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Mission III: The Spire

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It has been only a few days since the Kill Team had walked the planet Eleusis, destroying the enemies of the Imperium. The battle had been fairly routine albeit unusual, although that is normal when facing Orks. Each of the members had been going about their own personal business since that mission.  Skold was busy admiring his trophies while drinking pint after pint, with no effect due to a Space Marines physiology. Vlad had been scouring over his books but found himself distracted by cleaning and polishing his gear. Broteus had been in the Armoury every day, testing and cleaning the gear and weaponry thoroughly. Rune was busy maintaining the Thunderhawk as well as various systems, trying to coerce the machine spirits to work harder and more proper.

Each of them was interrupted by a servo skull, bringing them a message from Magnus that they could not ignore. They were to assemble in the Armoury and discuss their next mission. Each, within their own times and manners, made their way to the to the room, curious as to what foes they would slay next. Broteus hoped it would be psykers of some type, for his Chapter hunted them to all corners of the known verse. Vlad hoped the Orks had started anew so he could awash himself in the blood of his favored foe. Skold merely hoped that it was big and nasty, a worthy challenge to his prowess.

Once they had all arrived inside the confines of the Armoury, the Imperial Fist Veteran Magnus gave them the mission details. "Hail, Brothers! It would seem that the Ork menace on Eleusis was not to be your last time planet side.  While the strike team was hunting the enormous beast you sighted, they stumbled upon a decrepit tower. Normally, this is a common sight on feudal worlds such as this one but the peculiar design is what prompted an investigation. The locals in the area, nor the scouts, had ever seen this spire before, as if it suddenly appeared overnight. The citadel is out of place due to its decor and build which means it is not from this world, and also means it is most likely a warp anomaly. The strike team is still under orders to hunt the aquatic giant, so the original Kill Team will be deployed to discern, and if necessary, destroy what lies inside that tower. Be wary, there are already reports of strange occurrences, signs of Chaos. Many of the locals have gone missing and no one can confirm if they left or went into the spire. For this mission I allocate you each fifty requisition for this mission. I also appoint Brother Broteus as Squad Leader due to his exemplary performance and guidance in the previous mission. Gear up and may the Emperor protect you. Dismissed!"

"I recommend Kraken rounds be supplied to each member," Broteus said as he gathered his bolter and grenades. "In the event we face any Chaos Space Marines or Daemons. I also invoke the Oath of Loyalty, may our cohesion hold firm even in the face of heresy. Gather your gear and meet in the docks for departure." The others followed the Tactical Marines orders, knowing that this was an all too familiar foe, a twisted image of what can happen to those who are not strong in both body and mind. With their weapons and tools chosen, the Angels of Death made their way to the Thunderhawk and departed for Eleusis once again.

Brother Rune pilots the transport ship down to the planet once again. This descent is more ominous though, a warp anomaly such as this could only be the beginning or a trap as well.  The Space Marines ride in silence, each checking their gear and readying their minds for what horrors may lie ahead. They may be assaulting the tower physically but the spire could attack them mentally, a battle harder to fight for those less pure of heart and soul. Broteus was adept at facing the forces of Chaos but he knew better than to underestimate its power. Orks were wild and unpredictable but Chaos was cruel and cold, breaking even the strongest of Space Marines with troops needed.

Rune lands the ship on the outskirts of the town, the tower looming over it, it's ancient exterior displacing it even more than the massive presence it emits. The few villagers the team notices quickly dart off into homes and buildings, leaving only a small child to greet them. "Welcome, my lords," the small, dirty blonde girl says, staring up at her saviors. "May we assist you in any manner?" Broteus stepped forward and knelt down, his large frame still bigger than the girl at this height.  "Tell us child," he asked in a calm tone. "What do you know of that unusual building?" The girl shudders at the sight of the dark citadel but musters an answer. "The tower appeared without any warning, any noise, or any disturbance. Our town has been afraid to approach, although some have entered yet they have not returned. Some say whispers and howls have been heard but not all can confirm that rumor. So far, nothing has exited the building, but we are still wary of its wicked watch."

