I've written a short story about the beginnings of the White Scorpions vengeance crusade, which is where the army is set just now. The bases etc are meant to be that of the ruined city, and the Scorps are currently on a campaign of destruction across the Lion Claws new homeworld.
Scout Sergeant Aurel ducked as more las fire whickered over his head, then rose from behind the shredded tail section of the Marauder bomber he hid behind, and in one fluid motion blasted the jaw from his assailant, the shooter too slow to duck behind his cover of fallen masonry before being caught in the boltguns sights, and then sprinted towards the open doorway of a residential building to the west of his position. Scattered fire followed him, but he was too quick, and slid into cover of the doorway as impacts rattled against the building outside.Let me know what you think!!!
Or at least, what was left of it, Aurel realised grimly as he surveyed the interior of the fire gutted building he now sheltered in. While the tail of the Marauder he had sheltered behind on the street had impacted on the cobbled streets after its mid-air disintegration, the nose and wing sections had landed hard on the roof here, and had unceremoniously crashed through the top three floors before coming to rest with the nose touching the floor of the reception hall in which he stood. Nothing remained of the pilot except fire blackened bones, Aurel unable to tell whether this man was a member of the early Imperial resistors, or one of those who aligned themselves with this planets masters when they had turned from the glorious light of the God-Emperor and thrown their souls to the ravenous monsters that inhabit the warp.
He had been there, the day that this world had turned mad. A slight pulse, that was all that Aurel had felt, moving through the earth. It was an imperceptible beat, like the single strike of a drum. In fact, Aurel only noticed it due to the slight off timing it gave with the marching feet of the soldiers, but it marked the end of the world.
One moment the men and women of the planets pdf marched proudly in front of Aurel’s men, eager to show off in front of Astartes dignitaries, particularly those of the revered White Scorpions, the next turning on one another in wanton bloodshed, thousands of soldiers unleashing laser fire from the muzzles of their guns into those they had called brother, or tearing at eyes and throats with fingers and teeth, wolfing down raw and bleeding flesh from those they had slain. Aurel had been appalled by what he had seen, and immediately ordered his men to fire upon those engaged in the bloody maelstrom in front of him, purging the madness he had seen with mass reactive bolt shells, but even as he did so he realised this was not an isolated incident.
An explosion rocked the military compound, and as he turned to face it tanks and infantry poured out into the city streets, blasting citizens into dust by battle cannon, or crushing them underneath tank tracks. Aurel had ordered his mean to retreat into the city, as the surviving soldiers on the parade ground turned their attention upon the purple armoured warriors before them. Haskor had been killed, a lucky shot from one of them taking the scout in the throat and nearly decapitating him, the wild eyed soldiers stopping only long enough to coat their guns in his life blood. Bannon was next, a las bolt taking his right leg from the knee down, and he shouted as his fellow warriors to keep running as he unleashed clip after clip into the screaming horde, giving Aurel and his squad enough time to escape, buying time with his life.
As they retreated further into the city, Aurel saw horrors that would stay with him forever. A woman carrying a young girl ran in panic from her husband as he tried to crush her skull with a piece of masonry, looking for the open arms of soldiers sworn to protect them, only to find guns and bayonets as all three were hacked down without mercy. Soldiers seemingly unaffected by the change, fought running battles with their own squadmates as they sought to rip them apart, they scrambled on their vox for somebody, anybody to help them, but were met only with laughter or the screams of the dying. Piles of the dead littered every street, the gutters running with blood or choked with bodies. As Aurel, ran past one such scene of carnage, he checked his wrist chron. It had been exactly 15 minutes since he had felt the pulse.
The public address screens depicted bloody scenes of carnage over and over, or repeated scenes of the ruling planetary council, strung up by the neck from the gantry of the burning Ecclesiarchal chapel, while the ruling governor screamed his allegiance to the foul god of blood and war, his face cut repeatedly with a knife to show the horrific symbol of the blood god Khorne.
Aurel called repeatedly for his Thunderhawk as they ran through the streets, but the vox was jammed with incomprehensible nonsense. As they reached the military airfield where the Thunderhawk was stowed, they saw its proud form ablaze, the Hellhounds of the traitorous pdf regiments gutting it with liquid promethium. Only 8 of his squadmates were left alive, and they made best haste to the star port in the north of the city, but more than once their path was blocked by soldiers, tanks, or even the citizenry, armed with crude weapons to bludgeon the life from their victims. Alone against even an aspirant to the ranks of the Astartes, they were no match, but these men women and children gathered in their thousands, choking the streets as they hunted those that had not been changed by the pulse. Those the Scorpions caught in the open were gunned down without mercy, but they were Astartes, and they knew that this fight could not be won alone. They needed help.
