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Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

A long time ago, I played roleplaying games online on a site called Dark's Penthouse, later renamed Darkstorm Roleplaying games. The game I always remember most fondly was a game of Deathwatch. While I'm not sure if this was a FFG version of the game, I enjoyed my character from that and wanted to bring him back for a story idea I had. The release of the Deathwatch Codex for 40k inspired me to get writing. My aim is to bring out one chapter a week on a Sunday, and so to get the ball rolling I have written a teaser as an intro to this story. Hope everyone likes this.


It is the 42nd Millennium. It has been eleven thousand years
since the Emperor ascended to the Golden Throne, and the
Master of Mankind sits deathless, his empty eyes watching
over the galaxy He has conquered. A thousand souls
are sacrificed every day to sustain his omnipotent spirit,
lord of a million worlds,
the Carrion Lord of the Imperium.

But as the new Millennium bears down on Humanity,
so too do its many enemies.
The Warp becomes ever more turbulent, and the light
of the Astronomican grows ever more dim.
The Imperium is beset on all sides by foes and
horrors beyond the human mind. His vast
armies find themselves outnumbered and outmanoeuvred
by the alien threats clawing at their doors,
and the forces of Chaos grow stronger
as the Eye of Terror swells and consumes
more of Mankind’s star-spanning empire.

Greatest among the Emperor’s forces are the Adeptus Astartes.
The Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors. Their
comrades in arms are legion, the Imperial Guard
and the Sisters of Battle, the ever-vigilant Inquisition
and the tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

But even these mighty forces are not enough.
As the fate of the galaxy grows even more desperate,
the Inquisition have seized control of the High Lords of Terra,
and rule by decree in His name.
More and more Chapters of the Space Marines are being raised
in response to the threats, and Guardsman are slain
by the thousand to slow the advance of the Imperium’s foes.
But slow the advance is all they can hope for.

To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions.
It is to live in the cruellest and most bloody regime imaginable.
These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science,
for so much has been forgotten, never to be relearned.
Forget the promise of progress and understanding,
for in the grim dark future there is only war.
There is no peace amongst the stars,
only an eternity of carnage and slaughter. There is only the laughter of thirsting gods,
and every moment they come closer to feasting on
Holy Terra.

This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2017/04/30 18:16:24


I'm celebrating 7 years on Dakka Dakka!
I started an Instagram! Follow me at Deadshot Miniatures!
DR:90+S++G+++M+B+IPw40k08#-D+++A+++/cwd363R+++T(Ot)DM+
Check out my Deathwatch story, Aftermath in the fiction section!

Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
 
   
Made in ca
Freaky Flayed One





Well my good man, it seems I'll be skulking about your thread every sunday waiting for the next entry of this story.
   
Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

Hey there, as promised here is my first Chapter. Its pretty much my own take on things with referencing from the Codex screenshots on the News and Rumours forum. Anyway, hope you all enjoy this, feel free to leave feedback or PM me! Apologies for the poor formatting, as the piece is originally typed in word and C/P over, which messes with the paragraph breaks. Its a 5000 word piece as well, so I'm not prepared to go through fixing each and every paragraph. Anyway, enjoy!



One

The dull red glow of the warning light was the only illumination in the hull of the transport craft. As the Corvus Blackstar Gunship sped through the sky over Constan, Varus Renzo reached up to touch the emblem on his pauldron. As his gauntleted fingers traced over the Blood Raven’s heraldry, he closed his eyes, listening to the sounds of the craft around him. The roar of the engines was deafening, but he chose to leave it be instead of tuning it out with his armour’s autosenses. The noise was strangely familiar after all this time. Next he moved his hand to the Aquila on his chest, feeling the pride swell in his chest at the honour of wearing the Emperor’s insignia on his breast. The craft shuddered as they slowed their descent, the g-forces intensifying as the pilot banked sharply towards their target. Finally, he moved to his left pauldron. First he felt the inlaid text of the Litany Xenomortis, the creed by which the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos lived. The silvered symbol of the Inquisition stood out from the inscription. He left gauntlet was also silver. Together with the black of the rest of his armour, the silvered arm marked him out as a member of the Deathwatch, the elite Alien Hunters of the Imperium of Man.
Adrenaline flooded Renzo’s system in anticipation as the craft began to shake violently under the sudden change in velocity. His twin hearts thundering behind his fused ribs. It was not fear he felt. Astartes are not capable of fear, or so they say. This was simply centuries of experience, his body reacting automatically to the situation and preparing him for battle He took a moment to calm his mind, his heart rate returning to its normal, steady thump. As the craft came to a halt, the voice of the pilot cut through the engines’ dying growls.
“Captain, transport has landed, ready for disembarkation.”
Renzo unstrapped his grav-harnass and stood, his power sword across his hip and his boltgun held in his right hand. The two Astartes in the craft with him also rose, taking their positions behind Renzo. As the red warning light finally flashed green, the left-hand assault ramp lowered. Renzo’s autosenses dimmed the bright light flooding into the transport and the Blood Raven led the trio out into the docking bay. The scent of machine oil flooded in through the mouth grill of his helmet. The cavernous docking area was a bustling centre of activities. There were a dozen Corvus Blackstars already docked, with several currently being repaired Techmarines and shuffling servitors. The multi-limbed servo-harnesses on the backs of the Techmarines gave them the appearance of giant arachnids, skittering about their webs with precision and intent. Their servo arms clamped down on damaged plates and ripped them free with ease before passing them to the blank faced servitors. At the far end of the bay, more servitors clustered around a Land Raider that had just been dropped down by Thunderhawk. The growls of their grafted power tools echoed in the otherwise silent bay. Hundreds of metres above their heads, the bay doors crashed shut with enough force to shake the ground beneath Renzo’s feet.
As they marched down the assault ramp, the seven assembled Space Marines awaiting them snapped to attention. The Chaplain standing at their head thumped the hilt of his Crozius maul on the ground and the group raised their fists in salute to their chest. The assembled squad were adorned in full battle plate, their black power armour seemingly drinking in the little light in the bay, while their left arms were again silver, polished to an immaculate shine. The trio came to a halt before the group, their Captain stepped forward to greet his squad. The Chaplain also stepped forward, saluting once more with his Crozius before he spoke. Unlike all the other Space Marines, he had donned simple, bone-coloured robes over a black bodyglove. His chest sported a skull inside a wing. It was the mark of his parent Chapter, clearly, but not one Renzo recognised.
“Captain Myschor, it is good to see you again, sir. I trust your voyage was uneventful.”
Captain Brandt Myschor nodded his acknowledgement to the Chaplain, before it motioning to the assembled squad to stand at ease. He reached up to remove his helmet, revealing thick cut features and a heavy brow. There were numerous scars on his face, most of which were minor, apart from a single slash across his left cheek that looked ragged. Myschor’s hair was cut so close to the scalp he might as well have shaved his head as many Astartes chose to do. What remained of his hair was as black as his power armour. The helmet was swiftly maglocked to the Captain’s thigh with a clunk.
“And you, Barachial. I trust things have been as equally quiet here in my absence?” Myschor asked.
The Chaplain nodded in return. “Aye, Captain. The Emperor has been good to us, the Greenskins have lost the stomach for the fight since you took the Warboss’ head for your collection.”
The stern faced Captain to Renzo’s left grinned with pride. The Black Templar had not the temperament for subtlety, neither inside or out of battle. “The Emperor rewards his disciples. Any Xenos who dares step foot on His holy grounds again deserves no mercy.”
Chaplain Barachial nodded affirmatively. “Suffer not the Alien, Captain,” he said, reciting the motto of the Deathwatch.
“Suffer not the Alien to live!”
Renzo was momentarily shocked by the outburst from the assembled squad, who until this point had been still and silent as statues. They are well drilled, Renzo thought to himself. He quickly recovered and echoed their chant. “Suffer not the Alien to live,” he recited. His pause meant that his voice rang out over the silent hall, and the attention of those assembled snapped to him. Chaplain Barachial turned his head and met Renzo’s gaze, his stone-grey eyes boring through the helmet Renzo wore. The Chaplain was still young, likely no older than a century and a half, but he had an authoritative air that belayed his youth. He had a strong, chiselled jaw that tightened when not speaking.
“I do not believe we have met before Brother,” he grunted. “Nor you either,” he gestured to the Astartes to Renzo’s left, who had so far remained silent. “I am Barachial, formerly an Interrogator Chaplain of the Angels of Absolution, now the Chaplain to this Killteam.”
Before he could reply, the Watch Captain cut in. “There will be time for full introductions later. For now, these are the newest members of the squad. This is Battle-Brother Mordrad of the Night Skulls, and Sergeant Varus Renzo of the Blood Ravens,” he grunted.
“Forgive me Sergeant, I was unaware, forgive my rudeness,” the Chaplain said quickly, to which Renzo nodded his thanks. The Night Skull received no such apology but remained oddly quiet on the matter.
“Sergeant Renzo is a veteran of the Watch and has more experience fighting Xenos than the rest of you put together,” Myschor continued. “He has been assigned to us by the Watch Commander. It appears the powers that be don’t consider our squad competent enough to continue as we have been.”
Renzo detected a hint of irritation in the Captain’s voice as he introduced the two of them to their new squad mates. Whether it was directed at the Watch Commander who had assigned Renzo to Myschor’s squad, or at Renzo himself, he could not tell. He wondered if the Captain resented his presence or...
“Kill-Marine Mordrad, fall in with your brothers!”
Renzo found his thoughts interrupted by the Chaplain’s orders to his fellow newcomer. The Night Skull, who had still not said a word since boarding the Corvus Blackstar, turned on his heel and marched into line with his brothers.
“Where is Sergeant Maximus, Barachial?” Captain Myschor asked, sounding rather displeased.
The Chaplain’s Crozius thumped the ground once more. When he spoke, his voice sounded grave, almost reluctant. “Sergeant Maximus has been fulfilled your duties in your absence. Watch Commander Marius called a briefing just a few minutes before your transport landed.
Brandt Myschor stood silent for a moment. The thrum of grinders and thunk of rivets was deafening in the silence.
“I see,” he said finally. “Very good Chaplain.” He paused once more. “Report to the training field with the squad. Sergeant Renzo and I will be joining the brief.”
“Me, sir?” Renzo asked, puzzled as to why he would be joining the brief. Even though he had spent more than half his life in the Deathwatch, he was still a mere Sergeant. Only Watch Captains and Masters would be permitted in the brief.
“Yes, Sergeant. If Maximus can attend, so can you. I also want you to meet your fellow Sergeant,” Myschor growled. Renzo nodded and prepared to follow his new Captain. “Chaplain Barachial, Killteam, you are dismissed.”
Barachial nodded. “As you wish, sir. Captain Myschor, Sergeant Renzo.” He thumped his staff of office on the ground once more before leading the eight
The squad of marched off in the same uniform silence, their heavy, power armoured footfalls hitting the ground as one. The grim faced Chaplain Barachial marched at their head. Myschor turned to Renzo.
“Well Sergeant, does the Kill-team live up to your lofty standards?” he asked, a definite tone of ire in his voice. The Templar’s heavy-set brow furrowed in annoyance. “Or should I have an Apothecary rip their Progenoids out and send them back to their chapters in disgrace?”
Renzo hesitated for a moment, choosing his words carefully. He was now certain that the Myschor resented his presence, and did not want to spoil their relations before they had even kicked off. It was important in the Deathwatch, given the multitude of different origins the Astartes shared, that Captains and Sergeants were able to move past their differences. While most Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes recruited from a single world or dominion, the Deathwatch were unique in that they could recruit or conscript from existing Space Marine chapters. The chosen Marines donned the black armour of the Inquisition and replaced their heraldry with the silvered pauldron he now wore. This was to show that his allegiance lay now with the Ordo Xenos, the section of the Inquisition devoted to the study and eradication of any non-human life in the galaxy. The only remaining mark of their original chapter would be their right pauldron displaying their parent chapter’s mark.
The need to bond with his new Captain was especially important for Renzo. Despite his length of service in the Chamber Militant, over two hundred and fifty years, Renzo had only recently been promoted to command of a Killteam. In fact, this would be his first foray into command.
“I am as yet unsure, Captain. They are certainly well-drilled and extremely well disciplined. Chaplain Barachial seems to command their utmost respect. However, without training or fighting along ide them it would be impossible to determine their ability.”
The Captain nodded. “A most diplomatic response, Blood Raven. You are right of course. There is not a squad more disciplined nor skilled in battle as Killteam Myschor. Barachial, like myself, serves the God-Emperor with all our faith, and the squad know better than to question the orders of His holy servants.”
The captain’s declaration of faith came as no surprise to Renzo. The Black Templars, to whom Myschor belonged, had a long and noble history dating back to the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, and were known far and wide for their uncharacteristic belief in the Emperor as a divine figure. Most chapters, including his own Chapter, the Blood Ravens, did not follow the faith of Ecclesiarchy, and instead saw the Emperor not as a god, but simply the mightiest of men, and a venerable father figure. It was of course, from the Emperor’s own genes that the Primarchs were made, and from them, every Astartes in the Imperium. What was surprising, was the same declaration for the grim-faced Chaplain.
“I must admit, Captain, I am rather taken aback by that. I know your own Chapter’s faith but I have yet to have met a Chaplain outside the Black Templars who shares your beliefs.”
“Then you are misfortunate, Sergeant, “he snarled. “I assure you, Barachial’s most potent weapon, indeed, the most potent weapon we all have, lies not in the armoury, but in faith. The Emperor protects, Sergeant.”
“The Emperor protects,” Renzo said, echoing the ancient prayer.
Myschor nodded his contentment, seemingly satisfied. “Come Sergeant, I fear we may miss the briefing entirely if we tarry any longer.”
“Lead the way, Captain.”
Myschor turned and marched towards the far end of the loading bay, moving quickly and with purpose. Although all Space Marines were around roughly the same height, about eight feet tall when fully armoured, Renzo was slightly taller than his superior and caught up quickly, falling into stride beside the Templar. The two strode side by side across the bay, passing by several tracked loading servitors assisting a Techmarine in the repair of the battered and scorched hull of a Rhino APC. The left hand access door had been ripped clear of its hinges, and the Techmarine was busy welding new skirts onto the transport with his servo-harness’ welding torch. The Techmarine gave a brief nod as they passed, greeting them in his grating, metallic voice.
“Captain Myschor.”
“Techmarine.”
Renzo nodded back at the Techmarine as they passed, the Captain not even breaking stride. Although both wore power armour in the same black and silver design, Myschor’s suit was notably more ornate than Renzo’s, covered in honorifics and embellishments. A long cloak of crimson cloth flared out behind him as they walked. A bolt pistol hung in a holster at his hip, the standard issue Godwin pattern sidearm for Deathwatch Kill marines.
His musings were cut short when Myschor led them through the exit into a long corridor. The hallway was bare steel, with three doors in total, and a turn to the right halfway down its length. Two serfs shuffled down the hall, clad in black uniforms emblazoned with the symbol of the Inquisition on their chests. They bowed their heads as the Astartes passed, respectfully murmuring “Captain,” as they passed. Myschor paid them no heed and quickly marched down the right hand corridor. Myschor made a point of walking directly down the centre of the corridor, which left little room for Renzo, forcing him to walk behind the Black Templar. The corridor continued for another few hundred metres before veering left. The end of this next corridor opened into a huge auditorium. As they approached, Myschor stopped to adjust his cloak. Renzo stopped behind him, waiting patiently. Finally satisfied, Myschor led the pair over the threshold. When he did, Renzo’s breath caught in his chest.
The scale of the auditorium beggared belief. The circular chamber was large enough to land a Thunderhawk comfortable, with a vaulted roof several hundred metres above them. The interior of the auditorium was given over to seating, arrange in five concentric rings. While the size of the room was impressive, it was the collection of Astartes filling the room at amazed the sergeant. Over a hundred Captains and Watch Masters filled the room, each one a decorated Veteran of the Watch.
The Captains, like Captain Myschor, would each have operational command over a Killteam, and was also responsible for the operation of system’s Watch Fortress, one of the Deathwatch’s operating bases. This meant that even though other three Killteams in the system would be led by a Sergeant, like Renzo, those Sergeants would report to Captain Myschor as their direct superior.
The Watch Masters were a different breed altogether. Most of those assembled here today were well in excess of five centuries, and had slain more Xenos than a whole regiment of the Imperial Guard put together. While they were fearsome combatants, their main role now lay in wide-scale planning and strategy. Each Master would hold dominion over an entire subsector of the Imperium, commanding maybe a dozen systems. Just as the Killteam sergeants would report to their respective Captain, each Captain would have to report to his subsector Watch Master, and it would be to him that he would answer.
As the pair entered the room, Renzo noticed the attention of every attendee was focused on the figure in the centre of the room, who was circling a holoplinth, to which he gestured, the assembled commanders staring intently at the data. The hollo-feed showed a map of the Pandora sector, with various subsectors highlighted and marked. Various numbers were also present, with marker lines attaching the numbers to different subsectors. As Renzo soaked in the sight before him, Myschor called out over quiet.
“And here I am, thinking I would be needed for this briefing, Commander!” he called out. The figure in the centre of the room stood mid-sentence to look at Myschor, followed by a stern glance at the Blood Raven who trailed by a few steps. Myschor began to descend the stairs before him. The attention of everyone in the room was now on the pair, a fact of which Renzo was now acutely aware. Faces scared by centuries of war turned to glare at him, anxious and angered by the interruption. The heavy footfalls of the two power armoured warriors rang out in the silent chamber. The pair made their way to the front row, where an empty seat resided. A sergeant around Renzo’s age stood beside the empty chair, apparently have just vacated Myschor chair. The emblem of the Ultramarines stood proudly on the sergeants left shoulder. With no empty seats, the two sergeants stood at the foot of the steps as to not block the view for the legends and heroes behind them. Only when Myschor was seated did the Commander speak.
“I am not entirely sure your absence has been noticed, Myschor!” the Commander’s gruff voice carrying over the enormous room, right up to the furthest rows fifty meters away. The jest drew a quick chorus of laughter from the rest of the Captains, and a few of the subsector Masters. “Achilles has been filling in during your absence so well I forgot you were ever here!” Another chorus of laughter rang out as Myschor forced his features into a smile.
“Forgive me, Commander Marius, I have been busy shepherding our newest Sergeant,” Myschor said, gesturing towards Renzo. The eyes of the attendees snapped briefly to him, then back to the holoplinth. The Commander nodded, and resumed circling the holoplinth, the butt of his power glaive striking the ground with every step. Besides Renzo’s sword and Myschor’s pistol, it was the only weapon in the massive room and seemed to serve as much as a staff as it did a fearsome weapon. There was an agonising silence before he spoke again.
“As I was saying,” the Commander began, “The ork forces in Quaxel Subsector have been routed following the death of their Warboss, thanks to Captain Myschor’s actions,” he nodding towards the outspoken Captain. “However, intelligence from Inquisitor Ramires, who has been following the horde for some time, suggests that the boss slain was simply acting as a lieutenant to a larger, more powerful Warlord. And as you will surely be aware, a larger Ork means a larger horde.”
“Then I shall take its head as well!” came the proud cry of Myschor. The Commander ignored him and continued.
“That is the main reason for this meeting, and why so many have you have travelled here. The Pandora sector is one of the most important in the Segmentum Tempestus. If we fall, the entire Segmentum will be open to attack by the Ork horde. Be vigilant, Brothers, do not hesitate to act or call for reinforcements if needed.” The Commander stepped around the plinth, circling again. The butt of his glaive struck the ground twice more as the image on the hologram switched to a three-dimensional render of the Segmentum. Suddenly it zoomed in on a particular system, the on-screen information labelling as Drakengard. The Commander continued to speak. “Now, the other reason you are here is due to the ongoing surge in Tyranid activity. In other words, Hive Fleet Leviathan is accelerating its push into the galaxy, devouring dozens of planets every day.” He gestured to the image, which showed recent images of the planet’s surface. The planet’s scarred surface was awash with ruined Imperial battle tanks and aircraft. The image zoomed out, showing the husk of what was once the world of Drakengard. Renzo cringed at the image. He was more than familiar with the aftermath of a Tyranid invasion.
“Most of it is given over to military use, however, Drakengard Secundus has a unique atmosphere that makes it ideal for produce. A week ago, Drakengard was a hybrid of a Fortress and an Agri-world. Now it has no water, no atmosphere and no life anywhere. Studies have revealed that the Tyranids deployed transport spores to the jungle portion, to which the defenders flocked. While they dealt with empty drop pods, so to speak, Genestealers burst from the sewers and ripped apart those that remained while the horde descended to feast on the counterattack in the agricultural portion.” The image froze as the Commander gave his grave assessment. “They are getting smarter, Brothers. They knew they would not be left alone to feed on so much biomatter, so they sent a decoy to draw the defenders out. They took out the fortresses and then they had their feast walk right into the jaws of the beast.”
The silence that followed allowed just enough time to let the reality of Commander Marius’ words sink in. He continued on through as some members of the audience bowed their heads in respect at the loss of human life.
“The Tyranids are currently heading directly towards the Illumise system,” he continued, the hologram changing to show the system of nine worlds. “Eight of the nine planets are given over to agriculture and grow, while Illumise Primarus is a Hive World with the population in the quadrillions. This has been our biggest fear for decades. If the Tyranids are able to consume this system, their numbers will multiply beyond imagining.” The words hung in the air for a long time, the Commander allowing the gathered Deathwatch officers to absorb the implications. “Watch Master Horax?” he asked, looking around the room.
A grizzled Astartes with a bionic eye rose from his seat. His snow-white skin was covered in scars from some Xenos’ claws, the four marks matching perfectly for angle and depth of the cut. Renzo recognised the badge on his right pauldron. The white background of the shoulder guard sported a pair of black scythes, crossed at the hilt and overlain with a skull. The Death Spectres were a loyal chapter but suffered a large number of geneseed defects, including an issue with the Melochromatic Organ that caused albinism in all members of the Chapter, as well as complete loss of hair. Watch Master Horax grunted as he rose, and it was there Renzo noticed the bionic leg where his right had been removed at the hip. The movement seemed to trouble the old Master but he gritted his teeth and stood. The Master was broad chested and powerful, even with his augmetic limb.
“Commander Marius?” Horax said, his voice deep and smooth, surprising given the damage to his face and throat.
The Commander rounded on Horax.
“Horax, you have command of Sub-sector Lestes, our closest point to Illumise. My proposed course of action is drastic, but be warned, it is not something I ask lightly.”
Horax weighed up his Commander’s words before answering. “Nothing we ever do is asked lightly. What are my orders, Commander?”
The Commander nodded his gratitude.
“How many Killteams and vessels do you command, Horax?”
“Twelve Killteams, under three Captains. None are currently at full strength but it matters little. We currently hold two strike cruisers, Commander.”
“Are either of your ships armed with Exterminatus-level weaponry?”
The silence that followed seemed to last ages. Finally, Horax replied.
“Both, sir.”
Commander Marius sighed. He walked around the holoplinth once more before he gave the order, his glaive tapping on the metal floor as he did. He stopped and looked at Renzo as he spoke, his eyes filled with sorrow.
“Take your ships and as many troops as you can spare. Evacuate as many civilians as possible from the planets, then enact the Exterminatus.”
There was a collective intake of air from the gathered officers. They all knew it was the only way, many of them had sanctioned the deaths of a dozen worlds in their lives, but rarely would a full nine planets be subject to Exterminatus at once. Renzo closed his eyes inside his helmet, grateful for the headpiece to hide the obvious regret on his face.
“By the Throne,” Sergeant Maximus cursed under his breath besides Renzo.
The Commander continued his command. “The worlds are a valuable resource in Imperial hands, but lost to the enemy, they could well be the death of us all. We have no choice to ensure the Tyranids cannot consume the biomass in the system.”
Horax nodded his understanding. “It will be as you command, Commander.”
“Be warned, Horax. The resultant lack of biomass would put your own sub-sector right in harm’s way. The destruction of the Illumise system would push the Xenos right to you in search of a meal. You should have around a week to prepare from when they reach the Illumise system.”
“Understood, Commander. We will notify you and the surrounding sub-sectors when we have completed our mission.”
Commander Marius nodded his approval. Another image flicked up onto the screen. This time of an enormous asteroid-like object. Examining the structure, Renzo could pick out the broken hull of an Imperial Navy Grand Cruiser on the surface, as well as several other Imperial spacecraft. The colossal space hulk had been pict-captured entering what appeared to be the Tiernal sub-sector, on the far side of the Pandora sector from where they now sat.
“This space hulk has been sighted numerous times in recent weeks. It appears briefly, then vanishes back into the Warp. Until now we have had no chance to study it but it appears to have settled back into reality for the meantime. It needs to be removed as a threat. As you are all aware, they are extremely dangerous structures. We theorise that this particular one contains either the forerunners of the Ork horde, or potentially a brood of Genestealers. I need a team to investigate the hulk, extract any usable technology and plant a series of melta-charges to destroy the hulk systematically and safely.”
“Commander!”
The Commander turned to the noise, a younger Captain in the backrow. He nodded his assent to speak.
“I represent Tiernal on behalf of Watch Master Gerfried. Sir, I can lead a team of Vanguard marines into the hulk and have it destroyed within hours.”
Commander Marius was not satisfied. “Have you ever faced a Genestealer, Captain?”
The younger Marine hesitated. “No, my lord. But I assume they die to bolter rounds.”
Renzo grimaced at the confidence of the young Captain. While Renzo himself only held the rank of Sergeant, he had spent two hundred and seventy years with the Deathwatch, most of his life in fact. The Captain speak was still young, obviously very brave but had yet to see the horrors the galaxy had to offer.
“Commander Marius, if I may?” Renzo asked, loud enough to draw eyes from the assembled officers.
“Hold your tongue Sergeant!” Myschor cut in, but the Commander held up his hand to silence him. Myschor looked incredulous at being silenced but complied.
“Sergeant Renzo here is the expert on Tyranids, Brandt, and Genestealers in particular,” he said. He turned to address the whole room. “Renzo has forgotten more about Genestealers than most of us have ever learned. Speak freely, Sergeant”
Renzo chuckled to himself at the joke. Blood Ravens had a fabled memory, one that Renzo certainly lived up to. Everything he had ever read, heard or seen since being implanted with his geneseed was permanently etched into his mind, a fact the Commander was well aware of. Renzo thanked the commander and turned to the Captain who stood dumbfounded.
“Captain, I am aware of your lack of experience with Genestealers but I can assure with utter confidence you vastly underestimate the speed, strength and cunning of the beasts. I heavily advise you to proceed with caution and vigilance when you enter the hulk. If there are Genestealers within the hulk, I can assure you, there will be heavy casualties to your team.”
“How many men do you recommend, Sergeant?” the young Captain asked.
Renzo thought for a moment. “No less than twenty Astartes, preferably twenty-five. All in Terminator plate.”
There was a commotion in the auditorium as the various officers debated over the investment of so many units of Terminator plate being deployed for a simple scouting mission, but the Commander held up his hand to silence them. He looked sternly at Renzo, asking for confirmation. Renzo nodded.
“Captain, take twenty of your best warriors and board the space hulk. If you lack for suits, speak with the Armoury here before you leave. Tell them I have sanctioned it.”
The Commander thumped his glaive against the ground and the assembled officers rose as one. They patiently watched their Commander for their dismissal, who glanced around one last time.
“These are dark times, brothers, and they grow darker with each passing moment. Suffer not the alien to live.”
The crowd repeated the motto before filing quickly from the hall. The two Sergeants held their stance, awaiting Captain Myschor before they made to leave. As they waited, the Watch Commander approached the pair, making straight for Renzo. Beside him, Sergeant Maximus snapped to attention as the Commander reached him but as waved off with a simple gesture. Captain Myschor approached the trio and stood a behind the Commander. Renzo reached up to remove his helmet. The Commander’s eyes stared into his own for what seemed like eternity.
“You spoke well, Varus,” he finally said.
“As did you, Gaius. Or should I say, you spoke well, Commander Marius?” Renzo answered quickly. The Commander laughed heartily.
“Yes, you probably should, my old friend!”
The two embraced in a crushing bearhug, laughing as they reunited after all this time.
“Captain Myschor, Sergeant Achilles, bring your squad to the mess hall. I have a keg of Fenrisian spirits in my quarters that has been there for decades. It should give us all a fine hangover!”
Commander Marius turned back to the Blood Raven Sergeant.
“Come, Varus, there is much we need to discuss.”

