1500 points; Scorched Earth with 5 objectives
For a thousand years, the Lazarus Construct was the pride of Bethan V. A massive edifice, it was responsible for the creation of weapons and vehicles of war for the Imperium and the quality of its wares were renown throughout the entire sector. But in the Time of Ending, all good things turn to ash.
The 71st Grand Company of the Iron Warriors chapter have come to Bethan V and despoiled it, taking what they wanted and leaving the rest of the world to burn. The world’s cries were heard by the Angels of the Nine, a Dark Angels successor chapter, who have come to salvage what they can from the ruined world and take a pound of flesh from those who have destroyed it.
In the most northern section of the Lazarus Construct is a rearguard for the 71st Grand Company, the remaining chaos marines covering their brother’s retreat as the Iron Warriors leave this world behind. As they withdraw though, a task force of the Angels of the Nine arrives.
Angels of the Nine (Dark Angels)
Asmodeus: Counts as Belial
Gabriel: Count as Sammiel in land speeder
Terminator Squad Astaroth: 5 deathwing terminators with thunder hammers and storm shields
Terminator Squad Belphegor: 5 deathwing terminators with thunder hammers and storm shields
Terminator Squad Marut: 5 deathwing terminators with thunder hammers and storm shields
Tactical Squad Paimon: 5 tactical marines with flamer
Tactical Squad Thammuz: 5 tactical marines with missile launcher
Tactical Squad Verrine: 5 tactical marines
Brother Dagon, the Watcher: Dreadnought with ccw, flamer and assault cannon
Brother Mammon, the Seeker: Dreadnought with ccw, flamer and multi-melta
71st Grand Company (Chaos Space Marines)
Zehyc the Changer: Chaos sorcerer lord with mark of tzeentch, force weapon, combi-bolter, terminator armour, personal icon, bolt of change and doombolt
Kaal the Ancient: Chaos dreadnought with missile launcher and twin-linked lascannon
The Unhallowed: 5 chaos terminators with a heavy flamer
The Sin-eaters: 5 chaos terminators with a reaper autocannon
The Slayers: 7 khorne berzerkers and an aspiring champion with a power weapon, all mounted in a rhino
The Pestilent: 7 plague marines and an aspiring champion with power weapon, all mounted in a rhino
The Desecrated: 9 chaos space marines and an aspiring champion with power weapon, all mounted in a rhino with a havoc missile launcher
Halistar, the Bloodied: Chaos defiler with reaper autocannon, twin-linked heavy flamers
71st Grand Company (Chaos Deployment)
“By our lord’s word, this world holds nothing more for us. The loyalist dogs are upon us and we have been given the honor of holding them at bay while our brothers rejoin with the fleet. Leave them broken, laying in their own blood.” Zehyc’s words were heard in the minds of his men rather than the vox. A powerful Chaos sorcerer, he found technology to be a clumsy and unreliable beast, especially when he was looked upon so favorably by Tzeentch.
In the east, near the burning bunker, a rhino slowly rumbled forward. Within its plasteel and ceramite walls were the Slayers, a squad of berzerkers, worshippers of Khorne. They held their chain axes in anxious hands and had begun a low chant of ‘blood for the blood god’ that was slowly building, like the pressure of a storm. They had far from slaked their blood-lust on the serfs and servitors of the Lazarus Construct and sought the glory of battle with their loyalist brothers.
South of the Slayers lay the ruined command bunker that had lead the defense of this sector of the Construct. A few yards east of it paced Kaal the Ancient; a rarity amongst Chaos dreadnoughts, Kaal had not gone insane with his internment, making him less of a threat to Zehyc’s men and more of a threat to the enemy. Just south of Kaal, lumbered the corrupted Halistar the Bloodied, a blasphemous war machine possessed by a powerful and violent daemon. The defiler moved forward purposely on spider-like legs of warp-infused plasteel.
Just behind the south-eastern remains of the manufactorum, two rhino transports lay in wait. The furthest south rhino was rusted and pitted with what appeared to be diseased human flesh draped over it like a tarp. Standing motionless, silent and patient within were the plague marines known as the Pestilent. Their bloated, diseased forms had been blessed by Nurgle and could withstand horrendous punishment even though wounds to their rotting flesh would never heal. The other rhino was well-kept and adorned with symbols of Chaos and banners of the Iron Warriors and the 71st Grand Company. The chaos marines inside were doing last minute checks of their weapons and equipment, a mixture of anticipation and rage swimming through their minds.
