The battle continues; war becomes mayhem. Xenos fall, only to rise again, and we grow ever wearier.
A bloody-handed she creature carves arm-long splinters from Mal's shield, while the skin-masked one strides forward with unutterable arrogance, spitting death from his hand.
A pair of their their troopers fall back before the Emperor's fire, but only to come at us again.
Away to the east, an obscene war machine stands inviolate before a barrage of rockets.
Let those who would steal our mercy learn that we have none left for them.
The line broken, our cover shattered, the medics are the front line now, our fighters skirmishers in the enemy ranks. Each falls and I pull up whom I can, urging them back to the struggle that they might get someone, anyone else back to their feet. Everything but the latest patient is just snapshots.
Sister H is a flame amid the darkness, her habit red with blood; I do not know if it is hers.
Io unleashes black flame upon a masked Eldar, who hurls it back in her face.
Tryskellan stands on the brink of madness as she carves at her tormentors.
Brad is losing so much blood that the grass where he has walked - where the ground is not yet trampled into crimson mud - is wilting under the deluge of Arborian gore, but he goes on.
Chappie looses the fury of his heavy bolter, barely slowing the tide.
Psychic force crackles from the Marshal, from Red, from the red-haired flagellant, until it feels as if the Dream is about to burst forth upon the waking world, and still the Xenos come.
Let those who would steal our thunder learn to fear the lightning.
I do not see them take Io. Perhaps it happened when I was binding the fractures in all four of Hastreme's limbs.
I am not sure anyone sees them take D'Emma. We only learn she is gone after we count those who remain.
I do see them cut down one of those who was brought for our protection, she having fled once more into the open ground in the grip of naked fear. The killer strikes and twists, drawing out the kill before moving on, sleek armour splattered with gore as the filth continue their dance of death. As graceful as they are depraved, they wallow in slaughter and cruelty; revel not in the glorious work of battle, but in sensuous actions divorced from reason or cause. It is not hatred of their foe that drives them to cut deep into our flesh, but the love of cutting: Decadence masquerading as barbarism.
I do seem them take Sister Iona. I open up on the one who carries her, plasma burning across his carapace, but his answering shot is too much. I fall, poison bladelets searing my skin like acid and a darkness settling over me.
Let those who walked with us once know we will ever follow.
And then light and sound return in a rush so violent that I am almost sent spinning back into unconsciousness. The sting of an injector and the familiar rush of Azoth in my veins drags me back and I am up, paying the favour forward and shooting stimulants and accelerators into the poor bugger lying next to me. I think it's Angstrom, and I wonder if he's worth it, but he's up and into battle with barely a backward glance. Whatever mistakes he may have made in the past, he fights the Emperor's fight today, and that'll do for me.
Thunder rolls across the field like a drum as the war machine topples, smoke and flame erupting from the war machine. Eldar howl in dismay and now they are falling as our fury waxes once more and the battle turns.
Did they take Jaxx before that? I hope not. I hope that it was her bomb that took the legs from under the bastards.
Let those who assail the servants of the God-Emperor know His wrath.
The field is ours and we fall upon it, barely a handful with the strength to stand. It is victory, but a fragile one, and I quickly rouse Tryskellan and the LC before going to work triaging the rest. Medics first; like the commanders they know how to get people going again, and we need to be up before the next bugger comes along.
One of the enemy moves, tries to attack. He falls under a flurry of blows and I add a shot of plasma to the effort. The last of the power cell goes on igniting the Archon's corpse, before the LC and Sister H pour the fire on to finish the job.
We count the cost. No dead upon the field from our numbers, but four missing; four taken to a fate worse than death: Io, Jaxx, D'Emma and Iona.
No one says it. No one has to. The question is how, not if. We will get them back, and we will make the bastards pay.
I shall fear no Ruin.
Thy light and Thy sword defend me."
- Psalm Imperialis XXIII
Player of Azariah 'Doc' Maccrade
- Azariah 'Doc' Maccrade
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