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The Last Legionary

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The Last Legionary

Postby chilledmonkeybrains » 15 Aug 2014, 14:01

A dull explosion woke the astartes from his reverie, and mud and debris spattered against his massive armour. He got up from where he’d been crouching in a shallow ditch behind the dubious protection of a bamboo fence, servos whirring and steam hissing from the reinforced joints of his power armour, and peered through a broken gap. Across the wide paddy field, through the grey mist and torrential rain, he could see the vague shapes of enemy infantry advancing through the murky water. Another deep thud, this time accompanied by the screams of the dying, as one of the buildings behind him took a direct hit, showering splintered wood and ruined body parts into the air. The big man snarled at the thought of yet more civilian fatalities, and he could feel the choler rising up inside him. Too many innocents had died in this terrible war.

Reaching up over his shoulder, he grasped the handle of his heavy bolter and pulled it into the engage position. Now mounted on his right pauldron, he quickly checked the ammunition hopper, cursing when he saw how pitifully low in number were his shells, before aiming the long, dark barrel at the enemy. They were less than fifty metres away now and he counted a full platoon of thirty men, supported to their rear by an armoured assault carrier. Thirty accursed traitors. Oh, how they would pay dearly for their betrayal. A grim smile crossed his face behind the visor of his helm as he pulled the trigger.

His gun barked raucously, launching shell after shell into the enemy ranks. Where each impact-reactive projectile hit their target, a man was torn apart in a shower of gore, splattering his erstwhile comrades with bone and chunks of flesh. Half a dozen were thusly dispatched before the others reacted; each man diving into the knee-deep waters to seek cover behind the low muddy banks enclosing the rice fields. No sooner were they down, than the astartes immediately turned his gun onto the assault carrier and sent a fierce volley of shells into its lightly-armoured flank. The metal buckled under the withering hail before erupting violently in an incandescent flash of light as the vehicle’s magazine detonated, cutting down several soldiers who had been sheltering nearby. A great plume of dark smoke billowed upwards from the blazing wreckage, which crackled and hissed in the pouring rain.

The astartes stopped firing and scanned the ground, setting his weapon to single-shot. The soldiers had begun shouting. After a few seconds he saw movement and pulled the trigger once more. A head was torn from its shoulders, exploding in mid-air. This was followed by more shouting and then wild gun-fire. The astartes ducked back down into the ditch, sliding the heavy bolter back on its railings, hearing the metallic click as it locked into its housing on the back of his carapace. He then reached down to his hip and gripped the pommel of his gladius. In one swift, fluid movement, he unsheathed his blade, thumbing an activation stud beneath the guard and, feeling the energy blade thrum into life, sprung up on powered quadriceps to leap over the fence. He splashed through the shallow water, sprinting headlong towards his cowering quarry, covering most of the ground between them before they managed to train their fire upon him; the bullets merely ricocheting harmlessly from his suit’s armoured plates. Then he was upon them.

How he roared his odium as he clove the first four in twain, towering over the enemy like some ancient Terran god of legend, dismembered limbs flying all about him. The other soldiers began to back off, pouring concentrated fire into his armoured bulk. They no doubt realised that they stood little chance against this raging metal beast at such close quarters. He charged two of them and swung his blade in an arc that promised oblivion, slicing their heads clean off, their limp bodies collapsing into the water. Reversing his grip, and now taking a heavy amount of fire, he disembowelled one and smashed the pommel into the face of another, splintering bone and killing both. As he turned to face more of his swiftly-retreating foes, there was a splash as a grenade landed in the water at his feet. Appreciating the threat, the astartes jumped scant moments before it detonated, some of the shrapnel biting into the flexible leg joints of his suit. He landed in a forward roll; his momentum taking him closer to some of the soldiers, who he dispatched from close range with his bolt pistol.

Glancing up, he could see the remaining few soldiers turning to flee. Aiming his weapon, he cut five more down before depleting his ammunition. Cursing loudly, he strode over to one of the dead soldiers and bent down to tear a grenade from the man’s belt. The three surviving soldiers were running quickly down the dirt track that led away from the village. He sheathed his sword and looked down thoughtfully at the grenade in his hand, tossing it a couple of times to get a feel for the weight. Then he released the pin, took a step forward and hurled it with a grunt of effort. A few moments passed before it landed, immediately detonating, and blowing all three men to pieces.