Zehyc stood within the veil that separated real space from the immaterium, watching events unfolding; to his right stood the Unhallowed, a squad of veteran terminators, and to his left stood the Sin-Eaters, a squad of newly elevated terminators. Each of the Unhallowed carried a power axe with them and stood with the weapon strapped to their back, knowing the time would come to use it soon enough. They had known Zehyc for several millennia and trusted he would know where and when to use them. The Sin-Eaters, comparatively inexperienced, each held their power sickle in hand, ready to surge from the warp and slay all that stood before them.
Across the battlefield Zehyc had chosen, he could see a thunderhawk set down behind heavy cover and concealment. A wry grin crept across his face as he sent another message to the minds of his men: “The flies have arrived; the spiders are ready to hunt.”
Angels of the Nine (Dark Angels Deployment)
Asmodeus scanned the data-slate, poring over the ruins and natural terrain of the area the withdrawing traitors had chosen to stand and fight upon. The area was filled with rampant fires, smoking ruins and crumbling buildings. The billowing smoke would make ranged engagements difficult but there was no terrain capable of hiding a large force or ambush element. “I believe they mean to meet us head on, Gabriel. Their sorcerer is cunning however and if a trap has been laid, it is beyond my notice.”
A dry chuckle came from the other end of the vox. “Then I shall throw caution to the wind, Asmodeus. You have yet to lead us into an ambush and I do not suspect you will begin today,” Gabriel replied.
“When the thunderhawk lands, secure the storage tanks. We need to preserve any of the remaining promethium that we can. When the time comes, Astaroth, Belphegor, Marut and I shall make our entrance,” Asmodeus instructed before pausing for a moment. “And Gabriel, be careful.”
“The Emperor protects,” was Gabriel’s reply.
The thunderhawk touched down north-west of a large burning promethium-storage tank, the tank and its billowing black smoke providing ample obscurement for a safe landing. As soon as the hatch opened, Gabriel burst forth upon his heavily-shielded land speeder, heading towards the northern storage tanks, while Squad Verrine and Brother Dagon moved into cover behind the tanks. Meanwhile, Squad Thammuz moved forward and took up firing positions in the western storage tanks while Squad Paimon and Brother Mammon took cover behind the tanks, awaiting further orders.
Monitoring the battlefield from the chapter’s battle barge in low orbit, Asmodeus had already given Squads Astaroth, Belphegor and Marut the orders to head to the teleportation chamber. “Brothers, today the traitors will regret the day they forsake mankind. For the Emperor!”
71st Grand Company (Chaos Turn 1; Objectives: Chaos 0, Dark Angels 1)
Streak with blood and decorated with skulls, the Slayer’s rhino slowly crept forward, hiding itself behind the hill the burning bunker lay atop of. The Slayer’s had no wish to engage with the enemy until they could feel the warm blood upon their faces. Their position also allowed them to protect the rest of the traitors from being outflanked so the engine geared down to idle while they waited.
Near the manufactorum, the Pestilent advanced silently from their transport, moving into the manufactorum ruins and setting up sight lines to defend their position. Behind them, their rhino moved west, along with the Desecrated, hoping to outflank the loyalists across the field. Zehyc drifted slowly in the veil, examining the skeins of fate for what the battle held while observing the battle in his periphery.
After a sharp, sudden vision that left his vision blurred, he slowly looked back to Halistar. “Your glory will come at great cost today, great daemon,” he muttered. As though the great machine had heard him, Halistar lumbered forward, his battle cannon launching ordnance death from his chest. The first shot, fired quickly, veered off target, blowing up dirt and ash behind Squad Verrine on the far side of the field. The message was clear though: Halistar could see them and that meant he could hit them.
East of the commander bunker, Kaal advanced cautiously, sizing up each foe and determining an appropriate threat priority system. Although he wished to engage one of the Angel’s dreadnoughts and prove the superiority of Chaos, Brother Dagon and Brother Mammon were nowhere to be seen so his attention fell to the missile launcher within Squad Thammuz. The air hissed as his lascannon’s seared towards them but they had picked their position well and they were able to duck behind cover before Kaal’s weapon found purchase.
Angels of the Nine (Dark Angels Turn 1; Objectives: Chaos 2, Dark Angels 1)
Finding cover behind the northern storage tanks, Gabriel took a moment to assess the enemy as Squad Verrine and Brother Dagon fell in behind him. On the far west, his auspex showed Brother Mammon and Squad Paimon heading south towards the manufactorum. A bold frontal assault but one that could reap great reward, especially if Brother Mammon could bring his multi-melta to bear against Halistar or Kaal.
