(EDIT NOTES: i fixed some grammar, spelling and expanded on some awesomeness. also adding illustration to it as i finish.
The silence was maddening. A rare event, quiet, yet nothing could instill it like a thick blanket of fog laying upon a battlefield like a miasma harsh and vicious in the nostrils and eyes. Breath came hard to the stormtroopers, heavy mist from noses and mouths, fogging visors, making it difficult to see. Most of them removed their eye protection or helmets to get a better view. Nerves on end, it was difficult to ascertain noises in the distance. Close by, rubble clattered and something tumbled down. A shot rang out in the gray flat mist. To say it was darkness was not quite right as there was light, it just happened to be a viscous formlessness. Somewhere, something giggled, and Commissar Vladimir Silvreski knew that though they could not see, whatever was out there most likely knew exactly where they were.
The oversized, spiked fist of his mighty mechanical arm clenched and relaxed. He was not nervous, no, that was about as much the wrong word as calling this gray flatness dark. He was however anxious and ready to fight. He longed to be in battle. The bolt pistol on his hip was heavy with the weight of its anger and its spirit longed to be unleashed upon the enemy.
Commissar Vladimir Silvreski had fought Xenos his entire life. Rarely did he ever face off against fellow humans, but where he did, they found no quarter. He felt the heavy grip of his axe in his other hand slung over his shoulder, an axe he took from the inside of a chimera. It was unclear to him why he kept it; perhaps he was simply sentimental. His pressed and trim leather commissars coat was buttoned neatly and tied about the hip with a great belt, for he was a great man. Not great, perhaps, as men go, but in size, there were few equals.
Fully Six feet, eight inches tall, he always loomed over those around him, not to mention his width. His shoulders were fully thrice the normal man, and muscle wound under his flesh like a snake. Perhaps he was simply an engine of destruction, he contemplated as he ran the cold steel fingertip of the power fist like bionic across a scar that went from his ear to his chin. The scar was still fresh and vivid in his mind. Eldar heretics had refused to die promptly to his demand that they cease to exist, and he had to go in after the last one who coward sniveling in some thick underbrush. When he got close, the alien shot him in the face with his weapon, flying disks zinging past him as he dove towards the creature. Twice he was caught with glancing blows from a hail of razor sharp saw blades that tore into his flesh. The scars lead up to a bionic implant, which replaced his left ear. He remembered that, also: he had lost it when fighting a necron of some sort to a standstill on a world overran by Orks. He was blindsided by another just like it. He remembered because that was the same day he executed his teammate for uttering despair and heresy.
It was during the same mission that he lost his lungs and his legs to inferno rounds. Not without his permission did they lob the grenades at himself and the especially wicked necron he faced. Yet he survived, somehow. The spark of pure stubborn refusal to die seemed to flicker brightly within his breast, and not without the help of his woman was he given the means to survive. She had bled her considerable family resources dry sparing no expense to ensure he lived. Perhaps it was to protect her, perhaps it was to some selfish whim that he could not fathom for he was not a selfish person. A simple man, not stupid, or dull witted surely, but not complicated either.
He knew somehow in this dreaded place such simplicity and dependability would be key. What could these powers against which they fought offer a man who wanted no more than he could carry with him, no more than he had and could get on his own, and no less than the complete surrender to the Emperor? Nothing, surely, he thought to himself. He took another drink of Vodka, and felt it burn inside of him. Where smoke no longer did anything but fulfill an old habit, Vodka was real, and he could feel it. It wasn’t especially good Vodka, cheap and easy to produce, he taught Modesty how to make it for him.
In a place like this, he knew, it could be deathly cold here and unbearably hot not paces away. Such was the nature of unspeakable planets which had been tainted by the warp and heresy. He grunted and tugged the black brim of his peaked hat low over his eyes, readjusting it. He could smell it in the air, and the sockets by which his bionics were attached to his body ached with the chill and the need for action. He wondered briefly how the rest of the team were doing, but as all things it faded with his need to fulfill his duty, and he let his axe rest in the palm of his massive servo fist.
This pass was the only front by which the enemy could assault and flank imperial forces. Though he could not see them the walls of the pass were sheer, black obsidian struck into the earth’s surface, he knew they were there. Such was the strength of this black material that the most they could carve from it was a foot long chunk oblong in shape, and then it took a melta cutter. It would make a fine place to fight, he thought as he pointed it out on the map to his comrades. He remembered touching the cliff face as the fog rolled in like a blanket thick on a bed and he shivered once more.
He frowned at the silence. Why should they be silent? Should they not be singing in this bland gray the songs of the Emperor to ward away this evil? Yet, they could not sing and he could scarcely talk. He was not afraid, but it felt as if to talk would be some great sin in his dimness, where even the sound of feet on dirt seemed to swallow into the mist and echo to nothingness.
