Ok, here comes chapter two. I want to thank everyone for their reviews so far. Now, this chapter is gonna go in a darker direction than the last one. GrimDark.
Dantioch walked across the walkway his men had constructed, the metal groaned under his weight. They had been here almost two standard weeks now, and they had been busy. They had built an impressive system of trenches and bunkers, and a large training ring. Some of the younger Black Templars had challenged the Iron Warriors to single combat, but Dantioch had told them no. It wasn't until the Castellan called him a coward that he agreed. He walked towards the ring, hearing the clang of steel on steel.
One of his brothers, Drustos, was fighting one of the Templars. Both had been stripped of their power armor and fought with sword and shield. They both wore chainmail shirts, but that would be little protection against the monomolecular edges of the swords and the power of Astartes muscle. Some of the Inquisitor's men had stopped to watch, but Dantioch could tell that some of them had seen it before. He was back in his Mk III plate, and while many of them tried to hide it, he could tell some of the Templars were in awe of the warrior from the time of ledgends.
He noticed one of the mortals moving rather oddly. He wore the uniform of a PDF trooper, so what was he doing way out here. He turned to look at something behind him, and Dantioch saw his eyes. They were bright yellow and orange, like those of a large reptile. Dantioch turned to one of the Black Templars standing guard.
"Brother, is it normal for a mortal of this world to have yellow eyes?" The unhelmed Templar shook his head, and looked to where Dantioch had been pointing. The PDF trooper was looking right at them. The Templar's eyes widened. He raised his bolter.
"DAEMON!" He fired, one of the bolts hitting the possessed man. His left arm was torn off, but it didn't seem to phase him at all. In a blur of movement it was in the ring with Drustos and the Templar. It's right arm was convulsing, twisting. Bits of cloth and meat went flying as the arm morphed into an organic blade. It swung at Drustos, who threw up his shield to block it. The blade went right through the shield, taking off Drustos' left hand in the process. The Templar had circled around behind the beast and plunged his sword into it's back, twisting and sawing to sever the spine. It swung around and bashed him in the head, it's unholy might rendering him senseless.
Dantioch had drawn his power axe from his back and leapt down into the ring. The unhelmed Templat had followed him, drawning his chainsword. The beast had noticed both of them, and was circling them. It charged at Dantioch, who swung the massive axe. It bit into the beings' side for a minute, but didn't hold. The Templar attacked as well, his chainsword tearing huge chunks out of the beast.
"What be you, beast?" A deep chuckle sound from the being.
"I am the herald of your doom, Iron Warrior. There are many such as you that writhe in the Warp. You will see them soon." The daemon charged again, but was abruptly stopped as Dantioch rammed his axe through it's chest. He shook the ruined shell of a man off the glowing blade, and turned to the Templar.
"Brother, was that a daemon?"
"Indeed. I may have been to quick to judge you and yours, Warsmith. I am Neophyte Adler."
"Well met, Adler. You have the noble bearing I remember of the sons of Dorn."
"My thanks, Warsmith. But I must report this incident to the Castellan." Dantioch nodded and watched as the Templar walked away. Some of his men approached him.
"Warsmith. Captain Emilio says he reads incoming ships on the Benthos scanners."
"Friend or foe?"
"He was unsure, he said they bore an eight pointed star as their sign." Dantioch said not another word as he ran towards the land speeder the Black Templars had loaned them. He climbed into it and punched the throttle. He knew what was coming.
Warsmith Berata Niktu sat upon the command throne aboard his ship. He led a force of Chaos Astartes, cultits, traitor Guardsmen and militia. He was one of Chaos' greatest champions. His thrall on the forge world of Vanaheim had informed him that one of his brothers that had been presumed lost had just turned up. He remembered Dantioch, a coward in the face of truth. While it was true that Berata didn't command many of his brothers, he had picked up stragglers from other Legions. He had World Eaters, Emperor's Children, even a Dark Apostle and a host of Word Bearers.
"Lictus, send the bezerkers to the drop pods. Let's see how these Loyalists do."
"Aye, my lord."
Sergeant Bendix watched as several burning lights streaked towards the ground not far from thier position. He knew only one thing they could be.
"Drop pods! Somebody get on that heavy bolter! And fix bayonets!" Due to the close up nature of a siege, many of the Iron Warriors had modified their bolters to hold bayonets. Brother Firaxa stood by himself in front of the trench network as the first of the drop pods landed. The doors opened and a screaming red tide charged forwards.
"BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!" It was the Traitors. They had not faced each other in centuries, but as powerful and enraged as the World Eaters were, they could not stand before the anger of Firaxa. His heavy bolter fired from his right arm, grinding armor and bone alike into paste. As the bezerkers neared the line, he swung the massive flail that was his left hand. He wreaked a butcher's toll on the Chaos Astartes, but they cared not from whence blood flowed. One of the bezerkers, bearing the heraldry of the Iron Warriors, leapt aboard Firaxa. His chainaxe bit into the hardened ceramite of the Dreadnaught shell.