“They have a defiler and dreadnought covering their advance, Asmodeus,” Gabriel said into his vox, “perhaps you would like to say hello?” Gabriel could almost hear Asmodeus smile on the other end. Seconds later, it was Gabriel’s turn to smile. Just north of the Pestilent’s defensive positions within the manufactorum, a crackling field of blue energy filled the air, heralding the arrival of Squad Astaroth. In the south, only yards away behind Halistar, Asmodeus and Squad Belphegor’s forms materialized, their storm shields held in defensive positions, the energy from them crackling in the northern climates frigid air.
71st Grand Company (Chaos Turn 2; Objectives: Chaos 1, Dark Angels 2)
“So eager to throw their lives away, like dogs chasing meat into a fire,” Zehyc mused as he stepped fully into the realm of mortals, looking to the once-empty space where Asmodeus and Squad Belphegor were materializing. He raised his arm and opened his hand, unleashing a bolt of coruscating Empyrean energy. Just as Squad Belphegor came fully into form, the warp-bolt hit the torso and helmet of one of the terminators, swiftly filtering through the cracks, consuming the marine within before he could even scream.
By the time the terminators had realized one of their brothers had already fallen and noticed Zehyc, Halistar had already pivoted where he stood, bringing his cannon to bear against them. The ground around them erupted, blowing three more of the terminators to bloody chunks. As the smoke began to clear, Halistar charged into where his prey had been, finding the marines leader helping another terminator to his feet.
He stepped in and reached out with his claw, trying to snatch the loyalist’s leader and crush the life from him. At the last moment though, he glanced over his shoulder and, seeing the claw, dove to one side, pushing his battle-brother in the opposite direction. The battle-brother was still dazed and slow to react though and Halistar caught him before he hit the ground. Turning to face the marine’s leader, he slowly crushed the terminator he held while letting out an inhuman and soul-chilling bellow.
The marine’s leader did not break though, instead readying his storm shield and beckoning Halistar forward with his thunder hammer. Tossing the now-dead terminator aside like refuse, Halistar began his advance but was halted several steps when one of his right knees was buckled by a powerful blow, causing him to stagger. Quickly turning, he saw the remaining terminator raising his thunder hammer for another blow. Just as the terminator’s hammer reached the apex of its swing, Halistar raised his back leg and skewered the marine, pinning him on his leg and leaving him to bleed out.
Zehyc turned and looked on with sadistic amusement as Squad Astaroth was hardly faring any better. Upon their arrival, Kaal and the Slayer’s rhino had both fired volleys of fire at the newly arrived terminators and although their fire had proved ineffectual, it had left the terminators with their backs to the Pestilent. With careful aim, the Pestilent unleashed volley after volley with their bolters, aiming for what they knew to be weak spots in the tactical dreadnought armour. One bolter found a chink in a terminator’s neck, puncturing his throat. The terminator fell to his knees, grasping futilely as his life poured freely from his body. Another terminator took a bolter round in the back of the knee and as he feel, three of the plague marines focused on his helmet, destroying it and all within.
Another flash in Zehyc’s mind and he sense, before seeing, the western flank movement by the marines and ordered the Desecrated back to a more defensive position. The Pestilent’s rhino meanwhile surged out past the Squad Paimon and Brother Mammon, heading towards the northern storage tanks. It stopped abruptly in the center of the battlefield, just north of Squad Astaroth, and filled the area around it with smoke grenades, covering the area in a thick blanket of white smoke.
Zehyc looked around again, watching the terminator’s fall and smiled. “The Ruinous Powers favor us this day.”
Angels of the Nine (Dark Angels Turn 2; Objectives: Chaos 1, Dark Angels 2)
Having already lost two brothers, Squad Astaroth immediately turned their fury towards the Pestilent. With a cry of ‘for the Emperor’, they surged forward into the ruins of the manufactorum, bolt rounds ricocheting off their shields as they closed the distance. The first terminator to reach a plague marine swung a mid level, smashing the traitor against a pillar and spilling his innards to the ash-covered ground. To his right, another plague marine was nearly cut in half as the hammer crashed onto this shoulder and tore down through his body. The final terminator knocked aside the tainted poison blades of three defenders with a wide sweeping arc before removing the head of one with a follow up swing.
Just north of Squad Astaroth’s assault, Brother Dagon charged out of the cover from behind the northern storage tanks and into the bank of smoke surrounding the Pestilent’s rhino. He swung blindly, hoping to land a blow but none of his mighty swings connected.
South of the manufactorum, Brother Mammon rounded the corner. With a hissing sound, his multi-melta unleashed a torrent of super-heated air that tore through the back armor of the Desecrated’s rhino before they could outdistance the lethal weapon. As the traitors began to pile out of the ruined vehicle, the multi-melta caught the promethium lines and the entire rhino erupted, fragments and flaming debris all but incinerating the two Chaos marines still within.
