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Delacross

Based off a tabletop battle

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Commander Azeriah stood atop a hill overlooking the battlefield. The terrain below him was not a terrain of his choosing, but it would do. Just days earlier reports of the splintered faction of Hive fleet Kraken began to pour in. An Imperial vessel was lucky enough to survive the encounter and their distress signal was picked up by the marines stationed on Picina V. The message was quickly relayed to Azeriah, knowing that no other force of Dark Angels could arrive in time to intervene. The threat was headed for Picina IV, a prime recruiting world for the chapter. The commander knew that any hesitation would result in the complete loss of an entire populated world, and shortly thereafter, the system itself.

Without hesitation, Azeriah had urged his battle barge, the Storm of Vengeance, with all speed towards the looming threat and by the blessing of the Emperor, arrived in time to combat the enemies of mankind. The tech marines had detected a mass of Tyranids gathering in a forest on the planet surface 12 kilometers from the most densely populated tribal area. The primitive humans on the planet would offer no resistance to the invading xenos, and with no Imperial Navy vessels in the area, the only hope for mankind stood in Azeriah and his Astartes.

The order was given to take up positions on a ridge line overlooking a narrow river, the only natural obstacle between the Tyranids and the biomass they sought to collect. With precision that bordered on the divine, Thunder Hawk pilots delivered the warriors of the Dark Angels unto the planets surface, and returned again to the battle barge awaiting their order to collect their battle brothers. Now, Azeriah knew, the moment of glory was at hand.

Within minutes the veteran commander saw the leading edge of the Tyranids pour fourth from the forest edge. Azeriah had faced many alien races in his long career as a Dark Angel, but none were as brutal or deadly as the Tyranids. To call them a race would be misleading, for they were nothing more than a group of monsters come to life out of a twisted nightmare. Every appendage on their bodies ended in sharp talons, or fierce bioweapons. Were Azeriah and his troops human, they would be succumbing to the terror such creatures inherently instill in the hearts of their prey. But the battle brothers gathered along this ridge line were not human. They were the finest warriors humanity had ever seen, hand picked and improved upon. Genetically altered to stand in the path of any threat to humanity and emerge triumphant. They were Space Marines.

Azeriah took one last moment to survey the scene below him before issuing his order. “All guns, open fire.” His voice was even and steady, the voice of a commander who had been in countless desperate situations and emerged victorious. With inhuman coordination, his squad commanders began directing their fire. The Devastator squad he had accompanied opened fire first, pouring plasma and rockets into the black morass of teeth and chitin that flowed forward like a wave of approaching death. The hilltop to the commanders' right erupted with noise as bolters rained down fury on the ravenous swarm. Azeriah could see the scouts who had infiltrated forward into the ruins of a long forgotten civilization pick their targets with deadly accuracy, while a tactical squad of marines guarded their rear.

Even with the torrent of firepower his men were unleashing, Azeriah realized they would soon be overrun by the vast numbers they faced. “Azeriah to Storm of Vengeance, orbital bombardment 800 meters southwest of my location, commit all salvos.” Within moments fire and light began pouring from the heavens, by order of their commander, raining the Emperors' wrath down upon the mindless creatures that sought to wipe all human life from this planet.

As the Storm of Vengeance continued its bloody work, Azeriah cast his gaze to his left, where his most battle hardened marines waited in their Land Raider, Calibans' Might, an ancient and revered machine of war. These were his Terminators, elite veterans of hundreds of battles and skilled warriors, each capable of bringing death to any of mankind's many enemies. Their leader was Zuriel, a powerful psycher, and a high ranking member of the chapter's librarians. Azeriah knew these, his greatest of warriors, would be pivotal in the outcome of this battle.

“Azeriah to Zuriel, what are Calibans' sensors detecting?” The commander knew that the mighty Land Raider's machine spirit had senses beyond that of any technology his men carried, and any advanced warning could turn the tide of battle.

“Commander, Caliban's' Might has detected multiple large lifeforms advancing on this position, also I sense the psychic connection these creatures share. It is attempting to cloud my mind with thoughts of despair and anguish.” The librarians voice was deep and calm, and relayed to the commander the unspoken reassurance that, despite the mental invasions of the Tyranid hive mind, Zuriel remained resolute.

“Zuriel, take your men and Caliban's' Might forward. Protect the flank and separate the enemie's front line from its reinforcements.” The plan was desperate but if it worked it may buy his marines enough time to thin the enemies ranks and fight a battle of their choosing.

“Praise be to the Emperor!” was Zuriels' only reply, but Azeriah knew it was an affirmation of his orders, and they would be carried out with a fervor beyond that of anything the mindless monstrosities they faced could ever hope to muster. The commander felt satisfaction well within him as he watched the ancient war machine thunder forward carrying Zuriel and his men into the fray.

It was then that death began to rain down on Azeriah and his men. Tyranid spore mines, globs of flesh and acid, smashed the cliff side both he and the Devastator squad occupied. The commander cursed himself for his moment of laxity and immediately set to work instilling the faith of the Immortal Emperor, savior of humanity, into his men. “We shall not falter this day! We are the Emperors' chosen, and first among his legions! We are the Dark Angels!” His voice sounded through the coms in each marine's helmet and its effect was unmistakable. Though battle brothers began to fall to the viscous liquid that splashed fourth from the Tyranids' living weapons, not one relented in his assault on the enemy.

With each moment that passed more and more of the creatures lay in smoking ruin. But for each beast that fell, some new horror took it's place. A monstrous creature emerged through the woods. It stood as tall as the trees and wielded scything talons as large as a man. Azeriah had seen these creatures before, and knew what its presence on the battlefield meant.... Death. This was a Carnifex, an elite shock troop capable of rending the thickest tank armor asunder. It's own hide was near impenetrable, and little weaponry his men possessed could hope to puncture it.

