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Thread: Perish the Weak

  1. #1
    Chapter Master Imperialis_Dominatus's Avatar
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    Perish the Weak

    I've decided that though this is part of another story arc that will form a novel, this story could do with its own thread. It could use a little polish. It's the prequel to the novel, which will chronicle the protagonist's quest for Daemonhood.

    Perish the Weak

    The gilded architecture of the Convent of the Bleeding Heart on the agri-world of Challa IV glinted in the midday sun. Squads of Adepta Sororitas marched along its battlements, weapons ever ready. Suspicious reports had filtered in from the surrounding area; nothing conclusive or definite, but patrols had been doubled within the Convent’s walls nonetheless. Despite this increased martial presence, however, the Convent seemed serene, a sanctuary for the faithful in a galaxy of darkness. Priests of all ranks scurried from hall to hall, worshipers of the Emperor prayed in the Chapel in the center of the Keep, and young children were schooled on matters of faith.

    Such peace belies that which the veneer of normalcy attempts to hide, whatever that may be. The prize. Such peace similarly is at odds with what events approach.

    A spike showed on an augury reading, in a cramped sensorium chamber deep within the Convent. The attendant dismissed it as an anomaly; such things occurred, especially considering the scene unfolding below, in the dungeons… the man shuddered. He had been given the barest of details, but the idea of such a… thing within the convent itself was horrifying.

    Another spike. Sharper. On all fields and arrays.

    And again, yet stronger.

    The attendant stared for a moment, and dived across the cramped station to an activation pad. Upon the pressing of the rune, servitors in the belfry yank jerkily on weathered ropes, and the bells begin to clamor in alarm.

    So it begins. Perish the weak, thought Zebulon Shrike, Raptor Lord, and dove from the Thunderhawk a half-mile above the Convent. His Raptor squads took his lead, diving from their transports into a power-armored free-fall. Their forms reached terminal velocity quickly, keeping pace with the now-diving Thunderhawks, and suddenly the ancient turbines of their jump packs burst to furious, screaming life. Already the Thunderhawks were unleashing volley after volley of fire to cover their assault. Zebulon and several other Raptors whooped and laughed wildly as the thrill of the hunt filled them again.

    Their descent did not go unchallenged, however; rows of flak batteries folded out of the ancient spires of the Convent and fired at will. Despite evasive tactics taken at lightning speeds, their power armor and the more formidable armor of the Thunderhawks, a few of Zebulon’s brethren fell in the hail of fire. Anzion took a shell to the chestplate, spiraling wildly as the gaping wound sprayed blood; Calsan was hit in the left pauldron, and spun out of control as he fought to regain his course; even one of the gunships was knocked awry, fire raking its hull. But they were close; Zebulon saw the muzzle flares and heard the barking reports of bolter fire. With a mumbled prayer to the Chaos Gods, he slid his finely-serrated lightning claws from their sheaths. He emitted a keening howl that his brethren also took up, and at maximum output from his speakers, it caused the figures below to cringe and falter.

    Right on target, and preceded by a barrage of frag grenades and cannon blasts, the Raptors slammed into position along the battlements. Ancient stone crumbled under ceramite talons as the Astartes hit the ground at a run and sprinted headlong into the defenders. Chainsword roared, bolt pistol made thunderclaps, and flamers hissed as the Raptors made their bloody intentions known.

    Zebulon roared as combat stimms flooded his system and forced his enhanced physique into overdrive. He ducked a sluggish power maul and slashed its wielder in two, knocked Sisters sprawling with kicks of his stylized talon-boots, parried swords and bolter stocks with unerring ease perfected over ten thousand years of war. He felt the old, familiar rage building, and clamped down upon it. The time would come, but for now he needed focus. With focus, the fanatics surrounding him didn’t have a prayer, he thought ironically, grinning beneath his bestial helm. He plunged his claws into the gorget of a scarred Sister with a pair of chainswords, the light leaving her eyes with her last gasping breath.

    Unfortunately, the battle at large was not going so well as Zebulon had it. The numerically superior defending force was beginning to overwhelm them; Rolstak had fallen, his head a smoking ruin from the neck up courtesy of a plasma pistol discharge. The Thunderhaws still flew and were plastering the defense turrets with fire, but could only do so much.