Seeing Brother Mammon’s success advancing on the traitors, Gabriel ordered Squad Paimon to move east and secure the area near the burning bunker while he himself came around the eastern side of the storage tanks and began to fly south. Seeing the unprotected rear of the Slayer’s rhino, Gabriel smirked and pulled the trigger on his speeder’s assault cannon, easily piercing the chaos transport. As the Slayer’s began to pile out of their ruined transport, Gabriel opened up with his heavy bolter, tearing one of the berzerker’s apart while the rest dove into cover.
During his firing mission, Gabriel briefly voxed Asmodeus. “We have lost Squad Belphegor, brother? How is this possible?”
Asmodeus’ reply came in short bursts, punctuated with grunts. “Trap. Hidden sorcerer. Knew we were coming.”
The vox then fell silent as Asmodeus put all of his attention towards the task at hand. The daemon-machine was a deadly opponent, each blow capable of crushing a man and surprisingly fast and agile for something so large. The creature matched blows perfectly with Asmodeus, feinting, parrying and striking as well as he did. It only left one opening.
That was all Asmodeus needed.
Each time it struck, Asmodeus parried with his hammer or blocked with his shield. Then, it tried something bold. With both claws, it thrust down at him, expecting its superior strength to overwhelm him and crush him into the ground. But Asmodeus was the captain of the first company; a role not won easily, and would not be taken by sheer brute force. As the defiler’s claws were about to impact him, he leapt forward with all his might, using both hands to hurl his thunder hammer at the defiler’s torso. With a vociferous crack, the damon-machine’s armor shattered, its front buckling in.
Wasting little time, Asmodeus retrieved his hammer and ducked into the trenches beneath the now slain behemoth that stood, supported only by its own weight. For now, the defiler was slain but Asmodeus felt he had not seen the entity that had inhabited it for the last time. With a heavy sigh, he voxed Gabriel. “Our brothers have been avenged. They are with the Emperor now.”
71st Grand Company (Chaos Turn 3; Objectives: Chaos 1, Dark Angels 2)
With a steady gait, Zehyc turned and walked several feet towards Brother Mammon. Narrowing his eyes, he unleashed another bolt of warp energy from his hand, this one more focused and capable of boring through armor like it wasn’t there. The lumbering dreadnought managed to narrowly avoid the blast, which only seared off the outermost layer of the veteran’s thick adamantium plates. Unwilling to take his attention off the greater battle at hand, Zehyc ordered for the Desecrated to deal with the venerable loyalist.
Behind Zehyc and near the ruins of Halastar, the Sin-Eaters, mentally beckoned by Zehyc and eager to prove their mettle, stepped forth from the same aether-veil that Zehyc had hidden within and looked towards Asmodeus’ last known location. Just north of the same position, Kaal turned and unleashed a salvo of missiles at the darting land speeder of Gabriel but the powerful and ancient force field protecting it shunted them off to explode harmlessly.
The Slayer’s took the moment of Gabriel’s distraction as an opportunity and moved further behind the hill, staying out of line of sight from the coward’s firepower. Frustrated that he would not face them on in combat, they turned their sights on Squad Paimon as it advanced across the battlefield towards them. They looked to one another, instinctively knowing that each wore a smile beneath his helmet.
In the manufactorum, the battle between Squad Astaroth and the Pestilent raged on. The plague marines still outnumbered the terminators but their plague-infused weapons could find no exploits in the thick plasteel-and-ceramite armor and whenever there seemed to be an opening, the blade was knocked aside by the loyalist’s storm shields. Another plague marine was killed, his torso caved in by a thunder hammer and another fell as his lower body was sheared in half by a swipe of the battle-brother’s shield, the powered field tearing through the plague marine’s rotted body.
North of the manufactorum, Brother Dagon continued to search for the Pestilent’s rhino within the thick smoke cloud until the rhino’s pilot, fearing discovery, revved the engine and smashed into war-machine, shunting it aside and pitching towards Squad Verrine and northern storage tanks.
Angels of the Nine (Dark Angels Turn 3; Objectives: Chaos 1, Dark Angels 2)
“Sergeant Marut, we have inbound traitor traitors to my southern flank. Teleport in and intercept,” ordered Asmodeus as he crawled from the north end of the trench system and advanced on the chaos dreadnought’s position. As he moved, he looked over to Brother Mammon as the purifying flame of his weapon engulfed the squad of traitors between the dreadnought and foul sorcerer. As the flames evaporated, two of the traitors lay dead, their armor blackened and charred.
