancient warrior had considered this probability and a blinding bolt of actinic white light from its lascannon speared the craft, shearing it in twain. The liquifier wielding wrack and its one armed kin crawled from the wreckage, their unnatural physique keeping them alive for the moment, as they fell back towards the cover of a nearby crater. The landspeeder's gunner noted his battle brothers kill, adjusting his own target accordingly. The multi-melta's heat failed to reach the Archon's raider but the extra range allowed the krak warhead time to arm and it's detonation ripped the tail off the fragile craft, which slammed into the ground splitting up on impact. Three Incubi died in the crash, the explosion and the impact pulping the elegant forms within their armour. The other two leapt clear at the last moment, the Inked Archon's arcane field flaring blackly as it held back the impacts.
"Purge the alien!" Came the cry from the fortified position and both floors of black armoured warriors fired their weapons at the figures beside the portal with the zeal and fury their Chapter is renowned for. The fury filled them, but it did not help their aim. Scorching plasma, a frag warhead and the majority of their mass reactive bolt-shells missed their intended targets impacting on the ruined spire and causing the metal frame to screech ominously. The forward position of the bikes gained them a better angle and their own explosive bolts ripped one of the shadows apart to the sound of breaking glass.
End of Turn 1 - How many Dark City Dice can you spot?
The day broke and the emerald portal churned. There was a moment of stillness and then two floating shapes came through, a cluster of smaller figures clustered beneath them. Far to the north east, rapidly approaching from behind the Emperor's Champion came the darting shapes of six jetbikes. The Coven, the Corsairs and the Eachuisge had come.
Sprinting out of the portal the five corsair wyches ran towards the dreadnaught, drawing their boarding hatchets and arming haywire grenades as they did so. The parasite engine drifted directly forward towards the fortified ruin, a shrill buzzing building in its emitters. The Talos turned away from its brother engine aiming the twin splinter cannons in its tail at the figures behind the wrecked rhino. Pushing their craft low to the ground the reavers accelerated through the Space Marines, the wicked blades of their bikes glancing off all but a single Neophyte who fell in ribbons. The Bone Crows took to the air cawing their displeasure at their lack of targets, and landing in the upper reaches of the central spire. The impacts from the Black Templars shooting had destabilised it significantly and one of them was pitched from its crest, plummeting to its death below. Seeing the debris that had once been the two other grav-craft the pilot of the Tantalus brought the elegant catamaran hull in close against the spire, completely shielded from the heavy weapons that had brought down its kin, and revealing a number of the forward marines to its guns. The pair of Wracks rallied into the defensible position of the southern crater and the Archon with his bodyguards moved up to the cover of the southern wall of the spire as well.
The life-stealing vanes of the Cronos reached a crescendo and it cast forth the feedback loops it was known for. The physical shield of the building was no defence against the time thief, but the shield of faith protected most of the Black Templars, with only the battle brother cradling the missile launcher collapsing, his flesh aged to dust within his armour and his soul stolen by the machine, before being cascaded to invigorate the sprinting corsairs. The second engine loosed a hail of splinters at its own targets their weight of fire piercing two of the pistol armed warriors. The two Knight commanders and their men were overcome with righteous zeal and so eager were both squads to engage the hated xenos that they ran out of cover. And into the waiting guns of the Tantalus and her passengers. Pulsed plasma and toxic splinters scythed down the majority of the brother accompanying the Emperor's Champion. Hissing their displeasure at the loss of their kin, freezing shadow fire from the three remaining mandrakes shrouded the bikers but they rode through the chill unharmed. It was the flaming ichor of the bronze haemonculus however that they could not resist, the lead biker's armour and mount being reduced to slag in a matter of moments by the corrosive liquid.
Far above the battle, in the upper reaches of the planets tattered atmosphere the teleportarium chamber was filled with noise. Warning klaxons clashed with the binaric chants of the Chapter tech-marines and the sermon of the Black Templar Chaplin as he blessed the Sword Brethren for battle. The signal had yet to triangulate fully but when it did their wrath would be unstoppable. A sandstorm was building. The Thunderhawk had picked it up on its auspex and was even now re-angling it's approach trajectory to present the assault marines the most favourable deployment.
