the defenders attempt to close the portal feeding the daemonic horde, and an old ally once thought dead returns, maybe not for the better...
Zarakynel wasn't that stupid.
just then the scream of engines sounded, followed by the sound of heavy, streamlined objects shooting to earth. the world around Zarakynel blazed into life as a large chunk of the horde exploded in a torrent of fire. similar explosions peppered the rest of the horde.
before the dust had time to settle several ships roared out of the sky, dropping into the large craters made by the explosions and unloading their cargo before shooting up into the atmosphere again.
Zarakynel observed all this from her vantage point on top of the hill where the portal stood, and she smiled as she noticed there weren't enough of the humans to destroy her horde.
her smile quickly faded as she noticed two massive silver figures sprinting up the hill towards the portal.
"An'ggrath!" she screamed, "get over here you incompetent slab of warp-flesh!"
Benvard stood alongside the venerable Castellan Crowe. he had forsaken his usual plasma gun for a more suitable power sword. the weapon felt weak and flimsy in Benvard's firm grip, but the Castellan had informed him such weapons were invaluable in what would undoubtedly be a close quarters fight.
Castellan Crowe turned to the assembled Guardsmen and Grey Knights behind him.
"Brothers!" he roared, "these foul beasts want to steal this world from us, they think us weak, cowering fools. we will show them we are not!"
the Castellan's words were met by cheers and shouts and he continued.
"today, we will show them we are strong, we will show them we can fight, we will show them that this world is ours!"
he paused for a moment before roaring his last words.
"we will show them the power of faith!"
the assembled warriors roared in approval and brandished their chainswords and force weapons.
Benvard turned back to face the daemonic horde, and roared in fury as he led the charge along with Castellan Crowe, taking two steps to match each of the Purifier's long strides.
this would be a day of glory.
Karel sprinted up the hill, the Dreadknight's movements copying his own. what a flawless contraption. beside him, Arvann Stern bounded up the hill, piloting another of the massive Dreadknights.
Karel spooled up the massive gatling psilencer on the Dreadknight's left arm and aimed at the nearest pillar supporting the portal. blazing blue melta fire pumped from the psilencer and the pillar was shredded under it's constant barrage.
Karel turned the mighty weapon upon another pillar, but before he could fire a massive form crashed into the Dreadknight and barreled it to the ground.
Karel looked to his attacker to see a massive, red skinned demon he recognised as a bloodthirster.
Karel moved the machine with expert ease, and it's massive doom fist smashed up into the Bloodthirster's face.
the beast rolled off the Dreadknight and climbed to it's feet, it's anger flaring.
Karel knew these creatures could kill with ease, especially when they were angry...
Arvaan Stern saw Karel's attacker barrel him to the ground, but had no time to help the Deathwatch captain. he fired a short burst of shots from the massive psycannon mounted on the Dreadknight's arm, another of the four pillars disintegrated.
then a slim figure entered his view. it had the physique of a slim, beautiful woman. to any normal man it would have been enticing, but Arvaan Stern was no normal man.
he spooled up the psycannon, the three barrels spinning rapidly. as the creature advanced a slender blade appeared in it's hand. it had an extra pair of arms extending from it's back, which ended in two long, scything claws.
Stern fired the psycannon, shredding one of the demon's arms until there was nothing left but a mere stump. the demon creature screamed, and the sound caught is Stern's ears, making him cringe.
the demon leapt towards him, digging it's long scything claws into the Dreadknight's metal hide.
Stern noticed that upon it's naked torso, where a woman's nipple would be there was a gaping maw.
Stern felt his nemesis force sword buckled at his hip and knew there was only one option left to him.
Benvard hacked left and right, the power sword cutting throught demonic flesh as though it were butter. he enjoyed the savage feeling of abandon he got when bringing the fight to such a hated foe. he cared little for his own safety now.
alongside him, the Grey Knight's Castellan fought with controlled fury, the Demon blade in his hands made to fight the very things it was kin too.
just then Benvard felt a tug at his leg, and noticed a demon blade lodged in it. the red skinned brute that put it there was swiftly decapitated with a single blow from the power sword.
Crowe stopped and looked at the wound before remarking.
"brave be the man who can sustain such an injury and fight on."
Benvard did not answer, but pulled back the fabric of his combats and the rubberised skin underneath to reveal the whirring mechanics of a synthflesh leg.
Benvard wrenched the demon blade out and threw it at the nearest demon too him, a red skinned dog creature that had cornered two of his men. the sword penetrated the creature's hide and it yelped, giving his men time to finish it off.
Karel couldn't get the Dredknight to it's feet, the bloodthirster had crushed it's leg.
Karel looked on as the demon brought it's whip and it's axe to bear, he couldn't afford to waste time.
he spooled up the gatling psilencer and fired, blowing a massive chunk of the demon's shoulder out and leaving it's arm hanging by a thread. the demon kept on coming, and Karel fired another shot, blasting a crater in it's chest. the demon reached him and raised it's axe.