This world had gone to hell, corrupted by the foul machinations of Chaos. The loss of any world was a keening blade felt by the Imperium, but this world was no ordinary one, and Aurel prayed with all his faith that the protectors of this world had been left unchanged by the pulse.
It was a vain hope, he thought now as he snapped from his reverie. It seemed that this planets protectors had been instrumental in its downfall, and the information he and his scouts had gathered in the three months since that first bloody day were enough to damn them thrice over.
The Lion Claws, brother chapter to The White Scorpions. Many times during his training he had heard of the glorious campaigns these two chapters had fought side by side, of debts owed and repaid in fire and bloodshed, and it was this bond that Aurel and his squad had been sent to strengthen on this world, while a contingent of the Lion Claw aspirants were currently residing within the Citadel of the Scorpion. The bond had been deemed unbreakable, their oaths and faiths renewed every year. Indeed, if it had not been for The White Scorpions intervention in the campaign against Waaagh! Toofcrackah the Lion Claws may well have perished to a man, and The White Scorpions had helped them recover their strength.
All that was forgotten now, lost in the ashes. What had caused them to turn against the Imperium was unknown to Aurel, but by their actions alone, he would gladly see them burn.
He started as he heard shouts from outside, and peered round the shattered doorway into the ruined street.
He cursed himself as looked outside. A huge crowd of the former citizenry were massing, ready to storm the building. He had lingered too long, too lost in his own thoughts. Mentally he assigned himself a night in the chamber of penance, and then looked outside once more. He checked his load in his bolter, and grunted grimly as he realised it was not going to be nearly enough. Three months he had lasted out here, 1 of those months alone after he had been separated from his squad during a particularly fierce guerrilla action against pdf armoured columns. He did not know if any were alive. Perhaps now it was his time. He accepted it gladly. He longed for a warrior’s death. He would make it count.
All at once, the blood fuelled cultists started running towards Aurel, and with a long exhalation of breath he set his bolter on the cracked tile floor, drew his bolt pistol and combat blade from their scabbards, and stepped out into the street.
The sight of him turned the crowd into a frenzy, each pushing and shoving at each other in their lust to be first to taste his blood, all rational thought lost as the madness took over.
Aurel stood his ground, and aimed his bolt pistol into the crowd, blasting gaping holes in chests and limbs from bodies. But for every one that fell, another took its place, some even carried along in the press of bodies.
When they were just metres from Aurel, just as he was about to shout his war scream and dive into them, he noticed a small glint in the corner of his eye, and dropped flat to the deck, as the front row of cultists were pulped messily into bloody chunks of bone and fat. Aurel covered his ears and head, as more of the cultists exploded messily onto the cobbles around him and coated him in their stinking blood, limbs flying and bodies flailing as they were hit.
After what seemed like a lifetime, the explosions stopped, and Aurel lifted his head to view the devastation that had occurred.
Of the hundred plus cultists, not a single one remained whole, blood and stinking entrails coated the ground in a thick carpet. Aurel grunted in satisfaction as he recognised the handiwork, and smiled a genuine smile when Pavish stepped out from the building opposite, his boltgun glowing red hot after the expenditure of so many bullets. Aurel nodded a greeting, “Well met brother, I had feared the worst for you all since we were split. Thank you”.
Pavish grinned, “Don’t thank me, thank Vaddin, it was his heavy bolter that saved your arse.” Aurel looked up to the clock tower at the end of the street, where the flash from the signal mirror had originated, and waved his hand to signal the hulking Vaddin come over.
The rest of his squad emerged from the shadows, although Aurel was disheartened to notice a few missing. He looked at Pavish, “Nadd? Xarker?”
Pavish shook his head sadly, “Gone. Nadd was caught by a Battle Cannon to the chest; Xarker gave his life to take down the pdf headquarters in the merchant district. They died well.”
Aurel nodded, and turned to look at Vaddin as he joined them. He grunted. “Throne Sarge, you look like you’ve been in the wars, you’ve got a bit of red on you.”
Aurel smiled. “Thank you Specialist, you look pretty good yourself.”
The humour hid the real truth. They were all now severely malnourished, Aurel’s close cropped beard had grown significantly, all the men were dishevelled and with damaged armour and equipment, and, if truth be told, they were dangerously low on ammunition. Already he saw a couple of his squad were using their sidearms only, their bolter clips long since exhausted, and throne alone knew how much heavy bolter ammunition they had used on the crowd. But they were alive, and they knew that as long as they stayed that way, they could bring news of the Lion Claws deception to their brethren.
