Iron Warriors – 13th Black Crusade First Aftermath

This is quite simply a link between the first battle and the next, a huge 12,000 points Planetstrike battle that took the better part of two nights to almost finish. I will, of course, add the story of that one soon(tm).

– Aftermath –

Vhalett hated waiting. His squad waited beside him, and they hated it almost as much as he did. All Iron Warriors were well trained for sieges, but they hated waiting. And Vhalett hated it more than any other warrior in his company. It was probably what set him most apart from his Lord. Warsmith Iapethon was the most patient warlord he had ever seen. Well, except during that last battle, when he rushed to fight that damned White Scars commander.

And he definitely paid for it. The Tech-Priests were even now still working on his bionics. But he was still alive, and still conscious. And when his sorcerers brought him the message two days ago, he almost got off the operating slab. An alliance of chaos warbands was attacking Belis Corona. They had infiltrated the world and were even now preparing sacrifices for a huge warp gate that would allow an fleet of ships to enter the system directly through the warp, thus opening the way to the system’s shipyards and indomitable star fort.

But the Imperium would not be idle. They were even now preparing a strike force that would invariably find and try to destroy the gate, so they began to build defences. And they knew they stood a much better chance with the galaxy’s best siege troops directing the defensive preparations. While Belis Corona lay almost on the other side of the Eye, the sorcerers assured him a small force could be sent through the warp. Among the invading warbands on Belis Corona was a small cabal of Thousand Sons sorcerers and, between them and the Warsmith’s own, a portal could be opened for a short amount of time that would allow a small force to jump through space and time and join in what was going to be a glorious battle.

Iapethon of course wanted to be there himself, but the techpriests had still a lot of work to do before he could fight again. Begrudgingly, the warsmith appointed Vhalett to go and oversee the fortification. The master sergeant’s extensive experience was second only to his own. And to tip the scales a bit further on their side, Iapethon allowed his terminators to go as well, along with a teleportation device that could be installed in a safe place away from the battlezone.

Vhalett realized he was shown great favour through this assignment. And a part of him, deep down inside, was almost… eager. The fight would undoubtedly be hard, but the glory would be great as well. And it definitely beat staying on this rock overseeing mining operations and waiting for the tech priests to finish working on the warsmith’s body. But he hated waiting.

The sorcerers were still performing their damned ritual. It had been two hours since Vhalett, his squad and a regiment of slave troops had gathered on the site, waiting to step through to another world. The terminators were there as well. They had arrived before Vhalett, and had not moved at all since. For all Vhalett knew, they could be asleep in their armour. Or, more likely, watching him and his warriors. They will undoubtedly do their best in the coming battle to slay as many loyalists as they can get near to, but they would also be watching him, and reporting everything to the warsmith.

His brooding was suddenly interrupted by a strange, sonic boom. The sorcerers were reaching the peak of their ritual. Thralls were being sacrificed in the middle, their life blood flowing eerily outwards on thin, flowing tides. The warp was permeating reality. With another, louder boom, the thralls collapsed in spasms on the ground. Some were breaking apart. Some were mutating. One of them seemed to… disolve while another just… vanished steadily. Vhalett hated the warp almost as much as he hated waiting. Then a pinprick of what could be described as dark light appeared above the ground. It started to spin, slowly at first, then faster and faster, erratically shifting it’s orbit. As it spun faster and faster, it grew and left small traces behind it. The traces grew into pinpricks similar to the first and began to spin themselves as well. Soon, the pin pricks had grown into spheres as big as a human skull and unavoidably began colliding and merging with each other, gathering more and more speed until they became a huge sphere of shifting darkness, slowly stabilizing and then thinning into a hair-thin disc. The sorcerers spoke their final incantations and the dark, oily surface resolved into the image of a polluted, blasted landscape. Far into the background, a great grey hive rose into the dirty sky, half lost in smog. Vhalett knew its name – Tetra. That was where he and his men would build fortifications that the Imperium would break itself upon.

One of the sorcerers turned to Vhalett, and with a tired but extatic voice he said ‘It is done, Master Sergeant. But you must hurry, the portal will not be stable for long. Go swiftly or some of you may become lost in the Immaterium should the portal collapse prematurely.’

‘Finally. Iron Warriors, we move.’ Vhalett went first into the portal, moving through what felt like a murky force field. In that split-second between worlds, Vhalett got a strange sensation of falling though a bottomless pit, surrounded by leering faces that jeered, cackled and roared at him. The sensation dimmed when he felt his right foot step on the grey-brown earth of Belis Corona. It took considerable willpower to move his other foot, but once he came fully through the portal he felt the warp grudgingly let go of his soul. Shaking off his confusion, Vhalett kept going forward, somehow feeling others following him through the portal. Strangely, he realized he could recognize the malice of Dehrec behind him, an aggression melded with analytical ambition. As he moved further from the portal, Dehrec disappeared from his mind and Vhalett resisted the urge to turn around and face the killer behind him. Instead he looked around at the Thousand Sons arrayed in front of him and thought ‘This… will be interesting’.

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