The general stood on the crest of a great ridge, encrusted with torn weapons emplacements that had long ago fired their last shots. Behind the general stood 700 soldiers, waiting to die. Not all were humans, not all were fearless, but none expected to witness the dawn. Not one prayer, chant or curse issued from their lips. Beyond waited hell.
"WE DIE HERE GODLESS!"
"WE DIE HERE FAITHLESS!"
So sounded the general's cry. So it was heard, and known. Not one mortal mind present disputed it. Those who had cried for the God-Emperors guidance were the first fallen to the foe. Those willing to bargain their souls for their lives, had joined them. And so they waited, for the attack that must finally come. Buried within the depths of where what was once their planet had had fallen to the empreyean , a small shadowy orb of roiling darkness hung. Unnoticed.
The barriers seperating the real from the unimaginable twisted, then shattered. Lithe figures cavorted past those of shambling decay. Blood skinned beasts charged alongside featureless beings that warped and changed with every second passed. Before them stood a battered army, weapons primed and loaded. Not one prayer. Not one chant. Not one curse. And the orb swelled, clawing at the warp around it.
The horde of travesties flung themselves closer. Weapons fire and ordanance was hurled upon them: they continued. 200 paces. 100, then 50. Not one scram for mercy. Not one pledge of allegiance. The foe came within metres of the defensive line. Defiance. And the orb erupted.
Instantaneosly the battlefield was wreathed in shapes of shadow. Flames that gave no light nor warmth burst from their limbs, with every swipe of their claws a daemon dissolved, its very nature torn apart. A portion of the universe that had been moments ago illuminated with innumerable cloures was shrouded in darkness. First foes recoiled. Then they panicked. Then they died.
The general stood upon the rampart, alive. 700 soldiers , alive. Their leader's thoughts scrambled upon one another, flurried in their disbelief. Yet one rose to the top, again and again. No bargain would come of this. No deal be struck. Their saviors had their thanks, not their worship. Even as this thought stood firm within the general's mind, a shape coalesced in front of the army. Humanoid, barely. It paused as if struggling to form fords. When they came, all was silent.
"Well, that's ironic."