Broteus thanks the child and tells her to return home. As she scurries away, the Kill Team turns to one another for thoughts and ideas. "I do not like this," Broteus stated, gripping his weapon tight as he gazed at the old tower. He could feel it watching him in return, the dark exterior pressing on him like gravity. "Ha!" Skold exclaimed with a rack of his heavy bolter, stepping forward and spitting at the towers exterior. "Chaos hides behind illusions and whispers but in a fight they are just like the rest, flesh and blood. You pups can wait in the Thunderhawk if you please, but I am going to send that tower back to wherever it came from, piece by piece if I must."

"I agree with Skold," Vlad said suprisingly, the others shocked by his admittance. "With me here, the Warp and chaotic pressures can not affect you. I am a Librarian, Brother Broteus. My powers are more terrifying and more powerful than those of heretics. Let us press on and be done with this annoyance." Skold shook his head but moved up with Vlad towards the heavy plated doors. Broteus paused a moment to gather himself before putting his mind in tactical mode. "Brother Rune," he voxed to the lone pilot. "I want you to stay and watch the perimeter. Deploy a tarantula turret just in case we become overwhelmed, either inside or outside of the spire." Rune voxed back a simple confirmation and began to setup a defensive point. Broteus steeled himself and approached the others at the entrance.

Broteus gives Skold and Vlad the signal and the two press on the doors. The two heavy doors open with ease, yet the scraping noise they cause disturbs the stillness inside. Layers and layers of dust suggest none have set foot here in decades, maybe even centuries. The round tower seems only to be home to bookshelves and what appears to be an endless staircase. "Secure this room," Broteus ordered, eyeing the surroundings as he shut the doors behind them. Vlad walked the walls, now and again inspecting the books contents. Skold met him from the other direction as he swept the room, his trigger finger at the ready. "Do those pages reveal anything?" Skold asked, keeping a watchful eye on the room. "I do not recognize these markings," Vlad replied, shaking his head and replacing the book from where he pulled it. "This room yields nothing. No information and no enemies." Broteus nodded in agreement then pointed to the staircase. "Then we climb the tower," he said as he motioned them over. "Let us see what lies at the top."

After ascending the stairs for a few minutes, the three men find another set of heavy doors waiting at the top. This time, Broteus and Vlad pushed the doors open, allowing Skold and his heavy bolter to enter and sweep first. The large, dome shaped room is adorned with nothing. No marking, no sigils, nothing. The only object in the room is in the very center, a large slab with some sort of sword. It glows with a faint blue hue, barely piercing the shroud of darkness that clouded the room. Broteus voxes for Vlad to move up and inspect the item, at the same time motioning Skold to cover him. Broteus stood at the doorway, watching the stairs for any ambush.

As Vlad reached for the glowing sword, a voice echoed through the room. "Come to claim your precious relic blade have you? Revealed into your plane have we?" the heinous voice said, the source unknown. "Escape you shall not! Reclaim you must not!" From the darkness, a Chaos Sorcerer emerges, the darkness flowing off of him as his staff clicks upon the ground. He slams the staff down upon the floor, a wave of energy blasting outward and knocking Vlad and Broteus prone. Skold remained unscathed, being too heavy and previously braced to fire. "HERETIC!" the Space Wolf screamed, his fangs glinting in the dim light. Pulling his finger back, the heavy bolter illuminated and shattered the darkness, exploding the spot the witch was standing on.

Vlad and Broteus quickly regained their footing and prepared to fire upon the Sorcerer as well but there was no trace, the building stood undamaged by the bolter assault. Laughter echoed through the room just as the voice had before, the blue sword still lying untouched on the slab. Vlad grabbed up the sword and readied himself for another attack, but nothing happened. The sword glowed softly and calmly, the room equally as calm now. "We must slay that heretic," Broteus exclaimed, his bolter at the ready. "Let us descend and scour this building for his whereabouts. He must be hiding in here somewhere."