The remaining traitors stood their ground, opening fire even as the ancient war-machine crashed into their lines, crushing one rebel under foot and another with his massive power claw. As another chaos marine ran up on Brother Mammon’s flank, a krak grenade held threateningly in his hand, Mammon turned and backhanded him, shattering his skull and torso and flinging his body lifelessly across the field. Seeing there was nothing they could do, the remaining traitors turned and ran, leaving Brother Mammon staring down at Zehyc.
Risking a backwards glance over his shoulder, Asmodeus saw Squad Marut materialize behind the newly arrived chaos terminators. To the east, he saw Squad Paimon joined by Brother Dagon in their advance towards the burning bunker and smiled. He opened his vox-channel to all of his men: “The upper hand is ours, brothers. Press the advantage. Slay them all in the Emperor’s name!”
71st Grand Company (Chaos Turn 4; Objectives: Chaos 1, Dark Angels 2)
Deep within the manufactorum ruins, the Pestilent continued their now desperate melee with Squad Astaroth. Blow after blow fell from the terrible thunder hammers, fracturing and breaking bone, shattering pillars and driving the plague marines further back. One of the plague marines stumbled over a piece of debris and was never given a chance to recover as the terminator before him slammed into him shield first, driving him onto his back. As he the plague marine tried to bring his pistol up to snap off a shot, the terminator brought his hammer down on the traitor’s chest once, twice, three times, leaving a foul stain where the marine had been.
Another plague marine found himself caught between the two remaining members of Squad Astaroth and fell to blow after blow upon his racked body, eventually being broken apart. As the rotted, broken corpse collapsed to the ground, the two loyalists turned to look at the only member of the Pestilent left, the aspiring champion that had lead the squad.
Zehyc looked to the south, sending a mental warning to the Sin-Eaters of their new guests. The Sin-Eaters immediately turned and opened fire. Although Squad Marut’s shields protected them from the worst of the onslaught, one of the Sin-Eaters carried with him a reaper auto-cannon and the weapon’s massive shells tore through one of the loyalists, perforating his armor and flesh with ease. As the battle-brothers lowered their shields to begin their counter-advance, they were stunned; the Sin-Eaters had recklessly and enthusiastically charged them. With abandon and a sadistic glee, the Sin-Eaters crashed into their more experienced counter-parts, the element of surprise allowing them to sweep shields aside and gut the loyalists with their sickles. One marine had his torso cut open diagonally, another was slashed across the weakened neck area and another took a sickle through right-eye visor. Only moments after arriving, Squad Marut was down to two badly shaken and outnumbered terminators.
Looking back to the manufactorum, Zehyc saw that the Pestilent had lost a lot of ground and were down to their champion. Briefly, he paused to unleash a blast of concussive force that staggered Brother Mammon, causing him to reel backwards and nearly fall. He then sent a mental message to the Unhallowed: “Attack the false believers in the north. Slaughter the children where they cower.” He looked back to Brother Mammon for a moment, then into the manufactorum and strode in confidently, intent on ending the loyalist’s lives. “The power of chaos shall consume,” he whispered to himself, new warp energy gathering around both hands.
As ordered, the Unhallowed stepped from immaterium, their guns blazing as soon as real space became solid to them. Caught by surprise, Squad Verrine dove for cover but not before a heavy flamer from the Unhallowed engulfed one of their brothers, ending his life in seconds. At the sound of ambush, Brother Dagon turned to head back Squad Verrine’s suddenly besieged position but quickly realized his mistake. With his back exposed, Kaal fired his lascannons. The blasts hit true, searing through Brother Dagon’s back and bursting out of the front of the war-machine. Although the tomb inside was undamaged and Brother Dagon may fight again another day, the walker was crippled and out of the battle.
With Dagon destroyed and Squad Verrine pinned down, the Pestilent’s rhino continued forward, hoping to grind the loyalist’s beneath its treads but a stray bullet clipped one of the pilot’s and the transport lost control, crashing into the largest of the storage tanks.
Angels of the Nine (Dark Angels Turn 4; Objectives: Chaos 1, Dark Angels 2)
As the promethium-flames surrounding Squad Verrine died down, the squad stepped out of cover, unleashing a torrent of bolter fire upon The Unhallowed. Perhaps it was the fury of their counter-attack or the grace of the Emperor, but three of the renegade terminators fell to the combined firepower. Bolstered by their success, Squad Verrine began to slowly advance from their cover, fully aware that in spite of the kills, two traitor terminators still posed a dire threat.