“It is time” said a voice whispering in the flatness, and Vladimir could make out a feint bluish haze which slowly glowed brighter in the mist. The primaris psyker which accompanied him had been concentrating for the better part of ten minutes to discern the cause of the mist, and had finally broken free of the cursed spell; and with that word, the haze thinned and listed, the damp cold left on the flesh exposed to the heat of the sun as it dissipated, slowly at first, then faster, and faster still.
Cries of alarm rang out through the squad, calling his attention immediately down the slope on which they held. Insanity, blackness incarnate, the vile machination that was chaos had gathered there en force and more were gathering by the second. Creatures that were once human were now beasts so thirsty for blood that they licked the backs of flagellants that abused themselves for their vile deity. This twisted perversion of the holy, practice, which set the mind and body pure for the blessings of the emperor, galled and infuriated him. He walked patiently behind the squad, pointing in the direction of the vile mutants and abominations that broke into a run.
Fifty meters, he did not speak. The ground rumbled with their footsteps as they launched themselves forwards, brutes in front, smaller more agile in back, the sounds of their moaning giggles and calls for blood echoed in the dusty, gravely pass.
Thirty two meters, some of them broke free from behind the massive thugs which ran before them, loping forward on their hands to propel them forward like animals baying with razor blade mouths and screamed and clawed with lust and violence. Their stench hit the line like a wave, the smell of coppery blood mingled with unwashed bodies and exertion.
Fourteen meters, their eyes rolled back in their heads with madness and rage, they could see the sigils of the dark gods dug into their flesh clearly now, making the stomach churn and mind ache. Their breath was horrid even from that distance and they barreled onwards, screaming bloody cries of vengeance and skulls.
Seven meters, their headlong rush met the line, not a shot fired, stale sweat and iron discipline their only protection, their fingers scratching against their triggers waiting for the command. Nervousness at this but faith in their commissar steeled them as they could almost reach out and touch the enemy. Clawed fingers reached out before them as it almost seemed as if to touch them with heretical filth. Their screams thudded loudly in their ears like the baying of cattle.
“Fire.” He said in his thick Valhallan accent, and a wall of hellgun death lit up the corridor with an eerie red light as they blasted meat from bone, cauterized veins, sliced through skulls and disintegrated appendages. The rabid fire of the Stormtroopers let loose a hail of destruction which was soon joined with the CRACK of a plasma rifle and the steady thuds of the squads heavy bolter. Such was the wall of pure destruction that there began a wall of bodies, fresh ones tumbling over, or crashing through only to be cracked open and crushed under the full volley of the squads weapons. Barrels glowed red as heavy shots of light snapped out of them towards the oncoming menace, yet still they came, baying and screaming their foul gods name, slipping on blood and effluence, stumbling over the bodies of their own allies.
What kind of madness was this, that they had abandoned all humanity and forgotten who they were? They lost sight of their true purpose to serve the Emperor and baecame sick, foul creatures unable to sustain themselves outside of madness. Yet, what is madness? Did madness not form the underlying existence of the Imperium? Yet, what madness was this? Surely, nothing of the emperor, he thought as his hard lined, strong face was highlighted by las blasts, making his deep shadows deeper and eyes dark and glistening, shaded from it as they were by the low pulled brim of his commissars hat.
The massive Valhallan waited patiently as the first few minutes of fire emptied into the oncoming hoard. The Heavy Bolter reloaded twice in this time, and the brief amount of time it took to reload the heavy firepower more poured through between the edges of the body-wall and the cavern wall or in some cases clearing the wall of flesh entirely.
“Move formation!” he said and they split to the sides, their fire making a V, those in front on their knees , those in back standing, the heavy bolter to one side, plasma gun to the other, the heat of the weapons began to simmer and warm the cavern. But behind these brutes that made it strode more, and yet still more but the brave stormtroopers never let up, never surrendered. They never let their fingers relax on the trigger. Vladimir and the psyker stood in the center as the sergeant fired with his plasma pistol, volley after volley of superheated plasma immolating flesh and cooking fat, gristle, and muscle. A ripple of power sent bodies flying as Vladimir stood with his arms crossed, watching the killzone intently. The psykers eyes flashed with electricity as wave after wave of psychic lightning coursed through the bodies of the heretics.
Grabbing the axe handle with his mighty bionic hand, he pulled a laspistol from under his jacket and the sergeant looked at him quizzically. “Not worth wasting bolt shells” he said with a shrug, his thick Valhallan accent barely audible under the crack and sizzle of hellgun fire and charging of plasma cells. He placed carefully aimed shots into each head that presented itself to him, trying not to waste any rounds, conscious that it would be necessary to keep ammunition plentiful.