The Adeptus Astartes trio quickly move down the stairwell, the entry room unchanged from when they entered. Before they are able to fan out, the furthest wall explodes open, fire licking and engulfing the books and walls. Three Chaos Space Marines wielding flamers exit a hidden passage, wildly burning all in their path. The flames barely touch the three men as they unleash a wave of exploding shells at their twisted brethren, felling them as fast as they had appeared. "I feel a presence from that path," Vlad says, eyeing the hidden passage, his powers pushing against that of the Sorcerers." Without delay, they dart into the revealed stairwell, spiraling down towards unknown horrors.

As they reach the bottom, the Kill Team feels the building shake and shudder as the heretics fire compromised the towers structure. A set of heavy doors greet them as before, Broteus and Vlad once again opening the way for Skolds devastation. The room inside was like a mirror of the previous one, the only difference being what was on the slab: a large tome. Before the men could fan out in the room, the sinister psyker appeared, wasting no time in surprising them. This time, he extended both arms, a portal tearing open at both ends. This left the Sorcerer vulnerable but he was no longer alone. Four creatures, two from each portal, tore their way into reality. Pink Horrors, creatures devoted to Chaos God Tzeentch, daemons capable of warp shielding and warpfire.

Broteus managed to react before the others, ignoring everything but the Sorcerer. "Die, witch!" Broteus howled, squeezing the trigger of his bolter. The Chaos fiend was an easy target, being caught up in a summoning of the twin portals. Round after round tore through the evil psyker, but still he stood firm. As Broteus attacked the Sorcerer, Skold braced and unloaded on the two closest targets, shredding one to pieces while the others dark gift protected it. Opposite the Space Wolf, Vlad raised a hand and fired a crimson bolt from his sword, slaying both Horrors in one shot.

Broteus' continued fire was finally wearing down the psyker, his riddled body beginning to slump and give way to the attack, still keeping the portals open miraculously. Skold barraged the surviving Pink Horror but was still trying to break the veil it had surrounding it, all the while the remains of the first slain split into two new creatures: Blue Horrors, lesser versions of the original. At the same time, the two Vlad had slain arose, this time blue and four strong. He managed to smite on before they sent warpfire and claws flying his way, their bodies a mere maw with claws and feet attached.

Skold changed his target, not being able to break the shield, shredding the new Blue Horrors that had grown from the slain one. A shot of warpfire blasted his armour, searing his shoulder as he took the pressure off of the shielded daemon. Grimacing, Skold ignored the pain, destroying the two lesser creatures with a fury of bolter fire. Broteus changed tactics and hurled a grenade over the slab, landing it between the shielded horror and the Sorcerer. The explosion rocked both fiends, shattering the shield around the Pink beast and killing the psychotic psyker finally. Skolds fire finally overwhelmed the beast, blasting it to pieces, as well as the two that attempted to birth from it.

Vlad dodged and slashed as he charge the blue creatures, cutting one in half as it leapt at him, grabbing the other as it gnashed and clawed wildly. With a thrust, he stabbed through its open mouth, ending the creatures attack and life. As he tossed the body away, the last standing daemon fired at Vlad, piercing his left leg and dropping the Blood Angel to one knew. Before Vlad or the Blue Horror could act on one another, Broteus shot one round into the body of the beast, exploding it instantly.

Broteus looked the men over, eyeing their wounds and conditions. The building shook even worse now, rubble falling beginning to fall around them, the tower collapsing in on itself from the unholy fire above. "Take the sword," Vlad barked at Skold. "I must carry the book. I fear it may be too corrupt for either of you." Skold grabbed up the large, musty book and traded Vlad as Broteus helped the Blood Angel up. "We have to move," Broteus commanded as the structure fell down around them. Skold took point as Broteus aided Vlad up the unstable staircase.

The three battle forged souls raced out of the burning building, bursting through the front doors into the courtyard of the village. Outside, an unexpected and gruesome war raged on. Civilians were being slain by followers loyal to Chaos, molding the dead into strange effigies and symbols. Rune's voice exploded over the vox midsentence "...Need backup! I repeat, I need backup! Does anyone read me?" Each of the men were briefly bewildered by what was happening. How could they not have heard this? 