I'm celebrating 7 years on Dakka Dakka!
I started an Instagram! Follow me at Deadshot Miniatures!
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Made in ca
Freaky Flayed One





Alright, first this is a long freaking read that can't be done in one sitting... Most times. Personally, I'm adoring the amount of subtle detail that collectively brings the whole world to life. Mind you, I'm not a fan of death watch but I am enjoying what I've read so far. It is a test of patience, at times, considering the amount of detail but it's well worth it, that's for sure. I'll finish the next half tomorrow but I'm incredibly tired today.

Keep up the work. You're showing a great vocabulary that helps capture the essence of what you're telling.

Edit: Just finished it now and I strongly believe you continue writing, regardless. The expansive vocabulary and descriptions used truly separate this story from others. Yes, it could be considered a chore to read but the experience from reading it is enlightening.

I left a comment on Crowe's Eldar Recital (Which I strongly recommend you read) but the same can be applied to you. You have a wonderful way with words and detail that brings your world to life.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/08/19 18:18:40


 
   
Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

Thanks for the feedback Benny, I really appreciate the effort you've went to to read it and give me constructive criticism! You're really helping me stay motivated!


On that note, just a reminder to everyone that Chapter 2 gets posted in around 48 hours from now. The chapter is fully written, just some tweaking to do and it will be finalised. I'm having a lot of fun writing this so I hope at least 1 person is enjoying it as well. Its still a pretty big piece but not quite as long as Chap 1 so hopefully easier to get through.

Please feel free to leave a comment on this thread if you like or don't like it, I'd really love feedback either way! Cheers fellas!

I'm celebrating 7 years on Dakka Dakka!
I started an Instagram! Follow me at Deadshot Miniatures!
DR:90+S++G+++M+B+IPw40k08#-D+++A+++/cwd363R+++T(Ot)DM+
Check out my Deathwatch story, Aftermath in the fiction section!

Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
 
   
Made in no
Generalmajor





Muslpelheim

Good stuff all around as Benny said, I dont think I could think of something to say that he did not cover except that I find it refreshing to read works like this, Helps clean the bolter porn away from my eyes so to speak. Hope to see more
   
Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

Thanks Trondheim, glad you're enjoying it! If there's one thing I really hate it is bolterporn (TM) so I'm hoping to avoid that when I hit that stage.

And as for more, here's Chapter 2! Once again hope everyone enjoys it, please follow Benny and Trondheim's examples by leaving a comment, feedback really gives me motivation to keep going and get better. Anyway, enjoy!