Seeing the lines thicken, he said “Discipline fire!” at which point they set their rifles off semi automatic, taking pulsing shots between upper and lower ranks as hot lasers sizzled through the air. His pistol hit one after another, sometimes it did not kill the target and it kept coming so he had to hit again. Once or twice, it took three or four shots to bring one down. These seemed to come in droves, when he frowned and noticed they were lining up in a pattern. Though they died, their bodies were creating a sort of mobile trench work by which others could clamber safely through, piles of bodies for walls and protection. It was then that he saw something full of bulk and muscle moving behind the barricade of flesh and blood, swiftly, like a loping graceful dog or cat. He peaked his eyebrow as he took potshots at it, the line now falling silent. “Steady!” he called out, waiting for it to make itself known. The Volley of fire ceased and the sound of heavy thuds vibrated the ground making pebbles and rocks jump in the air from the obsidian ash on the uneven earthen floor.
It took a while to realize that it was not one creature which perused the new trench work of blood, but many, bounding through the gaps till they leapt over the edge like a cat over a bush, roaring their baleful demonic roars. They were red in color, and had large heavy collars with odd signs that hurt the eye. Their necks had a flanged wide green frill, which surrounded the head, and they were as large as horses, with huge clawing talons and razor sharp teeth. They ran forward with incredible speed, and Vladimir barely had time to yell “FIRE” before they were upon them.
The wall of hellblast and heavy bolter shell and plasma they met was like a solid barrier, slamming into the creatures mercilessly. But yet they came through, one or two falling under the weight of fire, two or three tearing apart as they continued through, those behind them unharmed. While the heavy weight of fire continued, as he saw the creatures for what they were, he touched the barrel of his laspistol gingerly, blowing on it, touching it again. Satisfied it would be cool enough to place back in the inner pocket of his jacket he calmly slid it back in. What was madness, after all, but the refusal to do as the emperor demands? The sergeant looked at him briefly between charges, his other hand letting a bolt pistol sing a song of death. The look on his face as uncertainty and confusion but it did not last for long.
Vladimir shifted his feet and a loud hiss of hydraulics expelling pressure from release vents could be heard, like a massive truck coming to a standstill. He reared back with the axe while the creature was a good twenty meters away, and knew it would be upon them in moments, he threw the axe forward, head over haft, the old fire axe sang through the air and landed true, between the eyes of one of the beasts. Striding immediately forward after throwing it, the squad he could tell yearned to break. “Stand your ground!” he shouted as he was the first to meet the creature in mid charge, his axe finishing the job as ye grabbed the handle, and yanked.
Spinning, there was black blood sizzling on the axe, eating away at it. But it did not stop him from burying the reliable mono edge into the mouth of another, sideways, so that it dug deep into the back of its throat and vile blood sprayed. If such creatures knew pain this would have finished it, but they did not and it bit the axe in half, destroying the plasteel edge and crushing the metal beneath dagger sized teeth, a massive claw slashing at him. Perhaps angered by the loss of his trusty axe, perhaps simply angered at the thought of such heretical beasts, he buried the spiked fist of his bionic arm into the creatures side, the force of it doing more than crushing ribs, breaking flesh, giving way before the shining silvered metal. The spikes shredded flesh and bone as it gave way, the massive fist splaying out to grab hold of whatever it could, finding part of its ribcage, he placed his foot upon the side of the struggling creature and yanked. Blood exploded and the creature died as its spine was dislodged and pulled out through its side.
But it was all he could do before the wave was upon him. He pulled his Garm Pattern Bolt Pistol and unloaded shots into the hounds, his fist lashing out to crush the nearest at its head and shoulders, these massive horse shaped things bigger than a carnasaur. Holy bolts impacted with flesh, sometimes without effect, sometimes devastatingly as his silver arm struck again and again. But he was overwhelmed, as he heard a trembling battle cry. He risked a glance, assuming another wave, but it was not the enemy.
The stormtroopers had charged, and hit the line in a wave as he went down finally to one knee under the weight of the massive creatures. Blood flowed; his blood flowed, freely, mixing with the stink and filth of these things. Yet he was proud, before he died, for how could they fail the Emperor, these men who displayed such bravery? He had not ordered them to charge, yet, they did. He would have to give their names to the Emperor when he finally saw him.
Blackness overtook him, but did not take hold. A woman looked to him. “Katya” he said, his heart lept, he reached for her. “Katya my love, my little flower, my tender one” he said, yet, her face was sad. He did not understand. He could not understand. Was she angry over Modesty? Did she feel betrayed? He fell to his palms, hitting the dirt hard. He had passed out before he even fell, the jarring impact of his heavy bionic knee on the ground shaking him loose. He felt a warm glow, and as the haze lifted, her sadness lifted.