Vlad spoke first on the matter, wincing in pain as he stood on his own. "The spire must have been enveloped with a spell or power," he said, readying himself for the sudden onslaught. "We had no idea this was going on outside so long as we remained inside.' They could see, through the smoke, debris, and bodies that Rune was piling up quiet the stack of kills, between he and the tarantula turret. "We must reach the ship," Broteus barked, reloading his bolter with a fresh clip. "I am not sure how long Brother Rune has been under siege, and we need that vehicle if things become dire." 

Ignoring their wounds, the Kill Team moved side by side swiftly towards the Thunderhawk. They not only had to dodge enemy attacks but also pieces of the citadel as it fell down around them. Through smoke and fire, the three Space Marines maneuvered through the war torn village, killing marauders and acolytes by the dozens. As they neared the edge of town, they were intercepted by a squad of Chaos Space Marines, who did not hesitate to fire upon them. 

With no cover, the men were forced to stand their ground and try and outlast their enemy. Skold was able to fire a dozen or so shots off before the enemy bolters assaulted his armour, breaking bones and shattering his pauldron. Before the Space Wolf fell though, he had turned two of the heretics into a carpet of gore with his immense firepower. Broteus knelt down and fired his bolter fully automatic, drawing a line up one of the Chaos Marines and splitting him in two. Before he could adjust targets, the last foe returned fire, blasting open Broteus' chest plate and wounding him deeply. Vlad was slow to react due to his wound but was able to manifest a blood lance from his sword, the crimson bolt ripping through the Chaos Marines upper body and killing him instantaneously. 

Using the cover fire from the turret, Rune rushed over to the wounded men, searching Broteus quickly for his Narthecium. Vlad helped up Skold while Rune aided Broteus, giving each of the men a shot of the drug. "This will speed up recovery of the wounds as well as give them a stouter endurance," Rune spoke as he administered the drug to each of them as they trudged toward the ship. Just as they were boarding, the turret stopped firing, finally dispensing its last rounds. Rune hurried them onboard then scanned the area for enemy activity before boarding the ship. Through all the haze and hellfire, Rune could make out no signs of movement. Not from survivors or fiends. With the relics reclaimed from the tower, and the tower destroyed, Rune felt it best to escape and return later rather than lose everything and gain nothing.

The Stormwarden climbed into the pilots seat and lifted off, rising above the once simple village, now wreathed in flame and buried under an ancient bastion. Rune had barely gotten them in the air before an explosion rocked the vessel, sending it plummeting to the ground violently. He was able to keep the ship level but the speed and spin shattered and twisted the vehicle into an unrecognizable form, tossing the Battle Brothers about inside the hull.

Broteus and Skold were the first up and aware, thanks to the Narthecium injection dulling the pain and powering their pain threshold. Quickly, both men knew this was a grave situation, seeing the status of the ship and noticing enemy movement outside. Broteus began to lay cover fire through the wreckage, using it for cover as best he could. Skold checked Vlad's condition but was struggling to rouse his mind. Rune awoke in the cockpit to bolter fire, snapping his senses sharp and placing him on alert. Using his mechadendrite arm, he pried the metal around him away, allowing him to enter the rest of the ship.

Brother Broteus fired round after round, slaying acolyte after acolyte, but still more fell upon their position. As he fired through the mangled ports, a swift, red figure darted passed him. Before he could realize what it was, he could feel a searing pain in his arm, the sting of a warpblade. He snapped his view to the back hatch which lay wide open, the culprit now entering the vehicle through that spot. A Bloodletter, the swift, deadly melee daemons driven by the Chaos God Khornes bloodlust. As it stepped further into the wreckage, a flash of energy maimed the creature, smiting it harshly.

Vlad had awakened, and he was angry. As a large group of heretics closed in on the downed Thunderhawk, the Librarian pushed with all of his might, carving a path through the horde assaulting them. The group suffered heavy casualties, the blood lance cutting a swath of gore through their impure bodies. The enemy remnants dispersed in fear, disappearing into the smoke that loomed around their destroyed transport. Each time he unleashed a power, the men felt their hair raise on their bodies, as well as the air grow frigid.