The mess hall of Castle Sophia echoed with their laughter, their Fenrisian ale sloshing over the pair as they roared. The cavernous mess hall was built to hold over a thousand Astartes, having originally been a Chapter Monastery to the Night Sabre chapter. After the Chapter’s destruction at the hands of the Necrons, the Inquisition had turned the ready-made fortress over to the Deathwatch. From its colossal Macro Cannon batteries to its vast array of long range communication and scanner arrays, Fort Jakkar was the perfect place from which to command the Pandora sector. Now, the hall held only the dozen Space Marines of Killteam Myschor and the new lord of the mighty castle.
Renzo and Commander Marius sat apart from the rest of the Killteam, who spoke quietly amongst themselves at a nearby table. Myschor sat at the head of the long plasteel bench, Sergeant Maximus at his right hand and the unflinching Barachial at his left. The squad had changed from their full battle plate into a more comfortable uniform consisting of a simple black bodyglove. The bodyglove had no markings save the symbol of the Deathwatch upon the chest, sewn in silver thread. Barachial was the only exception to this, and wore the same cream robes as he wore when Renzo had disembarked the dropship, and his Crozius Arcanum rested on the bench beside him. The squad made little sound as they ate their protein-based meal, sipping on their tankards that the Commander had gifted them. The two officers, Myschor and Barachial, spoke solemnly about duty and faith, as much preaching as holding conversation. Every now and then, the Chaplain would glance up to glare at the pair on the adjacent table.
Renzo had likewise changed into a simple black bodyglove, while Marius wore a more decorative set of robes, complete with a fur lined cloak. The two rocked in their seats as they reminisced about their first and last time together. Finally, Marius composed himself enough to speak again.
“Varus, were you there that time Kol Drostan found out that Bjorn was the one to break the floor?” the Commander asked, draining his cup. A serf clad in black overalls quickly rushed to refill it from the keg beside them. Varus threw his head back as he laughed, spilling the remainder of his cup over the ferrocrete floor of the mess.
“Oh yes, Gaius, I remember!”
Marius snorted at his own stupidity.
“Of course, your trick memory.”
“Tis no trick, but yes, I remember well. I don’t think I ever seen the Techmarine that angry before or since. It took him six months to repair the crack! “Marius laughed again, taking another swig.
“That’s right,” he said,” he came in clutching that axe, swearing to take the head of whoever was responsible.”
“You should have been there when it happened, Gaius.”
“Oh?” Marius asked, raising his lone eyebrow. His right eye had been replaced with a bionic replacement at some point since the two had last seen each other.
“Aye, that was a sight to behold,” Renzo responded, finishing the last of his cup. He waved away the attentive serf as he recalled the story. “It was right after the team was formed. I go to the mess to break my fast. Bjorn’s at the table in the corner, drunker than any man I’ve ever seen on that special brew he had, Sev’s passed out on the table beside him.” The commander chuckled, the story matching his memory of Bjorn Skullscatter perfectly. “I sit down, the Wolf is pissing his power armour about how Sev passed out after one. He’s bellowing his lungs out and then, get this, falls over, cracks his head on the floor, shatters the bloody ferrocrete and knocks himself out in the process!”
The two roared out loud from the mental image, drawing a glare from Barachial. The grim Chaplain stood up and excused himself, marching out of the mess hall without another word. The two old friends took no heed.
“And Sev,” Marius asked, “was he passed out?”
This time only Renzo laughed, choking on his ale as he did. As he spluttered he managed to finish the tale.
“No, brother, he was not. Just as Bjorn goes silent, the bloody bastard sits bolt upright, looking ready to fight an Ork horde. I go to ask him what in the Emperor’s name is going on, he does this!”
With that, Renzo held up one finger to Marius, before leaning over and spitting ale back into his mug. This time it was the Commander’s turn to choke on his ale.
“That sounds like Sev. Most cunning Astartes I ever met.”
The pair chuckled again at the dynamic between the drunken Wolf and the crafty Raven Guard. The pair were a brilliant example of the comradery the Deathwatch inspired, despite difference in personality, tactics and culture.
“Did you ever meet any of the team again, afterwards?” the Commander asked. Varus nodded.
“Aye, I actually worked with Sev about a century ago down in the Ghoul Stars. The Eldar were in the process of colonising a planet down there, we went in to stop them. Three Killteams, Sevran and I lead ours down, he does his disappearing act, pops up on the middle of the Eldar ranks and rips them to shreds while we lay down suppressing fire from a ridge.” Renzo paused to sip his drink. “We clear out their encampment and a distress call comes in over the vox, the other two squads have been attacked. We’re still at full strength, we move to reinforce. It’s the thrice-damned Barghesi. We move to flank, I look around, Sevran’s already in their midst, bolter in each hand, six of them dead before they hit the ground.”
The pair sat in awkward silence, picturing the scene. It was the Commander who spoke first.
“How many?”
Varus motioned to the serf who rushed to refill his drink.
“Twelve. Fifteen of us went in, Sev and I walked away. Another by the name of Jacov Dester, lost both legs and most of his lower torso. The fortress didn’t have a Dreadnought sarcophagus so they had to send him back to his Chapter. He was Captain of the 2nd Company for the Iron Lords. He was offered Watch Captain on arrival but chose to stay in the ranks.”
Renzo stared glumly into his cup. While his eidetic memory was a blessing at times, at others it was a curse. Even now, he could here Dester’s screaming in his ears, see his organs falling from the gaping hole where his hips had been attached to his abdomen.
“Yourself, Commander, did you keep in touch with any of the others?” Renzo asked. “After you left the Killteam I mean?”
“Not exactly. I haven’t seen any of them until a few months ago, Kol Drostan is here to peruse our armoury and take inventory.”
“The Techmarine’s here?” Renzo asked, astounded. Kol Drostan of the Iron Hands had parted ways with the Killteam, shortly after the investigation had been completed. “I always thought he left the Deathwatch after it all happened.”
“I did as well, until he showed up at my doorstep. He’s changed little, his humour certainly hasn’t improved. He gave you that armour of yours, didn’t he?”
Renzo nodded. Unlike most of the Deathwatch here, he wore a venerable suit of Mk V power armour, or “Heresy” pattern. The suits were uniquely rare, as most were cobbled together during the Horus Heresy from spare parts and later broken up as replacement parts.
“By the Emperor, do I miss the squad,” Marius said suddenly.
The outburst came as a surprise to Renzo. He had never known Marius to be especially sentimental, even back when he was Renzo’s own Sergeant. Still, he could sympathise with his Commander. Their old Killteam had been one of the most trying and yet most satisfying moments of his life, and he treasured the memories of those years despite the horrors and treachery they had faced.
Before Renzo could reply, Myschor rose from his seat at the other table. He adjusted his outfit before speaking.
“Squad, you have done well in my absence,” he said in a formal tone. “Sergeant Maximus, I thank you for fulfilling my duties, however, it is to my duties to which I now must attend. Suffer not the Alien to live, brothers.” He turned to Renzo and Marius at the opposite table. “Commander, at your leave.”
Marius nodded his consent rather half-heartedly, and the Templar marched off, his heavy footfalls echoing in the large hall. No one spoke as he left.
“Go on then, Ragnersson,” Marius finally said as the Captain’s footfalls faded. Renzo looked at the Commander curiously, confused. His question was answered when Ragnersson, a large Astartes with golden hair braided to his shoulders and a thick beard to match, tilted his head back, throwing the contents of his cup down his throat in a single gulp. He plonked his cup back on the table and belched loudly, wiping the foam from his beard. The rest of the Killteam giggled like schoolchildren, as Renzo looked on in confusion.
“By Russ, I needed that!”
At that, the whole table erupted into fits of laughter. Renzo sat dumbfounded by the change in character of the group. It was as if a veil of formality had been lifted and the members of the squad had been replaced by grinning doppelgangers.
“How long were you waiting to guzzle that down, Ragnar?” asked a sharp-faced warrior on the end of the table.
The Space Wolf bared his long canines.
“Lautrec, if he had sat there one moment longer I’d have told him his squire lost that sword of his just to get him out of the room!” The squad laughed again as Marius led Renzo over, taking up the vacant seats left by Myschor and Barachial. The serf followed and move to refill each marine’s cup, starting with Ragnar Ragnersson. The bearded Astartes thanked the serf profusely before swigging back the alcohol.
“Allfather be praised high and low, this might just be the finest damn Krakenmead I’ve ever tasted! Pardon me, Commander,” Ragnar exclaimed, turning to Marius, “but where in the Emperor’s name did you procure such a magnificent beverage?”
“Your own Wolf Lord, Ragnar. We worked together half a century ago, twist of fate. The Blackmane gave me this afterwards as thanks.”
“Baldy-Chin always had good tasty I’ll give him that. But frankly, Commander, I think you dishonour his gift today.”
“Is that so?” Marius asked, feigning offense. “Do explain?”
The Wolf looked him dead in the eye, his thick Fenrisian accent tempered and calm.
“Well, Commander, the fact is, this is, by my refined taste, nector of the gods. Krakenmead of this calibre, of this potency, is too good for general consumption among mere mortals like these lot!” he laughed, indicating those around him. “And frankly, Commander, its wasted on the likes of you.”
The room went silent as the Commander scowled at the brutally honest Space Wolf. Then he, and everyone else, burst out laughing once again.
“You’re right on that point, Ragnar! This has been in my quarters since the day I got it. Wasted on me you say? Serf! Serve these marines all they can drink, then bring what’s left to Ragnersson’s quarters, he needs it more than I do!”
Another bout of laughter split the room. Ragnar grinned, light glinting off his canines. His blonde beard was perfectly groomed and twisted into three braids, one off each end of his moustache and one on his chin. He was large even for a Space Marine, bulging out of his bodyglove. His honey coloured eyes were warm and friendly, but Renzo had no doubt in the heat of battle, Ragnar could be as ferocious as any Space Wolf.
“How about you, Sergeant, can you bloody magpies hold your liquor?” he joked.
“Most of us can’t,” he smiled back. “But the Commander and I had special training from an old friend.”
“Who might that be?”
“Bjorn Skullscatter!” the Blood Raven proudly announced. “We served together many, many years ago. Drank the whole Watch Fortress under the table, and best shot with a bolter I ever saw, do you remember that, Gaius?”
The Commander nodded.
“Aye, shot that Sigilith didn’t he?”
“Three shots, straight through each eye at four hundred meters,” Renzo replied.
“Did he leave the Watch?” Marius asked.
“That he did,” Ragnar answered.
“You knew him?” Renzo asked excitedly. “Pray tell, brother, how does he fare?”
“You weren’t informed?” Ragnar asked, smile fading quickly from his face.
Renzo exchanged a glance with his Commander.
“Of what?”
“Bjorn Skullscatter perished, Sergeant, shortly before I joined the Deathwatch, nearly two decades ago,” he answered glumly.
The revelation hit Renzo like a thunder hammer.
“How?” Marius asked, likewise shocked by the news.
“After he returned to the Chapter there was a feast in his honour, he was a hero for his time here. Got promoted to the Long Fangs within the year. His transport was shot down on his first mission. Found him buried under a pile of Orks about a kilometre from the crash site, took a day and a night to dig him out.” Silence returned to the room as Renzo and Marius absorbed the news. Before they could wallow in their grief, Ragnar continued, “You speak true, Sergeant, best shot I ever saw. He died a hero’s death.”
Commander Marius rose to his feet.
“I’m afraid I must also return to my duties, brothers.” He raised his cup to the air. “To Bjorn, and all the other brothers we have lost over the years.”
They followed the toast, drinking deeply. After they finished, the Commander said his farewells to the squad, and to Renzo, then left without another word. After he left, the rest of the squad turned to Renzo, intent on questioning his curious friendship with their commander.
“So, who’s planning to ask first then?” Ragnar asked to the group. It was the sharp faced Bharbo who spoke up first.
“How in the Emperor’s name are you on first name basis with Commander Marius?” he asked, his lean face peering at the Blood Raven from the end of the table. Renzo laughed out loud, the Krakenmead, as it was apparently known, was designed by Fenrisians to knock out the Oolictic Kidney, one of the nineteen implants of the Astartes. As a result, it made even Space Marines able to become drunk on the stuff, and with enough alcohol in it to kill a grown human man, Renzo’s head was feeling quite light indeed. He chuckled deeply before answering.
“The Commander and I served together, many, many, many years ago. We went through hell and back, he, I and the Killteam.”
“Which Killteam, Sergeant?”
“Gernhart.”
It wasn’t Renzo who answered. It was the Astartes who had been on the dropship with him en route to Constan, who they now noticed, had remained impassibly silent until now. The marine stared blankly at Renzo, defiance in his eyes, waiting for the inevitable question.
“You were part of Killteam Gernhart?” the marine opposite him, Sergeant Maximus, asked in disbelief. The other marines looked on in awe.
Renzo stared back at the silent Astartes, wondering how the marine knew that. Although proud of his service, the Blood Raven didn’t advertise his history for this exact reason.
“C’mon lad, speak up,” Ragnar shouted.
“Quiet Ragnar, left him answer!” Maximus scolded.
Renzo held up his hand.
“Aye, brothers. I was a member of Killteam Gernhart.”
Almost instantly he was bombarded with a barrage of questions, everyone desperate for details of his time as part of the most successful and storied squads in the history of the Deathwatch. He answered none of them.
“Brothers, please.” They quieted down to allow him to speak. “I understand your desire for knowledge, however, the stars in the sky will all go cold before I could answer every one of them. I’ll reveal everything in due time, but for now, I would like to meet every one of you, face to face. Especially you.” Renzo pointed to the marine who had outed him, who remained silent still. When the silence continued, it was the Space Wolf once again who broke it.
“Well then,” he exclaimed, standing up. “I, Sergeant, am Ragnar, Son of Ragner of the Ice Claw tribe of Fenris, Wolf Guard to Ragnar Blackmane and proud son of Leman Russ!”
Renzo rose, walking around the table and clasped Ragnar’s hand in a warrior’s grasp. It was only now, up close to him, that Renzo appreciated the size of the Space Wolf, who seemed to tower over him.
“Well met, Ragnar of the Space Wolves.”
Sergeant Maximus was next.
“Achilles Maximus, Ultramarines.”
“Well met, Achilles. With which Company did you serve?” The Ultramarines were legendary, not least for being one of the original Legions the Emperor used to conquer the galaxy, but also because their Primarch, Guilliman, wrote the Codex Astartes.
“Most of my life with the Second.”
“Under Sicarius?”
“Aye, then I moved to the first, where I led a Sternguard squad. Chaplain Cassius asked me personally to join the Deathwactch. I’ve been here three years so far.”
Renzo grinned. Ortan Cassius was a legend among the Deathwatch, and Sicarius of Ultramar was legendary among the entire Imperium.
“Well met, brother. I hope I can learn a lot from you.”
“And you.”
“I am Lautrec Gascoigne, Sergeant,” said the sharp faced Astartes, clasping Renzo’s shoulder. “From the Raptors.”
“Skullscatters got nothing on that one, Sergeant Renzo,” Ragnar grunted. Gascoigne grinned. “Best sniper I’ve ever seen. Trimmed my beard from three miles with a bolt.” The squad laughed at that.
One by one, the squad introduced themselves. Bharbo of the Genesis chapter, said only the bare minimum words, grunting mostly. His rounded features and shaved head were common in the ranks of the Space Marines. A Blood Angel by the name of Damien Raimos, with flowing blonde locks and chiselled features, much the image of his Primarch, Sanguinius. He named himself an Assault Marine, a melee specialist who used a Jump Pack to leap great distances. A tall Astartes with two bionic arms and a leg was next. He identified himself in a cold, calculating voice as Odyises Seuss of the Iron Hands, but offered no more information. Closer inspection revealed his left eye was also an augmetic, although not a large bulky device like Commander Marius, but rather, it rotated in the socket and looked like a regular eyeball.
“He wears Terminator Armour,” the marine to Renzo’s left said. Renzo took a second glance at Seuss.
“I see, that’s great news, Seuss, I look forward to fighting alongside you,” Renzo said. “And you?”
The marine to Renzo’s left introduced himself as Thelonius. Renzo noticed the badge on his shoulder displayed no chapter.
“You are a Librarian, brother?” he asked, confused. Usually Librarians did not serve in the Killteam except by secondment, usually acting as leaders and advisors to the Captain.
“Only technically, Sergeant. I was a Lexicanum of the Warriders before the watch. My chapter is not favourable on psykers, they allowed me to leave despite lack of training.”
That made Renzo frown. Librarians were venerated in the Blood Ravens chapter, but all of them held great power, and power came from knowledge. Without proper training, psykers were extremely dangerous to even their allies.
“Relax Sergeant, and no, I didn’t read your mind!” the Lexicanum laughed, seeing Renzo’s expression. “The Deatwatch puts me through training. As to possible corruption, Captain Myschor has-“
“Thel, enough,” Maximus interrupted. The Lexicanum fell silent. Renzo glanced between the two but did not push the matter.
“What are your talents then, Thelonius?”
“Thel, Sergeant. And I am a biomancy and geokinetic. I can make my skin as hard as adamantium or bend the earth beneath out feet to my will.”
“Excellent, it will be a pleasure to fight alongside you, Lexicanum.”
Renzo turned to the remainder of the squad. Only two had no yet spoken.
“And you, brother?” Renzo asked, indicating the Astartes to Ragnar’s right. “You hail from Nocturne, do you not.” His answer surprised Renzo.
“I am a servant of the Emperor and the Deathwatch.”
Renzo looked around in confusion until Ragnar explained.
“He’s a Black Shield, this one.”
Renzo was once again left confused. Black Shields were rumoured to be the remnants of chapters which were now extinct, or the loyal Astartes from a Chapter of traitors who had betrayed the light of the Emperor. This Astartes however, bore the distinctive markers of the Salamanders chapter.
“I see. I must admit that surprises me, but I will not push you to explain yourself.”
The Black Shield stood up. He was even larger than Ragnar, at least a foot taller than Renzo and broader at the shoulder as well. His black skin was the exact shade of the bodyglove he wore, his red eyes burning through Renzo’s skull, as if searching his brain for the unspoken question. He clasped Renzo’s arm and the sergeant could feel the immense strength behind the grip.
“Thank you, Sergeant Renzo,” he said, his voice booming yet surprisingly smooth and well-spoken. “I am H’ghar.”
“Well met, H’ghar. What is your role here?”
“You’ll find out on the battlefield, Sergeant.”
Renzo laughed at that. The group retook their seats as Ragnar started in on H’ghar.
“Why do you never just answer, we can all see clear as day that you’re a Salamander.”
“I am a servant of the Emperor, Ragnar,” H’ghar replied irritating creeping in, “and-“
“And the Deathwatch, we get it.”
“Ragnar, leave it,” Gascoigne cut in. “Why are you so desperate to know?”
The Wolf shrugged. “I just want the confession. I mean, look! If H’ghar isn’t a Salamander I’ll shave my bloody beard! Between the skin, the eyes, his name, I mean, H’ghar, really? You’re the spitting image of your chapter, right down to that hammer of yours.”
There was a flash of silver as H’ghar drew the combat knife from his boot, aiming it at the Space Wolf. The room went silent. Renzo flinched at the sudden change in demeanour of the squad. They had gone from silent, noble warriors Myschor had proclaimed them to be, to jovial brothers in arms in an instant, and now here they were, ready to kill each other. Unsure what to do, he rose, trying his best to think of his duty as Sergeant. His compatriot, Maximus, and the rest of the squad simply looked on, wondering what would happen next.
“It is a great offense to bare steel at a man’s table on Fenris,” Ragnar finally growled. “I saw Sven Bloodhowl almost execute a neophyte who drew a knife at his table.”
The Space Wolf stared hard at the Black Shield, honey coloured eyes slanted, fangs bared in aggression. H’ghar stared back, unmoving as a statue, his burning red orbs glowing against his obsidian skin. No one dared move. The knife was razor sharp, polished like a mirror. It was possible the finest knife Renzo had even seen, with a slight curve to it, the hilt wrapped in grox hide. The new Sergeant began to run through various scenarios. Finally, he ordered H’ghar to put the knife down. Neither the stone-like Black Shield nor the ferocious Space Wolf moved. Renzo repeated his order, more forefully. Just when he thought he might have to draw his own knife, H’ghar spoke.
“Don’t cut yourself, Ragnar.”
They could barely contain their laughter.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2016/08/22 20:45:13


I'm celebrating 7 years on Dakka Dakka!
I started an Instagram! Follow me at Deadshot Miniatures!
DR:90+S++G+++M+B+IPw40k08#-D+++A+++/cwd363R+++T(Ot)DM+
Check out my Deathwatch story, Aftermath in the fiction section!

Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
 
   
Made in no
Generalmajor





Muslpelheim

Neurons? Sounds like a truly fierce foe indeed! I also appriciate the time you took in this chapter to biuld relationships between the various Astartes, and explain their roles. Well done but can we have some violence now?
   
Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

 Trondheim wrote:
Neurons? Sounds like a truly fierce foe indeed! I also appriciate the time you took in this chapter to biuld relationships between the various Astartes, and explain their roles. Well done but can we have some violence now?


Damnit, i changed that twice and it didn't stick! Cheers boy!

Don't you worry Trondyboy, you'll get your dose of exploding limbs soon enough.