Azeriah's scout sergeant also saw the beast emerge and ordered his snipers to focus their fire. Each man picked out a weak spot where armored carapace was thin or cracked. With precision, they opened fire. A single bolt tore through a soft spot where a talon connected to a joint, but the creature seemed unphased by the wound.

Both sides continued to exchange fire, but the Tyranids bioweapons were inaccurate and incapable of penetrating the marine's power armor. The only threat remained the spore mines pouring from the sky. With faith in their God-Emperor unshaken, the marines systematically chose their targets and ended them with holy bolter fire.

The Space Marine commander looked across the battlefield and watched as the true threat appeared. A Hive Tyrant emerged from part of the ruins now engulfed in a Tyranid swarm, and with him came his guard, horrid creatures capable or rending a marine apart through his power armor without effort. This was the creature that controlled the rest of the swarm. This was Aseriah's true enemy. The beast briefly met the commander's gaze, its maw a horrible mockery of a smile. The moment was brief as it turned its attention to Caliban's Might, the Land Raider bearing Zuriel and his Terminators.

The Hive Tyrant leveled its horrific bioweapon, a cannon capable of spewing a toxic miasma that could melt through the mighty tank's hull. There was a brief moment of hesitation in the creatures eyes as it began to fire. The ichor struck Caliban's Might but seemed to do little in the way of damage. The Tyrant thrashed its head from side to side as if to shake off some invisible assailant. Azeriah knew whom that assailant was. Zuriel, from the safety of the Land Raider's belly had begun to wage psychic warfare with the enemy leader. The commanders faith in his Librarian was absolute.

Though his men had poured countless rounds of ammunition into the advancing horde, melee began to break out all around. The scouts were the first to become engaged. They battled blade to claw against a swarm of smaller beasts. The spores that continued to rain from the sky brought death to the Devastator squad that stood next to Azeriah. The flanks however remained strong and it seemed as if the alien threat would be contained.

It was then that the tide turned however. Lurking horrors known as Lictors began to emerge from hiding. One engaged the marines supporting the scouts, before they could come to the aid of their brethren, and began to exact its bloody purpose. Zuriel emerged from deep inside Caliban's' Might with his men to cut off the advance of the Hive Tyrant and his powerful warriors, but was quickly surrounded.

The battle seemed grim. Genestealers, a horrible Tyranid creation emerged from the cover of the trees and began to advance towards Azeriah, malice glaring in their eyes. Meanwhile spore mines decimated the marine's right flank leaving only Justus, the squads veteran sargent alone to fight a horde of savage beasts designed only for killing. The Carnifex, largest of the Tyranids monsters smashed it's way forward toward Zuriel, attempting to seal the Librarian's fate.

It was then that Caliban's Might seemed to take on a life of its own. The Machine Spirit that inhabited its venerable frame fired its assault cannons at the advancing Carnifex, tearing apart the beast's carapace with unerring accuracy. One of the marines inside climbed out of a hatch and manned the multi-melta mounted to the ancient machines hull. In a liquid blaze of cleansing fire, the giant beast thrashed about. Its death throes shook the ground and inspired all those who witnessed it fall motionless in a heap of gore.

The marines fighting the Lictor, now acting with the blessing of the Emperor, made short work of their adversary. But their victory was short lived as another of the beasts sprung forth from hiding and continued the carnage where its counterpart had left off.

Azeriah met the Genestealers with the vigor of a marine who has not known defeat in his centuries of life. In the distance on the hilltop he watched as Justus made his last stand against the tide of claws that looked to be overwhelming him. The veteran sargent chose his movements carefully and the Tyranids were unable to find a ***** in his power armor. He reached out with his mighty power fist and crushed the skull of one of the beasts as effortlessly as he might pluck a ripe fruit.


The commander continued to cut a path through his adversaries as he turned his gaze towards Zuriel. He watched as the valiant terminators succumbed to the huge beasts that surrounded them. But in the center of the horde the Librarian did not falter. Azeriah would not sell the lives of his men short, He knew that though they die this day,  they would have dealt a crippling blow to the aliens that sought to infest this world. Much of the population of Picina IV would succumb to the maw of these beasts, but they would have bought enough time for his brother Dark Angels to come and cleanse this world.

It was a horrid shriek that pulled Azeriah from his thoughts. He looked to the center of where the battle raged and watched as the Hive Tyrant bellowed the piercing cry. Though it appeared uninjured it backed away from the Librarian that continued to assail its guards. The commander turned his gaze to the hilltop where Justus still stood slowly and methodically thinning the swarm that surrounded him. The creatures suddenly broke away from the lone marine. Without hesitation Justus leveled his bolt pistol and picked off three more of the beasts as they fled.

Azeriah finished the last Genestealer with a mighty cleave of his power sword and watched as Caliban's' Might tore asunder a Tyrant Guard that was poised to end Zuriel's life, with the war machine's deadly assault cannon. The hive Tyrant and its remaining guard backed away from the melee, casting one last glance across the battlefield at its most hated enemy. The remnant of the Tyranid army slunk back into the woods following their controller.

With apprehension, the Space Marine commander surveyed the battle field. The bodies of his enemies littered the ground all around him. Charred by plasma and torn by bolter fire, the scene was of pure and utter carnage. But it was not the bodies of his enemy that Azeriah lingered on. It was those of his fallen battle brothers. Each a stalwart warrior who gave his life to defend humanity. The chapter's losses were heavy, of that there was no doubt. The price, however, was worth the reward. Picina IV was safe, and in turn, the future of the chapter was secure.

Azeriah looked to the sky and said a pray to the Emperor. “The fallen shall be forever remembered.”

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