Suddenly the battlefield was rich with targets, the dreadnaught scanned each one, rapidly cycling through threat priorities and fixing its stance. Jinxing the craft lower the battle brother piloting the landspeeder engaged its hovering thrusters and took aim at the athletic figures approaching. The bikers increased their speed closing the distance between the foul creatures that had slain their brother. Revenge would be theirs. With the guns of the Tantalus still glowing faintly from the previous barrage the Emperor's Champion realised the futility of a frontal assault on the vehicle. He led his squad back into cover, advancing through the ruin and using it to shield the majority of those that remained. Now the hovering perversion was just metres in front of them the Marshal and his squad fanned out, levelling their weapons at it readying themselves to purge it from existence with blessed shells.
The searing plasma and explosive shells tore holes in the monstrous creature, ripping chunks from its armour and cracking the delicate parasite-vanes. As the smoke from the fusillade cleared and the beast remained the oldest of the gathered warriors turned its own weapons on the creature. Energy discharges from the collapsing feedback field prevented the lascannon from acquiring the target but a krak missile punched through the tattered metal carapace and detonated inside the fleshy core, ripping it into wet gobbets. The squad on the upper floor of the fortified ruin again target the shadowy creatures and the brass being, but once again their shots found only empty shadows. The landspeeder gunner confirmed the range to his target and fired. The storm of atomising melta energy and shrapnel from a frag missile claimed two wyches instantly, a third ran on though her skin bubbled and shrapnel embedded itself in her flank, the stolen life fuelling her through otherwise fatal wounds.
Cresting the rubble escarpment at the base of the central tower the bikers charged into the shadow skinned mandrakes and the horned haemonculus. This time the freezing ethereal fire found its mark stripping one from his steed. Comlacht Cré-umha raised his talon to the now lone warrior as the bike shattered one of the shadow-kin on impact. The wicked blades of the Dark Eldar however failed to find purchase on the knights armour and they fell back through the ruins as he hewed at them.
End of Turn 2
The Eachuisge jetbikes did not slow or turn. Ahead of them they could see the upper floor of the fortified position, and there in amongst the ruined walls and jutting cross beams were more of the Black Templars. Threading their craft through the shattered windows and support spars, moving at speeds that would see them and their craft reduced to burning shrapnel were they to make a single mistake they sliced through the Space Marines. The Neophyte vanished in a cloud of crimson mist and two battle brothers fell clutching their lacerated chests and throat seals. Realising the sudden flaw in their position the remaining three Initiates fell back, almost leaving the combat zone in their momentary panic. The Inked Archon and the remnants of the Obsidian Pyre climbed through the rubble at the base of the spire with alien ease, their fixed masks all aimed at the lone biker who even now was still casting about himself for more targets. Deeper in the shadows the mandrakes and the bronze haemonculus returned their focus to the battle. Comlacht Cré-umha cocked his masked head to one side and the Talos pain engine changed direction. It spun slowly, turning away from Zadar's knights and drifting towards the killers of its brother engine. With a slight pulse from its engines the Tantalus repositioned once again, the glowing barrels of its weapons searching out Zadar and his men once more. Trusting to their perch for now the Bone Crows, lowered themselves into stronger firing positions. The wyches kept running, their looming sarcophogeal prey was close now....
With a flick of her wrist the grenade went flying, impacting with the Brother Theodore's chest before erupting with electricity. The ancient machine stood steadfast, it's weapons tracking the lithe figures as the lashing energy cascaded across it. The Landspeeder Typhoon however was not gifted with the same indomitable machine spirit as twin bolts of electrical discharge from the Bone Crows ripped it apart before the spirit could even note the disturbance. As the Talos surged forward it fired at Demetrius and his men, the toxic slivers puncturing the lone Neophyte and overloading his fledgling astartes biology with venom. Cold plasma cut down the few battle brothers who were still not in cover, leaving only Zadar de Montfort, his power fist armed brother and a single other Initiate crouched in the ruins. The Inked Archon shouted something akin to a challenge at the lone biker snapping off a shot with his splinter pistol before loosing a hail of psychotropic gas grenades from the launcher fitted into his armour.
