There was an ill omen in the air. Scipio 3-1 was another run of the mill garrison of a nameless township, carelessly discarded in the aftermath of the Ruinous Powers and half-heartedly restored in the wake of the Imperium.
“A backwater, sir.” Colours sergeant Kell noted helpfully, squinting through the ruins and rubble. “Can’t see why the psykers are so rattled.”
The men were uneasy. Not rattled, just…cautious. Even the likes of Knight Commander Pask, shouting obscenities from his cupola and flicking ilho sticks at his escorts, did little to comfort them.
There was blood in the air, Ursarkar E Creed had no doubt of that.
A lone figure in violet robes cocked his head, ghastly green corposant snapping between the prongs of his Black Staff. The other bore a silver mask, gently twirling his axe in a figure of eight.
Almost instantly, several guardsmen ceased to exist. One let out an agonising screech as he was turned inside out, another suffered muscle spasms so excruciating that his skeleton collapsed and the last simply exploded. “Witchery!” someone cried out.
A chaos land raider, still bearing long defiled heraldry of the honourable Ultramarines chapter, rumbled forward. Cloaked in strange magics and wreathed in a cloud of protective smoke.
Mortars chugged, bolters roared and battle cannons thumped as they sent their blessed payload into the traitor lines. Chaos cultists, befitting their traitorous nature, wailed and pleaded to their infernal deities to spare them. Rubric marines, those strange once-men, stood stoic as munitions clattered off their armor. One went down, a shell casing puncturing its neck seal and allowing the listless spirit trapped within to escape.
Creed, sensing something amiss, directed his Bullgryns to shore up the central formation. The skies were darkening…
Guardsmen met Tzaangors along the left flank, a flurry of hooked blades and grimy bayonets. Mortars filled the sky, splitting rubric marines and disintegrating beastmen by sheer weight of fire. Someone shouted “Vengeance for Cadia!”, more Rubrics fell, falling inert as their Aspiring-Sorcerer struggled to weave his guiding magic amidst the hail of ordnance.
Reality split and hell burst through, just in time to meet the Bullgryn’s earth-shattering charge. Beings that had shed blood since before humanity drew breath were crushed and thrown aside in moments. Smoking blades hacked away at slabshields, little use against tried and tested Imperial steel. The Bloodletters had met their match.
A twisted parody of the Emperor’s own son came for the Bullgryns. Bearing a flaming crown and held aloft by wings of gleaming white, the Daemon Prince personally took 4 Bullgryn heads.
The Bloodthirster surged forward on steel hooves, spitting flame and snapping its whip like some caricature from an Imperial Shrine. Cadian sons, brave men one and all, could not stop it.
The left flank threatened to fold, but the Imperium had yet the advantage. If they could survive two of Khorne’s finest, the day may yet be won.
Pask fell, his tank speared through by vermillion beams of lascannon fire. Cursing at the loss, Creed and what little men remained fell back. The Punisher cannon Leman Russ, positioning itself from the right flank, finally let loose its fearsome payload. All but one Rubric marine was reduced to so much arcane scrap. Meanwhile a squad of veterans ambush Ahriman and the Landraider in the rear seemingly appearing out of nowhere. This small band of soldiers may very well be the imperium’s last hope in this battle. A trio of melta beams scorched the master sorcerer, almost but not quite slaying him.
The Bloodthirster and Land Raider closed the trap, with faux-Guilliman waiting in the wings…
Every single gun that could still fire was turned onto the apoplectic form of the raging Bloodthirster. Once more cries of “Vengeance for Cadia!” echoed across the battlefield. Wings were torn to ribbons, its horned skull punctured by cannon-shot and shrapnel, the slavering thing still refused to die. Creed and his retinue raced against time, seeking to achieve the one last objective that would guarantee victory for the Imperium.
On the last turn of the battle, the Bloodthirster tears his way into the imperial bastion, enraged by the unwillingness of the imperial guard to die. Creed and his retinue barely make it out with their lives before Ahriman, with all the blessings of Tzeench, pulls off a charge which catches Creed off guard. Swinging his staff, Ahriman strikes down his foe and lets out a roar of victory.
Chaos had won this day.