As Squad Paimon continued their eastward advance, Gabriel steered his speeder towards the bunker, hoping to cover their advance. He unleashed torrents of fire from his autocannon and heavy bolter, tearing up the ground and forcing the Slayers to keep their heads down. His focus on what lay ahead, he barely noticed the traitor’s dreadnought unleash a volley of missiles. As he banked hard to the left, one of the missiles clipped his thruster, forcing the speeder to veer wildly downward. Pulling hard on the controls, Gabriel managed to level out just before crashing into the hill below the bunker, dirt exploding around the speeder as it skid to a halt.
In the south, Brother Mammon, having scattered the Desecrated, began to advance the foul sorcerer before him when a voice hollered into the vox, the voice of Asmodeus: “Gabriel is down, Brother Mammon. Head north immediately.” His orders issued, Brother Mammon gave the sorcerer another glance before backing away, turning north when he was a safe distance away.
Asmodeus watched as the chaos space marines continued their tactical withdraw, heading towards the great ships of the Grand Company, and moved to intercept. Just as they crossed by a bunker, Asmodeus stepped out in front of them, thunder hammer and storm shield by his side. Traitor or not, the enemy were still marines and immediately stopped and adopted firing positions, unleashing their bolters on Asmodeus. Gripping his hammer tightly, he let out a roar of fury and pitched forward. Round after round glanced off his armor and shield as he quickly closed the gap, swinging hard and shattering the upper body of the first renegade. The remaining four didn’t even have enough time to draw their swords before Asmodeus had destroyed them.
Within the manufactorum, the two remaining members of Squad Astaroth had flanked the Pestilent’s champion and assault in near perfect unison, timing their blows to keep the plague marine off balance. Somehow though, the foul traitor had thus far managed to parry and dodge each of their blows, even managing infrequent ripostes. Unfortunately, their co-ordinated assault would ultimately fail as the champion took a gamble. As one marine brought his thunder hammer in a high swing, his shield covering his otherwise exposed torso, the champion ducked and lunged forward, crashing into the terminator. The other loyalist watched in horror as the champion stepped back; although his body had crashed ineffectually into the storm shield, he had swung his plague sword around wide, driving it deep inbetween the terminator’s ribs.
Horrified, the final member of Squad Astaroth charged forward, somewhat recklessly and the champion, still calm and poised, grabbed the fallen marines thunder hammer and spun around sharply and low, taking out the other marines feet. The terminator tripped forward, crashing through a large pumping machine and came to rest with his storm shield scattered. He quickly regained his senses and reached for his thunder hammer but an armored boot came down on his wrist. Looking up, the champion stood above him, thunder hammer raised. “Go to your emperor, lap-dog” was the last thing the marine ever head.
Squad Marut, meanwhile, was holding their own as the Sin-Eaters sickles flashed and danced around them, hoping to find a weakness or opening. Back to back, the terminators circled, deflecting blows and swinging their massive hammers when the opportunities came.
71st Grand Company (Chaos Turn 5; Objectives: Chaos 1, Dark Angels 2)
Zehyc surveyed the battlefield. Knowing that his only task had been to delay the marines, he was quite pleased with how most of renegades in his command had performed, making the marines pay for each victory with blood. Just north-east of his location, he watched missiles and lasfire from Kaal explode around the remaining loyalist dreadnought, the unfazed war-machine lurching ever forward toward the Slayers. Smiling, he reached into the minds of the Slayers and delivered the message they had been waiting for: “The rats are in your nest, it is time to pounce.”
Unleashing a chilling war-cry of ‘skulls for Khorne’, the berzerkers burst forth from their cover, snapping off hastily aimed shots with their pistols; they did not mean to hit, just to force Squad Paimon to keep their heads down. And it worked; Squad Paimon barely recovered in time to receive the frenzied warriors charge. Chain-axes tore through armor, biting into flesh, rending plasteel and marine easily. The Slayer’s fought with daemonic ferocity, quickly and easily overwhelming Squad Paimon, leaving the squad sergeant surrounded by mangled, torn corpses. With blood and gore dripping from their axes, each of the Slayer’s slowly turned towards the sergeant.
Hearing the dreadnought approaching behind him, the sergeant began a tactical withdraw, firing his bolter in short, defensive bursts. His withdraw was not swift enough though and Brother Mammon watched as the berzerkers fell upon him, slashing and hacking with their axes until only pieces of meat remained. Upon finishing, the Slayer’s each looked up to the dreadnought and raised their axes, daring him to follow, before swiftly turning and running to the burning bunker.
