Monday, January 4, 2016

40K: Iron Hands mini-story

Just a quick flash piece I did for writer's group, but focused on something from 40K. And it actually links to the Lords of Oblivion, but I'll get to that part later. Story below!

“A monologue reminiscing about or explaining something the character regrets”

I was there the day Ferrus Manus fell in battle. A living demigod, the very embodiment of strength and unbreakable resolve, a slayer of Ork warlords, the Diasporax fleet, and countless other xenos terrors, struck down by the closest and dearest brother he had. A fellow god made flesh that he had fought alongside for centuries, shedding his blood to protect him time and again.
We fell upon Isstvan V with the fury of vengeful brothers betrayed by our kin. Tens of thousands of gene-hanced warriors, in black, sliver, and green, filled with little more than rage at the treachery wrought by those we thought were brothers only weeks before. I fell to earth in a screaming drop pod alongside Ferrus Manus, watching as he clutched a gleaming sword that seemed to burn with its own fire, that gleam reflected in his depthless silver eyes.
At first, the battle had gone in our favor. The X Legion, my Legion, the Iron Hands, formed the tip of the spear, driving into the heart of the traitors. We stood against the Emperor’s Children, their purple and gold armor already warping into clashing hues as they fell into orgiastic service to a dark god of desire.
The battle raged with a fury never before seen by the galaxy. Hundreds, if not thousands, of warriors across both sides were falling every minute. Enough firepower to annihilate a solar system was brought to bear in a single vast valley. At the forefront, my lord Ferrus stood, wielding his greatest weapon, the hammer Forgebreaker, destroying Emperor’s Children all around him with every swing. He was the fury of our world Medusa given form, molten and unstoppable, strength and endurance unending. Even my own advanced physiology felt fatigue at the intensity of the battle, but he never once slowed or seemed to even contemplate falling back. With single-minded fury, he closed on his target: Fulgrim. The primarch of the Emperor’s Children, another god made manifest.
Where Ferrus was raw strength and fury, Fulgrim was elegant perfection. The two battled and roared their hatred at each other, the noise somehow carrying over the clash of battle around them. I tried to stay near my lord, but the swirl of combat carried me away and I was forced to defend myself through whatever means necessary to stay alive. I felt an itch in the back of my skull, as suppressed power within my mind yearned to be free. But I ignored it, duty overwhelming my instincts, and suppressed the power with my will.
I’m not sure whether it was coincidence or the sheer force of fate that caused me to look up at that moment, but as I did, I saw the head of my lord cleaved from his shoulders, and the body collapse. Like a tidal wave, the psychic backlash ripped out across the battlefield, and all the Iron Hands around me staggered as if physically struck. I was not exempt from this blast of power. Pain and rage scorched my mind, all-consuming in its presence. Some of my brothers turned into screaming berserkers, all sense of self-preservation, and perhaps even coherent thought, lost.
I nearly fell to my knees. The sight of such a magnificent figure, a being whose very existence inspired me and millions others to push ourselves further, to endure any hardship for the sake of a better future for mankind, being struck down was almost overwhelming. Despair threatened to consume me.
I don’t know whether it was some unbreakable core of willpower or the rush of power being unlocked as carefully erected barriers in my mind were shattered, but I rose to my feet and I could feel psychic energy suffuse my being for the first time in many years. With an outstretched hand, lightning bolts erupted from my fingertips and reduced every Emperor’s Children warrior within twenty meters to smoking ash and ruined armor.
Rage filled my heart, and despair at the sudden loss of mankind’s best hope, but I was a son of Ferrus. I would not yield. Never.
One of my brothers was nearby, on his knees and clutching his head. I strode over to him, and aggressively lifted him to his feet.
“Can you fight?!” I screamed over the roar of combat. The battle of Isstvan V was lost. We needed to withdraw before we were overwhelmed, but we would not simply turn and run.
“Yes...Yes, brother,” the other Iron Hand said. I could see his resolve returning just by my contact, and I knew I could count on him for the rest of this battle.

“Then do so,” I said.

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