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Bellowed commissar Richmont as he led his platoon of the Cadian XVIII into the fray. All around bullets chewed into the ground, throwing up gouts of mud. body’s fell by the hundreds, on both sides, while the torrential downpour of Calith V's endless rain storms turned the battlefield into a quagmire of death and mud. Over their heads earth shaker rounds bleared across the sky to land with great explosions in the midst of the Arch enemy battle lines. In front of them the enemy battle lines rose up from the blood soaked ground. A fortified network of rockcrete bunkers and trenches daubed in twisted chaos sigils and festooned in spikes. Sergeant Maylors men were the first in Richmont's platoon to reach the bunkers, lobbing frag grenades over the parapet before diving in after, lasguns blazing. Next was Olags squad, all ten of them armed with a mixture of flamers and meltaguns, they quickly cleansed the trench of the chaos taint before moving on into the support trenches to finish their job. The commissar was next. He and his command squad mounted the parapet and made their way into a gun bay the arch enemy had been using for an autocannon, normally one to lead from behind Richmont had been given the honor of leading the platoon in captain Nermans absence and he had decided that it would be a good idea to lead by example. Richmont glanced around at the still molten remains of the cannon, obviously a target for Olags prized inferno pistol. 'Pyromaniac' Richmont muttered under his breath as he took in the various blacked out lines of cultist that was all that remained of this guns crew. Realizing that now, as he was the regiments leading moral officer, this would be an ideal time for one of his short devotional speech’s he turned around and addressed his men. 'Victory goes to the righteous!' he exclaimed 'notice how easy chaos crumbles before the might of the imperial guard-' 'Too easily one may suspect...' came a voice from behind him. Richmont spun around on the spot. Ready to make an example of such obvious lack of faith. However when he saw the mysterious robed and hooded figure behind him he stopped in his tracks. 'And who, by the emperor would you be?' He found himself saying as his command squad took carful aim at the strange intruder. 'Lower your weapons, Say! Are those Mk V Kronos pattern, very nice.' the figure said jubilantly 'um, anyway...I am not the enemy here; nay I am in fact here to see that you shoot the right ones!' he pulled the hood off his head and Richmont was rather surprised to see that he was in fact merely an old man, thin, but not frail, balding slightly with a shock of white hair curling down over his shoulders. Richmont was even more surprised when he noticed the Rosetta electoo that had been imprinted above his right eye. 'Allow me to introduce myself.' the old man replied. ‘I am inquisitor Ito of the Ordo Malleus and I am here by taking command of this platoon in the name of the Emperors Holy Inquisition.
Inquisitor Ito was an exceedingly tall man. Richmont was not and this was becoming exceeding obvious to him as they walked together. While Ito was tall and wiry Richmont was short and stout. While Ito had his white hair long and frizzy Richmont’s was short, black and cropped neatly under his cap. Ito wore a long storm-grey coat while Richmont wore only the black, red and gold of his commissar’s uniform. As they walked Ito talked to him cheerfully, in long, measured tones. 'You have been told that this war was a result of a chaos cult uprising in this area,' Ito told Richmont as they made their way through the now imperial held trench system 'this is a lie! The real reason that chaos is here is quite different. You see the Arch enemy believes that- oh excuse me' Ito reached down and picked up a small cylindrical object of the ground 'a protholium canister, great! I needed to buy some more flamer fuel.' 'You were saying?' questioned Richmont
'Oh yes, The reason that the Arch Enemy are really here is because of a terrible artifact that is supposedly buried in a vault somewhere under Calith V's main city of Ergonath. Why do you think they erected this trench system encircling that very city? Simple, to buy the reclaimists some more time, and It would appear to be working too.'
they had now reached the enemy’s command center where there was still heavy resistance. The last of the arch enemy cultists had holed themselves up inside an armored bunker and were giving as much as they got, firing volley after volley of autocannon and multilaser fire that was cutting down guardsman after guardsman. It was going to be a while before the regiment could bring to bear enough heavy weapons to penetrate the bunker and in the meantime the forces of chaos were given free rein to take down as many guardsmen as possible before they were killed. The captain in charge of the platoon was just giving orders to send another squad of guardsmen to their doom when Ito stepped up to them and told the captain to stop. After the initial confusion which included things such as: 'Who the hell are you?' and 'y-yy-yes s-s-sir!' Ito turned to the bunker and closed his eyes. Frost began to wind its way across the ground and a gust of unearthly cold wind began to blow from the west. The enemy guns began to falter, then stop altogether. There was a ghastly screech, what sounded like a wet balloon popping, then silence.