    Then the first Demolisher shell hit, and a huge chunk of the western wall was blown apart. The concussive force forced many nearby Sisters to their knees, and the Raptors were quick to capitalize on their imbalance, shearing heads and lopping limbs from bodies with chainsword and chainaxe.

    More Vindicators approached, blasting the western wall into dust, and Rhinos sped up to force themselves through the breaches. Marines from the Hakanor’s Reavers contingent of Zebulon’s warband poured out of the vehicles into perfect firing positions, taking targets of opportunity from amongst the defenders. Each Astartes was far superior to each Sororita, and as the numbers of Zebulon’s engaging forces grew, his chances for victory increased exponentially.

    Zebulon took a moment to observe the rents and cracks that formed on the armor and vehicles of the Reavers; constantly shifting and changing, the cracks filled with lava and then closed up, only to be criss-crossed with new crevasses.

    Upon the hull of a Vindicator tank, like a general riding a chariot, rode a figure in blue Terminator armor, tinged with gold; his deep scarlet helmet was aglow with sorcerous green eyes. A miasma of bizarre power radiated from the figure like a robe, and shots aimed at him did not even reach his armor through that cloud of warp-matter. He stepped regally from the Vindicator and, with a wave of a writhing, two-bladed scythe, sent spiraling bolts of sickly yellow fire spraying outwards. Some of it engulfed Sisters in flame, others brought trees to embers, and still others vaporized ancient rockrete blocks.

    “You know how to make an entrance, Sindaroth” yelled Zebulon, carving through a crowd of screaming priests. “Any hints on where the objective lies?”

    The sorcerer of the Scourged shook his head but was interrupted from any further remarks by a great slamming noise. Zebulon turned to look, and saw something that would have been terrifying had the mundane had anything for him to fear anymore.

    The doors of the Chapel were literally blasted off their hinges. A crowd of unkempt figures poured out, hooded and masked with barely enough cloth to be considered clothed; they held massive chainsaws high above their heads and roared in fury. As they drew closer, Zebulon couldn’t help but wonder if they would collapse from blood loss before they reached his lines; Imperial fanatics were such fools. Their skin was raw and scarred, host to all manner of devotional mutilations- parchment skewered through taut skin, spiked chains wrapped around limbs, still-bloody scarification of various holy symbols, and other bizarre modifications of the flesh.

    His thoughts were abruptly proven wrong as, despite volleys of fire from the Reavers, the berserk Repentia, as they were called, drove on despite all but the most crippling wounds. They would certainly hit the Reavers’ formation, and his force would be lacking in fire support. With no other option open and his blood singing for combat, Zebulon dove into the mass of crazed penitents, ducking and parrying blow after nearly mortal blow. He lashed out delicately with his claws, and spinning dervish of lightning and blades in the center of that mass of cloth, flesh, and screaming eviscerator.

    Now was the time. He reveled in the combat, losing himself in the duck, dodge, slash, thrust, parry, and feint. Blood hissed on his runed claws and armor as fields of power boiled it away. The ancient surgeries enacted upon him in ages past, when he still called himself a World Eater instead of a member of the elite Raptors, began to take effect. The rage rose up like a tide of blood in his ears and his vision, as limbs flew around him and blood formed a pool at his feet. The slaughter was all…

    Suddenly he caught a glancing blow from an eviscerator to the chest. Despite being off target, the massive momentum behind the blade threw him out of the meelee. He rolled, caught his feet, and immediately assumed a fighting stance.

    All around him, the battle seemed to be turning awry. Sisters of Battle were shrugging off mortal blows and striking down Astartes, warriors many times their superior, with uncanny blows and shots. Zebulon could swear he saw light flicker around their eyes, even forming coruscating halos just out of sight’s purview around their heads. The power of their faith was deadly, and his forces were quickly losing their essential momentum. And now he had been caught a blow by some crazed whore with a sword too large for her to wield.

    And now there was a warrior before him. A tall, regal woman in long robes and baroque, intricate armor. She bore a glowing flail and a smoking bolter, the latter of which she cast aside in favor of a two-handed grip on her hand weapon. A nimbus of light, not nearly as ethereal as that of her Sisters, played around the short white hair of this warrior, this Canoness.

    “Meet your death, heretic, traitor, scum!” she spat. “I am Canoness Marian, and you shall defile this place no longer!”

    “It is your own death that approaches, wench of the False Church,” replied Zebulon with even greater vehemence. His claws buzzed angrily, demanding the blood of this enemy.