Responding with a cry of his own the biker fired his twin bolt pistols at the charging figure. As the gas rippled with the passage of the shell the Inked Archon leapt forward wilfully impacting with its explosive tip. A flash of darkness and still the Archon ran on, a cruel smile playing behind his helm. The Incubi were barely a moment behind him and yet by the time they reached the Space Marine he was already slain. Stinking necrotic fluids leaked from his broken armour and rich red astartes blood dappled the blade and body of the Archon as the three moved on empowered by pain. Glancing up from his kill the Inked Archon saw the Talos impact with Marshal Monzferrat and his guard. Their hail of close range fire at the beast had gone mostly wild, but the armour showed the distinctive pattern of plasma scouring and it's flesh had been roasted by the Marshal's combi-melta. Pain from the wound, or perhaps just that suffusing the battle-field now, however empowered the creature and it's bulk slammed one Space Marine to the ground stone dead. Reaching forward it grasped the helmet of a second in its giant hook arm and removed it with a precise snip. The creatures impact had caused the Templar fury to waver for just a moment and when Demetrius Monzferrat and his brothers recovered their weapons clattered uselessly off its toughened flesh and armour. On the flank the Dreadnaught's lascannon obliterated one of the charging gladiators, his sisters laughed to themselves as they used the momentary distraction to reach the hulking giant. Powered still by the stolen life and ignoring her wounds one of them hooked her boarding hatchet into the armour and drew herself level with the vision slit. The pair armed more of their grenades, attaching them to the weak points and as the arcane devices flared into life the wounded wych kicked off from the warrior. Back flipping elegantly to her time seemed to slow as secondary and tertiary discharges wracked the hulking man-machine. It seemed all too easy. It had been. Then the ancient reactor at the heart of the machine ruptured. The detonation incinerated her kin in a moment and still in slow motion - whether due to the drugs coursing through her broken body, the flush of stolen life or her own agony - she saw but hardly felt the impacts of razor edged pieces of armour plating. She twisted in the air, and landed cat-like. Her consciousness regarded the ruination that her body had suffered, and disregarded it, pain flowed through her and she turned looking for another source to satisfy her hunger.
"Judgement without mercy." The Chaplin on the Battlebarge shouted over the shriek of the teleportation circuits and far below amid the dust and the sand a tiny squall of lighting suddenly bloomed. Sand vitrified in an instant and the world was split with a harsh crack of sound.
"Victory without recourse." Was the intoned response of the Terminators as bathed in the stink of ozone they crushed glass underfoot and scanned their targets. Between them and a great central ruined spire floated a massive grav-craft, it's multiple decks were festooned with disturbingly elegant armoured figures who chattered in an alien tongue. Amid them was a singularly alien figure, supporting a massive trophy pole and clad in wide metal armour. Brother Baston marked something behind them on their tactical display, a xenos supply cache. Important but secondary whilst the alien still lived. The assault cannons whined in readiness, cycling up to speed. In the cockpit of the Thunderhawk something was wrong. The sandstorm was growing in unnatural ways and moving. But moving consciously. It shifted to engulf the craft, blocking it's intended path. "Prepare for turbulence. Drop zone imminent." Sounded over the craft's internal speakers and the assault marines readied their jump packs.
Recovering their senses, and furious at their moments weakness the three remaining Initiates gathered and turned to return to their position in the ruin. However it seemed that whilst the rubble had assisted their sudden egress, their return was to be slowed. Using the ruins as cover still Champion Zadar and his two remaining men moved south towards the Sword Brethren and the xenos supply cache.
The giant grav-craft had barely begun to turn towards the new threat when the first hail of assault cannon fire hit. The heavy slugs stitched holes in the side of the elegant craft but it was sturdier than the raiders and remained in the air.