'Right, you can go in there now!' Ito said cheerfully. The captain that had been reprimanded previously carefully made his way over to the entrance of the bunker and opened the door with the barrel of his lasgun. Nothing. He carefully peered round the corner. After a few moments his face went white and he turned and puked onto the muddy ground. Inside the bunker was a scene of carnage. There was blood everywhere, one heretic had his head on one side of the room, his arms in another and his body leaning up against the autocannon. The leader had suffered the worst though. He looked fine at first, there was nothing wrong with his body, however his head was another story. It had simply ceased to exist. Blown apart by forces the lowly guard captain didn't even want to consider. Ito however didn't seem to notice the slaughter at all. In fact he was actually sitting on top of a dead heretic’s body humming quietly to himself when the captain reemerged. 'Right then!' he exclaimed 'finished lollygagging have you, come on we have work to do!' He got up and began to march out of the trenches, stopping only briefly to call out for Richmont and the platoon to follow. 'The man’s mad!' Richmont heard the captain whisper to himself. The gate was a behemoth of Iron and bronze. Standing fully ten meters tall and over five meters wide. The wall itself was four meters thick, made of dull grey rockcrete and was at least three times as high as the gate, Richmont found it hard to even see the top, harder still because of the rain. 'Well only one thing for it then.' Ito stated happily. 'Let’s go burn some heretics!'
There was silence in the streets. Not just the usual silence that is an absence of noise but a complete void of it. Richmont had to physically suppress himself from screaming just to break it. And it wasn't just the absence of noise that was getting to Richmont either. It was the feeling of being watched, like a thousand eyes were steering at him from every shadow, and there were a lot of shadows in this dark place. Ahead of him the rest of the platoon was speeding out to cover as large a distance as possible. Everyone was on the edge and tension was high. Every one that is except for Inquisitor Ito. Ito seemed completely oblivious to the eerie silence that pervaded in the air. In fact currently he was chatting rather animatedly with lieutenant Viro of the regiments Ogryn squad. 'Yes they are rather spectacular specimens aren’t they, Homo Sapiens Gigantus.' anyway, the reason I was asking about them is that I would like to requisition them as body guards for the duration of this
battle' Ito turned around and addressed Richmont. 'Commissar, we must press on, time is of essence', he said in what appeared to be a serious voice. 'The Arch-Nemesis cannot be allowed to take the artefact-' The air was suddenly ripped apart with bullets and las rounds. Ito was thrown of his feet by one of the rounds that hit his shoulder.
Richmont and his squad dropped to the ground to take shelter behind an abandoned automobile. 'Sir, are you hurt?' 'No, no im fine.' Ito got up and took off his cloak, revealing a full suit of Mk 6 power armour underneath. He put the cloak in a satchel by his side. 'I am an inquisitor, commissar. We come equipped.' he stated, all expression falling from his voice. He reached down to a pair of holsters he had strapped to his hips and withdrew an antique bolt pistol and a hand flamer. 'Ogryns to me!' he announced over the fire fight. 'Onward and upward! We must reach the enemy’s strong point, which is undouptfully where we shall find our goal!' 'commissar.' he whispered to Richmont 'Yes?' 'Hold this area, the enemy must remain distracted and unaware of our real intentions.' Before Richmont could reply Ito took of down the street with Lieutenant Viro and the Ogryn squad. It was, in the end, surprisingly easy to get to the centre of the Arch-Enemy’s fastness. With most of the Chaos forces busy ambushing commissar Richmont's platoon there was hardly anyone left to guard. Ito and the Ogryns only had to kill a single patrol of guards before they had arrived at the site at which the relic was located. It was an old Sanctum Imperialis, once a bastion of the imperial faith. Now a defiled hole filled with chaos filth. Ito, Viro and the Ogryns crept silently inside, that is, as silently as an Ogryn could manage. Ito was shocked. The entire inside had been destroyed; all that was left of the once beautiful imperial building was the outer shell. Inside was simply one large room, going as far up as the ceiling and falling endlessly down through a deep hole dug in the floor.
A metal chain ladder slunk its way into the darkness down the hole. 'Going down.' Ito remarked. 'Sir, I don't think that’s going to support the Ogryns...' 'Course it will.' Ito tapped the ladder 'It’s made of adamantine' 'Where in Gullimans name did these heretics get an adamantine ladder?' Viro questioned. 'The heretics have one or two secrets up their moldering and filth coated robes yet it would seem.'