    They met in a shower of sparks, the flail parried by Zebulon’s claws. He twisted the weapon’s chain around one claw and thrust with the other, but the woman was too quick; his vision filled with stars as her gauntlet cracked into his faceplate. Instinctively he dove backwards, allowing his turbines to push him further back; this saved his life as the flail passed within an inch of his face, by his clearing vision.

    He replied with a flurry of slashes, but the Canoness moved deftly, sidestepping his blows. She laughed contemptuously.

    “What aid does your craven pantheon grant you now, filth? I will smite you in the Emperor’s name this day. None live that oppose His will!”

    “Zealot you may be, but my death, never,” he replied levelly, checking his rage, and used a carefully timed blast from his left turbine to propel a slash just a little further; his ancient claws opened only shallow rents in the woman’s armor but he was rewarded with a flash of shock and agony on her face. She grimaced and appeared to shove the pain down, letting loose a series of wild blows to buy herself time to recover, using her off hand to balance and add momentum to her blows.

    Again Zebulon was forced to take in the wider battle despite his preoccupied state. He was not pleased with what he saw. The Repentia had made a massacre of many of the Reavers and had torn open a Vindicator before the daemonic occupant’s departure had ripped their souls from their bodies. More of his Raptor brethren lay dead than he had planned for. His attack was faltering, he needed to end this leader of these vaunted warrior-nuns.

    He was rewarded for his lack of focus with a harsh blow to the leg; the flail slammed into his thigh armor and buckled it. Shards of ceramite and plasteel drove into his leg, piercing his enhanced bone structure, and he cried out in pain. The Canoness was emboldened by this and dove at him, but he blasted backwards with his jump turbines and ordered the machine to go into hover mode.

    He attempted to rise above the Canoness and gain the advantage of height, but she, too, began to float, though without the aid of a jump pack. He snarled, she remained serene, hefting her flail.

    “Let us see who is best at fighting aloft, then, Sororitas harlot,” he cursed. “By this day’s end I shall wear your skin as a cloak!”
    Rules - CSM - BA - LatD (when I find my notes)
    Stories - Perish the Weak - Brothers in Chaos - The Baron Rises

  2. #2
    Chapter Master Imperialis_Dominatus's Avatar
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    Re: Perish the Weak

    Part two, too long.

    Deep underneath the convent, as battle raged above, a less physical but altogether more dangerous conflict was fought out below.

    Inquisitor Gelforst of the Ordo Hereticus sweated with the mental strain as he focused his mind against that of the being clamped to the worktable before him. His choir of penitent psykers, too, was engrossed in its work, suppressing the massive energies straining against it.

    Setting aside his deactivated null rod, Gelforst drew his force sword. He had prepared for this event for decades, and nothing- not even the battle above- would stop him now. A radical Horusian, Gelforst believed in using the power of the Warp against the vile things that resided there. He had fought and schemed to bring a live specimen into his custody, and those efforts would not be wasted.

    Besides, when his own psychic powers were bolstered by those of this creature, no mortal could stand against his power as he carried out the Emperor’s will, not even the dread Legions of Chaos. He would draw its essence into his blade, by arts forbidden to any citizen of the Imperium; forbidden only due to lack of understanding. Such power was not tainted in and of itself, and in the hands of the pure were a weapon against the abominable like little else.

    He began to say the ritual words, which burned his throat as they came. He had memorized them with great care, for mistakes in such incantations could prove fatal. The creature on the table spasmed and cried out, and psychic shockwaves rippled through the room as incandescent energy. The psychic choir as one moaned with pain, but Gelforst cared not, bearing his own psychic pain with grim stoicity.

    Above, a Vindicator tossed a shell towards the walls, its daemonic occupant not caring that all the defenders on that wall were dead; it simply reveled in the destruction caused by the mighty explosive blast. The shockwave from the potent explosion rippled down through the convent, deep down into the underground caverns and dungeons below.

    Dust and plaster rained from the ceiling in a shower, but none noticed, such was their concentration. Then a boulder fell down and smashed into the frail skull of a psyker among the choir. His concentration broken by the impact, he clutched his head and howled.

    Gelforst sensed a shift in the psychic repression occurring, and gasped in horror as he turned to see the psyker twitching in a psychic seizure as foul forces forced their way into his head. The psyker began to warp and change in form, and Gelforst knew they were doomed.

