The sky was awash with marbled purple and red hues from the electrifying violet storms as they erupted into being every rotation of this God forsaken Planet. Jhal Ta’ watched from the safety of his armoured life support suit and as he did so, the colors shifted and change as he altered the spectrum lenses of his viewing portal with no more than a brief thought, and remembered the feeling of acrid winds against his face, all of that now replaced by the augmented sensors in his ceramantium coffin.
He strode past and over the human and alien detritus of the dead and dying, some crushed under the extreme weight of his clawed splayed feet, which were equipped with the energy of his thermo nuclear power plant located in the rear lower torso, guarded by multiple layers of armour and radiation repulses. To see this most ancient of God machines on the battlefield was to some the highest honour the chapter could bestow upon its fighting elite, for even one augmented and clad in the suits of the lord emperor stood in awe of such a destructive and highly manoeuvrable gargantuan.
The crunch of alien bones and exoskeleton armour cracked like a cooked deep sea shell fish from a forgotten time on Terra under his bulk, as he made headway to the next way point along the fighting front. He was all but alone except for the thrum of his internal power plant which was making his mind drift back to a time centuries before when he walked this exact same path as one of those augmented soldiers clad in a suit of armour emblazoned with gold, brass and the sigils of the company of elite super humans, not an entombed half dead thing cradled in the bosom of this machine of death.
A sudden small movement to his left was picked up by the suits sensors and his view ports sent the image directly to his brain and displayed an arm moving within the alien muck. The markings on the battle suit were not foreign to him and with a sense of urgency he urged his metal form to investigate further, the death skull inside a ritual laurel made him chuckle to himself, which vocalised to the outside world as a deep throaty grunt, as the arm belonged to a champion amongst his brethren. Jhal Ta’ used his crushing claws with the deft touch of a pianist on ivory, a long forgotten substance for a new millennium. The champion responded by lifting his battered body from the mire and blood filled vita pool he was in to reveal the loss of his left arm just below the shoulder joint in his armour, and a helmet that was split down the middle which revealed a scarred but sanguine face beneath that smiled a half smile as he stood next to the behemoth of technology that was Jhal Ta’.
“Ah Dominus Ignis it is you who saves me” the wounded champion spat through blooded gums, the taste of his acid gland on the back of his throat. Looking around he surveyed the area and the damage to his legion and the death wrought to the alien scum that would hold sway of this one of the worlds under control of the mother earth.
“You my boy are still as insolent as you are ever were, and lucky it would seem also.” The Booming synthetic voice stated as he surveyed the damage done to the champion who now stood side by side with the walking Hulk.
The two walked only for very few steps before Jhal Ta’ realised that the damaged champion at his side was struggling to walk let alone keep up with just a few of his huge steps. The day was long but the battle not over, and there would be others if they did not get to their brethren before the twin suns swept behind the facade that was the colour shifting horizon.
“Sanguinem Mango you are hurt rather badly, my sensors indicate you are healing but not at a rate good enough to sustain you for the distance and speed we must travel this day. Maybe you should climb aboard and allow me ‘The Lord of Fire’ to carry your weary bones.” He said with a chuckle that boomed like a sonic shock wave.
“You know full well I prefer to go by my birth name old one” he protested as he picked up his mass reaction pistol and mag locked it to the left thigh plate and slid his power glaive into the scabbard at his back deactivating the ancient relic weapon.
“Please excuse my posture Ferum it is not often that my mind gets a chance to display my sarcastic side, and I try only to enjoy what little levity there is in such devastation that we have wrought to this world yet again.”
The two soldiers, one entombed in a Martian nucleonic powered Gargantuan the other a genetically enhanced specimen from the home world Pulcharas four and no less intimidating in battle, now walk the shadow plains to find their battle brothers.
Time was not on their side and both knew that they needed to be somewhere else soon or the massive floating platforms in the planets orbit would unleash a barrage of earth shaking detonations at specific points on its rout around the circumference, taking out strategic forces along the way. Ferum was lucky that the stimulants in his body had already started to heal over the clean power blade slice that took his arm, but he field dressed it as they walked ensuring the fetid air did not taint his blood stream. The antibiotics were released into his system through his suit as soon as his man made body had detected and mourned the loss of his limb. The secondary heart had stopped pumping and the main heat took over to stem the blood flow and allow the auto injected medications to do their work.
The body of the champion now stimulated by his movement had the desired effect, and a barrage of uplifting stimulants were being pumped into his veins as the second heart reacted to the alpha humans needs and fired up yet again to cope with the labour of walking in his damaged power armour.
Jhal Ta’ stopped his augmented and highly tuned sense arrays were picking up movement and it was not giving off a signal to that of the Third Legion. His huge arm lifted and a soft “stop” left his vocalisers. He finetuned all his enhanced senses and tracked both movement and direction plotting it in a heartbeat the exact point of intersection they would meet. He gestured again to Ferum then turning to walk in a different direction to ensure the two would not meet and force them into a battle they surely could not survive..
Ferum looked up at the giant “What are you doing old one?’ he said tying off his now starting to heal wound.