The party descended one at a time, Ito first, then the Ogryns and finally Viro. It is indeed a strong ladder Viro was forced to admit as he descended. To be able to carry the weight of five fully grown Ogryns, not to mention two humans, one of them bedecked in a full suit of power armor was no small feat of endurance. The ladder was about fifty meters total descending in a straight line straight through the top soil and deep into the denser clay beneath. At first all there was to see was dirt and the occasion lump of rockcrete or piece of metal. However as they continued further and further downward Viro began to see markings of much older civilization. Here was a sculpted archway, poking through the clay like the prow of some ancient oceanic Vehicle. At another point Viro saw what looked like the wall of some
antiquated building. At one stage Viro caught a glimpse of the head of a marble statue carved to the likeness of the Emperor as portrayed by the Ministorum in the massive stained glass windows of the Basilica Imperialis on his home world. Before descending Ito had given Viro a comlink that would allow him to communicate without shouting past the Ogryns, Viro used this now; 'Inquisitor, why are there buildings this far below the surface?' 'Simple, about seven thousand years ago there was a massive earthquake on this very site that buried the entire city in a single night. The city of Ergonath was built on top of its ruins and that population eventually forgot about its existence. Some peoples memory’s go back much further than this however and the forces of chaos include many that have been alive since that time.' 'So what your trying to tell me is that there are people alive in this galaxy today that are over seven thousand years old, you must be joking!' Ito lost all humor in his voice 'Don’t take me for a fool boy; There are many strange and terrible things in this universe. Many of them far beyond even my understanding. I myself am over a thousand years old. Age has no meaning to me, nor does it have any meaning to the traitor marines of the eye of terror. Yes, they are no rumor boy; they are as real as me or you. Just be thankful you have yet to meet them, and pray you never do. I have crossed their paths once, just once and it nearly cost me my life!' Once again there was silence over the vox channels. Ito gave a grunt from below. 'I have just reached the bottom of the shaft.' he announced over the vox. Get down quickly, and keep silent. You do not want them to know you are here!'
Outside the firefight was getting more and more intense as the forces of chaos regrouped and tried to push Richmont and his platoon out of the city. Currently the rest of the regiment was too busy taking the chaos held trenches surrounding the city to send reinforcements and Richmont's forces were forced to take cover in the surrounding buildings. Commissar Richmont and the platoon command squad were currently sheltering in an old meat warehouse and as a result had to deal with not only far superior enemy numbers but also the ever present stench of the putrefying meat that was hanging in the no longer powered freezers. To make matters worse the platoon had not been prepared for such a sustained assault and were now running low on ammo.
'Trooper Varnes, try to raise HQ on the vox again.' Richmont shouted over the din over autogun fire and the snap-crack of las-weaponry. So far the entire platoon had received in the way of acknowledgement from regimental HQ was a message stating that currently the rest of the regiment was busy with heavy resistance from the southern quadrant of the trench system and because of this the platoon would
not be receiving any form of reinforcements for some time yet. Behind him another large explosion ripped through the air, signaling the timely demises of one of the arch enemy’s numerous heavy weapons, this was greeted by a cheer from the defenders and several screams from the enemy as bits of burning shrapnel landed among them. There was yet another explosion. This time much closer. Richmont turned just in time to see the building two doors down go up in smoke as a gas line ruptured. 'There goes Olag' Richmont heard his medic mutter. Richmont forced himself to look away from the explosion and back to where the enemy battle lines were one the other side of the street behind a pall of smoke and faucite. He opened fire with his bolt pistol at some dimly perceived shapes in the smoke, constantly aware that every shot he fired wasted more of his precious ammunition. Not far away his standard bearer, Muko, slumped over onto the ground. 'Shot in the heart.' he heard his medic say as he rolled the corpse over. 'God Emperor, please send reinforcements soon!' Richmont prayed.