    The creature on the table, now only restrained by fading psychic power and leather straps, sat up, tearing through the restraints, physical and otherwise, with inhuman ease. The creature smiled and let out a thin, cruel cackle as it gathered its energy.

    At the surface, Zebulon and the Canoness still fought in midair. Her power flail met his claws with stunning force, but she could not find a mark. Likewise, his ten thousand years of experience could not get past her blinding faith and inhuman speed; he cursed the penchant of these frail humans’ faith to do whatever it did to make them greater than the sum of their parts. He felt the old, familiar rage filling him again, and sought to keep it under control. Anger comes before mistakes. He must not fail.

    “Your Emperor betrayed us all! He saw us becoming strong and attempted to damn us to his own weakness,” Zebulon recalled the Emperor forbidding the Berzerker-Surgeons’ work. “He betrayed Angron from the first, leaving the brothers he fought alongside to die!” he remembered the stories that had first poisoned his heart against the Emperor, those of Angron’s fellow gladiators fighting for freedom being left to die as the Emperor forcibly took his son away from them.

    “You speak nothing but lies, my ears are closed to such heresy!” the woman screeched between swings.

    Before Zebulon could respond, the earth in the courtyard exploded, sending Marine and Sister flying backward. Many Sororitas were crushed by the flying debris, and some Astartes. A slim figure rose from the rubble; its head was enlarged, brain seeming to attempt to explode from its cranium. Its eyes glowed with balefire; a ragged scar in the form of a Star of Chaos was prominently red against pale flesh. It wore a trenchcoat, ragged pants and little else.

    So this was the power that lay beneath the convent, realized Zebulon. A rogue psyker.

    His foe was momentarily distracted by the appearance of the psyker. Her eyes filled with horror where there had been only religious fervor before. Zebulon dove, and she turned, a soldier to the last; but her parry was too slow and Zebulon tore her apart with ease, and cast the bloody mess to the ground.

    Slowly, he descended to the ground, glorifying in his victory; his jump pack burnt the ground below to brimstone. He powered it down and strode purposefully toward the psyker. Madness shone in the creature’s eyes and power crackled around it like a void shield. Zebulon could feel the hungry things in the Warp salivating to enter the mind of the psyker, yet shying away from the raw power of the being.

    The creature looked towards him, directly into his eyes and into his soul, and Zebulon prayed to the Gods that he would survive this encounter. Sub-vocally, he opened a channel to the sorcerer Sindaroth, though he knew the rogue psyker would know of his commands nonetheless.

    “Summon our Dark Mechanicus allies. Request that they aid our forces in killing the remaining Sororitas, but ensure that they do not engage the psyker. He is mine to deal with,” Zebulon whispered. He felt a psychic surge of assent, and within moments he felt the air grow greasy and charged as the Obliterator Cult tore its way into the realspace of the Chapel. The roar of their guns and the strange, guttural cries from their throats combined with the overall din of battle, but Zebulon felt as if the Convent were dead silent and he were alone under the presence of the psyker’s baleful stare.

    He held his arms out to the side, and allowed his claws to retract; a gesture of peace he was not used to expressing. The claws rasped angrily as their violent natures were forced down into Zebulon’s psyche. He knew that the weapons would not avail him here.

    “Ah, so my dreams were true, then,” he spoke, choosing his words carefully. “A true boon from the Gods. See the martial might of my armies? Wonder in your own power, which I see,” and he pointed to the Chaos star scarred onto the chest of the witch, “you have brought into the true fold? I have freed you, have I not? Imagine what we can accomplish together.”

    The creature regarded him with a blank stare, though he could feel malevolence around them like a shroud.

    “What can you give me that I could not take myself? I am a fount of might; I could slaughter you and your forces at a whim; I could even twist them to my will. As we said in the hives I once called home, why bother with the middleman?”

    Inwardly Zebulon felt a growing unease, but forced it down. A moment of weakness could not be afforded here.

    “Because no matter how powerful you are, I have the Gods on my side. Should you join me, our gains, our spoils, our might shall be vast beyond imagining. I shall gain the redemption I have fought ten thousand years to attain and you shall bask, nay, drown, in the glory of it,” he said, referring to his vision of daemonhood.

