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Old 01 Sep 2008, 12:49   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 9,807
Default Re: Entry H - The Iron Cage

To the north of the Eternal Keep, First Captain Sigismund and the warriors of the Imperial Fists 1st company landed to join the assault. Their plan was simple. Using the protection offered by their Tactical Dreadnought Armour, they would rapidly smash their way through the defences surrounding the keep and link up with their primarch, before assaulting Perturabos lair from two different angles. Little could Sigismund know that his veterans would make the least progress from their landing zones. His first view upon exiting the drop pod that had born him to the surface was of an endless field of bunkers and razorwire, the latter would offer no impediment to their advance. The bunkers however would be the problem, which was why the 1st Company had been given this task. If anyone could break through this obstacle they could. “Brothers, we go forth to do the Emperor’s work. Remember the injustice that has been done on His loyal followers. Remember those we have lost to those we once called brother. For the honour of Rogal Dorn”! Activating the energy field on his powersword Sigimund led the four squads of Terminators as they began to advance on the nearest trenchline. Within moments Sigismund had cleared it. That was the moment their enemies had been waiting for, behind him the trench exploded with buried meltacharges. Five veterans of countless campaigns were immolated; they suffered the most excruciating deaths imaginable, as they were cooked alive within their armour, now their tombs. Seconds later a heavy hail of bolt fire erupted all along the line of bunkers they were advancing towards. Sigismund felt impacts ring from his armour, snarling he opened fire with his bolter at the nearest bunker aiming for the fire slits. “Brother Carlus, concentrate your fire on the central bunker. Brothers once that bunker is split open we will drive a wedge between them and roll up both sides of the trenchline. Stay out of no mans land and press them back”. Seconds later the twin pod missile launcher of Brother Carlus spat a hail of small rockets at the bunker, despite being considerably smaller than those fired from a standard Astartes missile launcher they still packed the same destructive power. The front of the bunker exploded inwards, causing no damage to those inside but disorientating them for a few moments. Brother Manbe; carrying the squad’s heavy flamer, reached the bunker first. Standing over the hole blasted by Carlus he poured a torrent of promethium flames inside; the flames devoured the whole bunker. As Sigismund approached the ruined bunker Manbe’s torso exploded and collapsed out of the breach, only one weapon could have caused that much damage; inside there had to be a marine carrying a plasmagun. The First Captain leapt over Manbe’s smoking body and cut down the first Iron Warrior with vicious slash that split the marine from shoulder to pelvis. Hissing sounds from behind made him spin. He came face to face with the plasmaguns barrel; the bearer smiled and pulled the trigger. The weapon blasted out heat as the weapon overheated. Sigismund didn’t give his opponent a chance to try anything else, he rammed his sword into the marine’s neck to the hilt before ripping it back out. The interior of the bunker was scoured clean by the flames that had poured into it, except for the dead bodies of those killed by the Imperial Fist. Behind him more of his warriors entered the bunker. Bolter rounds exploded against the open door frame fired from the next bunker down. Sigismund stomped through the door and emptied the entire clip of his bolter at the traitors, despite hitting with most of the shots nothing penetrated the power armour they wore, the fire did however make them withdraw further into the bunker. Leading his command squad they began to stomp down the trench towards the next. A screaming from overhead made Sigismund look up; a number of Iron Warriors armed with jump packs dived at them. Brother Carlus fell as his helmet was punctured by a warrior whose gauntlets had powered claws extending from them. Sigismund backhanded the enemy who leapt at him, knocking him back, he rolled on landing and run at the captain with his chainsword held in a two handed grip above his head aiming for a vicious downwards attack. Sigismund stepped into his attack before he could bring his weapon down smashing his right elbow into his opponent’s helmet, the ferocity of the move caused the attacker to stagger backwards and the Imperial Fist never gave him the chance to attack again. He followed his strike with a sword thrust that pierced the abdomen of his opponent; there was no surviving that attack. The fire from the nearby bunker intensified. Leaving his squad to combat the remaining attackers the first captain reloaded his bolter and charged towards the bunker. Bolt rounds exploded against his right shoulder guard destroying the clenched fist symbol of his chapter, lowering that shoulder Sigismund exploded into the interior of the intact bunker smashing a marine against the opposite wall, more bolt rounds exploded against his back, this time red warning runes flashed on his retinas as part of his armour was penetrated. Pivoting on his left foot he struck the head off the Iron Warrior standing behind him before letting his momentum carry him past the second warrior, reversing his grip on his sword he plunged the weapon through the powerpack of the next warrior. A voice called out a clear challenge. “So you are the so called Emperor’s Champion are you? You are weak. Horus was strong; Horus killed your beloved Emperor. My name is Lord Hae’ron and I will be your end”.
“Cross blades with me if you will traitor”. Sigismund spaced his legs in a relaxed fighting stance. Hae’ron unsheathed his sword and activated its energy field, holding the blade point down behind him he began to circle. Sigismund kept his eyes on him, guessing where the first attack would strike, with a quickness that was unimaginable Hae’ron changed sword hands and stepped forward onto his left foot aiming a savage thrust at the terminator’s right shoulder joint. Sigismund barely managed to deflect the attack, Hae’ron immediately slashed back at his throat, the Imperial Fist stepped back to miss it, and he barely made it, the energised sword blade carved through the eagle on his chestplate. Without giving him a chance to recover Hae’ron attacked again, keeping just a single hand on the grip he lunged at Sigismund’s right arm. The First Captain stepped forwards and smashed his right elbow into the Iron Warrior’s face feeling the crack of bone and teeth from his attack. Hae’ron staggered back and spat broken teeth from his mouth, the injury angered him. With a snarl he increased the intensity of his strikes which Sigismund struggled to deflect. With desperation he smashed the grip of his bolter into the side of the Iron Warrior’s head which sent him staggering, taking his opening he slashed his powersword through the back of his opponent causing him to drop to his knees. Standing over his beaten opponent he plunged his sword through the base of his neck; dropping Hae’ron’s head to the floor. Breathing deeply he saw the last of the jump pack armed Iron Warrior’s falling under the power of his veterans. This wasn’t supposed to have taken this long, they were falling behind and they had to arrive at the Keep when the other companies did. . . .