Marshal Demetrius cried out in fury and hacked once more at the floating monstrosity. This time his power blade found purchase and hacked a hole in the armour, tearing flesh beneath. In recompense the Pain Engine speared another Initiate with a vicious needle device draining the warrior of fluids before casting the broken body aside.
End of Turn 3
The air was heavy with agony now. It tasted rich and heady, thick on the tongue. The Inked Archon could feel the first taste from the warrior on the crude motorised bike and it tantalised him. There was so much more left to sup. So much more being lost at every moment.
"Come." He barked at his silent guard, dashing forward to circle the pain engine. The mon'keigh leader would fall and his life, his pain would be the draught that would rise the Archon above the chemically induced power he currently wielded. He purred in anticipation behind his helm, padding forward and spinning his blade casually as he moved. The Eachuisge corkscrewed their bikes directly upwards, before cutting thrust and slipping around on their axis to face the earth and the three remaining marines below them. From the other direction the lone wych ran towards the fortified ruin. There was something important within, that she could tell, and it would bring her towards the nearest melee, another exquisite dish to taste. In the central spire the Bone Crows chattered in avian voices, passing words to the bronze Haemonculus and the shadow-kin as they moved into the ruin as well.
"Bring us about pilot," spat the 'Spider', it had seen the threat these new arrivals posed. The pilot nodded in acknowledgement and span the craft around on its axis, a single throb of power through the main engines causing it to slide forwards towards the seven heavily armoured foes. Their armour would resist many things, but where they could threaten the grav-barge so too could the cold plasma threaten them. Oh how it would threaten them. The 'Spider' foresaw it now, broken, destroyed.... or preferably crippled. Yes that would do nicely.
As the moan from the Tantalus' guns began to build the 'Spider' strode to the prow pushing kabalites to one side with imperious force. Planting its staff it opened wide the valves in one arm, pressurising the liquifier and covering the lead warriors with the viscous acidic fluids running through its veins. For a moment it seemed the liquid was merely an annoyance. Then the stink of rapidly decaying ceramite and rubber, metal and flesh filled the air and the two figures dropped to the ground the joints of their armour entirely eaten away and the bile burning their bodies within. A chorus of alien laughter rose from the deck as the kabalites aimed and fired their own weapons. Splinters bounced and broke on impact with the armour and even the sheer weight of fire couldn't find a weakness. The warrior with the blaster sighted along it and fired, the beam of darklight sliced cleanly through the chest of one of the mon'keigh warriors but inhuman physique and the blindness of faith kept him alive. Then the moan reached its crescendo and the wounded warrior fell, balls of plasma simply removing sections of his body and destroying a second. On the opposite side of the combat zone the Eachuisge opened fire on their targets as they dived towards them. Here the thinner armour proved to be the mon'keigh's undoing and two of warriors fell, their bodies caught in lethal spasm.
Without pulling up from their dive the reaver's impacted with the lone marine. The first scratched a furrow in one pauldron. The second knocked the plasma cannon to the ground in sparking pieces. The third hacked one leg from under him, and before he could land on the stump the fourth had cut deep into his flank. The final two corkscrewed past each other spinning their bikes as they did to create a lacerating storm of whirling high-speed blades that ripped the marine apart. As the mon'keigh leader looked up from the pain engine the Inked Archon charged. Not bothering to utilise the phantasm grenade launcher this time he was among the Space Marines before any of them could react. His venom blade ran a circular path across Demetrius' body tearing two deep envenomed wounds into the astartes. The pain not yet registering, and his gene-enhanced physique already acting against the toxins Marshal Monzferrat swung his power blade. Two strikes the Inked Archon blocked with simple almost lazy actions, the third he ignored, opening up his defence to let the cut connect. But the shadowfield flared blackly and the blade was turned aside once more. The Incubi of the Obsidian Pyre leapt into combat close behind their employer. One circled the Marshal, seeking to take advantage of the man's grievous wounds to end him. Efficient brutal strikes to the Marshal's exposed back were all turned away at the last moment with flares of light, each one echoed by the flash at the field's power core across the man's brow. The second kicked one of the power-armoured figures square in the chest, using the strange position to flick the tip of his klaive down and shear the warrior in two. The Talos seemed almost to ignore the remaining two enemies as its smaller manipulator limbs began the process of stripping the corpses down to their constituent viscera and organs.