I'm celebrating 7 years on Dakka Dakka!
I started an Instagram! Follow me at Deadshot Miniatures!
DR:90+S++G+++M+B+IPw40k08#-D+++A+++/cwd363R+++T(Ot)DM+
Check out my Deathwatch story, Aftermath in the fiction section!

Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
 
   
Made in ca
Freaky Flayed One





Here's a treat to read after a crummy day of digging underground holes... But alas, I must spend a good hour replying to things. Still, I'm elated to see the next chapter.
   
Made in no
Generalmajor





Muslpelheim

Deadshot wrote:
 Trondheim wrote:
Neurons? Sounds like a truly fierce foe indeed! I also appriciate the time you took in this chapter to biuld relationships between the various Astartes, and explain their roles. Well done but can we have some violence now?


Damnit, i changed that twice and it didn't stick! Cheers boy!

Don't you worry Trondyboy, you'll get your dose of exploding limbs soon enough.


It happens to even the very best authour And yes please! I need someone or something to be reduced to pulp now

Benny Badmen wrote:Here's a treat to read after a crummy day of digging underground holes... But alas, I must spend a good hour replying to things. Still, I'm elated to see the next chapter.


Underground holes? Hunting for skaven?


   
Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

 Trondheim wrote:
Deadshot wrote:
 Trondheim wrote:
Neurons? Sounds like a truly fierce foe indeed! I also appriciate the time you took in this chapter to biuld relationships between the various Astartes, and explain their roles. Well done but can we have some violence now?


Damnit, i changed that twice and it didn't stick! Cheers boy!

Don't you worry Trondyboy, you'll get your dose of exploding limbs soon enough.


It happens to even the very best authour And yes please! I need someone or something to be reduced to pulp now

Benny Badmen wrote:Here's a treat to read after a crummy day of digging underground holes... But alas, I must spend a good hour replying to things. Still, I'm elated to see the next chapter.


Underground holes? Hunting for skaven?




Haha, well I'll make sure some bloody mess is in Chapter 3 just for you mate!
On that note, I do understand the pacing is quite slow so far, but my end goal for this is a novel sized work rather than a short story. There's 20 weeks until the end of the year and I plan to have the story finish either around the new year or in february, for a total of 20 or 28 chapters depending on where I am in the plot and if I need to keep going to wrap things up. Also, think of this as a "first draft" with a revised 2nd/final work uploaded in February or April.

I'm celebrating 7 years on Dakka Dakka!
I started an Instagram! Follow me at Deadshot Miniatures!
DR:90+S++G+++M+B+IPw40k08#-D+++A+++/cwd363R+++T(Ot)DM+
Check out my Deathwatch story, Aftermath in the fiction section!

Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
 
   
Made in no
Generalmajor





Muslpelheim

Ah I see now, that makes the whole slow pacing a lot more understandebal to your readers. So well explained sir! And Allfather be blessed, I will have sagas to read when Fenris once more drifts into the cold void
   
Made in gb
Resolute Ultramarine Honor Guard




Nottingham

Love me some Deathwatch, and that Black Shield is certainly a character. Space Wolves always lighten the party up, don't they?

Well done either way - nice to see some distinct and realistic characters out there.

Read the history of the Charadon Crusade: The Crusade of Fury was at an end.
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Made in no
Generalmajor





Muslpelheim

 Sgt_Smudge wrote:
Love me some Deathwatch, and that Black Shield is certainly a character. Space Wolves always lighten the party up, don't they?

Well done either way - nice to see some distinct and realistic characters out there.


Well in all the gloom and doom someone has to iniate the keg nigths eh?
   
Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

I have a little treat for you guys; due to being out with my dad to the pub tonight around my normal posting time, I made sure to get Chapter 3 done faster than usual, and I'm uploading it a few hours early! Hope you enjoy this chapter, it was fun to write and hopefully fun to read!



Three

“What in the Emperor’s name is going on in here?” Barachial roared as he strode into the mess hall. His robes billowed out behind him as he marched, his face contorted in rage.
As H’ghar sheathed his immaculate blade, the Chaplain reached the table. He gripped his maul in his left hand, his knuckles turning white, stark against the dark leather. The squad’s laughter died down to a low chuckle, apart from Ragnar who laughed unashamedly, head thrown back and canines shining in the cold light. The Chaplain scowled at him, the thick vein in his temple pulsing like an infection.
“Do you find me amusing, Wolf?” Barachial growled through gritted teeth.
Ragnar continued to laugh as the rest of the Killteam looked on. Thelonius, resumed eating, doing his best to keep his gaze on his plate of nutrient stew. Seuss, who had barely joined in the merriness, effectively ignored the Chaplain and Ragnar. Renzo, still standing, glanced back and forth between the pair.
“I asked you a question, Ragnersson.”
The Space Wolf finally composed himself long enough to speak. The chaplain continued to scowl as he waited for his answer, the vein on his head looking ready to burst.
“Well, your excellency, I was just enjoying this fine wine with my battle brothers, and sharing a moment of bonding with Brother H’ghar here,” he chuckled, sipping his ale with his small finger held out at an angle. Ragnar stared at the Chaplain, as if daring Barachial to raise his voice.
A heavy silence filled the room.
“Perhaps, Wolf,” Barachial growled quietly, “you should be focusing on your duty, and not wasting time laughing like drunken buffoons.” The Chaplain took a long, slow step towards the table, standing directly behind Thelonius. He took a slow, determined glance around.
“What, exactly, do you find so amusing about abominations clawing at our doors? Hm? Perhaps, you’d care to share that, Ragnersson?”
The Space Wolf declined to answer, smirking slightly as he shrugged.
“Perhaps, then, you, Thelonius?” Barachial asked, clapping a hand on the Lexicanum’s shoulder. Renzo noticed the veins on the back of his hand were also pronounced and throbbing with controlled rage. Thelonius likewise remained silent, continuing to slowly consume his stew. The Chaplain leered over his shoulder for a moment before turning to Renzo.
“Perhaps, you, Sergeant Renzo, would be so kind as to share the joke with me? I may find it amusing as well, Sergeant?”
Renzo looked long and hard at the Chaplain, his thick features menacing in the artificial light. He considered momentarily reporting the incident that had just happened with the knife, but as he glanced around he noticed the squad staring at his also, some in curiosity, some with an expression that Renzo could only describe as disgust.
“We were merely speculating on whether Ragnar would suit a clean shave or not. Chaplain. Personally, I think he should at least trim his pigtails.”
The vein in Barachial’s head continued to throb. Then, he turned around and strode from the hall as quickly as he came in, bone robes billowing behind him. Renzo watched as Barachial left, then retook his seat once he was out of sight.
“For a second there,” Ragnar said, “I thought you were going to sell us out, Sergeant.”
Renzo remained silent for a moment.
“Next time I will, unless you explain what happened a few minutes ago.”
This time it was Maximus who answered.
“Well, Renzo,” his fellow Sergeant chuckled, “Brother H’ghar, as he said, does not belong to any Chapter he wishes to admit to. Ragnar, however, is adamant that he is a Salamander. Barely a week goes by Ragnar doesn’t mention it. And – ”
“Barely a week goes by without H’ghar pulling out that blade of his,” the sniper, Lautrec, finished. “All theatrics, Sergeant.”
Renzo wasn’t unfamiliar with strange bonding rituals between Kill Marines, but this was by far the strangest.
“And Barachial?”
There was a pause before anyone spoke again.
“Chaplain Barachial is a dedicated and determined warrior,” Maximus finally answered.
“But?”
Another pause.
“But?” Renzo asked again.
“But,” Lautrec replied, when Maximus didn’t, “he is convinced that as members of the Deathwatch, we have no time for any joviality.”
“ ‘While the Xenos stand at our gates, there can be no respite,’ ” Renzo sighed, now understanding the Chaplain’s earlier words.
“Words Barachial takes very much to heart,” H’ghar boomed. “He does not tolerate our Killteam engaging in any sort of leisure activities. He did not speak out earlier due to the Commander being present.”
“Despite his own opinion,” Maximus cut in, “He respects rank absolutely, and without question.”
“Surely then, you could overrule him, Maximus?”
The Ultramarine shook his head.
“Captain Myschor and Barachial are very close. If I were to try oppose him, Myschor would have me censured, and the squad as well. It is best to simple hold our tongues in their presence.”
Renzo was not entirely shocked by the news, he was aware that there could be friction between different Chapters. The Space Wolves and Dark Angels famous rivalry meant it was incredibly rare for a Killteam to share members of both. At the same time, he found it deeply troubling that there was such a disconnect between the officers and the squad.
Before he could press the matter further, a human in a black bodyglove not dissimilar to their own shuffled into the room. Broad shouldered and bow-legged, with a clean shaven head and face, he approached the table, halting a few feet away. He saluted with his fist over his chest, in the manner of Astartes.
“What news, Killian?” H’ghar asked, his thunderous voice causing the human to flinch slightly.
“My lords, Captain Myschor has requested your presence in the briefing chamber.”
“Aye, I can imagine what Brandt’s ‘request’ sounds like,” Ragnar grunted, finishing his final cup of Krakenmead. The serf, who had stood silent by during the whole ordeal, offered to refill it once again but the Space Wolf waved him off. “Alright, let’s get going before he sends the Chaplain again.”
The human, Killian, waited for the squad to begin to file out before following them, keeping a short distance between himself and the enormous Black Shield. As they walked, Renzo noticed the mysterious Mordrad at the rear of the column. Keen to confront him, he dropped his stride, stepping behind Seuss and broad-faced Bharbo, and fell into step with him.
“We have not formally met yet, brother.”
Modrad did not spare him a glance.
“I am aware, Sergeant Renzo.”
Before Renzo could retort, his choler rising, Mordrad continued.
“I am Mordrad, of the Night Skulls.”
“Well met, I am Varus Renzo of the Blood Ravens.”
“I am aware,” Modrad answered.
Renzo’s lip twitched but the Night Skull seemed to take no notice. The walked together for another few minutes in silence. As they rounded a corner, Renzo decided to try again.
“You seem to know a lot about me, Modrad.”
“Yes.”
“Care to explain yourself? I know nothing about you at all, brother. Explain how you know about my history, Kill Marine.”
Modrad did not answer, stepping over an overgrown root in his path. He clutched his thunder hammer tighter, raising storm shield in front of him. Behind him, the rest of Assault Squad Agheist followed their leader through the dense undergrowth.
“I asked when you were to leave, Modrad.”
Mordrad looked up at First Captain Morgoth, the hulking plate of his Terminator Armour adding another two feet to his already prodigious height. His gnarled face was impassibly calm as his command squad, likewise wearing Terminator Plate, spread out around the clearing they had just reached. Like Morgoth, they wielded crackling thunder hammers and storm shields. First Captain Morgoth, too, although his storm shield was more like a slab of bedrock, reaching from the ground to the top of his indomitable suit. His hammer was also much larger than those of his command squad. The brooding First Captain ploughed through the branches in front of him, the bodies of Tyranid gaunts crunching beneath his colossal weight. Mordrad and Squad Agheist followed in his wake, exoskeleton and chitin cracking beneath their boots. One of the squad stopped over the twitching body of a Hormagaunt, its lower body blown clean off by bolter fire. It swiped feebly at him with its remaining claws, before the Assault Marine drove his screaming chainsword into its maw. Mordrad climbed over another root as he approached the expectant Captain.
“Should we survive this day, it shall be my last mission with the Chapter, sir,” he finally said.
Morgoth nodded, stamping down on a dead ripper, mashing it into liquid with undisguised hatred written on his face.
“What are your thoughts on joining the Deathwatch?”
Mordrad thought for a moment.
“I am not sure, sir.” When Morgoth did not reply, he continued. “On one hand, I feel honoured to be chosen to join the black brothers. On the other, I doubt I will ever return to my chapter again.”
“It is doubtful, yes.”
“You did, though.”
Morgoth surveyed the area.
“Aye, Mordrad, I was. I almost didn’t return. I was stranded for decades before they found me.”
“Gernhart, sir?”
“And his Killteam. They are the only reason I still live, and now many of them are dead.”
Mordrad understood. He had also lost brothers. Although he now served with this Assault Squad, none of the Astartes that he commanded were even Space Marines when he had been moved to the 2nd Company. Although each was a mighty warrior and a loyal brother, Mordrad had lost many over his years of service to the Night Skulls,
“Are any of them still alive, Captain?” he asked. The two squads had formed a perimeter around the clearing, with Mordrad and Morgoth at the centre.
“If they yet live, I doubt they still serve in the Deathwatch. I know Bjorn spoke of returning to Fenris.”
“But would any remain, Captain?”
The Captain thought for a moment, planting his boulder-like shield into the soft earth beneath him. His violet Terminator plate was splattered with black ichor.
“Contact!”
Mordrad spun towards the noise as Sergeant Agheist was cloven in twain by the Warrior’s bonesword, his defiant scream cut short by blood. More rippers swarmed out from beneath the Warrior’s feet, diving on Agheist’s remains like a swarm of maggots, stripping the insides of his armour clean. More warriors strode out from the jungle behind the first, white globs spraying from their deathspitters. The terminators moved to engage the brood as Morgoth and Mordrad held back, waiting for their true quarry to appear. One of the Assault Marines launched himself into the air and barrelled down towards the nearest warrior, only to be snatched from the air by another’s lash whip, his chainsword skittering harmless from its carapace. His squadmates reacted quickly, shearing off the whip with the own chainswords and pumping round after round from their pistols into the beasts. The Warriors were twice as tall again as the Assault Marines, their skeleton chitin stained with their own vile ichor as it exploded from the inside out. Even so, the wounded Warrior charged forward, screaming its alien hatred at the opposition. One of the terminators met its charge, bowling over the larger beast with his immense bulk before crushing its skull with his hammer. Around them, the Assault Marines were finishing off another, chainswords screeching as they sheared through its carapace.
As they surveyed the fresh carnage, one of the Terminators turned to face the pair in the clearing.
“Auspex isn’t picking up the target, Captain, it could be it changed course.”
Morgoth bared his teeth.
“Finish off these abominations and then prepare to move out.”
“One still breathing, Captain!” one of the Assault Marines called from the far edge of the clearing. The Astartes knelt over the beast, driving his sword into its brain, its dying screeches cut short by the whirring bite of the blade. As he stood up to walk follow his brothers, a pincer shot out and clamped around his leg, hurling him into a nearby tree. Mordrad spun as the Marine smashed into a tree, his upper torso ripping clear of his legs in a shower of blood and intestines. The Hive Tyrant strode forth from the dense undergrowth, its carapace rippling with light as it changed its chameleonic hide. Another of the Assault Marines rushed to engage the beast but was intercepted in mid-air by one of its three Tyrand Guard, the hulking brute catching him between its monstrous forelimbs, and proceed to wring him out like a wet rag, armour cracking and blood spraying between its talons. The marine on the ground fired his pistol at the tyrant, screaming curses and damnation at the that killed him. The mass-reactive rounds ricocheted harmless off its impenetrable hide, the beast crushing the marine beneath its hoofed foot with a sickening crunch. As it lifted off the sicky red mess that had been Brother Micos, it slashed down with its scythe-like talon down through the top of the Terminator who rushed towards it, the blade cleaving through the adamantium plate with easy, spearing him from shoulder to hip and killing him in an instant.
The remaining Assault Marines and the Terminators formed up and advanced on the beast, shields raised and pistols barking. The two other guards moved to defend their master, using their own hulking frames to protect the Tyrant. One of the guard barrelled towards the group, its powerful forelimbs lashing out wildly at two terminators, the remaining two moving the engage the other. The Assaults Marines ignited their jump packs and leapt over the brutal melee, Brother Mergo unleashing a burst from his flamer at the beast. The Tyrant roared in fury and raised its long bioweapon, the venom cannon firing with a sound like a sonic boom. The blast caught one of the squad as they landed, launching him across the clearing. The marine sailed past Mordrad like a projectile, the hyper-corrosive venom already dissolving his body. As Mordrad rushed to support Captain Morgoth, he saw the body impact a tree, exploding in a shower of green sparks, not a thing remaining.
Morgoth charged forth, bellowing his hatred. The third tyrant guard dropped Tibo, his body contorted in hideous shapes. It stampeded towards the Captain, trying to make up ground on the lumbering Terminator Captain. Morgoth didn’t even break stride, bashing the brute away with his mountainous shield. As Mergo was sliced apart by the Tyrant, Morgoth swung his hammer, caving in the Tyranid’s left knee and sending it crashing to the ground. The tyrant guard the First Captain had knocked over began to rise, screeching its rage and desperately trying to protect its Tyrant, spurred on by the irresistible will of the Hive Mind. Before it could find its feet, Mordrad swung his hammer also, obliterating its skull in a single blow.
Up ahead, the Hive Tyrant roared, corrosive acid blood spurting out from its shattered limb. It fired its heavy venom cannon wildly, but Morgoth caught the blast on his shield. The shield looked as if hewn from rock, but the truth was it was actually made from the shell of a Tyrannofex, fused with an enormous storm shield. The beast’s hide was as thick and strong as a Land Raider’s hull, and most importantly, immune to the majority of Tyranid chemicals. The crystallised venom impacted the shield like a thunderbolt, but Morgoth’s massive plate absorbed the shock with ease, and the venom splattered harmlessly on the shield’s surface. The behemoth Tyrant swung its scything talon, only to meet the shield as well, the reinforcing force field deflecting the attack. The beast howled in pain as the Night Skull captain severed the blade with a single swing of his hammer. As the beast continued to screech in fury, the remainder of the team gathered around. Only three of the Terminators still stood, their weapons and armour dripping with vile Xenos ichor. They gathered around to watch their Captain finish the beast off.
Morgoth swung his hammer up a great upward arc, the crackling head thundering into the Tyranid’s skull with enough force to rip its lower jaw off. Toxic green ichor sprayed from its shattered maw, hissing on the grass below it. The beast was all but defeated, ready for the final blow. Then the First Captain stopped, turning to the lone survivor of Squad Agheist.
“One might yet serve the Deathwatch,” Morgoth said gravely to Mordrad. “Renzo of the Blood Ravens. If you truly wish to purge these monstrosities from the galaxy, Mordrad, then seek out Varus Renzo.”
The Night Skulls Captain bent down to pick up Mergo’s fallen weapon. He ignited the pilot light of the flamer as the Tyrant writhed desperately on the ground.
“The time for using the knife to remove this cancer is long gone, Mordrad.”
“That’s quite a tale, brother,” Renzo said as they reached the briefing room.
“That it is,” Mordrad answered.
The pair took the empty spots in the room. Myschor stood in the centre of the room, the human, Killian, besides him. The Black Templar was again fully armoured, the black and white insignia of his chapter resplendent on his left shoulder. As the Killteam filed in, he began his brief.
“Thank you for coming quickly, Killteam. I’m sure you’re all eager to know the situation, so I’ll keep it brief. As the Sergeants might remember from Commander Marius’ briefing, the Ork horde we defeated recently was but a mere outrider serving a much larger Warboss. The Ork horde is pressing its way into one of our neighbouring subsectors. The Commander has asked me to take command of a strike force and destroy the horde.”
The squad nodded in approval. They were battle hungry and eager to prove themselves before their new sergeant. Renzo was likewise eager to see his new brothers in action. He had spent almost half a year in warp transit and was getting restless.
“What is our plan, Captain?” Maximus asked.
Myschor grinned.
“We will be deploying a standard Aquila tactic formation. As we did on Turtura IV, I will take point, Odyises will take up the rear with H’ghar and Ragnar to cover our defence. Lautrec and Bharbo will support me in close support with chainswords and flamers to help counter any attack. When we locate the Warboss I will mount its skull next to the other one.”
Renzo frowned.
“Captain, if I may?”
Myschor looked utterly dumbfounded. So dumbfounded that he motioned for the Sergeant to speak. Renzo nodded his thanks.
“Surely, Captain, we should have Brother Seuss lead the way, his armour would act as a battering ram to smash the Ork horde head on.” Myschor simply stared, mouth slightly open and head cocked to one side. “Forgive me if I speak out of turn, Captain, but I also believe that Bharbo, as a Devastator, as well as Lautrec, who claims his proficiency with a stalker bolter, would best serve the mission providing covering fire.”
Myschor began to slowing pace towards Renzo.
“Perhaps, Sergeant, you’d like to review my battle strategy?” the Templar grunted. His heavy brow furrowed, a trait Renzo had now learned indicated the Captains displeasure. The Templar was more adept at hiding it, unlike the throbbing vein in Barachial’s temple. “Given your wealth, of tactical and leadership experience, surely I should have consulted you on our plan?”
Renzo quickly realised his error.
“Forgive me, Captain, I spoke out of turn –“
“No, Renzo. Please, Sergeant, explain how you would approach this strike?”
Renzo tried again to retract his question, but Myschor’s continued insistence led to the Blood Raven standing over the tactical display on the console before them. He could not be seen to falter now, he had to follow through, for his own pride if nothing else.
“I would have Bharbo, and Lautrec, here and here,” he said, marking two points on the map of their destination, “to provide covering fire. Bharbo would lay down fire from his heavy bolter to draw the Ork attention, force them to ground. Lexicanum Thelonius, his power great enough, would raise the ground between these two sections, cutting the horde in half. Seuss could lead the charge, nothing they possess would be able to penetrate his armour. With our combined might, the horde will break and leave the Warboss open to a killing shot from Brother Gascoigne.”
Renzo stepped back from the console, surveying his work. He turned to face his squad, only to find them blank faced and uncaring.
“You prefer the coward’s kill, Sergeant Renzo,” Myschor asked. “You prefer a sniper’s bullet to a warrior’s death for the Ork?”
Renzo suddenly realised that Myschor had not actually invited him to help plan the mission.
“I wasn’t aware that the Blood Ravens were cowards,” Barachial butt in, fingered wrapped around the top of his maul. The head was carved in the shape of a weeping seraph on her knees, her outstretched wings the weapon’s edges.
“Nor I, Barachial, nor I,” Myschor said. He turned to the Killteam. “Does anyone believe the Sergeant’s method’s would be more effective? Would anyone prefer his strategy to my own.”
No one spoke.
“Good. Now, we will be deploying in a standard Aquila formation…”
Renzo retook his spot between Raimos and Mordrad. He cursed himself for speaking out like he did. It was foolish to think that he knew more of the Killteam’s strategy and abilities that their own commander, and it was clear everyone thought so as well. He cursed himself for ruining his relationship with the officers of the squad. Already he could feel the burden of his past weighing heavily on his shoulders. He reached up to rub the service stud on his right brow. It was his seventh, recently added for his three hundred and fiftieth year of service to the Imperium. It itched badly against his scalp.
“Will we have any support on the ground?” H’ghar asked.
Myschor shook his head.
“At the moment, only the local PDF divisions will be in support, the Killteams in the subsector are all busy with their own tasks. We will be entering the planet by drop pod and then we’re on our own. We move out in four hours. Pack your gear and meet in the loading bay.”
Myschor strode out of the room, glaring at Renzo with unreserved contempt, Chaplain Barachial hot on his heel. Renzo felt once again like an untrained Neophyte. He thought back to his lessons with Sergeant Cyrus, who taught him the virtue of patience, of picking the right moment.
An entire war, he had said, could be won with a single, perfect strike. Or without a single shot being fired. Or you can line the streets with the bodies of the dead.
The choice is yours, Renzo.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2016/08/28 10:20:02