    Suddenly, to his left, there was movement. A figure dressed in bloodied Inquisitorial garb fumbled weakly for a long wand-like object, obsidian and engraved with runes. The witch’s eyes glowed, and the Inquisitor was slammed against a wall. Light arced from the psyker to the Inquisitor, but it did not consume; instead it went into his eyes like water to a drain.

    “Gelforst… fool. You thought to use me? Your ambition outweighs your ability, and now you are my plaything. Let us break your mind… yes,” the witch cooed. Zebulon could only watch as the light poured into the robed form, and the face contorted into incredible mental agony.

    “How many innocents have you killed, Inquisitor? Oh, I know, all necessary deaths, but hear their screams, their crying, their moans and their weeping. Feel their blood as the ocean of it rises around you, smell the corpses on the pyre, taste the ash of their human forms on your tongue, all done in the name of your so-called purity,” the witch spat.

    With the psyker’s attention fixed on the Inquisitor, the sorcerer Sindaroth inched towards the null rod. If he could get to it, he could use it to chain this beast, this psychic monstrosity…

    “Surely, you could have spared one, two, maybe a dozen of your ‘acceptable losses’? Perhaps the boy?” the psyker dragged up a nightmare memory from Gelforst’s past. “Yes, what did the boy do? What an innocent, perfect, devoted child. And look what you did to him, Gelforst…”

    Sindaroth’s hands closed around the null rod, and his fingers crept up to the activation rune. He felt a thrill of triumph… and suddenly he could feel the witch’s eyes upon him. The rogue psyker whipped around to face him, the light abruptly tearing away from Gelforst, who slumped to the ground a smoking corpse. Sindaroth moaned as the massive psychic presence, like the heat of a sun and the eye of a god, regarded him. He threw up a psychic shield but it shattered like glass as the witch made a backhanding gesture; Sindaroth flew some twelve yards away, and began crawling backwards away from the approaching psyker.

    “You cost me my toy,” the witch said, gesturing behind him at Gelforst’s corpse. Sindaroth whimpered pathetically as the creature continued. “My, don’t we have some interesting powers. You hear lies and form from them prophecy. Very interesting,” the psyker grinned. “I suspect your soul will be most satisfying to consume,” it said softly and raised its arms. Crimson fire engulfed the psyker and its mouth distended and opened impossibly wide…

    Suddenly the balefire faded from its eyes and it slumped to the ground in a heap. It cried out in anger and pain, clutching its head. As it did so, it saw right into the helmeted face of one of Hakanor’s Reavers, who held the null rod aloft like a talisman.

    “How… how in the warp…” it began, then trailed off. “Wait… the chances of that are-“

    “One in a trillion. Brother Ysocr here is a null; one might call it divine providence that he was brought into my service. Not of massive strength, of course, but enough to hide from your psychic senses… and do me a great favor,” Zebulon grinned smugly. “Now I think we shall begin negotiations in earnest, if you don’t mind.”

    “What? Oh, yes,” the witch said, “you want me to join you. Well I’d intended to do so eventually, for you are marked by the Gods. You have some very powerful allies in them, Zebulon Hellshrike,” the creature said, and pointed to its chest. “And as you can imagine, I am fully willing to accommodate their visions… and yours. After all, who am I to deny a future Prince of the Warp?”

    Zebulon’s breath caught. “You have… seen it?”

    ”I have seen many things, Zebulon. The doom of Mankind and his salvation in Chaos. The triumph or fall of the False Emperor. The struggle of the myriad races. But most of all, I have seen the strong prevail….”

    ”And the weak perish,” Zebulon finished, recalling the maxim of his warband. “Perish the weak.”
    Rules - CSM - BA - LatD (when I find my notes)
    Stories - Perish the Weak - Brothers in Chaos - The Baron Rises

  3. #3
    Commander Exitas-Acta-Probat's Avatar
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    Re: Perish the Weak

    perish the weak!! mwahahahahaha!! good story
    "six shots."

  4. #4
    Librarian Tyruin son of Ages's Avatar
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    Re: Perish the Weak

    This is quite good, i would like to see it comeing further in the plot.
    Good job!
    Tyruin out.
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    Are you saying that GW are covering up aliens in New Mexico?

  5. #5
    Chapter Master Lord_Crull's Avatar
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    Re: Perish the Weak

    Good, I like it, to be honest reading about the faith effects make for a it of awkward reading IMO.

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