Sophrus & Lauder Colab
The time for the assault had come, the two companies of the Steel Sentinels had been prepped, standing behind their Rhinos which had been loaded with Aegis defenses. The neophytes had said their prayers to the machine spirits that resided within the plasma rifles that they proudly held, their astartes teachers standing on their flanks. Very few Wolfram Freki Plasma tanks could be seen within the position the company had taken, each positioned deliberately behind the Rhinos to provide supporting fire.
Usriel looked over his lines once more, making sure that everything was in place before looking to the other Steel Sentinel company who had been ready erecting rearguard defenses in case something in the assault went awry. Skiitari were lightly present, making sure mechanicum interests were being furthered, though it seemed they were not as interested in the assault itself. The primarch took a deep breath in his helmet as he turned to his honour guard, “Steel yourselves, be prepared for anything these xenos may throw at you.”
“We will not disappoint you, my primarch,” the standard beared, Maren, stated as he brought up his plasma repeater.
Usriel merely nodded before turning to a Skitarii ranger, “Send this message to Light Bringer, the Steel Sentinels are ready for the assault on his orders. Remind him to be wary of whatever these xenos may have at their disposal.”
“Understood, Lord-Primarch. Message being relayed to nearby Tech-Priest... Complete.” the skitarii responded robotically before returning its gaze to the front.
“Shall we lead from the front, my primarch,” Maren inquired, a silent nod from Usriel was the only indication for the Honor Guard to begin moving forwards, alongside Usriel. The neophytes immediately dropped to a singular knee as their primarch passed them, honoring him before returning to their readied positions. The honor guard turned to the readied line as Usriel stopped behind them.
“Let them die upon unbreakable walls!” Usriel called out to his men.
“And let us hold until the Eagle’s death!” they cried in unison.
Prometheus thanked the Techpriest as the message came acknowledging the partner legion ready for the assault. He turned and looked around the command center, dozens of generals and Astartes company captains coordinating the final pieces of the huge combined assault. Thousands of Astartes and hundreds of thousands of Imperial army stand ready to raze the ork fortress. “Engineseer, would you patch my vox into the general channel.” he said as he left the tent.
He exited into a huge muster area where the sledge hammer of the Imperium stood poised super heavy tanks and various Wolfram tanks idle noisily beside rows of land-raiders and chimera transports, white and bronze glittering in the sun. Prometheus climbed his personal command land-raider, making it rock clad in his terminator bulk.
He looked out at the amassed forces grinning in pride and anticipation. “Vox link open Lord Primarch” said the techpriest in their cold monotone as he stepped from the tent to join the assembly.
“Sons and Daughters of the Imperium! Hear me! We go into battle against this foul xenos yet again, Fear not the xenos! Hold the line and follow me! Now for wrath!” the Primarch shouts over the vox
“Now for wrath!” shouts the entire assault force in unison
“Now for ruin!”
“Now for ruin!”
“For the Imperium!” Both primarch and troopers shout as the ramps drop to load the forces. At the same time the general vox link dies. Moments later the very earth begins to rumble as the full weight of the Imperial army’s artillery flatten no-mans-land rolling steadily back and into the fortress, making a fiery shield.
“Usriel,” says Prometheus on his vox again, “Two minutes” In exactly two minutes the assault column of the Knights of Awe and Imperial army retainers roll forward exiting the safety of the extensive trench network and into the blasted wastes of no-man's-land.
When the time had come, Usriel spoke into his general vox to address his soldiers, “Forwards! For the Imperium!” With that the forces of the Steel Sentinels began to move forwards, the neophytes clinging to the rear of their Rhinos as they entered no-man’s-land behind the Knights of Awe, being less armored than their full-blooded mentors which stayed with them.
The imperial column rolled forward as the ork hordes braved the punishing artillery and rocket detonations decimating their numbers, but the green tide was merely thinned if not slowed. Moments later the armored divisions loosed their fury, battle cannons, bolts of plasma and torrents of bolter shells scythed through the ork horde slaughtering ever more. The tide pressed ever forwards.
As the orks came into range where the transports might become threatened Prometheus called into the vox “Assault ramps down! Charge!”
Transports ground to a halt and threw open their ramps, Astartes and Imperial Army charged forward unleashing a new hail of bolter fire and streaks of las fire. The forces quickly came together into a sawtooth formation, Astartes squads leading companies ever deeper into the ork lines while the center was held by Prometheus, his Terminator guard and the most elite Imperial army forces. Baneblades and Shadow Swords dispersed themselves through the front adding their considerable fire to the advancing infantry while the Wolfram tanks held the flanks with Imperial army reinforcements.