In the north, one the Unhallowed recovered from Squad Verrine’s barrage to unleash his heavy flamer, sweeping back and forth over the area the marines were tucked within. As he did so, his squad mate moved forward swiftly. As the flame died down, the two marines that did not respond quickly lay as more charred bodies that crunched underfoot as the chaos terminator ran into the narrow corridor between storage tanks. As the loyalists crept out of cover, the terminator stepped in and grabbed one, smashing him against the tallest storage tank and driving his power fist through the marines torso. As the other loyalist leveled his bolter to fire at the terminator’s back, more flame poured into the corridor, all but incinerating the marine and leaving the terminator unharmed.
In the fray between the Sin-Eaters and Squad Marut, the Sin-Eaters had stripped both terminators of their shields and now toyed with them, feigning attacks and leaving false openings, daring them to attack. And each time the loyalists bit, another chaos terminator stepped in to easily parry the blow, making sure to remind them how futile their situation was. After one particularly daring attempt, one of the remaining marines lost his hammer, caught and torn away by one of the black sickles. The Sin-Eaters could have carried on like this all day until a mental order told them to finish the job. Disappointed, they all stepped back and the terminator with the autocannon held down the trigger until the marines had stopped moving, torn apart by the unrelenting firepower.
In the manufactorum, Zehyc nodded at the Pestilent’s champion as he handled the thunder hammer; his prize for vanquishing the two terminators. He began to walk deeper into the ruins when something drew his attention.
“Sorceror,” Asmodeus called “turn and face me.”
Zehyc turned towards the much larger terminator and cocked an eyebrow. “Your men are dying, captain. Where is father now?”
“Save your heresy for lesser minds. You will not draw out my anger.”
Zehyc smiled again. “Very well, fool,” he hissed, raising his force staff to point it at the captain, “come end your life.”
As Asmodeus charged forward, Zehyc unleashed a bolt of warp energy but his foe brought his shield up in time to absorb the shot. The warp-energy crackled and snaked over the shield, burning most of it away. Asmodeus threw it from his arm and gripped his thunder hammer with both hands, raising it overhead and throwing it with every ounce of his strength. Surprised by the bold maneuver, Zehyc shifted to the side, phasing partially into the immaterium. As his form became solid again, Asmodeus was on him, smashing his armored gauntlet into Zehyc’s face.
As Zehyc staggered backward, he swung hit force staff out. Asmodeus knew one touch of the weapon could destroy his mind and brought his forearm up to block it, kicking Zehyc in the stomach, buckling him over. As Zehyc stood doubled over, Asmodeus grabbed him by both shoulders and drove his knee up to Zehyc’s torso, driving him up off his feet and sending him crashing onto his back. Stunned by the furious assault, Zehyc tried to right himself but Asmodeus slammed his foot down on the sorceror’s chest and Zehyc could hear –and feel– ribs break.
As the marine leaned down, putting more weight on Zehyc’s chest, he spoke. “Your time is over, sorcerer. And as your life ends, so too do your men’s.” With that, Zehyc began to laugh.
“You have lost more men than I, captain. And you have little understanding of how favored I am by Tzeentch,” he said amused. “But you grow tiresome, lapdog so I shall take my leave.” With that, Zehyc reached out and pulled the tapestry around himself, disappearing into the immaterium. But even within the aether, he could hear Asmodeus’ scream of frustrated anger, his desire to avenge his brothers left unfulfilled.
And at that, Zehyc smiled.
Angels of the Nine (Dark Angels Turn 5; Objectives: Chaos 1, Dark Angels 1)
With the sorcerer vanished, Asmodeus retrieved his thunder hammer and looked to where the Sin-Eaters had slain more of his brothers. Gripping it tightly, he said a quick prayer to the Emperor and began to jog over to them. They quickly noticed and soon a hail of bolts and autocannon shells filled the air around him as he weathered the storm, trusting in his armor and the Emperor to carry him through. As he got closer, he broke into a full run, barreling into the group and smashing the reaper autocannon away from the lead terminator. Outnumbered and surrounded, he vowed he would have his vengeance.
As Brother Mammon moved towards the Slayer’s, he saw the chaos dreadnought step around the corner of the manufactorum, its weapons aimed in his direction. Quickly, he smashed through a crumbling wall of the manufactorum, narrowly dodging a missile as it streaked by. As he surveyed the interior briefly, he spotted the Pestilent’s champion as he came to inspect the crashing sound. Brother Mammon fired up his mult-melta and the hissing roar alerted the champion to dive for cover. The stack of old pipes and machine parts he dove behind proved insufficient as the pipes were almost instantly turned to boiling slag, washing over the plague marine and pinning him in place as they cooled. Satisfied, Brother Mammon looked back to the hill. Upon it, Gabriel had recovered in time to fire the still functional autocannon, gunning down three of the charing berzerkers and pinning them in their current position.