I'm celebrating 7 years on Dakka Dakka!
I started an Instagram! Follow me at Deadshot Miniatures!
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Check out my Deathwatch story, Aftermath in the fiction section!

Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
 
   
Made in no
Generalmajor





Muslpelheim

Now this was something more like it! Liked how you portrayed the chaplain and the combat section. Well done
   
Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

 Trondheim wrote:
Now this was something more like it! Liked how you portrayed the chaplain and the combat section. Well done


Thanks Trondy, a promise is a promise after all, thanks a lot!

I'm celebrating 7 years on Dakka Dakka!
I started an Instagram! Follow me at Deadshot Miniatures!
DR:90+S++G+++M+B+IPw40k08#-D+++A+++/cwd363R+++T(Ot)DM+
Check out my Deathwatch story, Aftermath in the fiction section!

Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
 
   
Made in ca
Freaky Flayed One





Their Chaplain's an eff'ing moron but that's besides the point. I don't care how brave or courageous they are, running into a mob of Orkz to kill the biggest isn't the best idea. Go ahead and call Renzo a coward; a sniper is probably the best bet. But hey... Maybe his balls are gold plated with glitter on top.

Oh, and as you can tell, I am looking forward to reading and probably bitching more in the future. Lolz
   
Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

Thanks for the support Benny, appreciated as ever!


Unfortunately, however, I must regretfully say that Chapter 4 will be delayed slightly. How long this will be I can't say but I've got a good chunk of it written and hope to finish it in a few hours. I am currently in the process of getting packed up for going back to uni and I also took a trip to the zoo with my family yesterday so that delayed me a lot.
On that note, next weekend I'm moving into my new place so I'm probably looking at a delay there as well, but hopefully not if I can get things written during the week.

Really sorry to skimp here guys but hopefully I can finish it later tonight or at the latest tomorrow! Please stay tuned for updates!

I'm celebrating 7 years on Dakka Dakka!
I started an Instagram! Follow me at Deadshot Miniatures!
DR:90+S++G+++M+B+IPw40k08#-D+++A+++/cwd363R+++T(Ot)DM+
Check out my Deathwatch story, Aftermath in the fiction section!

Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
 
   
Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland

Thankfully, I have managed to finish Chapter 4 today so here you guys go! Some big revelations in this chapter but I can only really let it speak for itself at this point. Enjoy fellas!



The armoury was usually a quiet place within a Watch Fortress. It was rare to see more than two or three Killteams preparing for deployment at a time. Today was different. The intel that the Commander had received from his contact in the Inquisition was worrisome indeed.
“How large do you reckon the horde to be, Bharbo?” Gascoigne asked his squadmate.
“Soon to be less,” the Devastator grunted back, hefting an flamer. The rush of the pilot light was like an aircraft engine in the confined space. Seemingly satisfied, the bruiting Genesis Marine flicked the dial back and disconnected the fuel canister.
“It matters little,” Maximus cut in, examining his boltgun at his armoury table. The weapon was beautifully adorned with platinum and lapis lazuli inscriptions. “The horde is not our concern, we’re targeting the leadership aspects, as the Captain said.”
“Aye, well I’d still prefer to use some tactics other than “charge that way” and hope the Greenskins are looking the other way,” Ragnar grunted. He stood just apart from the squad, a team of servitors carefully assembling the main areas of his power armour. The Techmarine began to rub blessed oil on the front of the breastplate, muttering the ancient prayers of the Mechanicum. Although the new regime on Terra had long since removed the need for prayer and ritual when dealing with technology, to the majority of Mars’ servants it was second nature to speak the rites, and to more, sacrilege not to.
“As if your own Chapter do much better, Wolf?” the Raptor asked, the drab green of his right shoulder showing his Chapter’s preference for camouflage. The white eagle’s head glared at the snarling Badge of the Blackmane.
“The art of the hunt is difficult to grasp, almost impossible to master. Certainly beyond your mind, bird-boy. To encircle your foe without him even realising, disguise it as a mindless rage and then spring your trap… tis a sight to behold.”
“I prefer real strategy, if it’s all the same to you,” Gascoigne shrugged. The Kill Marines laughed.
“Where might Renzo be, Sergeant?” Raimos asked, a Techmarine testing the fittings on a jump pack to his armour. His long golden hair flowed out over his gorget and spilled across his shoulder guards. Satisfied, the Techmarine removed the pack and carried towards the nearby wargear transport. The rhino-like carrier was much lighter armoured than it’s battlefield cousin, purely intended to carry a Killteam’s wargear around the Fortress.
Maximus shrugged at the question, passing his bolter to a passing servitor. The servitor trundled off towards the carrier, its blank face marred by surgery scars.
“He went to see the Commander,” Bharbo muttered, thrusting his Infernus on the same servitor, its tracked foot becoming dangerously unbalanced by the extra weight. It trundled on uncomplaining,
“Why is he so close to the Commander?” Damien asked. The assault marine was busy tying his hair up in a top knot. The knot pulled up his chiselled features, further highlighting his razor sharp cheekbones and chin.
“They served together,” Modrad said flatly. He stood nearby, fully armoured and weapons already stowed. “Commander Marius was Renzo’s Sergeant.”
“How do you know so much, Mordrad?” Ragnar asked. He clutched a massive crystalline battle axe in his left hand.
“First Captain Morgoth was their squad mate also. I was his equerry. He told me many things.”
“Hard to break bonds like that, I suppose,” Ragnar nodded.
“What do you think of the new Sergeant?” Gascoigne asked, checking the action of his boltgun.
“He knows Xenos, that’s for sure,” the Ultramarine said. “The Commander sang his praises in that briefing. Recommended no less than twenty Terminators to clear a space hulk, Marius went with it.”
“That plan of his wasn’t bad either,” Gascoigne added.


“So you’re dissatisfied with Myschor’s decisions, then?” Marius asked as he paced around the war room. “Is the Captain not up to the task?”
“No, no, Commander, I don’t wish to insult Captain Myschor –“
“Varus.”
Renzo stopped mid-sentence. He took a moment to compose himself.
“Commander, I find Captain Myschor’s tactics, questionable. Not in the least for failing to use our Killteam’s members to the best of their abilities,” Renzo admitted. Marius paced some more, the tapping of his glaive on the floor the only sound. Finally, he stopped before Renzo. He stared at the display on the holoplinth.
“Are you aware that Captain Myschor has the highest success rate of any Watch Captain in the history of the Deathwatch, Varus?”
Renzo shook his head.
“Brandt Myschor has never lost a battle since he took the black nearly four decades ago. Not one.”
Renzo looked down in shame.
“Forgive me, Gaius. I am not yet used to leadership. It feels like I must step up but the truth is that I still know very little about my role here. I speak without thinking, as I did in the briefing.”
Gaius cocked his head.
“When you spoke about the Space Hulk, you mean?” Marius asked. Renzo nodded again. “Were you aware that any one of those there that day had as much, if not twice the experience you have?”
“I was, sir. I felt like a neophyte on his first day in the field, trying to prove that I was worthy of my carapace again.”
“And what did your Sergeant tell you back then? Cyrus, wasn’t it?”
“Aye, sir. He told me many things sir. Including to hold my tongue and learn patience.”
“Telion told me something similar, way back when,” Marius muttered, looking off into the distance. “I remember my first day well, Varus. We were stalking a Tau Pathfinder squad, right after their first expansion. They weren’t as sophisticated back then but I called out over an open channel, suggesting we take up a kill-box formation, they picked it up. Sent the Tau scurrying, they heard me of course, not one shot fired from us.”
He paused to pace some more. Renzo was beginning to see the point of the story.
“At first I thought the Sergeant was going to have my head, but he said nothing until three days later. We followed the Tau right to their headquarters and Telion was able to put a round through their leaders one by one. It was a slaughter. We simply set up a kill-box.”
Renzo opened his mouth, but couldn’t find words to say. When Marius remained silent, he realised what the Commander meant.
“Your sergeant banked on you using an open channel to push the Tau back home,” Renzo finally said.
“And in doing so, he taught me that sometimes holding your tongue isn’t an option.”
Marius stepped around the holoplinth before finally taking a seat in the nearby pews. Renzo took a seat beside him, the informality of the meeting giving him confidence to neglect procedure.
“The masters you saw earlier today in the briefing have over two thousand years of experience between them all. Master Horax, you’ll remember no doubt. One of the canniest commanders I have ever seen, an expert in fighting Tyranids.”
Renzo sensed there was more to be said but remained silent.
“Even Horax did not see the necessity for the team you recommended.”
The former Ultramarine stood up, leaving his glaive behind.
“When the High Lords named me Commander, it was a different time, Varus. I never thought I’d compare to the other Masters. Many were older, some twice or three times my age. Horax, for example, he was already a Master when I was born. He’s nearing eight centuries as an Astartes. But like so many of the Deathwatch’s leaders, Horax is old, and stuck in his ways. They still live in that different time, Varus.”
Renzo listened intently to his old sergeant. The latest service stud began to itch again. He ran his hand over his head. The short cropped hair was remarkably still intact.
“You are referring to the Inquisition, I assume?” Renzo asked in a measured tone. Marius nodded.
“When the Inquisition ousted the High Lords, I thought it would bring the Imperium to its knees, another civil war, the like that hasn’t been seen in eleven thousand years, Varus. For the first time I can remember, I felt afraid. Or at least what I thought was fear, at least. But the war never came. Inquisitor Ramires came to me shortly afterwards and told me that I was to carry on as ever. At first, as you can expect, I was cautious but then, true to his word, it was business as usual. Nothing changed on our end, Varus, only at the top. The bureaucracy crumbled like the ruin it was.”
“I remember well, Gaius,” Renzo sighed. “For the Imperial Guard, maybe, it was needed, but for us, for the Deathwatch…”
Marius didn’t turn around as he spoke.
“Being in command gives you a different perspective. If I told you the number of systems the Tyranids consumed, or how many worlds the Ork have conquered and enslaved because the simpletons at the top didn’t receive my request for action in triplicate... it defies belief. But then the Inquisition came in. I sent a request for action, same as usual. The next day I received an Astropathic message from the Council. Do you know what they said?”
Renzo shook his head.
“They told me top stop wasting time,” Marius grinned. “Theirs and mine. Now? I don’t even bother, I act as I see fit. A few centuries ago I would’ve called you a lunatic, or worse, for thinking twenty terminators was a smart move. But with Mars brought to heel, it’s not a concern anymore.”
“But surely, the Mechanicus aren’t happy with the Inquisition meddling in their affairs?”
“The Council don’t really care. They told me as much. They said it plainly to the Fabricator-General, if they can’t locate an STC, build something else, build something new. That’s why we’ve been able to dish out the new Errant pattern so easily. I ask and I receive, Varus. Terminator armour, Blackstars, bolters, everything. The Council of Terra has saved humanity by eliminating Mars as an independent force and bringing them fully under Terra’s thumb.”
The Commander faced his friend, a look of contentment on his face. Then he sat down again, sighing sadly.
“The Deathwatch is only the start, but spreading the technology and ideals across the wider Imperium will be slow. Even here, the older Masters are too stuck in their ways to realise that we don’t need to treat our armour better than we treat our brothers. We can send in twenty suits because now, now we can actually rebuild and replace them! Eventually they will see the new order of the Imperium.” Marius gazed up at the readout on the holoplinth. “But it will take too long. Maybe another millennia before they all see the truth or rot in their graves. If the Imperium survives that long and we all don’t end up trampled into the dust by our children and their children’s children. And the old bureaucracy has only been replaced by favouritism and special treatment. Captain Myschor is one such victim of that.”
“Commander, I don’t understand,” Renzo asked, confused. “How did Myschor become a ‘victim,’ as you say? I don’t even understand what you mean by special treatment? Surely…?”
Marius sighed once more, rubbing his temples with his right hand. It was only now that Renzo noticed how much he had aged. His cheeks were beginning to sag and his skin was marked with scars and pock-marks, and his nose was crooked from many breakages. His left eye was bloodshot and yellowing. On the right side of his face, Marius cheekbone and eye had been entirely replaced by a bulky augmetic optic. The lens whirred and buzzed as it refocused on Renzo.
“Myschor came to the Deathwatch in disgrace, Varus. He is, or rather, was at the time, a Castellan in the Black Templars. He made some costly mistakes and the High Marshall exiled him until he redeemed himself. But has done nothing of the sort. He has a perfect success rate Varus, but in the last decade he has lost almost two dozen Brothers.”
“Then why in the Emperor’s name is he a Captain, Gaius?” Renzo asked, stunned. “If he is here on penitence for failure in leadership, he shouldn’t be promoted, should he? Forgive my impudence—“
“You are right.”
Renzo was stunned into silence for the second time in as many minutes. He rubbed his face with his hand, the thick leather of his bodyglove scrapping his skin. He had come straight from Myschor’s briefing and his armour was still in the armoury with his gear. Before he could respond, Marius continued.
“Now they are in control, the Inquisition are eager to retain there hold on the major factions of the Imperium. The Deathwatch is a cornerstone of the Adeptus Astartes and one of those most well-equipped and potent forces in the Imperium. They are keen to see promotions given to Astartes from chapters in favour.”
“So they forced you to promote Myschor, then?” Renzo asked cautiously, wary that his words might find unwanted ears if the Inquisition’s reach was as far as stories told.
“No, but they used any excuse to suggest it. Myschor leads a successful campaign, I promote him to sergeant. A dozen successful missions and he’s captain. But there’s a Relicator marine in Prin’s Garden who’s twice the man Myschor is who’ll never see promotion, because his brothers were declared traitors. I wouldn’t be Commander now if the Inquisition had their way, because my Chapter, the Ultramarine, hold too much political sway in the wider Imperium.”
The weight of the galaxy seemed to collapse on Renzo’s shoulders. To suggest their patrons would encourage incompetence and poor leadership for simple political gain...
Before he could contemplate the information the Commander had imparted on him, the human from before, Killian, entered the massive war room with a low bow. He stood at the top of the long flight of stairs and bowed again as he spoke.
“Forgive me, my lords, I have been sent by Captain Myschor. He requires Sergeant Renzo to prepare for battle and then come to the Reclusium for prayer.”
Marius waved a hand at the serf and he bowed again, turning to wait outside.
“You best go, Varus,” he muttered, offering a hand to Renzo. “Speak not of what we discussed here.”
“Never, Gaius,” the Sergeant replied, taking the proffered hand in warrior’s grip.
“I mean it, Varus,” Marius said. His bionic eye whirred and focused on Renzo. “Never.”
“Knowledge is power,” Renzo replied, citing the motto of his former chapter. “I will guard this well.”


