Friday, January 3, 2014

Raiding Iothas - Part 3

The tension was palpable among the squad of chosen, the silence the choice that they had all unanimously agreed upon - unspoken at all costs.  Nervously they walked forward, knees bent, crouched in the shadows as much as possible.  This served two purposes: first of all, it would hopefully allow them to approach the Eldar position unnoticed and allow them to take the filthy xenos by surprise; the second function kept them out of the attention of the two commanders in their midst.  Sorcerer Yurfalk's foul mood tainted every move he made, facial expression, grunt and curse uttered.  He jerked around as he talked to himself, muttering about authority and some other things about orders and hierarchy.  Lord Bontav smoldered, his eyes an inferno, his bearing overwhelming, every step seeming to leave cracks in the concrete.

Explosions went off far off to their right, screams following, the crash of hundreds of las-guns being fired, the sporadic volume of ork 'dakka'.  None could remark on it though, not if they valued their lives.  In absolute quiet they clung to cover and advanced, Lord Bontav only occasionally giving further orders to the squad of chosen or over the comms unit in his helmet.  The 'disagreement' between the sorcerer and the lord had been about mission objectives and deployment of troops.  The sorcerer had wanted to kill all of the xenos on the planet, and perhaps negotiate with the other chaos present on the planet.  The lord however wanted to only do what was needed on Iothas as he had been ordered to, securing the supplies and only killing as necessary.

Nyrtus gave a start when Lord Bontav ordered their halt, wondering what was happening.  He nervously checked his bolt-pistol, sliding the ammo cartridge in and out with a click.  He noticed on his tactical display in his own helmet that they were waiting for some other troops to arrive at their own destinations.  In this industrial portion of the planet he knew that the bikers had needed to weave in and out of many alleys to avoid walls of rubble or massive pits in the earth that would easily swallow their vehicles.  Suddenly there was a boom and thud just over his left shoulder, but he knew what it was even before he glanced that way.  The ferocious Helbrute had plowed through a wall and, seeing some enemy that Nyrtus hadn't noticed, fired its multi-melta, the searing substance zooming past and partially blinding the champion as it found its destination and a resounding explosion could be heard, followed by what was likely the targeted vehicle (for the explosion denoted the target to be likely some sort of hovercraft) was brought to the ground.

Swearing, Lord Bontav ordered the absolute charge of the Chosen and the Sorcerer, and damn it all if the bikes didn't make it in time.  Roaring their battle cry, "Death to the Virtuous!", he and his comrades burst from their cover to a scene of complete chaos - and not that of the warp.  The burning wreckage of some sort of skimmer was visible, its landing into an industrial complex's wall leaving flaming debris everywhere.  Eldar were dashing around, their complex formations not instantaneously discernable, some rushing past the destroyed vehicle, others crouching around an unidentifiable artifact, more deploying out of transports and scrambling up to higher levels of surrounding buildings.  There were a few transports and skimmers covered with heavy weaponry that soared on past, but most seemed to be turning and facing the Helbrute.

Unfortunately for him though, Nyrtus and his Chosen were in between the Eldar forces and the Helbrute.  Suddenly a fusillade of shots spewed out from the Eldar, the vehicles and infantry unloading everything they had.  3 of his Chosen fell to the shots, crying out in agonizing pain as they were left behind.

"Feth it all!  They're using poison!"

Nyrtus shouted to Lord Bontav and his squad, as well as Sorcerer Yurfalk.  And then in a moment there was no time to speak, no wondering what the Helbrute was firing at, or what those other sounds of shots going off were aimed towards or where they even came from.  Around the corner of that industrial complex with the burning skimmer, the enemy suddenly rushed past and they were in a fatal melee, every moment that of life and death.  Strange blades wielded by horned adversaries faster even than the Chosen were thrust towards him at every moment, the swinging and stabbing motions barely fended off by Nyrtus' parries and instinctive defense.

Who knows how long he stood there, watching his remaining Chosen fall even by his side, unable to help them in his own struggle for survival.  He barely registered the presence of an Eldar commander - an Archon he thought distantly - matching Lord Bontav strike for strike, or the swift flashing of Sorcerer Yurfalk wielding his force weapon with deadly skill.  Out of nowhere a blade blossomed out of his stomach, and suddenly he was falling off of the klaive, hardly breathing as he slumped against the nearby wall.

Given his moment of respite, even if he wasn't likely to survive it, he was able to tune out the clash of power sword on klaive, the agonized cries of these horned warriors cut down by the Chaos Chosen who were diced by others in turn.  Nyrtus fought the rising fog in his mind, unwilling to slip away as Lord Bontav fought against the shimmering Archon by himself, fighting against a shimmering shield and simultaneously turning aside the deadly weapon the Eldar wielded.  One by one the Chosen fell, their armor unable to hold off the unknown blades, until only the Sorcerer remained, defiantly holding off all the remaining warriors single-handedly.  With flowing movements, almost invisible to Nyrtus' blurring vision he forced back the Eldar, while still the Lord fought against the strangely invincible Archon.  But then in one moment it was over, and Lord Bontav slid his power sword into some part of the glowing field and gutted the Eldar leader, and let him fall to the ground already dead.

The two commanders then stood back to back as the strange warriors gave them a small bubble of space, appreciating how deadly the two were.  Nyrtus could do nothing but try and hold his innards together.  He felt more than saw the bikes rumbling closer, and they careened into his vision past the horn helmeted xenos and zoomed further on.  He could see them being beat upon by hundreds of shots by the enemies, but they would not fall as they seemed to fly towards the Eldar huddled around that artifact Nyrtus had already forgotten about.  Round after round they fired, and even as more Eldar poured in they simply sent off more shots and then crashed into them, those 3 bikes seemingly against every Eldar not fighting the Lord and Sorcerer.

And even that number had risen.  With a howl that shook him to his bones there were scantily clad xenos leaping about and whirling around the already exhausted commanders.  Nyrtus recognized them, for he had faced some like these in the past, though that had been a campaign many years ago.  Eldar wyches, their swiftness a far greater armor than flak and sometimes even adamantium.

The two commanders did not give in though, not after all the battles they had fought in the past, not when their cause was still unfinished.  With renewed vigor the two clashed with the Eldar swarming them, something like 20 Eldar against the 2 of them.  But they would not give an inch, and the two danced the deadly choreography with the xenos, stepping in time with the enemy blades and swaying left, and right, then left again, and slowly but surely they started to cut them down.  The Eldar fell one by one.  Try as they might to kill the Lord and the Sorcerer though, the Chaos Gods must have smiled on them - not that the Virtue Forsakers particularly wanted their blessing (but it was never discarded either) - and the two sliced through the filthy creatures.  When the Eldar had realized they were lost, they tried to turn and run but the two had no mercy, and coldly cut them down in their efforts to scramble away.

Somehow in the commotion the Nurgle bikers had slain dozens and dozens of other Eldar, and several vehicles lay inert clearly of their working - the presence of melta was clearly missing.  But alas they had fallen as well, twitching in pained agony as even their heightened resilience was unable to protect them from the deadly poison these cursed Pirates utilized.

Nyrtus shuddered as the Helbrute trudged past, noting the almost casual loping the commanders adopted as they moved on.  The battle was not over yet, but Nyrtus' part clearly had ended.  He plummeted into the darkness of unconsciousness as his wounds overcame him.

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