The Chronicles of Mateus: Ch. 2

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The Chronicles of Mateus: Ch. 2

Post by Doomaflatchi on Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:56 pm

Note: Chapter 1 can be found here. Comments appreciated.

Justicar Darius screamed his contempt at the foe, his spirits soaring in time with his Psycannon’s thunderous chant. On the field before him, his psychically imbued bolts tore apart the swarms of daemons before him. Claws and spines exploded in holy fire under his torrential assault. Around him, the fellow Purgation-Brothers of his squad added their fire to the storm, their interlocking kill-zones cutting down all before them. The physical and psychic screams of the warp beasts as they felt the Emperor’s vengeance was like a hymn to the Golden Throne.

But Darius was not content. This was not his task – these chaff were only in the way of the real target. Though happy to be killing the spawn of the dark powers, Darius breathed an inner sigh of relief when the tell-tale popping sound filtered in through his helmet’s auto-senses. He called a cease fire just as the blue flashes appeared in amongst the daemon throng. Out of the flashes stepped armored Grey Knights, his brothers in arms, the psychic Astartes whose mere presence was anathema to the daemonic. The daemons spun, impossibly fast, to meet the foe suddenly in their midst, but it was too late. With bolter and blade, the Teleport Squad engaged the foe without mercy, shouting prayers to the Emperor all the while. With the threat engaged, Darius and his squad pulled back and resumed moved east, towards their target.

The commander is playing this one tight, thought the Justicar. The carefully orchestrated attack patterns of his brothers were pulling the daemon guard away, leaving a narrow path through the scarred earth before him. Hurrying down it with his squad following behind him, Darius tried to make up for lost time.

He heard a monotone voice speaking behind him. “Tactical Subject 429-JS7 life signs confirmed. Begin the procedure.” He tried to turn to face the voice, but he was unable to move.

There, before him, Darius could see the target. The Daemon Prince stood high on the horizon, head and shoulders above even the largest of his guard. Pustules and open sores riddled his torso, and clouds of flies as thick as smoke drifted around his corpulent face.

Darius hurried towards the beast. Elsewhere, he knew, other Purgation Squads were picking their way through the pathways opened up for them by the bulk of the force, all converging on this, the primary target.

Cacklewrack the Black, Herald of Nurgle, Incubator of the Zombie Plague. If he were not dealt with here and now, the entire Segmentum would feel the blight of his pestilence.

The voice droned on. “Neural activity heightened, but within parameters. Psychic linkage stable. Initiating recall sequence.” He felt a sharp pain then, stabbing into the base of his skull, and his mind was washed with fleeting sensations – giant piston-powered legs lifting up, and cold air on metal skin. He tried to scream, but his lungs were filled with fluid.

Before him, Terminators dueled with the Prince’s guards. To the north, Darius could just make out the form of the newly-appointed Grand Master engaging the foe, and ahead of him he could see the bulk of Cacklewrack’s personal forces being diverted to meet this threat.

Good, thought Darius. Everything was going according to plan.

With the bulk of the Prince’s bodyguards diverted by the selfless feint of the Grand Master and his Terminators, the trap was sprung. Darius and his squad, along with six other Purgation squads arrayed across the blasted plain, tightened the noose on the Daemon Prince. As they came into range they began pouring fire into the beast, and the daemon screamed in agony as two score streams of sanctified psychic shells poured into his putrescent flesh. Its guards were out of position, and could not defend it now.

Cacklewrack, however, had not gained the high rank of Daemon Prince by being weak. The daemon spun, swinging before him a gnarled, rusted blade the size of a tree trunk. Darius’ fellow Grey Knights were hewn apart for meters in every direction around the blade, the acidic fumes eating through armor and boiling away flesh before the blade ever struck.

Another voice spoke now, this one deeper and full of life. “Good. Let him fight with the weapons of his living service – let him take the battle to the enemy with Psycannon and blade.” Whirring sounds came to him muted, as though from far away, and he felt pressure all around him. Just when he could endure no more, the pressure relented, and suddenly he felt whole again.