With all of the men up and mostly able, they began to focus their firepower on anything that emerged from the black smoke surrounding them. Skold, even with the Narthecium, could not wield his heavy bolter and was therefore reduced to using his bolt pistol. He and Rune took one side of the wreckage while Vlad and Broteus watched the other side, each alternating fire on the droves that funneled out of the haze.

Rune fired out upon the marauders, thinning their numbers with every round. A sound nearby made him peer towards the ruined cockpit, where he could see a Bloodletter quickly dash in through the cockpit and close on him quick. It ran its blade through his stomach, snarling and slashing with its claws in addition. Its victory was not so easily one, fore Rune was more machine than man. The wound was deep but not fatal and he responded with his own melee weapon. The mechanical claw attached to his back snatched up the ugly head of the daemon and squeezed, crushing the skull of the hideous beast. Rune tossed the body before falling down himself, his flesh overcoming the metallic portions.

Skolds bolt pistol was running low, and his fellow Marine had just been wounded grievously. He could see another Bloodletter working its way into the ship through the cockpit but as he fired upon it the gun ran dry, killing the beast with the final shots. As he turned for a weapon, he saw Vlad unleash another bolt of crimson devastation upon the encroaching hordes, only this time it pushed back on him. The force of his power vaulted him against the wreckage, the damage placing him in suspended animation until he could recover.

Skold and Broteus were the only two able bodies left to fend off the enemies. Skold glanced back at his side and saw that the enemies were all dead or gone, leaving only Broteus' side to defend. As the two men rallied together, the battlefield grew silent. Skold's senses were keen but due to the amount of blood and fire, he could not tell if the enemies had retreated or if they were setting up an ambush. "Cover me, brother," Skold said sternly to Broteus as he moved to exit the ship. Broteus complied and readied his bolter for any advance or ambush.

Outside the ship, Skold looked about for signs of enemy movements but could discern little. The smoke was heavy and thick, obscuring his senses including his visibility. So far, the coast was clear but they would need to act fast if they were to escape to a better vantage point. Skold went to the port where Broteus was aiming out of and glanced in to give him the situation. Broteus did not as Skold approached him, not even turning his head to look at him. Then, Skold saw it, the blade that was thrust through the Black Templars chest. Broteus slumped over as the Bloodletter withdrew the blade, licking the blood from its wretched exterior.

Skold could hear the enemy approaching now but he no longer cared. If this were to be his moment, then they speak of it on Fenris for a millenia. He grabbed the relic blade and he was carrying, the blue glow now glowing brighter. He walked to the end of the ship and met the exiting Bloodletter, slashing through its neck before it could even leap at him. With the daemon slain, he turned his gaze upon the area he could hear the enemy dwelling inside the smoke. He took a few steps then increased his gallop, piercing the black veil with sword in hand, slashing and stabbing at all he encountered. 

The enemy was unprepared and unequipped for melee combat with a Space Marine, their firearms failing to prevail in close quarters, especially in the cover of the dark haze. Skold cut down thirty three men in total before the smoke cleared, revealing the area to him. His eyes burned from the smoke but he could see the perimeter now. Miraculously, those men were the survivors that had gathered together, probably for one final assault. His eyes felt heavy, his body felt drained more than any battle he could remember. He looked down at the sword, now glowing a deep red. His eyes widened, realizing what he was carrying, and what he had used. It was no relic blade, but a chaos blade. A corrupt weapon forged by the forces of Chaos. They were trying to reclaim their own weapon, it was no wonder they threw so much at them.

Skold returned to the ship and voxed for a pick up for the stranded team, wrapping the blade in rags as he sat down inside next to the others. He looked over each of them and nodded at their resilience and abilities. These pups had all nearly been slain, as had he himself but this had been a mighty battle, one he was very proud to be involved in. He would have to wait to gloat to the others though until after they were released from the infirmary, assuming they recovered at all.

Skold sat inside the damaged Thunderhawk, licking his wounds and watching the perimeter for transport, or terrors. He would guard this area as a wolf guards its den. He would not waiver in the face of defeat, or in the grips of chaos. He is a Space Wolf, an Adeptus Astartes, a Space Marine. He is steel. He is doom. And he knows no fear.



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