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Entry H - The Iron Cage
Old 01 Sep 2008, 12:49   #1 (permalink)
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Default Entry H - The Iron Cage

The Iron Cage

Sebastus IV. Noone would have thought such an insignificant world would ever play a part in shaping the future. The surface was barren and lifeless, no indigenous people, animals nor plant called this world their own. Yet it did have a part to play in the grand scheme of the universe. A part of death, hatred and change for those that would participate in the events soon to take place. In the cold depths of space a malevolent eye turned its attention upon the world. A plan began to form in its mind. Events were put into motion that would echo for the rest of time. The stage was set. All that was required now were the players.

The swarm of drop pods slashed a fiery trail through the overcast sky towards the rocky, barren surface of Sebastus IV. Their targets were the anti-aircraft batteries situated on the hills to the west of the Eternal Keep, where they could destroy any aircraft approaching the fortress. The thick grey cloud cover meant that the drop pods would be upon the enemy before they had time to react. Inside one of the armoured pods Captain Valon of the 12th Company went over the plan again. He wasn’t pleased with it. It had been a rushed planning session; the anger of Rogal Dorn towards his brother Perturabo had clouded his judgement. They had abandoned their usual methods of thoroughly planning their assault. It felt wrong. Valon however like all Imperial Fists had been trained to improvise once on the ground and how to adapt to situations in combat. The restraints inside the drop pod locked down on his shoulders in preparation for the jarring impact of the landing. Having made many assaults by drop pod the sudden jarring impact didn’t affect him at all. Scantly a second after impact the explosive bolts on the sides of the pod fired and the sides fell away.

Valon was the first Imperial Fist to set foot on the surface of Sebastus IV. The cloud of dust displaced by the impact of the drop pod still billowed about when the captain of the 12th charged out with his command squad following. They burst out of the dust with bolt pistols at the ready, chainswords revving and ready to react to whatever awaited them. The impacts of yet more drop pods slamming into the surface created a wall of dust that provided immediate cover. Around the guns were a series of bunkers linked by deep trenches. But there was no sign of any Iron Warriors. Something was horribly wrong here.

“My lord, the whelps of Dorn have begun their landings”. A tactical display activated on the table in the centre of the room. The layout of the Eternal Keep and its defences appeared in detail. The position of the anti-aircraft guns was displayed in red denoting the first Imperial Fist landings. “They have walked right into our trap. They will not survive for long”.
The primarch Perturabo looked up from his steel plated throne. “Don’t be so sure of yourself Warsmith. The sons of Dorn may be weak cowards, but they are space marines none the less”. The primarch rose and walked up to the display. “Dorn will send his underlings to destroy the outlying guns. My brother will come for me directly, not realizing until too late that I will not grace him with my presence”. Perturabo smiled evilly. “Those fools may have embarrassed me on Terra, but now they blindly walk to their deaths. Activate the defences”. He walked back to his throne and sat down. They were perfectly safe here miles away from the Eternal Keep in this underground bunker complex. “Your soul will soon be devoured dear brother. It’s a shame I can’t end it personally, but needs require me to be here”.

Valon gathered his sergeants together. “Sergeant Corlin, take your squad and secure the first bunker. Sergeant Reitol, the central bunker. Sergeant Locas, the final bunker. Set up a defensive perimeter whilst we destroy the batteries. Keep your eyes open brothers, something is very wrong here”.
All three sergeants saluted together. “Yes Brother Captain”.
Captain Valon turned his attention towards the immense guns. It wouldn’t take many demolition charges to put them out of business. He gathered his command team to him and they made their way to the base of the nearest weapon. Valon stowed his bolt pistol in his holster and deactivated the energy field on his power fist. Taking the first demo charge handed to him he knelt down next to the base of the weapon. He glimpsed a large box shaped device wired into the base of the auto-loaders. As he looked the device began to flash with malevolent red lights. Valon was up and running before he knew it. “Move”, he bellowed to his command team. They almost made it. Seconds later the marine captain was thrown through the air before slamming violently into the bunker. The other members of his command squad weren’t so lucky. Apothecary Teolis lost his right arm in the hail of shrapnel from the exploding weapon and the marine carrying the 12th Company standard was torn into bloody chunks. Only brother Mahnor was unscathed having been standing furthest from the explosion his power armour had only taken superficial damage. He ran over the remains of the standard bearer and raised the banner that had fallen into the dust. Of the others, there was nothing remaining. Shaking the ringing out of his ears Captain Valon regained his feet. He staggered into the central bunker. “Targets sighted Brother Captain. They are attacking . . . .” the radio went silent as bolter shells exploded against the walls of the bunkers. Valon looked out the viewing slit at the advancing Iron Warriors. There were so many. The Imperial Fists 12th company were completely cut off from help.