71st Grand Company (Chaos Turn 6; Objectives: Chaos 0, Dark Angels 1)
Seeing Squad Thammuz taking aim upon Kaal, The Unhallowed stepped back into the warp and charged south-west towards the marines position. As soon as they felt they were close enough, they tore through the fabic of the veil, covering Squad Thammuz’s location in fire. Heavily entrenched, Squad Thammuz was able to withdraw quickly and efficiently save for one marine who was caught in the open.
Heedless of the far western squad that had been aiming at him, Kaal strode quickly towards Gabriel’s downed speeder as its autocannon shots pinged harmlessly off of his armored shell. Without even firing a shot, he strode up to the crashed vehicle, raising his foot triumphantly before slamming it down, grinding the machine to wreckage. As he lifted his foot, he hoped to see the remains of the space marine but there were none to be found; as Kaal’s foot came down, Gabriel had been teleported away to the safety of the marine battle-barge in orbit.
With Asmodeus surrounding, the Sin-Eaters fell into the same game they had played with Squad Marut, hoping to prolong this one even longer. They feinted, feigned and baited Asmodeus repeatedly, trying to get the captain to make a mistake. As the game continued, the Sin-Eaters began to laugh, exalting in the power of outnumbering the loyalist marine. As one of the chaos terminators feigned an opening, another stepped in to parry the inevitable blow. They were caught off-guard as Asmodeus turned and smashed the hilt of his hammer into that terminator’s helmet, smashing the visor and face plate in. Stunned, the bait terminator tried to turn his feigned attack into a real one but Asmodeus was quicker and swung that hammer down, crushing his helmet.
The Sin-Eaters stopped laughing.
Angels of the Nine (Dark Angels Turn 6; Objectives: Chaos 1, Dark Angels 1)
As Squad Thammuz began to return fire on The Unhallowd, the marine with the missile launcher stood and shot a wild shot at Kaal that spun off, coming nowhere near the chaos dreadnought. It did however draw his attention though as he turned towards Squad Thammuz and aimed his lascannon. He stopped and then abruptly turned and began to move quickly away. Likewise, as Squad Thammuz fired upon the Unhallowed, they shimmered and disappeared back into the warp.
On the hill, Brother Mammon advanced on the Slayers who had begun a fighting withdrawal. Their pistols bounced harmlessly off of him as he trudged forward, more intent on reclaiming the land speeder than pursuing them. They were leaving and that was what mattered.
As Asmodeus readied himself to receive the Sin-Eaters counter-attack, they all stepped back several paces and faded from sight. Asmodeus looked around and, seeing the battlefield was clear, lowered his thunder hammer. “The manufactorum is secured. Recover our fallen brothers and let us leave this tainted place. Asmodeus, out.” He looked around the remnants of the field and shook his head slowly. They had won the day but at a terrible cost. The loss of fifteen veterans was what vexed Asmodeus the most. He looked skyward and could just make out the chaos fleet. “In the Emperor’s name, I shall have my revenge…,” he whispered to himself.
FINAL: Chaos 0, Dark Angels 1.
The massive iron door shuddered and began to slowly open, taking several seconds before the gap was wide enough for Zehyc to walk through. The boots of his power armor echoed off the steel grating as he walked, the metallic clang the loudest sound in the vast chamber that made up the battle-barge’s bridge. As he walked, he passed after row after row of servitors, hard-wired into the ship’s consoles, and the ambient sound of the chamber was made up of console clicks, data-slate beeps and the bass hum of machinery.
The entire front wall of the bridge was a colossal view screen, looking out in the vast emptiness of space as the ship led its fleet to whatever destination the Warsmith had chosen. The Warsmith himself stood in front of the screen, his arms folded in front of his chest. His name was Eisenkern and he was a massive man, even by space marine standards, and his ancient armor had not a scratch or dent upon it; not a testament to his upkeep but rather to his martial skill. He did not acknowledge Zehyc as he came to stand beside him but he had no doubt the Warsmith knew he was there. After several minutes of silence, the Warsmith spoke.
“Halistar has been bound again, I trust.”
“Of course, Warsmith. After this many centuries, the daemon is eager to rejoin the Grand Company,” Zehyc replied.
Eisenkern nodded once. “Your rearguard actions honor the company, Zehyc. You spilled the blood of many of their veterans, a wound not easily healed,” he turned and looked at the sorcerer “and you handled yourself well against their captain.”
Zehyc bowed slightly and smiled. “I believe I’ve made a new friend, Warsmith.”