When Renzo reached the top of the long stairs, he found Killian standing ramrod straight, waiting for him.
“Lead the way, serf.”
Killian bowed low and turned on his heel, quickly marching down the long corridors. Renzo caught up to the human in a few strides, then slowing his pace to allow the human to guide him.
“Pardon me, my lord,” Killian said suddenly,” but I am not a serf.”
Renzo cocked an eyebrow at the human.
“Oh? Then what rank to you hold, Killian?”
“I’m a squire, my lord,” Killian said quickly, staring straight ahead as he walked, averting his eyes from the god-like Astartes beside him.
“A squire?” Renzo asked. He had never heard of anyone in the Deathwatch having a squire before.
“To Captain Myschor, my lord. I carry his sword, fulfil menial duties such as delivering his messages and carry ammunition for the Killteam in the field.”
“You have a great responsibility then, squire,” he said as they rounded the corner into the armoury. “Tell me, why does the Captain not carry his own weapon?”
“You’ll find out soon, Renzo,” came the clipped tone of the Techmarine before them. “You are dismissed human.”
Killian bowed low and walked to a nearby armour stand, where a set of carapace armour in Deathwatch black stood ready.
Renzo took another look at the Techmarine. His right shoulder bore the silvered gauntlet of the Iron Hands, and his chest was emblazoned with both the sigil of the Deathwatch and the cog of the Mechanicus.
“Does that memory of yours finally fail, Renzo?” the Techmarine droned. The servo-claw on his backpack snapped shut, the pincer following Renzo like a serpent’s face. Renzo peered hard at the Techmarine. His body had been almost fully augmetised, every one of his limbs replaced with a mechanical replacement and the entire right side of his face replaced by metal. A bulky optic similar to Marius replaced his right eye. The front of his torso was covered by red and black power armour, but Renzo was sure it was heavily mechanised as well.
“Kol Drostan. In the flesh!”
The servo-claw twisted slightly, as if puzzled.
“It has been a long time, Varus,” he said in the same monotone voice as before.
“Over two centuries, Drostan. How fairs you? Gaius said you were here!” Renzo asked, rushing to embrace another of his old comrades. The Techmarine stiffly hugged him back, his movements mechanical and awkward.
“Well,” he droned back. His servo arm reached around and pulled an armour stand around to face them. Renzo’s Heresy armour was freshly polished and pristine. He noticed the right pauldron, the one with the midnight black raven of his chapter, was missing. “You seem to have taken better care of it than the previous one.”
The surrounding servitors began to collect the pieces of his armour as he stripped off the bodyglove, glad to finally have the leather away from his skin. He had always felt more comfortable in his power armour and he grunted in relief as the greaves were clamped into place and the connecting spikes automatically burrowed into the sockets on his shins and thighs. There was a small intake of air as the same happened along his spinal column. He had felt much worse pain in his life, like the time he had been impaled on a squiggoth’s tusk to start with, but the sudden sensation always shocked Renzo the most. Drostan lifted Remembrance from its place on the wall, drawing the blade before asking Renzo’s permission. The azure metal flashed in the dim lighting.
“Exquisite craftsmanship, don’t you agree?” came a massive booming voice from behind Renzo. He glanced over his shoulder to see the enormous form of H’ghar standing over him. H’ghar’s power armour made him look even larger than before, if such a thing were possible. He towered over Renzo. His eyes burned in the gloom, like embers among the coals of a dying flame.
“I agree,” Drostan stated. “I always admired this blade. A pity Renzo does not have the skill to craft such a blade, the Omnissiah would benefit greatly from the skill.”
“How did you procure your sword, Sergeant?” H’ghar asked.
Renzo adjusted the fitting of his left vambrace. The servitors were never able to tighten it just right. He glanced up at the mighty Black Shield. Chains criss-crossed the blank pauldron on his shoulder. The links were made from rolled plasteel and strong enough to pull a land raider, for they were the same as those used on recovery vehicles. But on H’ghar’s slab-like pauldron, they looked as if they might break with a glance.
“I found Remembrance on one of my first missions with Kill Team Gernhart. It is a relic of my chapter and one I’ve wielded with pride ever since.”
H’ghar nodded solemnly.
“You bring great honour on your blade and your chapter, Sergeant.”
Drostan appeared from behind a nearby wall, passing the sheathed bastard sword to Renzo who buckled it at his left hip. The Techmarine set the other object down on the nearby workstation and turned to H’ghar.
“Your weapon, Black Shield,” he reported.
Renzo gazed at the hammer the Techmarine offered out to his squadmate. Drostan clutched it in his left hand but two servo arms were securely clamped at the end of the haft and just below the head. The entire piece was jet black and shimmered with inner light.
“Vesuvius is my pride and joy.” H’ghar proclaimed proudly. “I carved her myself, from obsidian I mined deep within…”
The black shield trailed off. Silence passed between the three.
“May I?” Renzo asked, breaking the silence. H’ghar gestured and Renzo reached for the haft with his right hand. The Techmarine removed his own grip but the two servo arms remained tightly locked. Drostan stared hard at him, his bionic eye whirring and clicking in what Renzo assumed was annoyance. He reluctantly reached with his left and gripped the haft with both hands. Only then did Kol Drostan release his grip.
Almost immediately Renzo felt the weight of the hammer tugging on his arms, his arms dropping several inches, even with his enhanced strength and power armour assisting him. The weight was simply colossal. Renzo heaved the hammer back to where it had started as he heard H’ghar chuckle. He examined the weapon before it.
As H’ghar had said, the hammer was entirely made of obsidian and light glinted from its polished surface. The head of the hammer was carved in the shape of an enormous drake’s head, its snarling snout the striking face. The haft of the hammer made the drakes body, curling down a long pole. The creature’s claws formed the grips and its unfurled wings the back-spike. Every scale on the creature’s face and form was picked out in relief, golden running between the scales like rivers of fire. Two large garnets were set into its eye sockets, shining with their inner flame. It was a magnificent hammer, fit for the armoury of any Chapter Master in the Imperium. With difficulty, Renzo managed to lift it and pass it to H’ghar.
“A truly incredible creation, brother. I am left speechless.” Renzo said, speaking entire the truth.
“A testament to the Machine God’s power, Black Shield,” Drostan droned. The sergeant couldn’t convey his awe at the hammer H’ghar now took from him. Where Renzo had struggled using two hands, H’ghar simply hefted the mighty weapon over his shoulder with apparently no effort at all. The burning eyes of the hammer matched his own.
“You are too kind, Sergeant, Forgemaster. Now I am afraid I must leave you. Myschor has summoned us to the chapel to pray. Between you and I, Sergeant, I suggest you hurry.”
With that, the giant black shield turned and strode away, crossing the room in just six strides. Killian trembled and bowed low as H’ghar passed, throwing off the aim of a servitor who was attempted to connect the chestplate of the squire’s carapace armour to the rear of the shell.
“You have added more names,” Drostan said bluntly. Renzo gave him a confused look before the Techmarine gestured at his left gauntlet. The silver metal was inscribed with the names of the fallen.
“Aye, I have lost many more brothers, Drostan,” he replied
“But you only inscribe those that are of import, yes?”
“What makes you say that?”
“You only have a mere seven names inscribed on your armour. Over the course of your two hundred and –“
“Alright, then, yes!” Renzo interrupted. “Only the closest to me.”
The Techmarine’s bionic eye buzzed in on his armour, reading the names.
“Gernhart, Martellus, Corvus, Kalas, Soulheart,” Drostan recited. “You have more to add to those?”
“Aye, Skullscatter,” Renzo smiled sadly. The Techmarine’s servo claw rotated, watching him.
“Broke my bloody floor. He will be missed. You have others though.”
Renzo’s heart sank.
More brothers lost? he thought.
“Who?” asked the Sergeant.
“Balar Nirn perished shortly he let Vermillion subsector. Cause of death unknown. And the Dark Angel, Arfiel.”
“How did he die, Drostan?”
The servo claw snapped shut with a clang. The Techmarine snorted. It was a surprisingly human reaction. Renzo had never known the Iron Hand to be particularly emotional but it seemed as if his communication and people’s skills had devolved even further in the centuries they had been apart.
“By meddling in works he does not comprehend. The Machine God does not take lightly to Its sacred works being tampered with,” Drostan growled, a hint of static creeping into his voice, which Renzo now noticed was synthesised, for Drostan’s throat was also entirely cybernetic.
“Plasma feedback?” Renzo asked, knowing full well the answer.
“Plasma feedback.” The Servo arm whirred in its socket. “I will add their names upon your return, Sergeant.”
Renzo nodded his thanks. He suddenly looked around, remembering the techmarine’s bodyguard all those years ago.
“Drostan, is Hadrius with you?”
The Techmarine’s demeanour didn’t change as he answered.
“Brother Ixon is likewise deceased.”
His heart sank even further.
“I am sorry, Drostan. I know you two were closer than most of us.”
“Tis of little concern. He is dead, Sergeant.”
His empathy has devolved as well, he thought.
“Add his name to my armour as well, if you please, Drostan. I was fond of Hadrius. That autocannon saved my life many times.”
“As you wish, Sergeant.”
The Techmarine appeared entirely unconcerned with Renzo’s method of honouring the fallen. Renzo glanced down at the five names on his left gauntlet.
Soon to be eight, he thought sullenly.
The Techmarine stood before Renzo, clutching the object from the table. Renzo could now see it was a pauldron. The Iron Hand held out the armour piece to Renzo.
“I intended to return this to you, my duties got in the way. I have held onto it. I do not know why,” Drostan buzzed.
Renzo stared down at the pauldron. It was intricately carved with a raven’s body and painted midnight black, each feather of its wings detailed and carved out. A teardrop made from polished ruby gleamed at the raven’s heart.
“It was part of your original armour, before I gave you Torvan’s old set.”
Renzo traced the outline of the bird’s face, its onyx eyes meeting his own brown ones.
“I remember well, Drostan. I never thought to ask for it before you left,” he said.
“There was much turmoil at the time. It is understandable,” Drostan replied curtly.
Renzo glanced up at the Techmarine.
“Thank you, Kol Drostan.”
The Techmarine shrugged.
“I have lost much of my body and my humanity, Varus. But not all.”
Before Renzo could question him further, Drostan walked off, the servo claw still watching the Sergeant intently, like a snake about to strike. With nothing more to do in the armoury, Renzo had a servitor install the pauldron on his armour, the pinions sweeping over the lip of the shoulder pad, and retrieved his highly modified bolter. He tested the calibration on the M40 targeting system and the action of the firing mechanism. When he was satisfied, he retrieved Killian, who now wore his full carapace armour, and asked for directions to the chapel. Killian bowed once more and led the way. The entire journey took about ten minutes as the chapel lay at the far side of the Fortress. As they walked, Renzo replayed his day in his head, memorising the layout of Castle Sophia. From what he saw from pict-feed en route, the Watch Fortress was roughly a cross shape covering about four hundred hectares of Constan’s northern-most continent. The chapel lay at the north arm of the, while the armoury lay in the west wing. He had been informed the Apothecarium was in the east. The southern arm of the complex was the longest, further from the centre of the Fortress. That was most likely where the Librarium lay. It was common in the Deathwatch, and indeed most chapters, to distance the psyker divisions from their brothers.
As they neared the Reclusium the hallways diverged from narrow metallic hallways into vast chambers carved from marble. The corridors were lined with heroes and legends of a thousand different chapters, each one fifty feet tall and created by master sculptors. Their watchful eyes followed Renzo and Killian as they made their way through the hall, the human trembling in terror at their stony gaze. The next corridor was even more lavish, with incense and candles burning in alcoves below the statues. These statues represented the Watch Commanders of Castle Sophia. Their stern visage was perfectly rendering in stone, a far cry from the regal depictions of the heroes before. Every scar and pock-mark was accounted for. Many of the later alcoves lay empty, the last one coming on the right side. Renzo glanced up at the image of Gaius Marius as they passed, reading the inscription below the sigil of the Ultramarines at the foot of the statue.