"Pilot report. Have we reached the drop zone? Brother?" The assault marines voxed the flight deck again and still all that returned was ominous static. The Thunderhawk was shaking violently, as if under fire, but in the belly of the gigantic transport there was no way to know what caused their solitude, and what rattled the flying behemoth as if it were a mere Stormtalon or a Landspeeder. The static crackled at them again, and the engines roared, they were alone....
The grav-barge had turned its attention elsewhere. And though the cost had been high, too high for de Montfort to countenance willingly, now was a chance to bring the alien craft down and enact a toll of vengeance. He drew his sword, the black blade gleamed in the morning light, and he vaulted the ruined wall. The two brothers followed his example, reaching for bolt pistols and melta bombs.
The weaker rear armour of the barge was a perfect target and they loosed off shots as they moved towards it. In unison the Sword Brethren levelled their weapons and advanced on the front of the barge firing as they came. The remaining assault cannon spat its leaden volley once more, but this time the thick armour of the large craft withstood its assault, and the bolt shells found no purchase of their own.
Seeing the futility of ranged combat with the vehicle the honoured veterans charged, revving their chain fists and flexing the digits of their power fists. The extravagantly armoured alien released a vile laugh and shifted its weight against the rails of the barge and the staff it held. It raised one arm and another stream of stinking liquid covered the brother with the assault cannon. This time there was no pause, no moment of possibility. The ichor dissolved through the armour in seconds, eating the terminator down to the bone and he collapsed his chest plate and helmet completely melted away. The shock and speed of their brother's death stole the momentum of the remaining two and they slowed their pace mere feet from the barge. Once again the splinters found no point to penetrate in their armour but the alien with the strange darkness firing gun snapped off a single lance of energy that tore one of the remaining pair in half.
The Emperor's Champion cried out in anguish as he saw more heros of the Chapter fall, and Demetrius heard. His own rage surged, righteous fury burning in his breast, he howled in response and it was all the opening the Inked Archon needed. Embracing the giant warrior, he slipped the toxin laced tip of the blade up through the seal at the armours shoulder joint, and deep into the organs beneath. The Incubi stepped forward with practiced skill and both delivered clean chops to one of the marines cutting him down. The final warrior struggled against the attentions of the pain engine, escaping from its grasp and unable to harm it in retaliation.
The Scourges maintained their chatter watching the slaughter with glee, and the jetbikes revved their engines once more, angling towards the portal back to the labyrinth dimension. Moving from the crater the pair of Wracks began progressing towards the cache of slave-nets and the lone warrior between them and it. The pilot of the Tantalus saw the whirring chain blade affixed to the single warrior in front of his craft, he noticed the three black armoured figures to their rear as well and slid the craft backward, elegantly keeping his own weapons aimed at the more heavily armoured mon'keigh. Let the brute know the taste of hope and the pain of its loss before the end. The kabalites aboard ran to the rear, jostling for position, eager to claim the last few trophies. The 'Spider' moved slower, its face was shrunken and its cheeks hollow with loss of fluids, but it was just as hungry as its younger 'kin'.
The lone warrior raised his buzzing fist to the heavens, a booming curse in his harsh mon'keigh tongue his last utterance before the full barrage of plasma slaughtered him. At the rear of the craft a final gout of bile from the 'Spider' failed to breach their armour, but the toxic splinters did their own hideous work and only Zadar de Montfort, Champion of the Emperor remained standing, his grimfaced helm set and his sword extended in a final challenge. There was a high-pitched shriek, the unmistakable crack and stream of un-light that was a blaster firing and the Emperor's Champions faith was tested one final time, finally coming up wanting, leaving only a scorch in the sand.
+++Brothers the field is lost! Our brothers are lost.... I....do not come.....Emperor shield you... my brothers..... into his light... I commend... my...... Die scum!+++
The vox sputtered and died and the Thunderhawk was swallowed by the sandstorm once more.