T H E C U L T O F U G - Q U A L T O T H
The warriors that the cult now mustered, were as different from the raiders Iron-Jaw once had lead out of the Pitt against the Scrapper-Union, as steel was to copper. For Iron-Jaw had seen the army of the Cult turn from the very rabble that had fallen like flies in Indianapolis, into a force that did not need to hide from the legion or the brotherhood of steel! In Cleveland, the warriors of the cult had been fearsome, yet then they had been without the monolith. Nowaday, each and every warrior had layed his eyes on the black stone, heard the whispers in the back of their mind and taken deep breath of the Miasma.
For raiders could not lay hidden, while their gang was picked apart, tormented and broken on crosses. Fear would overtake them, stripping them of their will to fight. They would crush under the burden of war, like vermin facing a true beast. A strong enough master, willing to use exessive force, could hold them in place, yet in the end, they never would be reliable to fight or follow orders in a true war. They were rats, while a Cult warrior was a half-mad dog on a leash. Wild, mad and unbroken, yet only half so. He could march, follow orders and think like a soldier. It was only when he was cut lose, his lungs filled with the miasma and his fury would overtake him, that his commander was no longer his master. He was a wild beast at this point, yet also the most effective shock infantryman short of a man in power armor or a super mutant! With the Miasma in his lungs, he no longer cared about wounds, the concept of mercy as alien to him as any thought short of cutting his enemies throat.
Had Iron-Jaw five thousand, he knew he could retake this city! The narrow streets with its ruins and tunnels were familiar ground, their ground. The warriors would fall onto the Legionaries in ways that would make their discipline and formations nearly useless, before hacking them down like lambs to the slaughter. It would have been a mighty slaughter, bringing honor to the monolith and the prophet, yet Iron-Jaw had only four-hundred men...
The Legonaries turned, yet not fast enough, as the giant molerat came upon them. A rain of claws and fangs came down on them, as the rider broke out behind it, from the rubble that had hidden the entrance to the tunnels below. ""PH´NGLUI SOTH! SLAUGHTER THEM ALL!""
A machete collided with the Warleaders armor, as Iron-Jaw turned, ramming his head against the Legonaries, the wet noise of a shattering nose filling the air, before he leaned over him, ripping open his throat with a ferocious bite of his iron jaw. The taste of blood send a shiver down his spine, as around him, his warriors broke out from the holes and tunnels. His hands twiched to join them, as he heard the screams, the warcries and the roaring of their cutter guns, unloaded on the ambushed. His own mount, snarlled as it feasted on the two corpses below it, ripping out pieces of bloody meat from the legonaries it had crushed below its paws. It would be so easy to join into the slaughter, fight and die with the warriors..
For Iron-Jaw had not taken the Miasma, his mind remaining cool and clear. There was no victory in Indiapolis, not for him, or his men. Their assault would take them by surprise, if none of the raiders had talked too early, which he was certain they would, but the moment their Miasma would run out, their exaughtion would set in and their momentum would be lost, their deaths were certain!
A grin moved over his bloodied lips, as he looked at his warriors, coming upon the legionaries and soldiers of the brotherhood from holes and rubble, tunnels and sinkholes. Firing down from the upper levels, while others charged forward, sharp machetes in hand. Others already had found themselves in bloody melee, their re-breathers filling their lungs with the blessed Miasma and their hearts with mindless fury. One was ramming his cutter, fixed with a bayonet over and over into the belly of a Brotherhood soldier, while another rider of a giant Molerat was breaking out from the entrance of a building, its beast snarling out loudly, while he lashed left and right. Across the street, he could see a bundle of grenades being tossed down, into a confused mass of soldiers, who were reduced to ash in the explosion of green fire.
For the first time in the war, both Legion and Brotherhood were facing the real soldiers of the cult. No mad cultists, fearful raiders or half-hearted raiders, but the warriors who had pledged their souls in front of the holy monolith itself. Armed and trained in the holy city itself and veterans of the war of the capital wasteland. More MFC grenades flew through the air, engulfing the ambushed enemy in flames of green fire, before more warriors broke out from a ruin, where the rabble had been placed to hide an opening to the sewers. Soldiers trying to pull their wounded comrades to safety were hacked down from behind, while two who tried to surrender in pure panic were beaten to death with their own weapons.