Gaius Marius
Ultramarines
Watch Commander, Pandora Sector
596005.M42 –

The pair continued on their footsteps muffled by the thick velvet covering the floor. The warm glow of the candles caught the filigree details on the pillars and walls. Eventually, they came before a massive oak door. Killian halted before the door and stepped out of Renzo’s path. The Blood Raven walked past him and pushed open the door to the Reclusium. The room was surprisingly bare. No gold or velvet adorned the cold, grey stone. The only light came from a candle burning at the foot of the statue at the front. Renzo gazed up at the face of the Emperor, His regal features aloof and staring down at his grandchildren. The statue was likewise plain, clad in simple robes carved from stone. A two headed eagle sat upon His outstretched arm, a lightning bolt clutched in his other. Vengeance and forgiveness held parallel in the Emperor’s hands.
I wonder if he really looks like that?
The gathered Astartes knelt before the Emperor. There was no particular rhyme or pattern to their placement so Renzo simply found an empty spot, drawing his sword. Some of his brothers simply rested their arm across a knee, heads bowed, while others rested up their weapons. Seuss stood, his towering Terminator armour not giving him scope to kneel or even bend his head, but the eye lenses were darkened, as if closed. He noticed H’ghar nearby holding up his hammer as if in offering, and Renzo wondered how he was able to withstand its colossal mass. Myschor was front and centre, his sword planted in the ground and Renzo followed his lead, finding a slot in the ground to plant the blade. He knelt down, hands resting on the crossguard of Remembrance, catching the eye of Barachial as he did. The Chaplain took no notice and continued leading the prayer, swinging his incense as he slowly paced the room.
“We are His children.”
“We are His children,” the Killteam repeated as one.
“We are His defenders”
“We are His defenders”
“We are the protectors of his Imperium, from the Enemy Without, who claw at our doors…”
Renzo spoke along with the prayer. He kept his head bowed, his eyes closed. In his mind’s eye he could see the bearded faces of Killteam Gernhart flash before him, as clear and detailed as if they stood before him now. He saw dark sigils of Chaos and blood running down the walls. The broken shell of the Soulheart, the mighty dreadnought finally felled by betrayal. He saw tears running down Kol Drostan’s face as he cradled the Ancient’s shrivelled body. He saw Brandt Gernhart’s coffin being loaded onto a Thunderhawk, sealed to preserve the Captain’s dignity in death. He saw Bjorn, Hadrius, Arfiel, Kalas and the Librarian, Corvus, all long dead and buried. The explosion that signalled Ancient Martellus’ departure from the mortal plane. Other faces as well, Tobias Halabar and Jacov Dester, whose names were ingrained on his left shin. He saw then his new brothers, from the bearded Ragnar and the sullen Mordrad to the giant that was H’ghar. Maximus, Gascoigne, Seuss, , Bharbo, Raimos, Thelonius, Myschor, even Barachial. He saw every one behind his eyelids.
I cannot fail them.
“Speak with me now the words of the Litany Xenomortis,” came the words of the Chaplain. “Reaffirm our mission before the Emperor and let His gaze pass judgement upon you.”
Renzo looked up at the face of the Master of Mankind, looking the statue in the eye as he spoke the words. It seemed as if He was looking at him alone, hand held out in unspoken beckoning. The twin heads of His eagle gazed out into the distance. The prayer finished and Renzo rose at Barachial’s command. Without a word, Myschor turned on his heel and led the congregation from the chamber as Barachial hung his incense in the alcove behind the statue of the Emperor. The Killteam sheathed their weapons, apart from Myschor. Renzo understood now what Drostan had meant earlier. Myschor’s sword was the largest Renzo had ever seen, the blade alone almost six feet in length and proportionally thick and wide. The Black Templar’s cross formed the pommel of the weapon at the end of a two-foot hilt, but Renzo doubted the cross would do anything to balance the enormous blade. Myschor pushed the oaken door open slowly, the thick wood creaking under its own weight. Killian stood ready, an equally massive scabbard clutched in his arms. Myschor slotted the massive sword home and the squire slung the weapon on his back, the sword just taller than he was from pommel to tip.
The parade stopped dead, and Renzo stopped with them. There was some reshuffling as he and Maximus were moved to the front behind Myschor, with Barachial taking up the rear. Ahead, Myschor began to recite the final words of the Rite of Awakening. It was an ancient tradition to say the Rites as one donned their power armour, a tradition abolished by the Council of Terra, the Inquisition’s replacement of the old High Lords. Apparently, Myschor preferred tradition and ritual to efficiency and practicality. The Captain waited until everyone had said the Rite and then slotted his helmet down, locking it into place. The remainder of the squad followed, and Renzo was cloacked in momentary darkness as his visor came to life. Vital signs and ammunition counts and various other readouts filled his vision. The twelve contact runes in the right corner of his HUD blinked green one by one, signalling that the other members of his squad were now connected to him as well. Myschor resumed his sombre march, leading them towards the loading bay. They spoke no words until they boarded the transport Thunderhawk that would take them to the Strike Cruiser. Only then did Ragnar open his mouth.
“Once more into the fray then, brothers?”
Renzo nodded slowly.
“Once more.”

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Made in gb
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Glasgow, Scotland


“Fall back! Fall back now!”
Renzo’s voice thundered through his mouth grill, amplified a dozen times by the enclosed space. Sewage splashed up his greaves as the Orks charged for them. His bolter flashed in the darkness and mingled with Ragnar’s bolter and the large calibre weaponry of the Greenskins. Vengeance Rounds pattered harmless off the heavy steel suits with a shower of purple sparks, the flux cores detonating harmless on the surface. Seuss swung his enormous powerfist at the nearest Meganob, ripping a chunk from its headpiece and exposing the creature’s bestial maw. It roared in its alien tongue, mouth filled with fangs as thick as a man’s fist. It clamped its claw around the Iron Hand’s fist and unleashed its shoota at point blank into his chest. The large calibre rounds ricocheted harmlessly from his plate but another Ork moved behind the Terminator and raised its claw. Unable to move, Seuss was helpless to stop the Ork from ripping through his arm, tearing it off just below the elbow. His wrathful roar was audible even over the firefight, followed by a searing hiss as Seuss unleashed the fury of his meltagun on the Meganob holding him. Flesh, bone and rolled steel evaporated instantly by the blast, Seuss turned and slammed his fist into the beast who took his arm, punching straight through its armoured torso and into the wall behind it. Seuss roared again as he ripped back and let the disruptive power field annihilate the beast.
“Seuss, fall back now!” Renzo yelled again. “There are too many to face alone, we must retreat to a stronger position!”
Seuss clumsily bent to pick up his severed arm, plodding backwards in the sewer tunnel. A krak missile from his cyclone launcher rocketed down the tunnel and smashed into the roof, pulling chunks of debris down on the Xenos. The meganobs began to tear apart the obstruction with their claws as the Killteam turned back down the tunnel. Raimos’ Bolt Pistol barked as he fired a final burst and then he too turned and followed his brothers.
“How dare you order my Killteam to retreat!” Myschor said on the open channel. “Killteam Myschor never retreats!”
“With due respect, Captain,” Ragnar shouted back, “I’ve no desire to meet the Emperor today!”
“Nor I, sir!” H’ghar agreed, his enormous hammer utterly obliterating a smaller Ork.
Myschor grunted as he smote another in two. His crimson cloak was mucky at the hem where the sewage had splashed over him, and his white and black shoulder pad was covered in Xenos gore. He booted a fallen Ork in the head and ran another through, impaling it on his blade. He made no attempt to hide his frustration or annoyance.
“Captain, stay here if you wish, but you will do so alone!” Renzo shouted. Myschor slammed his blade into the enormous sheath that Killian carried, the squire’s Laspistol unleashing ruby streams of energy at the Orks who assailed them.
“When this is over, Sergeant, there will be a reckoning!” the Black Templar grunted. “Killteam, fall back!”
As one the Deathwatch turned back down the way they came. Renzo slung his bolter and knelt next to Maximus, who was propped against the wall. His pistol lay beside him, spent, and blood spurted uncontrolled from the wound in his neck. Whatever toxin the Orks used was stopping the Larraman’s Organ from clotting the Ultramarine’s blood. Renzo reached down to pull his fellow up but the veteran shoved away his hand.
“Just go, Varus. I can buy time.”
Renzo stared at his compatriot for a moment, then nodded. The Ultramarine pulled a trio of krak grenades from his belt as Renzo ran after the Killteam. The sounds of the Orks’ mechanised warplate faded out as he caught up to the rest of the Killteam. Seuss was still cradling his severed limb; however, he had ripped the flesh inside out of the gauntlet. Mordrad was far up ahead, He listened briefly for the distinctive thwomp of the grenade. None came.
“How did this happen?” Raimos asked. “How in the Emperor’s name did we get ambushed like that?!”