It was dark at the bottom of the ladder. Not too dark through and through the faint illumination from the top of the ladder and Ito's small head lamp Viro was able to see some of the detail about the chamber they were in. It was a long hall, of sorts, about one hundred meters long and six wide with a high vaulted ceiling built in the style more common to Maccragge and the Ultimar system. The chamber was made mostly of granite with a marble floor and lintels. As Viro's eyes became accustomed to the gloom he began to make out alcoves spaced evenly along either side of the hall. Each alcove had a statue in it made of marble, a statue of a space marine wearing antiquated armor. Ito was looking at the statues too and as Viro looked he perked up. 'These are old statues indeed!' he gestured around. 'Notice the old make of the power armor, that’s MK 3 Iron pattern. The sort used mainly in the early part of the great crusade. Each of them has a name too, in a small plaque under the statue.' Viro bent closer and examined them more carefully. They did indeed have names. The one he was looking at was called Generic of the Iron hands. There were more too, ten in total each with a different name: Irric of the Ultramarines, Mellitus of the White scars. All had a different name, each had a slightly different statue. He stopped when he reached the ,last one. Mortic of the Dawn Raiders. 'Dawn Raiders, I have never heard of them before.' he murmured to himself. 'And hopefully you never will again.' Ito had walked up behind him while he was looking at the statues. 'We do not speak of the Dawn raiders, nor any of the other nine.' he continued 'come boy, we mustn't dither, this world is in dire peril currently and stopping to look at the scenery isn't going to save anyone!' Ito looked drawn out, as though all his age had caught up with him at once. 'Come on!' he turned and made his way over to the door at the far end of the corridor.
It was a somber brass affair with a small blackened iron handle in the center. Ito motioned Viro to stand against the wall to the right side of the door as he moved over to the left. The Ogryns were left standing in front of the door looking confused. Ito drew his twin pistols. Viro also drew his, a small compact plasma pistol. Ito reached into his satchel and withdrew a pair of long silvery knives which he attached to the ends of his pistols. 'Right!' The air temperature dropped suddenly and a layer of frost slowly traced its way around the doors handle. There was a crunching sound, then the door crumpled inwards and flew backwards into the room beyond. There was a grunt from within, then a yell. A gun opened fire, then another. What sounded like four bolters shot white hot balls of metal into the Ogryns.
Only twenty of them were left now. Richmont, the remains of his command squad and an assortment of men from Maylor and Illics squads. Maylor was the only Sargent left. They had all fallen back to the Gatehouse now and were shooting out at the enemy with everything they had, including rocks and pieces of masonry, from behind their hastily built barricades. Richmont was down to his last bolt clip, a full four rounds and the others only had their las-pistols. Maylor, his bolt pistol long since empty lobbed the last frag grenade over the barricades, much to the dismay of the attackers, several of which were killed trying to escape its blast radius. It was only a matter of time now though and they couldn't hold off forever...
The bolter fire tore into the Ogryns, driven into a fury the Ogryns retaliated and charged straight into the enemy, four Dark Tusk chaos space marines. A bloody melee erupted, both party’s equally matched in both strength and stature. However the enemy were space marines and without fire support even they wouldn't last long. Enter Ito, spinning round the corner he shot both pistols at once, shooting one of the traitors helmets off before dousing his ugly misshapen head with blessed protholium. One of the traitors, a massive brute of a man with a huge two handed thunder hammer to back it up. Smashing the head off the Ogryn BONE 'ead he then turned around and tried to cave Ito chest in with its butt. Only to find himself impaled on the end of one of Ito’s silvery knives. Completely ignoring the Traitors ancient corroded black power armor he sliced the beast clean in two, exposing the traitors maggot infested insides for all the world to see. Behind him another chaos marine loomed up, the head of another Ogryn clutched in his oversized lightning claw. Ito spun around slowly just in time to see the Arch enemy’s head blown off by Viro’s plasma pistol. They stopped and looked around. To Ito’s right the last traitor was dispatched by the sole surviving Ogryn, who promptly collapsed from blood loss caused by his many, many battle wounds. 'Damn!' Ito spat, 'I was going to need those Ogryns. Oh well, on a lighter note at least we're both still alive!' Ito turned. Beside him was the last door, a thick double door made out of the same material as
the door knob. 'With me!' Viro and Ito both grasped a door handle each and heaved. 'Now!' Ito and Viro charged into the room together guns blazing.
Richmont fired his last bolt. Beside him, yet another guardsman fell, his las-pistol firing its last shot as he died. Maylor, firing one of the dead guardsmen’s pistols also cycled onto empty. Realizing this was the end Maylor turned to Richmont. 'It’s been a pleasure serving sir.' Richmont nodded. A last charge was in order, drawing his chainsword Richmont straightened his commissars cap and turned to what remained of his men. 'Death or Glory!'