Prometheus at the center of the chaos swung his power glaive in sweeping arcs cleaving through orks several at a time, his Terminator elite cleaving their own bloody path through the horde while grenades arced over their heads to explode just beyond the front line. Gouts of flame bloomed between the hulking terminators as troopers found openings.
The plasma of the Wolfram Freki tanks arced over the advancing Knights, rending groups of Orks into nothing more than piles of gore as the Rhinos pushed forwards. Unlike the transports of the Knights of Awe, those of the Steel Sentinels continued to advance further until they were closer to the imperial troops who clung to the dirt, making their profiles smaller to avoid being hit. When their ramps lowered, it only revealed the defenses that had been loaded into them and then the neophytes went to work, rapidly unloading the Aegis and erecting them next to the Rhino which acted as a mere starting point to the defensive Steel Sentinel line.
Their plasma rang past as they covered the advancing soldiers, covering their own men as they brought forward Aegis lines to large groups of soldiers so they would not have to hide in dirt and craters. The rounds of the ork weaponry bounced off those hasty defensive works as neophytes began to connect their tanks through these defensive networks, building a wall for soldiers to stage they’re charges in more coordinated fashions. However, in the front was where Usriel would be found, firing off his plasma pistol in deliberate, timed shots, each hitting ork after ork.
“Take dis space marine!” an ork called an jumped into the open power fist of the primarch, only to be crushed and tossed to the side as if it were nothing but useless trash. His honor guard unleashed further punishment into the ork’s corpse before moving back to gun down the orks indiscriminately with their fast-firing plasma weaponry.
Usriel fought his way to Prometheus, another orks body vaporizing as a result of a plasma shot. “We must keep advancing Prometheus, the orks will only muster more soldiers at this pace,” he called to his sibling as he stepped to the other Primarch’s side. However, Usriel stopped for a moment before tackling his brother to the ground just before something as large as an artillery shell flew above the two and collided with a Rhino. As Usriel looked up, he saw the ramshackled construction of some ork vehicle, towering into the air as it stepped out from behind the fortress and teeming with orks. It was clear even from a glance that it was incomplete, but it was an orkish titan nonetheless.
Prometheus grunted as he hit the ground, the bulk of his brother and armor knocking some wind from his lungs, he stood quickly acknowledging Usriel with a nod of thanks. He then quickly drank in the details of the battle surrounding him. The strategy his generals had planned was grinding slower than was expected, and there were more orks than expected. There was a titan, a ramshackle thing raining bits of scrap metal and orks as it walked. He stepped away from the front line which closed ranks with practiced ease. He closed his eyes for a moment, processing through the entire battle in moments, it wasn’t good but he could fix it... “I must have victory” he said to himself quietly, the words drowned beneath the fury of battle.
“Usriel!” Prometheus shouted over the din of warfare “I need your Legion on the flanks! They can not envelop us!” He didn’t wait for a reply, something he was certainly going to hear about later, he continued on a vox channel bouncing between generals, captains, and commanders shifting the shape of the battle to his advantage. As he spoke a lance of plasma streaked above him reducing a land-raider to glowing slag. “The titan must fall” he said as he pulled officers onto his command channel. “Super heavies, Artillery on the titan, bring it down now.” Prometheus said in an unnaturally clipped tone frustration bleeding through his calm demeanor.
As the battle shifted slowly as orders filtered through the first impacts fell onto the titan, whirlwind rockets and heavy earthshaker shells detonated on the ork titan’s bulk cleaving away unfinished structures. The thing didn’t even have void shields, the might of the armored vehicles should make short work of it. Finally he called on the general vox “Forward! Forward! Bring them ruin!” Prometheus started forward again rushing past his Terminator elite carving a swathe single handedly through the horde, his Astartes following his example and rushing deep into the ork lines while the Imperial army followed but had to absorb more of the Orkish counter attack. Thousands were being cut down but the advance regained some of its steam.
The titan began rocking from the beating it was receiving from the titan slaying weapons of the super heavy tanks. It stubbornly stayed standing continually pelting the assault with brutal firepower, tanks and transports lay burning dotted throughout the front line. Whole companies reduced to ash along with the horde it was fighting. The Imperial war machine ground ever onwards accepting the casualties as necessary sacrifices for victory.
An Astartes fel-blade tank broke free of the ork hordes, it was soon flanked by a pair of Stormhammers who closed within nearly suicidal range of the Ork titan and began hammering it with their myriad of heavy cannons. The leg they fired upon crumpled sending the titan to the ground crushing the majority of it beneath its own bulk. The tanks however were swarmed, the crews dragged out and butchered by the greenskins.
The Primarchs both cleaved their way at the head of the vanguard through the horde of orks, lances of plasma or a stream of storm bolter fire punctuating the fluid melee. The assault’s momentum grew as the titan fell and the Primarchs lead the charge. Orks fell in breathtaking numbers as the assault finally drove into the citadel of the ork stronghold itself.