Karel swept the Dreadknight's good foot out and tripped the bloodthirster, sending it toppling into the grip of the Dreadknight's powerful doomfists.
Karel gripped the creature's neck with one and it's horned head with the other, and with a swift twisting motion, snapped it's head clean off.
he roughly pushed it's limp body out of the way, and threw it's head to one side.
he remained, panting rapidly in the harness of the Dreadknight, too shocked to move.
then Karel saw something that made his anger flare like never before.
Stern released himself from the Dreadknight's harness, launching himself over the demon's head as the long, barbed tongues shot from it's chest.
he flung his sword out in an arc as he leapt over the creature's head, and it sliced clean through the demon's cheek, making it screech in anger and double over.
Stern landed on it's back and turned swiftly, slicing the sword in a decapitating arc.
the demon's head fell from it's shoulders and Stern jumped from the body as it went limp, landing perfectly on the balls of his feet.
two pillars still stood, and Stern was about to make for them when his body was surrounded by blue light.
he uttered one last sentence before being teleported.
"they lied to us..."
Kavan followed Lord Syrax from the edge of the battle field.
they had laughed at the bloodshed and carnage, and had drank deep from the blood of the dead.
now they made towards a teleporter that would transport them directly to the Bastion Daemonicum.
just as Syrax was about to activate the teleporter, Kavan heard a savage shout. he turned as he identified the voice.
Karel came charging towards them, his power sword held in both hands and a look of feral fury upon his face.
"traitor!" he screamed,"vile heretic, betrayer!"
even as his sword arced down towards Kavan, he saw his former cpatain dissapear in a halo of blue light. Syrax's voice sounded behind him.
"see? they would sooner strike you down than welcome you back..."
Kavan chuckled, "one day they will all be mounted on poles with their insides trailing on the ground."
Karel felt the killing insticts leaving him as he fell to the metal decking of the Warp-Rider's hanger bay. around him, confused guardsmen and Grey Knights stood, powering down their weapons.
the grim form of Castellan Crowe stalked over, followed by Sergeant Major Benvard.
"what the bleeding hell happened there?" asked Benvard, still full of the fire of war.
"i know..." scowled Stern, walking over from the damaged hulk of his Dreadknight.
before any of them could utter another word a voice rang out over the vox network.
"thirty seconds until planetary exterminatus."
the voice was that of Benjamin Mordecai.
Karel said nothing, but broke into a run, with Stern and Crowe following and Benvard desparately trying to keep up.
"bloody...slow...down..." were the words that Karel heard behind him, but he did not relinquish his pace as he dashed through the ship, knocking deck officers, guardsmen and servitors out of the way in a deparate bid to stop the bombardment.
as he reached the bridge he saw the doors were sealed, insted of typing in his entry code, Karel simply smashed the code panel and the door slid half way open.
Karel ducked underneath and ran in.
he dropped to his knees as the orange fires of an entire planet burning entered his view.
he was aware of people standing behind him, but took no notice of them. the only figure clear to him through his tear filled eyes was Mordecai.
"bastard!" he roared, clutching his power sword, "i'll kill you!"
he tried to leap at Mordecai, but two strong pairs of arms gripped him.
though his vision was tear filled, Karel clearly saw Benvard confronting Mordecai.
"there were people on that planet!" Benvard roared, pointing to the viewing bay.
"there are people on this ship, your point?" replied Mordecai bluntly.
"we could have saved them, you bastard!" shouted Benvard. his comment was met by a backhanded blow from Mordecai.
"if this were my ship, i would have you-"
"but it's not your ship, Benjamin!" said Inquisitor Grey. none of them had noticed her standing in the corner, now she stepped forward, her youthful face was twisted in unrestrained fury.
"your ship is in the hangar bay, Mordecai. get off my ship now!"
Mordecai looked set to reply, but instead turned to Karel, smirking.
"what you do not understand, Captain, is that millions must die to save billions."
"out!" barked Inquisitor Grey, and Mordecai retreated through the doors of the bridge.
*two weeks later*
the hangar bay of the Warp-Rider hummed with activity. the twenty one remaining Grey Knights stood in ranked order, with Captain Stern and Castellan Crowe at their head.
Benvard stood with his guardsmen also ranked in squads behind him, and Karel stood proudly with his Deathwatch team assembled behind him.
though he was still sore about the death of Triton, Karel realised he hadn't spoken with his warriors since their first deployment to the planet. as he watched the Grey Knights lower their company banner and turn to march onto their thunderhawk, Karel thought back to seeing Kavan again. he knew he should have told someone, but he hadn't.
he and Kavan had lived through a lot. besides himself and Borvus, Kavan had been the longest serving in Fangas's Deathwatch team.
Karel knew one day he would have to face Kavan, but that thought gave him no comfort.
then the thought occurred to him.
he would never find peace, not yet anyway. something rang in his ears, and old phrase the High Marshal used to say back on board the Catechism of Heresy.
"only in death does duty end..."