Iron-Jaw could watch the mayhem till its end, when the enemy would rally fully, and push back his men, where they would be isolated and cut down. It would be a triumphant death, a last show of force...yet he was not to die yet! The Prophet would need him, and fresh troops would wait for him with the main cult army! Wiping the blood from his face, Iron Jaw mounted his giant Molerat, before turning it over. He had chosen a handful of companions for his way back to the main army, a small guard of veteran warriors, reliable and seasoned, all on mounts . The beasts could easily make way over impassible rubble and so the group quickly vanished away from the madness, lead by the Warleader, who with a heavy heart cursed his duty to the prophet. A single, measly kill in such a battle, was nothing that would bring him any honor...
Rumbling down a slope, and through a burned out ruin, they once more were on a side street, yet Iron-Jaw could hear a noise above them. A noise he knew well from the campaign in the capital wasteland. "Watch the sky, brothers a..."
Then, for a moment, the incredible happened. Iron Jaws group, halted to watch the sky for the Vertibird, suddenly heard a noise near them and as they turned their heads, a group of horsemen came past them. The snarling of their own Molerat mounts made them easy to spot, and for just a moment, both groups just glared at each other. Then Iron Jaw broke out into a wide, bloody smile.. They were outnumbered by the horsemen, yet their mounts would not be used to the sight of gigantic, hairless rats, bloody and terrifying! Their riders were little less fearsome, their heavy metal armor decorated with spikes, skulls and other body parts, while their faces where half hidden behind rebreathers and helmets, equally decorated with spikes. "FRESH MEAT FOR THE SLAUGHTER! AT THEM!"
So they charged, howling like demons, waving their blades in an clear challenge, lead by Iron-Jaws blood smeared bold head.
when you will hear this recording, i will had done a terrible, yet necessary deed, that will most likely will see my name forever become a synonym for treason. Future generations will denounce me as the man who stabbed our republic in its back, when it was on its knees, an legacy i will rightly deserve. As such, this explanation, will be just for your ears, my beloved daughter, not to justify my deeds, but so that you may find peace, in understanding why your father, did what he had to do! I hope, that one day, you may see things with my eyes, maybe even forgive me for my actions tonight!
I share the blame on the pitiful state of our republic! We could have been the beacon of hope and prosperity, in this sea of darkness. We could have put an end to brotherhood-technocratic tyranny and debased religious madness...but we didnt! We remained idle, grew far and heavily believed that our old might would keep any invader at bay. Our army, the one i served my entire life with pride, turned into a menagerie of nepotism and internal rivalry, resting on old victories against long forgotten foes.
I came into my post, hoping to reform and renew our army, only to myself, grew tired in this struggle. I cant even start to tell you, how high my hopes were, for Traowski! She could have saved our republic...if only she had time to do so!
Now, we reap the fruited of our inaction. Our republic bleeds and our cities run red with the blood of heroes! I tried to look the mothers, wives and children in the eye, telling them that their loved ones died heroically, yet i know the truth! I have seen the other side of the Detroit river...
I will not waste a single man more...
The cult cant fight a war against the whole world! The Brotherhood, and their barbarian allies from the south, are in this war, stretching their lines to an far degree. They need peace as much as we do! Traowski of cause would never agree to such an act, for she is a noble soul, brave...yet blind! For this war is over! Our forces are spread out too far and its only a matter of time, until our old enemies will rally behind this opportunity to fully crush our republic!
The price will be high! We will lose all land south of Toledo, tribute will have to be payed and their vile missionaries will be granted full access to our land. I am not so naive to believe that they dont have ways to enforce such an peace, and will try to make sure that we will never get back up on our feet, yet i know this republic! We will recover from this, we will return back from the dust! Then...then we will pay back the cult for their invasion! It is our only chance!
Tonight, i will lead a coup against the goverment of this republic. Men and women who´s loyal friend i have been for most of my life, will die on my order tonight. Their resolve not to surrender...their death sentence! May god forgive me and have mercy on my soul!
As dictator, i will only negotiate a peace, before stepping down and surrender myself to who ever wishing to take up the mantle of the republic...my hands will not lead it. I pray, that my execution may at least sate the anger for this war.
I deeply love you, my dear Natalie, just as you mother did, when she was still alive. I beg you to stay in Buffalo and to change your name. This is my treason, my crime, and i shall bear the guilt alone..
Your loving father,
Henry Janus Stone
Shots rang in the distance, as the smell of smoke was over the city. Martial Law was active, as refugees clocked up the streets, while national guard milita tried to create something resembling order. "FORM SINGLE LINES! ALL MEN FROM THE AGE 16 TO 45 ARE TO RAISE THEIR HANDS FOR DRAFTING! MARTIAL LAW CODE 23B IS ACTIVE! PLEASE COOPERATE!"