The astartes, breathing heavily from his exertion, surveyed the carnage around him. The pools of water were now crimson with blood. There were no survivors. He grunted to himself, satisfied that the job was done. Feeling no remorse, he turned and headed back for the village across the killing fields, limping slightly from where a piece of hot metal had lodged itself behind his right knee.
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Re: The Last Legionary

Postby Deathguard nick » 15 Aug 2014, 16:46

cool, more of the same please!
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Re: The Last Legionary

Postby chilledmonkeybrains » 20 Aug 2014, 12:56

As he approached the outer buildings through the driving rain, he could see the villagers slowly coming out from their hiding places, a mixture of relief and terror etched on their faces. Some of the women and children were crying; others had moved to tend to the scattered remains of the dead. The remainder gathered at his arrival, their clothes sodden, noticeably wary of this bloodied warrior despite the deliverance he had brought, even though they feared it would be short lived. The astartes stopped and stood for a while in the mire, watching them as they watched him.

They were a piteous bunch of peasant farmers; old men, women and children, forcibly brought to this world by its former rulers to farm the land in this region of the tropics. There was no man amongst them between the ages of sixteen and forty, and the astartes knew only too well that they would have been conscripted for this awful war, to serve in the woefully ill-equipped ‘native’ regiments. Whether they fought for loyalist or traitor commanders, he knew not. The poor wretches probably had no idea who they were fighting for, let alone why. He sighed sorrowfully before bringing his gauntleted hands to his neck, releasing the clasps one by one in order to remove his helm, shaking out his long mane of matted hair and combing through an unkempt beard with his mailed fingers. He gazed at the fearful peasants with melancholic grey eyes.

“Does anyone here speak Imperial?” the astartes enquired; his voice a deep rumble.

The villagers looked nervously at each other. One of the peasants – an extremely sinewy old man – stepped forward through the mire to address the gore-covered knight.

“I speak your language, mighty warrior. We are very grateful to you for saving us. Thank you.” He bowed in gratitude.

The astartes regarded the old man, who was at least half a metre shorter than he.

“You’re welcome,” he said, gruffly. He winced almost imperceptibly and moved his weight onto his left leg.

“I have an injury and would ask for your assistance, if you’d give it.” The astartes hobbled over to a bench beneath the porch of one of the huts and sat down heavily, straightening his right leg to better assess the damage.

The old man cautiously followed the warrior through murky puddles, becoming slightly more animated as he spoke, seemingly unsure whether the giant may still mean them harm. “We will help you, of course. We have medicine and can tend to your wounds.” He signalled to two of the younger women to approach, which they did, albeit with noticeable trepidation. Speaking in their native tongue, he gave instructions and they turned to scurry off with apparent relief at being allowed to take their leave.

“I have sent them to get food and medicine,” the old man said. “I am Phanh Hok and am the elder of Tien-Tan.” He moved his arms to indicate the village around them. “May I ask your name, noble warrior?” Hok said, reaching out to offer his right hand in an unusual gesture from Old Terra.

The astartes looked up at Hok from where he had started to undo his armoured greaves and, taking the wizened man’s hand in a gentle grip, gave a tired smile.

“Centurion Leonus, 11th Legion. Pleased to make your acquaintance, citizen Hok. If only it were in happier circumstances.”

Now it was Hok’s turn to smile, and a wide grin spread across his face. “Ah, Centurion Leonus. If it were in happier times, then I doubt our paths would have crossed. War has brought you here, not peace.”

“Ha! You have me there, Hok.” Leonus finished unscrewing the retaining bolts at the knee joint and removed his greave and boot, revealing a jagged lump of shrapnel and a lot of already-congealed blood. The scorching metal had partially cauterised the wound. Without a moment of hesitation, he removed a glove and gripped the piece of metal between thumb and forefinger, his skin sizzling from the heat, and pulled it sharply out, throwing it into the mud. The blood began to pump out and he clasped the wound tightly whilst the villagers gawped in amazement as the flow first slowed, and then stopped. Hok turned again to the gathered villagers and, waving his arms, sternly told them to go away. The two young women were scurrying towards them; one holding a large bowl and the other a basket. When they arrived, they bent to their knees and, bowing their heads, held out their offerings. Hok spoke again rapidly in their own language, and they quickly bound his upper leg with a somewhat defunct tourniquet and began cleaning the warrior’s wound.

As they applied a herbal salve, Leonus looked up at the old man. “You realise more will come,” he said. It was not a question. “You will have to evacuate the village.”

Hok smiled sadly and shook his head. “This is our village, honourable Centurion. It was the Nagat who brought us here many years ago, taking us from our homeland, our people. We have made this place our home now and we will not be evicted again.”

“But you will be slaughtered,” the big man replied brusquely. “That was merely a small portion of their force. When they realise a platoon is missing, more will come. I will not be able to protect your village a second time.”

Hok looked pensive and turned away from the astartes to gaze up at the sky. The deluge had unexpectedly ceased and the sun’s rays had begun to pierce through the cloud.

“Then this would seem to be our fate,” was Hok’s only response.
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