A warrior armoured in the burnished iron power armour of the Iron Warriors knelt before the throne of Perturabo. “My lord, Dorn has committed his forces to the assault we are ready to cut off his avenue of retreat”. The helmeted warrior could not bring his eyes to gaze upon his primarch.
“Excellent, Warsmith. Go and ensure that Dorn has no way to leave this world. Let his fleet burn”! With that command he rose from his knee and rapidly left the room followed obediently by another warrior.

The destructive blast from the lascannon smashed into the bunker. Brother Maethos who had been firing from the fire slit was vaporised, all that remained were his legs which fell to the floor, the interior of the bunker filled with the smell of burning meat. Captain Valon knew before the dust cleared how much damage had been done. The entire front wall was a pile of rubble; the Iron Warriors now had a perfect opening to tear the heart out from his defence. The battle here would be fierce and violent. “Brothers, for the glory of Him on Earth stand your ground”! All down the line his warriors took up the cry “For the glory of Him on Earth”. Valon knew his position was precarious, his men were too thinly spread out down the trench line; a determined assault at any point threatened to overwhelm them. There were no greater men to have standing at his side, they were all Imperial Fists, and no other force in the galaxy could be relied on to hold a defensive network more than his men. He dropped his bolter to the side and activated the energy field of his powerfist and drew his bolt pistol, striding up to the breach he gazed out over the crater marked field. Already the Iron Warriors were massing for an assault; they would want the glory of finishing their enemies up close, not through firepower. Good. Captain Valon knew they stood little to no chance of survival, but they would exact a steep toll for their lives. All along the traitor line a roaring warcry was uttered as they rose over the top of their trench line and charged forwards. The Imperial Fists 12th Company replied with discipline, holding their fire until commanded.

The corridor was dimly lit by flickering candles, this deep underground there was no breeze. The marble tiled floor gently sloped downwards, from the entrance even the improved eyesight of an Astartes couldn’t see the bottom. After what seemed an age the two Iron Warriors arrived in a vast hexagonal room that was occupied by a large computer terminal that had thick cables attaching to every wall. The Warsmith took the data core handed to him and inserted it into the base of the computer where it sunk into the machinery before activating. The screen over the computer bathed the room in light. On the screen appeared the planet Sebastus IV, the Eternal Keep and the position of the ships of the orbiting Imperial Fist fleet. With a few additional commands red lines linked the planet and each of the ships together. An addition command was all it took to seal the fate of the thousands in orbit supporting the Imperial action on the planet.

Fleet Master Daelius bolted from his cabin mere seconds after the alarm klaxons began blaring, it was only a short run to the bridge. “Status report”, he commanded.
“Sir, the Sensorium has detected energy blooms from the planets surface, energy signature matches those of orbital torpedo launches. They register the same number of emissions as we have ships in the fleet”. Daelius froze. “Sir, what are your orders”?
Knowing it was too late for any of them he gave the commands that his crew needed to hear. “All craft take immediate evasive manoeuvres. Send a message to Lord Commander Guilliman, ‘Fleet under heavy bombardment. Unable to support ground units. Assistance required’ ”. The crewman ran from the bridge to relay the message. Daelius grabbed the rail as he felt the ship turn forcefully under him. It wouldn’t be enough, they were too close. Hopefully they would have enough time to transmit the warning to Roboute Guilliman, primarch of the Ultramarines. Unless someone arrived soon then Rogal Dorn and his Imperial Fists would be lost.