Chaos was the answer, as families held onto their sons, husbands fathers, before a single shot into the sky returned the mass back to order. Am officer, slim and tired, with an revolver in hand took his helmet of his head. "We need every man in the city under arms...damn, every woman and child as well! NOW GET A MOVE ON! WE HAVE A WAR TO WIN!"
Rows of soldiers walked passed them, towards the fire and death at the river. "THE CULT HAS CROSSED THE RIVER! THEY WILL KILL US ALL!"
A voice shouted, as once more chaos threatened to break out, yet a quick smash with the riflebut into the mans face, brought silence back. Once more the Officer grunted out an order, before climbing onto the back of a truck. "THE RIVERFRONT HOLDS! THE CULT HAS NOT CROSSED THE RIVER! REINFORCEMENTS ARE ON THE WAY! DETROIT IS NOT LOST YET!"
General Stone saw all that from the top of the building, as he once more guided his cigarette to his mouth. Once, this had been a proud staff house of the scavenging union, yet with the cult approaching, he had taken the building as his personal staff headquarter. Here he would endure the night of his treason, his finally attack on his own beloved nation. The smoke felt bitter in his lungs, as he heard the step from behind, the adjutant quickly rushing towards him. "Sir, it is time! Do we have your conformation for tonight orders?"
Tossing the smoke over the edge of the building, Stone glared into the distance. Refugees, soldiers and the distant battle along the river, where the Cult wanted to cross the river. There was no victory here...not at this place, not at this time. "You have my confirmation! The operation is a go!"
The chaos on every level of the state-house was a mirroring of the chaos in the city. Officers and soldiers were rushing through the corridors, knocking on doors and quickly leaving, realizing that they had the wrong room. The static of radios was everywhere, as men blindly shouted at each other. Kowalski no longer had an ear for any of it.
The tiredness burned in his eyes, as he was still wondering when the last time had been he had slept more then an hour. It must had been before the battle of Toledo. Since then, hasty retreats, as the leadership had been unable to form any kind of real front, after the much famed and trusted "border garrison" had collapsed like a house of cards. It had taken days, until the high command even had realize the size of the Cult invasion, as it had seemed, that information had been actively delayed or even altered. Before Toledo had fallen, Kowalski had even learned that half the garrison had been send down the I75, to "combat an arriving raider force". This, and the incredible speed of the enemy, made it clear, that this could have not been a simple one-sided invasion. Once, Captain Kowalski had almost a hundred men under his command, now, his twenty-seven men were huddled together in front of the state house, silent and tired. Like him, they still could not believe it, that Detroit had fallen...
Even for a man of his size, close to six feet and four inches, it was hard to make himself a way. He recalled some faces, either from long ago, bright and friendly, or from the last week, pale and fallen in. Many were wounded, bandages around their heads. One man, his face so coated in bandages, that he looked more like a mummy then a human, kept slamming his hand against a locked door. "I aint leaving until i get my damn ammunition! My boys are dying out there..."
Kowalski frowned, as he pressed himself past him. "ITS ALL YOUR DAMN FAULT! YOU INCOMPETENT BASTARDS!"
A kick followed against the door, as two soldiers rushed towards the bandaged officer. Kowalski pushed on, he had to get back onto the street.
Hundreds waited outside of the statehouse, screaming out their demands or pleads at the occupants inside. Civilians demanding to know where their family-members were, men and women demanding to be armed and soldiers, venting out their anger. The city was close to mutiny, and only the president could hold it together. Kowalski had to force himself not to look anyone in the eyes, as he pushed through, crossing the street, to what had remained of his platoon. Twenty Seven men..."Look Alive! New orders from HQ!"
The tired bodies groaned, as they huddled back on their feet, holding onto their rifles and staring with empty eyes at the captain. "There is a Brotherhood Big-Wig in town, and we are to..."
The sound of a loud explosion caused a major ruckus around them, as the civilians screamed, yet none of the soldiers even blinked. "Not the river, sir?"
The gruff voice of Sargent Miller snapped in. "Not the river boys.."
In some faces, Kowalski could spot relive, while others glared in silent anger. It burned on his lips, to tell the men the truth, that there simply was not enough supply in the city, as seemingly nonsensical orders had stripped the garrison and the way to the capital clean of supplies, capable officers and fresh troops. Treason had killed the republic. "We are to secure the hotel, protect the street and make sure that he does not leave the premise..."