Firaxa shook his mighty frame, attemping to dislodge the bezerker. Suddenly the bezerker was gone, blasted away by a lascannon. The loud roaring of a land speeder was heard as one came screaming across the plains. It impacted into a few bezerkers before it slammed into the ground. A great cry was taken up as the mighty form of Dantioch rose from the wreckage. His power axe left his hand as he threw it at a charging bezerker. He drew his pistol, his cold eyes finding the right place to plant a shell. As he ran past, he wrenched his axe from the chest of the dead bezerker.
Brother Adler and the Castellan heard the roar of bolters and the warcry of the unholy as they came back across the field. A tide of red was trying to drown the grey. The Castellan turned to his assembled men.
"These heretics seek to take our prize from us. Let them taste our blades! Charge!" He drew a massive power sword from his back and charge down the hill. Some of the bezerkers caught the movement and ran to meet them. Soon the battlefield was an area of madness, of blood and death. Adler was in his element. He had almost broke his chainsword off in the body of a massive bezerker, and it finally did snap under the chainaxe of another. He grabbed the heretic's forearms, attempting to keep the axe from his head. The bezerker's face was a mass of scar tissue and bionics. His teeth were iron fangs, and he drooled and spit at Adler in his unholy rage.
Suddenly the body went slack, falling on top of Adler. It was drug off of him, by a warrior in grey. He thought it was Dantioch until he realized he could see his savior's face. He held out a large gladius to Adler, who took it with a nod. The Iron Warrior grinned and rushed back off to the battle, holding a screaming chainaxe.
The Inquisitor watched the battle unfold through the eyes of a servo skull flying above the chaos. She watched as the loyal Iron Warriors and the Black Templars fought side by side against the unholy swarm of bezerkers. A small fleet of ships had translated in system, probably the 'crusade' of some champion of Chaos. She had requested aid, and had been told that a force of Guardsmen and Astartes would arrive within the week. Great. Until then she would have to rely on an undermanned PDF force, and a possibly traitor force of Space Marines.
So far though, the Iron Warriors had proved themselves loyal. To an extent. The Castellan had wanted to slay the Iron Warriors when they had first arrived. Only the word from the Inquisitor to stay his hand had stopped him. She had to admit her curiosity had been peaked. Such a thing was not uncommon. From what the Inquistion had learn from those rare few captured Traitor Marines, was that time flowed differently in the Eye of Terror and the Warp in general. While it had been ten thousand years since the Heresy to the Imperium as a whole, to some of the Traitors it had had only been a couple hundred. She shook her head to clear it as she watched the battle unfold. It appeared as though her forces were going to win the day.
Dantioch watched as the last few bezerkers charged the line, watching as the heavy bolters opened up. It had been more of a slaughter than a battle, and he suspected it was more of a probe to test their defences than an actual attack. They were probably facing one of his fallen brothers then. If the positions had been reversed, he would have done much the same. The Castellan and Adler approached, followed by Brother Kronus, the eldest of the Assault Marines. Dantioch's Assault troops had eschewed their jump packs for this battle, preferring to fight in the trenches.
"Castellan, you're men fought well." The Castellan sneered.
"Of course they did." Dantioch slowly shook his head.
"That was just the probing wave, Castellan. They will soon return, and in greater numbers. My men are effcient at defence, but even the Imperial Fists could hold out forever."
"Indeed? You would stake your life on that?" Dantioch's eyes narrowed under his helmet. His voice took on a heavy, leaden tone.
"Castellan, I've seen horrors. Horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a heretic. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me." He turned towards his men and walked off, leaving a stunned Castellan and an awed Adler. Adler turned to Kronus.
"What did he mean?"
"During the course of the Great Crusade, we did things. Horrible things. But I will not speak of them, I will let the Warsmith do that." He too, turned to rejoin his brothers. The Castellan turned to Adler.
"Don't get too cozy with them, Neophyte. There are heretics and traitors everywhere." Adler nodded and bowed to the Castellan as he walked away. He knew there was truth in what the Castellan said, but he saw the way these Iron Warriors held themselves. They were honorable, and brave. They were not heretics.
No other attacks had occurred in the last few days, although the astropaths and the Inquisitor's Navigator had reported an increase in Warp activity. But hope bloomed as an Imperial fleet burst from the Warp on the fifth day after the attack. The Inquisitor hailed the Astartes Strike Cruiser that led the fleet.
"Astartes, this is Inquisitor Mjolka Nixos. Copy? Over," The vox crackled for a moment, and she wasn't sure if it went through.
"Copy, Inquisitor. This is Captain Vemis Cestus if the Sons of Guilliman. We have come to your aid. Over." The Inquisitor didn't like being snubbed, but Astartes were all the same.
Okay, that was chapter two. Tell me what you all think of it, and of my choice of savior. Constructive criticism is always welcome, as are reviews. Iron Within, Iron Without!