Even as he struck down another traitor Rogal Dorn felt the ground shake beneath him. Everyone; Imperial and Traitor looked to the south. In the distance striking up from the mountain ranges were what could only be orbital torpedoes. They could only have one target, the fleet. Primarch’s were designed to not know what fear is, but the knowledge that they were now stuck on a planet swarming with enemies alarmed him. The Iron Warrior’s reacted first, they charged towards the momentarily stunned Imperial Fists firing their bolters. Two more loyalist space marines were killed before they could react, with a howling snarl of rage Dorn rammed his chain blade straight into the helmet of the nearest Iron Warrior, the teeth of the blade screamed and spat sparks as it dug its way through bone and brain matter. The body collapsed to the floor as the primarch reversed the direction of the teeth and pulled the blade out. Behind him the surviving warriors of his chapter fought their way forwards towards the trench they were assaulting. Dorn moved towards the trench again, the fire aimed at them intensified, bolter rounds exploded against his breastplate harmlessly. A warrior climbed out and charged at the primarch, before he could react his body crumpled to the ground, Dorn’s chainblade having carved through his throat. He leapt into the trench and lashed out at the nearby Iron Warrior with his boot dumping the traitor to the trench floor. Without giving his opponent time to regain his feet he reversed the grip on his weapon and slammed it through the warrior’s chest. The other Iron Warriors turned and began firing at him. This allowed the charging loyalists to reach the trench. From the lip they each unloaded full bolter clips at point blank range before taking their former brothers position.

“Brothers hold your fire until they cross the line of razorwire”. Valon raised his bolt pistol and sighted down the weapon. A couple of the charging Iron Warriors began firing at the position held by the Imperial Fists but the defences cheated them of any significant damage. Valon focused on one of the enemies carrying a meltagun, that weapon could cause serious damage to their defences. As the first traitor charged over the nearest line of razorwire the entire line erupted with a storm of bolter fire, despite the amount of bolter rounds fired only a few Iron Warriors fell. Valons target fell with a ruined face, his helmet had been hit by a double burst by the captain of the 12th. With a roar of pure hatred the traitors dove into the trench line. There was no subtly displayed, just the anger that only brothers can feel towards each other. The yellow and steel grey power armoured warriors merged into a mass of gunfire, blade fighting and death, as soon as one marine fell his killer immediately struck out at another; with no thoughts of regret for the life he had just ended. Three of the attackers ran at Valon, each wanting the honour of killing their foes commander. The first to reach him slashed his chainblade at Valon’s throat, the captain stepped inside his opponents attack and slammed his energised fist into his helmet. The head disappeared in a shower of gore, the body fell backwards down the rubble into the next attacker who kicked the body out of the way. Valon took advantage of the momentary distraction and stepped towards the next traitor swinging his powerfist. The second warrior pivoted off his right foot and spun below the captain’s attack slashing his weapon across Valon’s leg, with a screech of metal on metal the teeth of the blade penetrated and tore through meat, muscle and bone before exiting. With a roar of pain the Imperial Fist captain fell to the rubble, his bolt pistol fell out of his reach and was lost amidst the rubble of the bunker wall. Looking back inside the bunker a large shape emerged from the dust, charging up the ramp his armour dented, firing his bolter from the hip. The two victorious Iron Warriors turned to the emerging Imperial Fist and calmly put a bolter round each into his head. The momentum of the warrior carried up halfway up the rubble before he fell, his bolter bounced before coming to a rest next to Valon’s hand, he took the momentary distraction to snatch up the fallen weapon and turned on the traitors standing behind him. At this range there was no chance of missing a shot, the first shots didn’t do any damage but seconds later the armour of both traitors was penetrated and they collapsed out of the breach. “Thank you brother”, Valon told the body of the marine that had fallen trying to save him. The young captain began to drag himself into the bunker where he could cover the breach more effectively. A deep ominous screech behind him made him turn, lumbering out of the dust cloud came a trio of Dreadnoughts.
One came straight for the bunker. The body of the walking sarcophagus couldn’t fit inside, but the long claws attached to it could. The claw dug into Valon’s boot and began to drag him out, putting his full strength behind his powerfist he slammed it repeatedly into the Dreadnought’s weapon. Valon came face to face with the Dreadnought. The Imperial Fist captain turned his attention to the body and punched it with his powerfist smashing a hole in the sarcophagus. With a howl of fury the Dreadnought grabbed the young captain around the head with its second claw and it began to rip the loyalist in half. Blood poured from his mouth as he felt his spine severing from his pelvis. With a scream of victory the walker tore him in half and threw both parts through the air. The remaining Dreadnought’s took only moments more to finish off the remainder of the 12th Company. The first battle was over.
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