Hurling psychic abuse at the daemon, Darius pushed forward. He could feel the monster’s form weakening under the continued assault, but his brothers were dying too quickly. A cold determination settled over him.

They weren’t going to kill it in time… unless someone did something desperate.

With grim resolve, Darius shouldered his Psycannon, drawing his Nemesis Sword from its sheath at his hip as he charged towards the foe. As he reached the daemon he reversed his blade downwards in a double-handed grip, stabbing down into the Prince’s gnarled toe with all his strength.

Cacklewrack screamed in pain, more annoyed than actually hurt by the Justicar’s pinprick. With a backhanded strike, he sent Darius flying, his sword wrenched from his grasp by the unholy strength of the assault.

He crashed to the ground, dazed, trying desperately to gain his bearings. In slow motion, he could feel giant fingers wrapping around his torso, and he briefly wondered if he knew what he was doing. Then the world sped back up, and the fingers tightened around him, crushing the wind from his lungs.

The Daemon Prince lifted Darius up to its face, smiling cruelly at the struggles of the Astartes. Darius’ brain was on fire, and he struggled to stay conscious. The buzzing of the flies was thunderous, and he could feel the poisons coating the daemon’s fingers eating away at his armor, melting it to molten slag against his chest.

Cacklewrack brought the Grey Knight towards its lips and opened its mouth. Its forked tongue, covered in open sores and malignant tumors, reached out to caress its newest meal tenderly. As the appendage slid across Darius’ face, he could feel his skin blistering, and could taste the venoms that even his gene-enhanced immune system would be helpless against.

It didn’t matter to him. Pushing aside the pain, he forced his arms to work. His chance was here, and he would not waste it. Pulling his Psycannon down from where it was still strapped to his shoulder, he used his last remaining surge of strength to push the holy weapon into the daemon’s open and waiting mouth. Cacklewrack’s vile yellow eyes widened, suddenly aware of the danger it was in, but by then it was far too late.

“For the Emperor…” he spoke through gritted teeth, and pulled the trigger.

The mechanical voice spoke again. “Revivification complete. Reactor online. Awareness reactivated in 3… 2… 1…” His world spun, and he felt his consciousness slam back into his body.

Memories rushed in to fill the holes. His victory over Cacklewrack… and all the battles since then.

He lifted himself up on piston-driven legs as big around as a Terminator, and hefted the weapons at his side. The air was cold against his metal skin, and his detached senses reached out to fill his body once again.

He felt his life returning to him, and he remembered who he was – what he was. Since that day, he had marched on battlefields uncounted, and the forces of the warp had learned to fear his new power.

He was awake. He was the Emperor’s might made manifest. He opened his eyes, and looked out on the world with eyes that were not his own, and saw. He was a Grey Knight still, and his duty was not yet complete. He would hunt the daemon wherever they could be found, and he would cleanse them in His holy name.

The Dreadnought Darius looked down upon the form of that same newly-minted Grand Master before him, though he was older now, and had learned to bear his responsibility like a mantle instead of as a burden. Turning on a servo-balanced waist joint, Darius regarded the man in front of him with a face as impassive as if it were forged of metal – which it was.

”It is you.” Darius rumbled.

Grand Master Mateus nodded solemnly. “Yes, it is. I have need of you again. I am taking a strike force into the Eye of Terror, and I require your skills.”

”You did this to me. You denied me my rest.” It was not said as an accusation, but merely a statement of fact.

Mateus nodded again. “Yes, I did.” Drawing his sword from its sheath at his side, Mateus raised the blade towards the Dreadnought in challenge. “The remnants of the cult that summoned that Daemon Prince have risen again, and I go to meet them. Will you fulfill your duty? Will you help me cleanse the daemonic, and those who suffer their ilk?”

The Dreadnought was silent for a long moment. Then, slowly, it lifted its left arm. Gears whined and servos hissed as the former Justicar raised his psychically imbued blade in salute.

”For the Emperor.”

Doomaflatchi
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