On the seventh night of the battle, something strange occurred. Flamewing’s warriors fell into a dark rage, one by one shedding the peerless discipline for which the Fire Caste is renowned and surrendering to something far more primal. Soon, the rage consumed Flamewing himself, and he observed his warriors growing surly and fractious. Shockingly, several brawls erupted in the ranks, a phenomenon that none had ever witnessed or experienced.
Then the realisation of what was occurring came to the Commander, and dread filled his soul; the Fire Warriors were succumbing to the same barbaric urges that had set the castes against one another at the very outset of their history, a time of bloodshed that only the coming of the Ethereal Caste had put at an end. The fact that Flamewing’s warriors were regressing to such an atavistic state could only mean that the last of the Ethereals on Zurcon Extremis had fallen to the Tyranids.
Realising his Hunter Cadre’s position was all but lost and its fate too terrible to consider, Flamewing saw but one course of action. He determined that not a single Tau would fall at the hand of his own kin, and rallied his warriors for one last, glorious action. Flamewing’s Hunter Cadre would sally forth from their position and sell their lives dear. If they were to fall, Flamewing promised, it would be for the glory of the Greater Good and they would serve the Empire by slaughtering its foes to the last.
Flamewing’s words stirred his warriors into a righteous rage, and the entire Hunter Cadre launched itself at the foe, Flamewing at the head. The battle raged for the remainder of the night and well into the next day, and as the sun reached its zenith only Flamewing and his Crisis Team retinue were left standing, atop a small mountain of Tau and Tyranid corpses.
The end was mere moments away, but suddenly, the survivors’ rage lifted, to be replaced with a sudden sense of familiar, blessed calm. A moment later, the communications channels sang with transmissions and a huge, multi-Hunter Cadre force crashed into the rear of the Tyranid horde.
Within an hour it was all over. Commander Flamewing and his few surviving companions stood before the Ethereal Aun’O Tsualal, and gloried in the radiance of his sacred presence. In the aftermath of Zurcon Extremis, Commander Flamewing entered a brief period of retreat and meditation. He had been grievously wounded, in body and in spirit, and has yet to fully recover.
During his retreat, Flamewing conferred with and studied beneath the most learned of Fire Caste notables, Commanders who had faced and mastered the same inner turmoil he himself had suffered on Zurcon Extremis. He meditated on the deeper truths of the Greater Good, and emerged possessed of such inner knowledge that few of those who had known him took him for the same warrior. Donning his battlesuit once more, Commander Flamewing took command of a new Hunter Cadre built around the survivors of the old, and vowed to take the battle to the Tyranids anew, armed with his newly acquired wisdom.