“Keeping you out of harm’s way my boy, you may be a champion amongst men but you are not in any shape to take on a full centum of the enemy and me down to my last cisternia of liquid fire.” He said again with a soft metallic hue to his vocalisers.
They once more trudged toward the new reference point and the encumbered silence that followed was that of wonder for the old one. He was used to years of down time to reflect in his dreams as he lay in stasis, before being awoken to do battle with his brothers. The holographic information now flooding into his senses told him to move faster as the enemy forces were comprised of a fast moving scout contingent as well as heavy infantry and mutated mechs.
“Jump aboard my young brother we must make haste and you are in no fit state to run in your condition” he said to the damaged Ferum, the air of sarcastic humour had now left his metallic voice and replaced by a sense of urgency.
Without hesitation Ferum climbed aboard the battle giant and as he strode off into the distance Ferum checked over his revered and ancient brothers battle suit that was more like a well equipped bipedal tank. The Martian artificers only made three of these amazing suits before the technology was outlawed because of the immensely powerful, but somewhat unstable power core. The body of the construct consisted of two large claw splayed feet, with precision actuators on board for nimble sideways movement and even built in power jets to mimic a leap if the owner so made the movement. The body carried the frail human cargo within its heart, which was now fully dependant on the sub dermal, skeletal and brain implants that were bestowed upon the living champion that resided inside.
Only the most sacred and battle hard super soldiers were placed into the matrix heart of the metallic titan machine, a normal man would be insane in less than the time it would take to complete the first round of accomplishment, so only the strongest of will were chosen. Jhal Ta’ was chosen for this very reason he was and still is a strategic genius, as well as a walking cleanser of taint by fire. His massive arms had need to be reinforced because the underside of each carried a huge promethean gorging flame thrower, each two times that of the best equipped Terminator, and on the top each held a storm cannon that could blow a hole the size of a man in the hull of any light armour vehicle and turn a normal marine into gouts of ceramantium and vita.
The carapace was regal and yet spoke of war with visual sensor arrays spotted in a three hundred and sixty degree spiral from top to bottom. The eye slits, for show only were ignited gold like the burning sun and the twenty four inches’ of differing metals ceramics and alloys that encased him were the best there was. Smoke grenades and two shoulder mounted missile launchers with independent target lock, could do damage to any incoming flying foe in an instant. More manoeuvrable than a tank and stronger than any mere mortal soldier he was elite in the world of warfare.
Ferrous ran his appraising eyes over the many layers of paint and repairs that had been performed on his embattled life support system. The colours had changed only slightly over the hundreds of years and using his only hand he ran a gauntleted finger over a deep gouge that had been created fresh this time out.
“Yes it is a deep furrow is it not young one, but I will tell you this the bastard fiend that created the rent is all but a charred remnant of dust mixed with the blood and earth on this hell hole of a planet” Jhal Ta’ said as his external sensors felt the champions touch.
“Do you feel the damage old one? ..... Does it hurt when the bastards’ who fight mankind use blades and shells to bite into your ceramantium shell?” He asked quizzically almost childlike.
“In my first outing brother, after the shock of my awakening had worn off, I could feel, but not like I once could, and the sensation of touch and walking again had to be learnt, as a child taking their first steps. The almost tangible fact and unyielding reflection of your death only to be reborn into a gad machine is a daunting one indeed boy.”
“My death was triumphant, I dealt out destruction four times that of my own men by my own hand, the dealing of death and retribution for a deed of abject abortion on our brothers was spur enough to keep me killing as I waded into a sea of sickening purple until the eaters of men overwhelmed me and put me out of my misery in a triumphant death cheer.” He never once faltered and Ferum almost heard the clenching of teeth as the voice spoke in his private helmet channel
“But my rebirth was uncalled for and not warranted by me or the soul that I possess, I had an honourable death.” He said through the internal voice communication system as he strode relentlessly toward the rest of our brothers.
It was quiet for a mere second or two in which time the strides of a chapter master had taken them a good thirty meters across the undulating plains that were crusty on top but loose and sand like underneath..
“I should add though that now that I am a machine made for the machinations of war, I do relish the bust of adrenaline that comes with activation and the call to war.” He finished softly with an almost visible smirk in his metallic vocals.
A normal Dreadnaught is the only device on the battle field that can cause doubt and even bring a small amount of fear and despair to an enemy, but one look at the bulk and sculpted beauty of “Dominus Ignis” the Lord Of Fire, brought fear into even the strongest of veterans, Terminators and Dreds alike. His cleansing flame could decimate an entire squad in seconds as he strode through minions as they scramble surrounded him, and his skill as a master soldier and strategist, combined with the almost instant data he received, made his a formidable sight on the battle arena. It is a sight which instantly installs honour, and pride within the legion, to fight the damned ones.
“The pain in my severed limbs boy was nullified by the addition of pain neutralisers, and they bathed what was left of me in the healing waters of Mars then placed my ruined body in this shell to ensure my prowess on the field of battle was not lost to the legion, and my Primarch told me that the greatest honour had been bestowed upon me.” He said still moving fast the seconds of silence broken only by the one almost softly breathed and laboured sentence.
“So now I fight for his honour!”
© Copyright 2016 Ian Dawn. All rights reserved.