+ 30 hours earlier +


The Strike Cruiser Darkstorm hurtled through the Warp en route to Cretacium I, capital world of the Quaxel Sub-sector and base of operations to the Ork horde. It was one of hundreds of Hive Worlds in the Pandora Sector, subject to numerous attacks by the Ork empire of Charadon over the millennia. It was home to the Cretacia Light Infantry Corps, a regiment of Imperial Guard with a penchant for close quarters firefights and closed environments. The entire planet was covered in Hive structures, its chief export being labour and manpower to its neighbours. It would only take a few hours to reach the planet. One of the primary reasons for Constan’s selection as the headquarters of the Pandora Deathwatch was the extremely stable routes through the Warp. However, on this day, the Warp seemed to lash out at the ship as it passed, and 2nd Lt. Annis swallowed nervously as the ship shuddered into the Immaterium. He had always hated interstellar travel, from the moment he enrolled was enrolled in the Imperial Navy by the Schola. There was something unnatural about the Warp, like an itch on the brain he couldn’t scratch. It was just so unreal in its very nature. Annis muttered a blessing upon the Machine God and the Emperor that this wouldn’t be the time that the Gellar Field finally failed. He wiped a bead of sweat from his brow with the back of his hand. A sudden whoosh of air from his right, followed by the unmistakable sound of Space Marine boots, had him spring from his seat and stand rigid on display. He looked straight ahead by he knew without doubt that the oarsmen and gunners behind him were doing the same.
The hulking warriors stomped into the cockpit, Captain Myschor leading them. His latest squire followed in his wake, carrying the Captain’s enormous blade on his back, carapace armour polished to an onyx sheen. Myschor approached the command throne, next to which stood Captain Jerum, the Darkstorm's commanding officer. Unlike himself, Jerum wore the black cloak of an Imperial Navy officer. Jerum’s word was law, and his law decreed that only himself could wear the ceremonial outfit when not on parade. All other personnel were to don only functional black bodysuits when on duty, and grey when not. Jerum saluted sharply to the Space Marine commander, who nodded assent. They briefly exchanged words that Annis couldn’t hear before Jerum told them to stand at ease. His appearance was repugnant. Greasy haired, greasy skin covered in spots, and going soft in the middle. His voice was like nails on a chalkboard. But no finer Captain could be found in the entire Segmentum. He was harsh but fair, rewarding success duly, punishing failure or dissent without mercy, and a master of diplomacy and void warfare like no other. Annis was about to retake his seat when Jerum waived him over. Myschor swept past him, a crimson cloak whipping the Lieutenant in the face as he passed. The rest of the squad filed past him, leaving a single Space Marine he did not recognised. The new arrival bore a sculpted bird on his shoulder, black with a ruby at its heart. His armour was mostly unadorned, and he appeared ordinary. An Iron Skull marking was stamped onto the forehead of his helmet, which covered his face. Annis approached the pair by the command throne.
“Captain Jerum, Lord Astartes, how may I be of service?” he asked automatically. Jerum was meticulous about the manners of his crewmen when addressing superiors.
“This, Lieutenant, is Sergeant Renzo,” the captain answered. “The sergeant has been detached to Captain Myschor’s squad and is in need of quarters and a guide around the ship.”
Internally, Annis sighed. Although he was technically speaking third in command of the Darkstorm, Jerum seemed to think he was some sort of all-purpose fetch-monkey. Any and all command tasks were delegated to 1st Lieutenant Camu, a pale and lithe figure with a hooked nose. Annis’ main duty was fetching port, delivering messages and acting as a glorified, overqualified tour guide.
“Aye Captain, as you command!” was his simple response. He turned to the newest member of the Deathwatch. “Greetings Sergeant, a pleasure to serve. Please follow me.”
The Sergeant followed him out of the bridge and to the nearest stairwell. Annis was a tall man, but his head barely came level with the sergeant’s chest. The Astartes walked slowly, him quickly, his many steps barely keeping pace with the Sergeant before he realised who was following who. Annis scurried up the next few flights of stairs, the black-armoured warrior striding powerfully behind him. He quickly turned a corner, trying to end the tour as quickly as possible. The Astartes loped along beside him, scanning the corridors ahead with quick glances.
He’s scanning for potential threats, Annis realised. It’s in his DNA. Always on guard. Always at war.
“Lieutenant Annis, correct?” Renzo said suddenly. Annis jumped at the booming voice, the tension in his shoulders and back returning swiftly. The Astartes noticed his unease. “Apologies Lieutenant, I merely wished to properly acquaint myself.”
Annis stopped and forced himself to meet the marine’s gaze. The black helmet peered down at him, great iron studs pressed into its temple next to the Iron Skull and baleful, red eyes staring back. Renzo reached up and there was a hiss as he removed the helmet. The face beneath was blocky and scarred, just like every other Astartes he had ever seen. Muddy-brown hair cut close to the scalp. Seven, small, silver beads had been riveted to the Astartes forehead. He had a crooked nose. Broken noses were extremely common in the Deathwatch’s line of work. A thin mouth was pulled up into a grimace by his many scars. The mouth twitched and the same booming voice assailed Annis’ ears.
“I am Varus Renzo, battle-brother of the Blood Ravens chapter and Sergeant of the Deathwatch. A pleasure to meet you, Lieutenant,” Renzo said proudly, extended a hand towards the Navy officer. The lieutenant glanced nervously at the extended hand, then cautiously took it. Rather, he placed his hand inside Renzo’s grip, the mighty fist closing completely over the human one.
“You are afraid of me, Lieutenant?” Renzo asked suddenly. Annis looked up in panic.
“No my lord! I-I-I-I-I- ” he stammered, feeling the breath tighten in his chest and his heart quicken. He stopped as the Blood Raven held up a hand.
“Lieutenant, if you were not afraid of me I would name you a madman.” Annis breathed out finally, confused but relieved that he had not drawn the sergeant’s ire. “You have nothing to fear from me, Lieutenant.”
“Forgive me, my lord -”
“Sergeant will suffice.”
“Forgive me, Sergeant,” he nodded, “I did not mean offense, but the Astartes have always terrified me.”
“May I ask why, Lieutenant?”
“My name is Viktor Annis, Sergeant. I care little for my rank as it seems to hold little meaning aboard this ship. Annis will suffice.” The Blood Raven nodded assent. “The reason is that you are all so tall, and menacing. You shake my hand like a child grasps its parent’s finger. If you were inclined, you could crush me in one hand in the blink of an eye. There’s nothing I nor anyone else on this ship could do about it.”
“You speak about us as if we were traitors. Have you ever seen a heretic?”
“Aye, Sergeant. Twelve years ago, a heretic fleet appeared from nowhere and ransacked our battlegroup. They boarded the ship I was on. I’ll never forget that day.”
“You are lucky to have survived, Annis.”
Annis closed his eyes as they reached their first destination. He opened the door for Renzo, inscribed with the Astartes’ name, rank and insignia on the cold steel door. The room inside was dim and bare, consisting only of a cot, armour and weapons wrack, a desk and a sanitary chamber. The cot was identical to those found in Annis’ quarters and the quarters of every Naval officer, Guardsman and crewman across the galaxy. A simple steel slab hung from a chain on the wall, and was topped with a thin mattress and a scrap of pillow. The only difference was that Renzo’s cot was large enough to accommodate two or even three other men.
Renzo strode past him into the room, and the lieutenant watched him unbuckle a sword from his waist and place it on the wall. Renzo placed his helmet in the alcove next to it and spun around to face him.
“The mess is straight down this corridor on the left, the armoury and training area on the right,” Annis said.
“Thank you, Annis. This shall be sufficient for my needs. Shall we continue around the ship?”
“Forgive me, Sergeant but I don’t understand, what more would you like to see?”
The Deathwatch logo glinted in the poor lighting, the red eyes of the helmet watching him over the Astartes’ shoulder.
“I wish to familiarise myself with the layout of the ship. The engine rooms, weapons deck, flight deck, the chief engineers and crewman as well. I will be with this Killteam for the foreseeable future and I wish to learn all I can about your vessel.”
“As you wish, Sergeant.”
The pair exited the room and headed right towards the training area. Renzo scanned the corridor as they walked, his head swivelling just slightly. The metal corridor echoed faintly with the sounds of the groaning ship as it rocked in the Warp. The floor swayed faintly and the lieutenant felt his stomach heave as it did. The tapping of his military boots was drowned by the crashing ceramite feet of the Astartes who followed him. A pair of maintenance serfs wearing grey uniforms turned the corner and walked towards them, stopping to salute the passing officer and Space Marine. The pair continued past them into the armoury only to find it empty. Renzo shrugged and suggested they carry on. They left via the nearby stairwell, heading upwards. Just as they reached the next floor, the ship lurched to port as the Immaterium lashed out at them again. Annis grabbed the wall to keep from falling, taking in short, quick breaths to calm his racing heart.
“You dislike Warp travel?” Renzo asked.
Annis nodded slowly, exhaling.
“Hate it. Always have.”
“Why so?”
Annis looked up at the him. He saw only calmness on Renzo’s face, totally unfazed by the ship’s movements.
“When I’m on the bridge, I look out through the pictfeeds into the Warp. It doesn’t look like much, just a barrage of colour. But it sets my teeth on edge. When I look out into the Warp, I feel it staring back at me. I know that sounds ridiculous, downright lunacy, actually, but I can’t help feeling like its watching me too.”
Renzo’s expression didn’t change.
“When we make the jump into the Warp, it feels like we’re invading some enormous beast. Like we’re a virus or disease infesting it. And it knows. Sometimes, when the ship rocks like that, I’m afraid that its finally decided to purge us from its body.”
Renzo still didn’t change. He only stared back. Whether in curiosity or contempt, Annis did not know.
“Anyway, my fears are but my own, and not something you would understand, Sergeant. Space Marines don’t feel fear, right?”
“True,” Renzo admitted, continuing after the lieutenant. “We do not feel fear. But I understand well enough. Sometimes I stare out into the void also, and feel all the malignant eyes of the Xenos starring back. They hunger for our flesh, our blood, our galaxy. But it is my responsibility to stop them, and Emperor damn me if I don’t stare right back.”
The pair continued in silence for a little while before Renzo spoke again.
“You mentioned before that your ship was boarding by traitor Astartes. If you don’t mind my asking, how did you survive?”
Annis smiled.
“At that point I had been assigned to Battlegroup Delta of the Ultima Fleet. We were transporting several squads of Space Sharks back to their homeworld after their own ship had been destroyed. They cut down the enemy and saved many lives that day.”
“And yet, you still fear us?”
The lieutenant stopped dead and looked up at the Sergeant in defiance. He felt his face flush briefly before quelling his anger.
“It is because them, I fear you. I was there. I have never seen something so savage, so terrifying, in all my years aboard a vessel. The butchered the traitors, tore them apart. Such fury, bloodlust. I’ve had a hard time being around Space Marines since seeing that.”
“The Carcharadons Astra are something else, Annis,” Renzo retorted. “Not all of us display such ferocity in battle.”
“A shark in a raven’s feathers is still a shark,” he grunted. “I must admit though, I have never met one of your Chapter before.”
“You surprise me lieutenant. I’d assume one of your rank would be more knowledgeable about his allies.”
“Regretfully not, Sergeant.”
Renzo stopped and looked up over Annis’ shoulder. He turned and saw a second Space Marine, behind him.
“Sergeant Maximus, forgive me, my lord, I did not realise you were there!” he said quickly, stepping back to allow the pair to speak. He bowed his head as the two giants conversed.
“Fear not, Annis, you have caused no offense,” Maximus said in a smooth, even tone. “I must simply speak with Sergeant Renzo for a moment.”
“Is something wrong, Achilles?” Renzo asked, confused.
“No, Varus, though I wanted to invite you to the sparring cages before we reached Cretacium.”
“An invitation I would gladly accept, but surely there is little time to spar before we get there?”
“There is still a few hours yet, and I’m eager to test your mettle, brother!” Maximus laughed. Renzo laughed too. Their powerful voices sent vibrations through the enclosed space and rattled Annis’ chest. The Blood Raven turned to him.
“Perhaps we best finish this tour another time, Annis?”
“Of course, Sergeant. I will take my leave to the bridge, then,” he said, saluting to the two Space Marines.
“Hold on!”
Annis held.
“In the meantime, I would ask a favour, Lieutenant. Could you draft a list for my own reading?” Renzo asked politely. Annis looked at him pointedly. He was not used to doing favours, only giving out orders and following his own.
“Of course, Sergeant, as you wish. What should this list entail?”
“Details of the personnel aboard the cruiser. Names are unimportant, I need numbers of Armsmen, weapon loaders, Tech-Priests, auxiliary personnel. The ships armament, defences and capabilities as well. Can you do this for me?”
Annis was confused as to why a Deathwatch Sergeant would need such a list, but he had long forgotten how to say no to his superiors.
“It will be as you command, Sergeant. If that will be all, I will return to my station.”
Renzo nodded, and Annis saluted the sergeants began to head back to the bridge. As he disappeared into the bowels of the ship, the two Astartes headed back down where Renzo had just come from. They thumped down the steps two at a time, the newer sergeant a little glad he did not have to slow his pace anymore. They made quick time through the ship.
“Pray tell, Varus, what do you need such a list for?” Maximus asked as they walked.
Renzo grinned.
“Are you familiar with the motto of my chapter, brother?”
Maximus shook his head.
“I’m afraid not.”
“‘Knowledge is Power. It is an old Terran saying, and one my chapter uses as both creed and warcry.”
“Ah, yes, I recognise it. Ipsa scientia potestas est.”
“The very same. The low gothic translation is not as impressive, of course, but the meaning is the same. The Blood Ravens believe that by studying our enemy in depth, learning all his secrets and weaknesses, you can defeat him in a single stroke. The Great Father Azariah Vidya taught us such tactics. He used his psychic gifts to find all the weaknesses of the foe and then struck with such timing, such precision, that the enemy war effort collapsed almost immediately.”
“An ingenious strategy, the Codex was founded on such principles. On Macragge I was taught that under our Primarch, the Ultramarines of old would develop theoretical scenarios for fighting all manner of foes, even brother Astartes, a system that Lord Guilliman would use to develop the Codex. The marine who developed the anti-astartes theoretical was censured for it, but his musings helps the Legion survive the Battle of Calth.”
Renzo grinned at the story.
“Thus, proving our tenets true. If that marine had dared not to consider the option, and learn a strategy to defeat them, neither you nor I might be stood here today. Who was the marine in question?”
“His name has long since been forgotten. But his legacy lives on in every Ultramarine who bears the rank of Sergeant.”
“Pray tell, Achilles.”
“The marine in question was a sergeant. Due to his theoretical he wore a red helm of censure when the fighting commenced. Supposedly, Lord Guilliman ordered his men to cut vox communications in case those thrice-damned traitors were listening, and instead ordered officers and sergeants to paint their helmets with the blood of the fallen to identify themselves as commanders. The Ultramarines would know who to follow, but to the Word Bearers they would look like miscreants and disgraced, not worthy of targeting. It is said that when he wrote the codex, he decreed that Sergeants bear a red helm in this method.”
“Fascinating!” Renzo exclaimed. They had reached the training hall and servitors began to carefully remove their armour. Beneath, they wore identical black bodygloves, covered in plug sockets where their power armour connected to their nervous system. Renzo shuddered as the connector between his shoulder blades slide out of his skin. “I would love to hear more of this!”
“Surely you must have heard the storied history of the Ultramarines?!” Maximus laughed in disbelief, rubbing his wrists and forearms.
“Shockingly, no.”
“How is that possible?”
“Macragge is not the centre of the universe, brother!”
“That depends on who you ask,” he grinned back.
Renzo opened the door to the sparring cage on the left, stepping inside and relishing the feel of the practice pads beneath his feet. The rest of the Killteam were too occupied with their own training to pay any attention. He spied Gascoigne, Seuss, Barachial and Bharbo at the shooting range, each taking down the holographic Eldar with precision shots, reloading and switching weapons with lightning speed. The Chaplain was not switching weapon, his deactivated Plasma Pistol firing holographic bolts down the range, each one evaporating its target’s head. H’ghar and Ragnar were fighting a combat servitor with short gladii, parrying its razor-sharp blade-arms with flawless synchronisation. Mordrad trained alone against another hologram system, attempting to corral a brood of Tyranids with his shield, thrusting with his spear at any that came too close. Myschor and Raimos were duelling in the adjacent cage. They wielded a sword apiece, cutting and thrusting with grace and fury. They were almost evenly matched, until Myschor feinted to the left and then scored a thin scratch on the Blood Angel’s torso.
Maximus stepped into the cage behind him. He had stripped off the shirt of his bodyglove, revealing a broad chest of muscle and knotted scars. Renzo copied him and removed his shirt. He was not as broad as the Ultramarine but taller and with a longer reach. An ugly lump of scar tissue covered his stomach where a squiggoth had gored him decades earlier. More scars covered his chest and back, each one marking a victory in the field, earned by blood and pain.
“Don’t hold back, Raven!” Maximus called playfully, aiming a fist right for his head. Renzo saw the feint coming from a mile away, easily avoiding the opening and blocking the follow up strike with his forearm. He quickly pulled Maximus towards him, pushing him down and bringing his knee up towards his chest. The simple counter was blocked and Maximus switched his stance, breaking free of his grasp and swinging a foot towards Renzo’s head. Renzo blocked the strike and then they were in full flow, punches and kicks being exchanged at superhuman speed, blocking and dodging each attack the other made. They switched stance and style, both Sergeants trying to figure out the style and flow of the other. Renzo tried a push kick after Maximus missed with an uppercut, putting all his force behind it and catching the Ultramarine clean in the chest. Maximus was flung against the steel cage but rolled away from the flying knee that followed. Renzo grunted as his knee crashed full force into the reinforced post that held the cage. Wasting no time, he felt hands grip him by the shoulder and hurl him to the ground. His vision blacked for a split second as his head hit the ground, and returned just in time for him to roll away from a stomp aimed at his face. He kicked out and caught the veteran on the ankle, dropping him. Renzo leapt on top, trying to capitalise on the opening. Maximus wrapped his legs around his waist and covered up as Renzo launched a flurry of elbows and punches, aiming for the ribs and throat. He grunted with each strike, putting maximum force behind each blow. Maximus pushed his incoming rib punch aside and tried an armbar. Not wishing to test his joint against Astartes strength, he jumped to his feet, lifting the Ultramarine up and slamming him into the side of the cage. The Ultramarine let go and dropped to the floor, quickly rising with a punch to the inner thigh. Renzo stepped back and twisted to avoid the Ultramarine’s powerful punch. The veteran had miscalculated however, and overextended himself. He stepped in behind and wrapped his arm around his opponent’s neck, one hand on the back of his head. Maximus slammed an elbow into his ribs but Renzo ignored the pain and locked the hold in, pressing his knee into the back of Maximus’ and breaking his stance. They paused, holding completely still. Then Renzo let Maximus drop to the floor.
He stepped back and breathed deeply. Maximus rose, rubbing his bruised neck.
“You aren’t half bad, Blood Raven!” he laughed. “Although I would say you got lucky but –”
“But you would be lying through your teeth, Ultramarine!” Renzo quipped back. “You aren’t half bad though. You almost had me with the armlock before.”
“I don’t see why you are commemorating him, Renzo,” came the gruff voice of their Captain. He stood outside the cage, watching them with annoyance written on his dull features. His brow furrowed as he glared at them, his lip twisted by the ragged scar on his cheek. “Maximus knows better than to go for the submission.”
Myschor opened the cage and stepped inside. He surveyed the two sergeants, moving his gaze between them. He stepped between them, staring Maximus dead in the eye. Maximus’ jaw tightened as he stared down the Templar, ready for the abuse he was about to receive.
“If Achilles had any fight in him,” Myschor continued, still addressing Renzo, “he would have snapped your arm without hesitation. Better yet, he shouldn’t have been in the position he was in to start with. If he ever listened to me, Achilles would have finished you in the first instance.”
The pair stared each other down for a long time, daring each other to make a move.
“And in doing so, rendered me useless and crippled for the forthcoming mission, an idiotic move on anyone’s part,” Renzo stated bluntly, feeling his temper rise. He did not like Myschor. Not one bit. Myschor turned slowly to him. He quickly became aware of the rest of the Killteam watching him, having ceased their own training to watch the confrontation. He could see both shock and glee on their faces.
“My sincerest apologies, Sergeant!” Myschor said icily. “I was not aware mastery of hand to hand combat was one of the many, many, talents on your extensive resume!”
At that point, Renzo realised, he had made a grave miscalculation.
“Perhaps, Sergeant, you’d be so kind as to demonstrate your skills? I was actually quite impress with you a moment ago, may I ever so ask you to give me the courtesy of a sparring session?” the captain asked, sarcasm and ire dripping from his tone. He stepped towards Renzo, stopping mere inches from his face. Myschor’s nose was the only unblemished feature on his face. It was long and perfectly straight. His nostrils flairs as he glared at Renzo, looking up slightly towards the taller Astartes. It was only here than Renzo realised how short Myschor was compared to the average space marine. In fact, he was the shortest in the Killteam.
Neither of them moved. They just stared at each other, noses almost touching. Renzo felt his choler rise as he stared down the Templar, seeing the captain’s storm cloud eyes filled with loathing. He wasn’t prepared to back down from this challenge. He nodded.
The pair selected weapons from the nearby rack. Renzo chose a longsword, reckoning it to be similar to Remembrance in length and weight. Myschor stood opposite with an identical blade. Maximus slammed closed the cage door and bolted it. He went and stood between Seuss, who’s bionic legs made him intimidatingly tall, and Gascoigne. The Raptor Marine turned to Ragnar.
“Three to one, Renzo doesn’t last a minute?” he asked the Wolf.
“I calculate a ninety-two percent chance of Myschor’s victory,” Seuss rattled one.
“Trying to cheat me, Lautrec?” Ragnar muttered.
“Always,” he responded.
“Give Varus a chance,” Maximus cut in. “He’s better than he looks. And he’s been doing this a hell of a lot longer than Myschor.”
“Do you wish to bet your confectionary for the week?” Gascoigne asked him.
“Seussy says ninety-two percent, Achilles, it’s a no brainer.”
“Don’t call me Seussy,” the Iron Hand replied, his bionic eye locked on the combatants.
Maximus didn’t look away from the Astartes in the cage.
“To first blood?” he heard Renzo ask. Myschor nodded.
“What do you say, Achilles?” the Raptor asked.
He paused.
“Aye. A week’s confectionary on Renzo.”
Renzo raised his blade in salute, giving his captain a nod of respect. Myschor continued to glare at him, his trimmed, dark hair bringing dark shadows to his face. Renzo held his sword out, determined to receive the gesture in return before they began. He was normally not prideful enough to be stubborn, but Myschor’s arrogance rubbed him wrong and he was not prepared to back down. He held his sword out at the motionless captain, aiming the tip at him in defiance.
Without warning, Myschor batted away his blade and slashed. Renzo was stunned, staring at the slice on his pectoral muscle. The wound was thin and shallow, but a single droplet of blood splattered on the grey mats.
“Tough luck, sergeant!” he laughed. “I’ll enjoy that sticky bun you always get!”
Maximus grunted in annoyance but kept his eyes on the Blood Raven. Renzo stared at his cut on his chest. It barely even registered as pain but the wound to his pride hurt.
“Again,” Myschor said, flicking blood from his blade.
Renzo felt his heartrate spike.
“Not enough honour to salute before a fight?” he growled.
Myschor snorted.
“Would you give the same courtesy to the alien? They wouldn’t. Give an Ork or an Eldar and moment’s hesitation and they’ll cut you down. They’re stronger or faster than you, and they don’t have morality or honour like us.”
“What do you say, double or nothing?” Gascoigne grinned.
Maximus looked between the arguing space marines.
“Double or nothing, now shut up, Lautrec!”
“This is a sparring session, and I’m no Ork.” Renzo said angrily.
Myschor snorted for a second time.
“We’re training for the field, Renzo! Now stop your snivelling and fight!”
Renzo did, launching a flurry of overhead strikes, smashing down with as much force as his muscle could muster. Myschor stepped back calmly, catching and turning aside each strike with calmness and ease. Renzo next slash was also turned aside, but he twisted, using the extra momentum to spin into a side slash. He roared and put all his might behind it. Myschor casually stepped back and smashed his fist across his mouth. Renzo reeled, spitting out blood from his split mouth, a tooth coming free alongside it. He wiped his face and glared at Myschor, slashing widely at his opponent.
“I recalculate a 98.7% chance of defeat for Renzo,” Seuss droned from the side.
He thrust and cut, and was ready for Myschor’s counterattack. He caught the incoming blade on his own and twisted, ripping it free of the Templar’s grasp, but instead of retreating, Myschor stepped inside his arc and landed a torrent of punches at his unprotected abdomen. Unable to use his long blade, Renzo could only wrap his free arm around the captain’s head and push him down, slamming his knee up towards Myschor’s head. Myschor blocked it easily and wrapped his arms around Renzo’s waist, blocking all power from his legs. The Black Templar planted his feet and twisted, and flung the Blood Raven against the side of the cage with an almighty crash. He let to his feet, attempting to use his long blade to keep Myschor at bay. He tried another cut but Myschor just raised his forearm, the blade clattering off with a metallic clang. Stunned, Myschor was easily able to close the gap and punched him square in the jaw, before grabbing him again. Renzo slammed his elbow down but Myschor lifted him high into the air, slamming him down with his full Astartes strength. A space marine weighs about the same as a full grown bullgrox, and the impact of his landing shook the metal fencing and the floor. His landing knocked the sword from his hand and then Myschor was on top of him, raining blow after blow. His arm was trapped between Myschor’s legs and his other under a knee. Defenceless, he could only wait until the Captain decided to end the fight. Again and again, Myschor’s fist slammed into his face and he felt another tooth being knocked loose.
Myschor pulled his fist back for the finishing blow, but as he did, the ground beneath them heaved and the Templar was hurled off Renzo. On the ground, Renzo was barely affected, but the Killteam standing nearby we’re thrown to the ground. An ear-splitting screech of metal forced them to cover their sensitive ears. Another tremor rocked the ship and then was still. They cautiously rose to their feet. Seuss rose quickly and touched his ear, which Renzo now noticed had been replaced by a tiny metal box. The Iron Hand pressed the box and spoke into the tiny vox unit.
“Captain Jerum, report. What happened?”
The ship’s comms activated with a crackle of static and Annis’ even, Schola-raised accent played out over the training hall.
“Attention Darkstorm crew and passengers. We have hit unexpected Warp turbulence and are currently investigating. Hold for further information.”
“On your feet, Sergeant,” Myschor said, standing over Renzo. He looked up at the offered hand, reaching out and grabbing it. Myschor hurled him to his feet. Renzo could feel the hand metal beneath his fingers and realised that Myschor had an augmetic arm. He looked the captain in the eye, seeing stormy eyes glaring back at him.
“What’s happening, Odyises?” H’ghar boomed from nearby. The Iron Hand was holding his vox unit and held one hand up for quiet. H’ghar stood next to him, almost as tall as Seuss with his long augmetic legs.
“They are talking to the Navigator now,” he replied simply. A burst of static came out of the comms and Annis spoke again.
“This is Annis. Our Navigator reports that the Warp has become unusually turbulent on our path. She is plotting a new course as I speak and we will continue momentarily. Our new path will require a slight detour. ETA to planet-side; thirty standard hours. Annis out.”
“By my arse cheeks, I’ll be stuck here another day with you lot?” Ragnar growled, barring his fangs.
“Quiet Ragnersson!” Barachial yelled. “This is not the time for joviality. We will be severely delayed in our battle plan. Captain!”
Myschor jumped down the steps of the cage, Renzo behind him.
“The Chaplain is correct,” he said bluntly. “Continue training or pray, rest in four hours. I will retire to revise my strategy. Barachial will accompany me.” He glanced angrily at Renzo, and then stormed out of the hall, the Chaplain hot on his heels.
“Who said I was joking?” Ragnar muttered, staring after the Chaplain. Maximus slapped him on the back of the head. They dispersed and resumed training.
Renzo stepped wiped blood from his mouth and chest and put his power armour back on. He walked slowly over to where Gascoigne and Bharbo were practising their shooting. He picked up his bolter from the wargear transport and took a spot in the middle. He ran his tongue along his teeth as he gunned down the holograms, playing with the hole where his teeth used to be.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/04/30 18:18:52


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Check out my Deathwatch story, Aftermath in the fiction section!

Credit to Castiel for banner. Thanks Cas!
 
   
 
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