Suddenly, an almighty roar erupted from the square at the end of the street, and as one, the scout squad turned to face the noise. There, stood silhouetted against the church tower where Vaddin had made his rescue, stood two hulking red giants. Made of blood, anger and covered in symbols of ruin, the two deamonic visages roared their challenge to the huddle of scouts. Drawn by the gunfire, the smoke and the smell of blood, the two Space Marines started at a run towards the aspirants.
Aurel shouted an order, and as one the scouts opened fire, raking the red giants with bolt shells as they moved impossibly quick towards them, but it was to no avail, only Vaddins Heavy shells had any effect, and even then it only served to slow them down. In no more than 6 seconds, the two Astartes were upon them, Baldor ripped apart at the waist by the Astartes inhuman strength. Vaddin turned his attention upon the nearest, unleashing hails of fire at almost point blank range into the monster, tearing through its armour and leaving gaping holes in its back, but still it refused to fall. Aurel leapt at the Marine with his combat blade, and plunged it through its eye socket, and deep into the Chaos Marines brain.
He barely had a moment to rip his blade from its skull, when the other marine kicked him bodily in the chest, breaking several ribs, and sending him flying through the air. He landed hard, and looked up in time to see him hack at Vaddin with his Chainsword, catching the Scout on the arm, before Pavish roared in defiance and spat plasma fire from his pistol into the marines chest. Surprised, he simply chuckled and even as the plasma dissolved his armour, slashed his chainblade across his face, ripping out his right eye and taking his cheek and most of his jaw with it. Pavish gurgled out a scream of agony, and dropped onto his knees.
The marine towered over him and removed his helmet, ready to deliver the deathblow with his bare hands, when a force of invisible energy wrenched the marine from his feet, and held him in mid-air. The traitor thrashed and bellowed in rage of being denied his kill, before blue white lightning lashed into his helmet from the outstretched hand of a figure in blue. The lighting burned out his eyes first, then set fire to his skin as it continued to rip into his thrashing form, until it he stopped moving completely. Not until the marines armour burned with the heat of a furnace did the lightning stop however, before the glowing armour was thrown down the street, where it smashed down, coming to rest against the tail of the Marauder.
Aurel looked up at their saviour, and felt the glowing green eyes of Librarian Xandrai’s meet his own. Xandrai nodded in respect, and then ordered the apothecary accompanying him to see to the scouts wounded.
He got up stiffly and walked over to where Xandrai knelt over the corpse of the marine Aurel had killed with his knife. Xandrai removed the traitors helm, and looked in disgust at the marine inside.
“Did you know him?” asked the Librarian. “No sir,” he replied “He was not one of the battle brothers I met before this madness.”
Xandrai nodded. “I did. Brother Kalliphos. I fought beside him during the purging of the Hrud on Fand VIII. A fine warrior. Now look at him. Dead and rotting with the curse of Chaos in his blood. Traitors and scum, all of them.”
Aurel nodded. “Sir, if I may, how did you find us here? We have been unable to get in contact with any of the Chapter for months, and now in our darkest hour you save us from certain death.”
Xandrai removed his helmet and smiled. “The God-Emperor sent us, boy. He sends us visions of this cursed place, and how we must destroy it before its evil leaks out into other systems, although whether we have arrived in time has still to be seen.”
Aurel shook his head. “No, Brother Librarian, I mean how did you find us, specifically? We have no vox, no signals, how did you know where we were?”
Xandrai leaned in and smiled, “You were the few spots of light in a world of darkness. Your faith in the Emperor was like a beacon to me, and I followed it to you.” Aurel nodded at this, then looked skywards as the first contrails of drop pods began to streak through the reddened sky, and thunderhawks brought vehicles of destruction to flatten the shrines to the populace’s foul masters.
“They look angry...” noted Aurel, as the first blossoms of fire began on the western side of the city. “They are.” said Xandrai, his face darkening. “The Citadel of the Scorpion is no more, its hallowed halls blown apart and defiled by this scum. We are here not just on a crusade of destruction; we are here on a crusade of vengeance. The Lion Claws will know the pain they have dealt us, for we will deal it back a hundred times as fierce. Everything they know will be taken from them, everything they own destroyed, every friend they have blasted to dust. They will know us, and they will know that there is no escape.”
Aurel’s face twisted in a grimace of rage. He knew now what the information he had gathered meant, and what it meant for the populations of every local star system.
Xandrai sensed this. “Come, Scout Sergeant. We have much to discuss. This war will be long, and we need every bit of information you and your scouts have gathered.”
He stood up straight and led the Sergeant towards the waiting Land Raider, where giants in Terminator Armour escorted him into the darkness to take him to his masters.