“It is not your time, Commissar, my Commissar” said the voice of the Primaris Psyker as his wounds healed and vision cleared. Katya smiled. These things kept him from her. These things must be destroyed. Katya smiled, because he would not die and be in pain. She was happy. Yet, some part of him could not control the rage that flowed through his veins. His eyes could see only shades of red, his mouth frothed. A vein crawled up his neck, traveling along his jaw line and pulsed on his temple.
He screamed a mighty Valhallan curse as he leapt into the fray, men flying left and right, dying as other men slashed victoriously, the sergeant with his pistols, the others with bayonets. The psyker blasted apart some with lightning from his mind as Vladimir met them in mid stride.
Hydraulics hissed and expelled air as he slammed the fist down into the last struggling creature, crushing its skull. The creature struggled for one brief moment before going limp, its flesh melting from its body, beginning to discolor and change. Such was the way of these creatures, he assumed. His lungs forced him to breathe for he was very tired.
It was not over, however, for out of the trench stepped a man as big as he, heretical symbols upon his flesh, he bore a chainaxe in one hand and a chainsword in the other, his eyes were baleful, and his old, medieval looking armor was the color of dried blood bound in brass. Faces of rage moved under the lacquered armor as the warrior strode through the hail of hellgun blasts, less than before, but still tremendous. They did not harm or scratch him. They ricochet off the armor and even veered around him by some unseen force to continue on into the dirt or dead bodies. The heavy bolter had long been abandoned for the charge, and men were lined up behind Vladimir in discipline formation. Plasma did not scorch him; bolter shot impacted but did not explode.
So it was Vladimir who met him in mid stride, and the red man turned easily to avoid the spiked, silver fist coming towards his head. Stepping to the side, he slide the sword across the Commissars stomach, chain edge screaming as it impacted with the back of the steel prosthetic of a prosthetic shin which Vladimir had just a fraction of enough time to bring up and block the blow. The Commissar’s fist backhanded the warrior across the face, but met nothing but air, and the warrior struck again, slice after slice after the much slower form of Vladimir. Ducking, backing up, the other warrior would have seemed to outclass him. No help could be gained from the line as they battered the walls behind them with fire, preventing more warriors from coming through without dying. Bringing their heavy bolter to bear once more they laid down a heavy swath of firepower while the deadly dance persisted. Teeth dug into Vladimirs good arm, meat spraying before ye yanked his arm away, guarding it from the spinning blades of this madman. This heretic.
Vladimirs blood began to boil, rage filled him as he began to realize what heresy he was dealing with and this made his teeth grind bitterly. A man so given over to the worship of another god that he completely lost whom he was. A man who turned his back on the Emperor so completely that this was no longer a case of criminal intent or cowardice, but pure, undulating hatred for everything true, just, and righteous. As he fell to one knee, the warrior roared in triumph and brought down his axe, but the chainaxe wielding hand was met with the massive paw of the Valhallan.
This man was powered by chaos, mutated, warped, pure evil in a way that was rarely encountered, which was why he was so fast, so strong, and as big as Vladimir. The Commissars muscle was pure, human, truth. Truth would always defeat lies. So intent was the warrior on using his axe to finish off the Commissar, so blood thirsty was he, a need to show others the weakness of the Imperium, that he dropped his sword and used both hands on the grip. Vladimirs natural arm, bloodied, shredded, yet so big, muscles bulging under the strength of the enemy, visibly as the sleeve of his coat was shredded away as veins crawled up his arm with exertion. The teeth of the chainaxe screamed, but was turned away by the natural strength of a natural man, a man of the emperor. The warrior stumbled briefly, bringing the axe back around to finish the job but was met by surprise.
Once more pistons whined, hydraulics hissed, air compressed and was expressed, forcing the weight of his body from his back leg, through his hips, to his front knee, then up his spine into his arm. The massive, spiked fist impacted with the jaw of the warrior with such force that lightning could have struck at that very moment and would have been drown out. A crater was left in the wake of the body as it dug across the valley floor, impacting with the sheer obsidian wall. With the same motion that he tossed his punch, he grabbed up the axe that dropped from the warriors’ hand, and strode forward.
As the heretic tried to get up, his head lopsided, neck broken, yet unable to die, Commissar Vladimir Silvreski tossed this axe also, head over haft, and it struck true, burring into the head of the chaos champion. Though not dead, all the heretic could do was fall to his knees blindly, though there was little time for that before the silver fist of Vladimir impacted with his skull, finishing the job with a massive crunching splat like the a grape exploding between the hydraulic fist and an obsidian wall. The helmet split and burst as blood shot like a geyser up the black wall, flattening the metal and contents within it simultaneously. He yanked the axe from the bloody stump and looked towards the lines. No enemy could be seen, but he knew they were there, watching. He turned off the spinning teeth and broke it over his knee.
It was then that reinforcements arrived, but what would they reinforce?