At that exact moment, a pair of Thunderhawk Gunships broke through the cloud cover and began their landings a mile from the southern face of the Eternal Keep. From the battlements a squad of Iron Warriors armed with missile launchers sighted in on the lead gunship. With a single order from their squad leader all four launchers fired. As soon as the first missile left the gargoyle mouthed weapons the next missile dropped into place from the loading rack atop the launcher. Twenty rockets were fired in as many seconds. The pilot of the lead Thunderhawk saw the exhaust fumes atop the fortress and immediately began to pull the craft up in an evasive manoeuvre. The first ten missiles miraculously shot underneath the craft. Suddenly there was a massive explosion as three missiles detonated against the starboard side engine. The nose of the gunship dropped right into the path of the final rockets. The last seven all impacted within one foot of each other against the armoured glass of the cockpit. The cockpit was engulfed in a tempest of glass, shrapnel and fire; the pilots were torn to pieces before the fire had a chance to ignite what remained of their bodies. With one engine destroyed and noone left alive at the controls the boxy gunship plummeted five meters to the ground, nose first. The assault ramp at the front took the brunt of the impact as the craft burrowed into the ground before the engines cut out. The second Thunderhawk had a few extra seconds of warning than the other did. The first thought of the pilot after seeing the missile exhausts was to get his cargo of marines to the ground. The Iron Warriors atop the Keep expected their next target to go to ground; they held their fire and waited for it to land. Moments before the assault ramp had begun to lower, they fired again. The first five marines had no chance. The dust thrown up by the impact of the first downed Thunderhawk and the landing of the second meant that the first volley of missiles missed. But the second volley didn’t. The five marines on the ramp were obliterated. The remaining marines got out without significant injury, the nearby trench offered cover from the missile bombardment. A final volley aimed at the interior of the Thunderhawk caused the craft to explode in a massive fireball. Inside the first downed gunship, Sergeant Farlen punched the side access door with his power fist repeatedly. After the first couple of hits from the energised weapon the door began to crumple outwards. A few more punches and the door fell to the dusty ground in two halves. A god amongst men leapt from the interior first. Unlike the rest of his warriors who wore their standard yellow power armour, his was jet black in remembrance of his father and brother Sanguinius, both killed by his most beloved brother Horus. But more than a reminder of those he had lost, it was a reminder of his biggest failure. The pain of guilt over his failure to act quicker still burned hot in his breast, but even now that was nothing compared to the titanic fury at his traitorous brother Perturabo. He had promised Guilliman that he would dig Perturabo out of his hole and drag him back to Holy Terra to answer for his crimes. “Traitor”. Years ago that thought would never have seemed possible. All those days he had spent with Horus on the Vengeful Spirit, talking about their father and all the glories they had won in his name. And now here they were. Two brothers facing off once again, each hoping to best the other for what they believed to be right. As they clambered from the wreckage bolter rounds began to explode around them. Rogal Dorn raised his perfect blade and levelled it towards the attacking Iron Warriors. “Brothers! Show these vile traitors the error of their ways. Show them the folly of turning their backs on the Emperor and the Imperium!” he bellowed as he began to charge towards the trench line ahead. Around him his marines roared the battlecry of their legion as they followed their lord. “Primarch-Progenitor, to your glory and the glory of him on Earth”!
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Old 01 Sep 2008, 12:49   #2 (permalink)
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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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Old 01 Sep 2008, 12:50   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Entry H - The Iron Cage (Pettsy)