An altar, two helots franticly working at the locks of a casket on top of it. Eight lamps, set in a circle around the alter. An aspiring champion waiting for them. 'You will die by the hand of chaos!' Viro felt an impossibly hot bolt of plasma shooting directly towards his eyes, then nothing... Ito was all that was left. Zarrakidak watched with contempt as the pathetic human drew closer. 'You are not worthy of dying by this gun.' Zarrakidak spat. He dropped the plasma pistol on the ground and lunged at Ito. Ito dodged the lunge and dropped to the floor, kicking Zarrakidak's legs out from under him. Zarrakidak winced as his unhelmeted head cracked against the ground. Getting back up he turned to the inquisitor and grabbed him round the neck. 'Now you die!' 'No. now you die!' Ito choked. Zarrakidak felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach as he looked down to see his plasma pistol being held pointed straight at the space in between his hearts. 'No! Chaos is eternal, you cannot defeat me!' 'Wrong!' Ito pulled the trigger. The casket lay open before him, a single claw, from what appeared to be a greater daemon lay inside. Ito set the plasma pistol to overload and laid it next to the claw before shutting the casket. He wandered outside to where the corpses of the five Ogryns lay. Something stirred. It was the last Ogryn that had collapsed earlier from blood loss, now a bit woozy but still very much alive. 'Come, Ito spoke, 'we have work to' behind him the plasma pistol exploded and his job on this world was finished…
The Jaded Ones strike cruiser Wrath of the Righteous lay in low orbit around the planetoid sized hunk of metal and rock that went by the name of The Reconciliation of Sinners. The cruiser was a hive of activity, the Armory rang with the sound of hammers on ceramite, the chapel echoed with the voices of the choir and the drone of sermons. In the launch bay, all four of the chapter thunder hawks were being made ready for launch, the hiss of cooling fumes and dull clunk of cargo being loaded blocked out all else. However the busiest place of all was on the bridge. Here the real preparations were being made, a space hulk boarding was no mean feat and as a result Captain Nero’s temper was even more unpredictable than usual. ‘Lieutenant! Why am I not seeing the dorsal weapons online?’ ‘I don’t know si-‘ ‘I don’t care! All I want to see is those engines on lieutenant!’ ‘Hey Magos Izak, where’s that data slate I asked for?’ ‘Right here sir.’ ‘That’s right her sir sir to you cog boy!’ ‘Demetri, where’s that caffeine I ordered earlier?’ ‘Dammit Demetri, that’s the worst caffeine I’ve ever tasted! Get me another!’ ‘Mutter mutter mutter’ ‘What was that Demetri?’ ‘N-nothing sir.’ ‘That’s right boyo, better be nothing!’ It was at this moment that Grand Master Obadiah walked onto the bridge. Like a wave of silence the noise of the bridge faded away into nothing. The Master had that effect on people. Silence followed in his wake. ‘I trust the preparations are going according to plan?’ ‘They are, my lord.’ ‘How soon before we can make entry?’ ‘Less than an hour to go, my liege.’ ‘Excellent, however I fear those calculations may have to be adjusted captain, unexpected guests will be arriving soon…’ With that Lord Obadiah turned and walked from the bridge, its hustle and bustle
returning immediately, as though Nero had just withdrew a wad of cotton from his ears. Nero shivered, he hated being close to the chapter master for more than a few moments, the man gave him the willies. Inquisitor Ito’s private Aquila Lander came to a rest quietly on the bustling deck of the Wrath’s secondary hanger bay. Unnoticed by the swarm of armorers and deck servitors Ito and his hulking body guard made their way over to the hanger’s main entrance where they were waited for by a lone chapter serf. ‘Greetings honored guests; the master has been expecting you.’ The chapter serf, beckoning them to follow, began to meander his way through the strike cruisers maze of corridors and passageways. Occasionally they would pass a lone battle brother or neophyte who would bow out of the way or stare oddly at the hulking form of Bugrut, Ito’s Ogryn bodyguard. Eventually they reached a low ceilinged hall, whose glass roofing provided a 360 degree view of the void outside. Banners hung from the ceiling beams, depicting scenes of bloody glory through which the Jaded Ones reigned triumphant. Ito stopped to look at a particularly gory one involving the head of a great Ork Warboss, stuck through with an iron pike. ‘Detailed isn’t it, 8000 years of war and destruction, and I have lived through every one of them.’ Ito went pale, turning slowly he found himself face to face with a massive robed space marine of indeterminable age. ‘The pariah gene.’ Ito choked ‘Yes, I am one of those unlucky few.’
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