The defensive lines of the Steel Sentinels had moved to the flanks, attaching their makeshift walls to what surviving transports they had and using that as further moving cover. Their plasma fell orks, though the orks came in such numbers that it became difficult to control the machine spirits within them. Neophytes who ignored their precautionary teachings earned superheated steam to their face, often killing them outright. Those that did survive the ordeal were hastily loaded into the safety of the transport by their squad members. However, the company of the Steel Sentinels seemed to be faring much better than the spearhead of the Imperial Army, their own dead being far less present than the others.
As they reached the citadel, the Sentinels used the primitive orkish walls as a basis to extend their defenses, quickly shifting the Aegis to form a position that could be defended from all angles, turning the outside of the walls against the orks who dared charge them. Usriel oversaw this to the best of his ability but it grew harder as the horde of orks seemed to be never ending, and it seemed that the battle was growing more costly every second that past. However, it quickly became clear that the Sentinels had established a nominal safezone just outside the ork fortress.
“The time to take the fortress has come!” Usriel stated into his vox, looking to Prometheus as his guard took up positions at the ‘gate’ of the fortress.
Prometheus agreed broadcasting to make the final push across the vox network which was answered by a roaring cry “And the ground shall tremble!” both primarchs, honor guard and the Knights Terminators streamed through the gate leveling all that remained of orkish resistance. Even the warlord who held the keep was no match for the forces arrayed against him being brought low by a hail of plasma fire from Usriel while distracted fighting Prometheus.
The cacophony of battle slowly began to fade when the warlord lay dead at the Primarch’s feet. Many thousands lay dead or dying in the battlefield each a tale of bravery and heroism. Slowly the front line began falling into the fortress to prepare defenses and rest after the long siege and final assault.
Prometheus made a very formal salute to Usriel “Thank you brother, This battle would have taken many more lives to see it through had you not been here. I know you care not for the lives of mortal men but they are precious to me and thousands more would have had to die taking this fortress. Oh, and please send me the record of your fallen this day. They will be added to the names of the honored fallen, watched over by the Ancient Deckard and his Knights of Mourning.” he said as the pair slowly made their way back to the courtyard, such as it was, of the citadel.
“Very well, Light Bringer. Those who have not had the machine spirits turned upon them will have their names sent to you, the others would only bring shame,” Usriel said coldly as the two walked. “However, the arrival of that abomination was… surprising to say the least, but you seemed to be able to adapt to the situation well enough,” he commented as his gaze went to the collapsed corpse of the orkish titan, barely able to be seen over the walls of the fortress.
“That it was... “ Prometheus said quietly “it was fortunate the machine was unfinished, It may have stalled the assault if it was like those destroyed by our friends in the Legio Titanicus.” Prometheus watched as dead and wounded were dragged into the safety of the fortress, one scene caught his eye as a whole squad of Auxilia troopers carried a dead Knight through the gate an ork Choppa still embedded in the breastplate. “Still a costly assault, I will be happy when the ork is finally obliterated from our galaxy.”
“And I will be happy when we do not need to rely on the weakness of man to carry us to victory,” Usriel stated as his own gaze turned to the scores of dead mortals that littered the pathway to the fortress. The soldiers of the Steel Sentinels only carried in Astartes and other neophytes who had fallen honorable in battle, however, the fallen men were otherwise brought in by the scruff of their necks and dropped into a pile unceremoniously.
Prometheus frowns at Usriel “Weakness? They are our strength brother, if not for them your legion would not exist, nor mine. Their strength is the Imperium. We Primarchs and the Emperor are immensely powerful but our dreams of a united galaxy do not depend on our strength, but theirs.” he says gesturing to the hundreds of mortals tending to the wounded and filling sandbags for temporary defenses. “You should have at least some respect for them. They charged with us today, fought with the same resolve and fury as our Astartes, without battle plate or augmetics. That is proof of their bravery.”
“If that is what you chose to believe, Light Bringer. These men have shown that they can follow orders, yes. They have shown that they may be brave, but do not let that sight fool you,” Usriel said, his voice cold and emotionless behind his helmet. He looked to those men who still lived, “Anyone of them could be a dissident, a traitor waiting for his chance to strike,” he turned the Prometheus, “It is not their lack of bravery that is their weakness, but it is the lack of loyalty. That is what has reduced my legion to using Neophytes as foot soldiers and it was that lack of loyalty I have had to put down before.” His powerfist clenched as he spoke, perhaps the only sign of proper emotion from him at that moment.
“I would watch the mortals closely, brother
,” Usriel advised, the final word from him echoing hints of antipathy before the primarch stalked away.