Over the next week the positions of both sides didn’t change much, the fire of the Iron Warriors kept the Imperial Fists pinned in place. Even with their primarch leading them they couldn’t advance. The Iron Warriors assaults were repulsed time and time again; despite suffering horrendous casualties they killed a number of loyalists with each attack, numbers that couldn’t be replenished. So far not a single marine had managed to penetrate the defences and reach the Eternal Keep; that would soon change. Sergeant Nimund crouched next to the approach to the next trench. Peering round the corner he was surprised to find no enemies, they had had to fight through many enemies to get this far and it had cost them dearly; barely half the squad was left alive. He spun around the edge and into the next trench, above them was the southern wall of the Eternal Keep with its massive portcullis leading inside. He was under no illusions that they wouldn’t be able to kill Perturabo, if they could injure him or hold on long enough for Rogal Dorn to arrive then their sacrifice would be well spent. The ramp leading into the Eternal Keep was paved with bones and skulls. With bolters raised Squad Nimund advanced. There was an aura about the Keep that drained the warmth from everything, Nimund shivered. The squad entered the Keep and moved to the centre of the open area before spreading out in a defensive circle ready to engage any threats they encountered. A cruel, cold voice rang out. “Sons of Dorn! Welcome to the Eternal Keep, for centuries you have blindly followed the fool Rogal Dorn and the Emperor. You have been blinded to the Higher Powers of this universe, we their servants have had our eyes opened to the truth. Yet still you cling to your beliefs. And for that you will all be scoured from the face of the planet, your souls will be feasted on for the rest of time. Surrender now and you will be finished off quickly”.
Nimund stepped forth. “We will never surrender traitor. You have spat on your oaths and will be punished righteously for your errors. We are the Sons of Rogal Dorn, the Fists of the Imperium and we will never stop fighting you”! With a screech of crashing metal the gates of the Keep came crashing down locking them all inside. “Brothers for the honour of Rogal Dorn and the Emperor we fight and die”. With the hiss of hydraulics portions of the floor opened and a number of Dreadnoughts were raised into the arena. Around the roof of the Keep squads of Iron Warriors appeared hefting a number of ancient auto cannons. With frenzy the Dreadnoughts began to move towards Squad Nimund firing their weapons and howling as the havoc teams opened fire. Nimund and his marines replied with fire of their own.

The time had finally arrived. After four weeks of continuous fighting the end was here. They had neither the ammo or marines to continue holding their line, all around lay the bodies of their brothers lying where they had fallen. Everyone living had a number of injuries, were it not for their engineered bodies each would have died many times over the past month. Rogal Dorn raised his head over the top of the trench line, though he couldn’t see through the heavy rainfall he knew instinctively that the Iron Warriors would be amassing for their next and final attack. The Imperial Fists had hurt them, but not badly enough. Their own casualties were horrendous, despite bringing over five hundred loyalist marines to Sebastus IV barely a fifth of that number were still alive, each ready to sell his life as dearly as possible. With a grim finality the artillery from the traitor positions began to rain fire down on the loyalist positions again. “Brothers. Though we are far from Holy Terra and Him we will not falter and take a single backwards step. We will give Perturabo and his traitorous sons a bloody wound that they will never recover from. My sons, it has been an honour to fight and bleed alongside you. If this is our end we will take many of them with us! For His glory”!

At the same moment artillery shells began to fall amongst the survivors of Sigismund’s veterans. Gathering the few warriors he had left to him he planned to create a short front that no traitor would be able to cross with ease. This would allow each brother to cover those standing next to him. No fancy speech was needed; every one of them knew what was now expected of them. Each would gladly give his life for his brothers; there was no tighter bond of brotherhood than that shared by these warriors. With a slow inevitable the detonating explosives slowly began to advance on their position.

The Warsmith looked out of the gun emplacement with a look of triumph; he felt pride knowing that the task of finally killing the upstart Dorn had been given to him. He gave orders to the gun crews and they obediently carried them out knowing that the time of their victory had arrived. With an ear splitting crack each was fired, had the shell cases ejected and reloaded before firing again. It was the perfect sound to accompany what was happening. Would Dorn just remain where he was and wait for the inevitable end or would he lead his men in a final charge? It wouldn’t matter what he did, this was the time for his long overdue death. The Warsmith began to move back towards the command bunker, the best position to oversee this momentous occasion. As he punched the access code into the door control his shadow was thrown up against the door by a blinding flash of light, spinning around he witnessed the first explosion. He was under no illusion what would soon happen to this entire area, he wrenched the door open and threw himself inside the force of the next explosion shot him further down the passage as something exploded right near to where he had been standing moments before. Regaining his feet he began to run towards the command centre.
Dorn’s and Sigismund’s heads shot up at the same time. All of a sudden the rain of explosives had been cut off and explosions could be heard from the distance. The whine of jet engines streaked across the surface of Sebastus IV, seconds later a pair of Thunderhawk Gunships shot over their positions. Dorn was shocked, they were painted in the blue of their brother Legion, the Ultramarines. How had Guilliman known where they had gone to, he had departed without telling anyone where they were going; he had wanted no help in this task. The screaming of landing jets and the sudden dust storm that had been kicked up made him turn and face the Thunderhawk landing behind their position. The assault ramp lowered and another walking god joined the action on Sebastus IV; Roboute Guilliman looked exactly like Dorn had remembered him. Surrounded by a guard of his own veterans Guilliman strode up to his brother and helped him out of the trench line that had been his home for the past three weeks. “It’s a pleasure to see you’re still alive my brother. Though it was ill advised of you to leave without informing me where you were going, you know I would gladly have aided you in your task”.
Dorn replied sadly. “It was my task and mine alone Roboute”.
Guilliman’s face turned sympathetic. “I know brother. But I’m afraid this task has failed, we detected a large Iron Warrior fleet arriving insystem as we entered the atmosphere. We don’t have the time or resources to get our traitorous brother before they arrive. We must leave now”.
“I can’t leave. Not now, not after all the effort we have expended in the past month. Not after all we have sacrificed”.
“Dorn listen to me now! If you stay here you and your brothers will die. Think of what you and your men can do for the Imperium, right now I need everyone of my brothers to stand at my side for the glory of the Imperium. If we don’t stand together then everything our fallen brothers and father have sacrificed will be for nought. Brother I need you and your legion”.
Dorn sighed and his shoulders dropped. “You are right Roboute”. A moment passed before he spoke again, this time with a great sadness. “What have we gained here? What have I done”?
“What you needed to do. Now gather your men together and let us leave this place whilst we can”.
Gathering the few remaining members of his legion together Dorn led them onto the Thunderhawk. Sigismund did likewise with his men, joining the Ultramarines that had landed at there position. Guilliman was the final marine to step onto the Thunderhawk as it pulled upwards into the sky and rocketed away from Sebastus IV. He communed with his command ship and set the orders for their departure and return to Imperial space. Once this task was completed he moved towards Rogal Dorn. “Listen brother”. Dorn looked up. “I need your views on a tome I have been compiling since the heresy, it proposes some radical changes so that nothing like the events of yesteryear to happen again”.
“I will go over it brother. But I have a lot of work ahead of me, my legion needs rebuilding because of my stubbornness”.

With a snarling rage Perturabo smashed the tactical display with a single strike from his armoured gauntlet. He had dismissed the arriving fleet as nothing but a fruitless attempt to rescue Dorn, if he had known that the fleet had personally been commanded by his brother Guilliman, he would have given it a more serious look. He had let the opportunity to destroy two of the Imperium’s greatest heroes escape. There was a small glimmer of victory to be taken from this last month; four hundred Imperial Fists had died under the blades and guns of his legion. His sorcerers even now were gathering the fallen loyalist’s geneseed for sacrifice to the gods of Chaos. Though he didn’t worship any particular god; unlike his brothers Fulgrim, Mortarion, Magnus and Angron. He did know that it couldn’t hurt to please them and there was no greater gift he could offer them. He smiled, Dorn and his legion wouldn’t be a threat for many years and his legion had finally got the vengeance they needed. They could now follow their brothers into The Eye and calm a new world for themselves. They could now focus on other tasks.
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