Only War Episode 7 and 8

Recording: No Recording worth reporting on!

Tea: Lemonade again!

The situation was now dire, where before the buildings on the northern side of the square forced the enemy into easily controlled choke points, now instead the wreckage of the buildings would provide cover to any enemies approaching from that direction. Worse however was the fact that the tunnels that ran under almost every building were now breached. This could potentially lead to enemies crossing a comparatively small area of open ground, and then appearing right in the centre of the platoons defences.

Seeing this potentially catastrophic problem every single one of the remaining troops was detailed to fill the whole in, which they did by dragging over huge lumps of masonry to cover the hole. It was still obvious that there was a breach there but it should take a considerable amount of time for anyone to clear it, and as they did so they would be in full view of Vyn’s heavy weapons nest. If they could survive that, the probably deserved to get into the tunnels!

The troops had finally had chance to look over the Leman Russ tank they had secured from the shell-shocked Palaedeons. One track was being held on by only a single track pin, and it was dangerously close to being thrown. On the other side of the tank the armour skirt was bent in and every time the tank moved it emitted a plaintive shriek of tortured metal. The sponsons were wrecked having taken the brunt of whatever had attacked the tanks, the weapons were missing, possibly torn free from the vehicle. The main cannon however was still operational, although the ammunition bunker only held nine armour piercing shells. The rear storage crate however was a treasure trove, holding ten of the disposable Krak missile launchers that the Palaedeon’s favoured as their back up weapons. The Commissar wasted no time handing these out, the bulk of them being placed in the priest house but some being stored at the rear of the machine gun post and a couple of others being hidden in the Tithery.

They expected the worst, but what came first they did not expect.

It began with Liana hearing something approaching, a roaring sound that he easily placed as being some form of Jet pack. Before he could let anyone know Byarl called over that he had seen a figure approaching beyond the remains of the Warhound, appearing above the buildings and then dropping towards the ground.

Now used to the drill the soldiers rushed to their duty posts, the newly constituted squad one rushed upstairs in the priest house providing over watch over the entire square. The remains of squad 2 dived into the Leman Russ and loaded the battle cannon. The various members of the Command squad mostly stayed behind the command barricade, where Liana had been preparing a surprise for any attackers. Byarl however and his compatriot rushed over to the Primarcherie, diving in amongst the rubble and pulling some cover they had prepared over them. From outside they were almost invisible, with only the ominous hum of Byarl’s Meltagun to show their position.

They waited as they saw a figure in white, carrying something in their arms, appear over the tops of the buildings to their north carried on the flaming jets of it’s jet pack. They heard the crunch of the figure landing and then another roar as it sailed over the entire square and crashed back to the ground just behind the Leman Russ. The Command Squad whirled aiming their guns, until they realised that the figure was in fact a Sister of Battle from the sisters of the Shattered Blade.

She stood and looked around her before setting down the young girl she had been carrying in her arms. Somewhere along the line the Sister had lost her helmet, and her armour was scratched and burned, but the two brass and silver bolt pistols magnetically locked to her power armour looked not only decorative but very very functional. She took the hand of the little girl and set off towards the Cathedral. The Commissar wanting to know what was going on, and somewhat confused, as it had been believed that all of the Sisters of Battle had been killed by the Hunter of Bayle.

He reached the Cathedral and found the Sister waiting for him. He greeted her and then without much preamble asked who the hell she was and how she had gotten through to them. She explained that she was Angelique, one of the Sisters of the Shattered Blade, who had escaped the massacre due to having been given a special mission. When the Commissar asked what this mission was she refused to answer, but he noticed the small almost imperceptible flick of her eyes towards the girl. He asked if she had any information that she could pass on regarding the situation behind her.
She asked first if any of his men had been having strange dreams, and when he replied that they had, she asked if he would send them to the cathedral later. She then told him what she had seen as she moved away from the centre of the chaos forces. The news was grim for the platoon, as she told him of fields full of burning Palaedeon tanks. Worse though was her report of a column of Traitor tanks, and infantry heading directly towards the Platoons position. From her description it was more than enough to wipe them from the square of martyrs without raising a sweat. He left her to get the two men who had been having the strange dreams as she proceeded to pray at the Altar before the huge statue of the Emperor.

When Liana and Jellin arrived they and the Commissar returned to the cathedral. The Commissar joined the Sister in her prayers, strangely deciding to recite the prayer of penetration. The Medic and the Tech-priest stood rather confused until the little girl waved to them and drew them into the priests quarters. She introduced herself as Emeliana, and although she claimed that she was nothing more than a servant, they were struck by the feeling that she was far more than that. There she asked them what they had been dreaming, and if they had spoken with the Hunter of Bayle. They were both shocked at her candour, until she explained that she had also been dreaming, but where they saw only one hound stalking around the base of the tree they were hiding in, she saw eight. It had been nine however but the girl explained that Angelique had managed to slay both her own Hound, and one of the ones chasing Emeliana.
Now however she could see Hounds coming for the two men standing before her. Rather than leave them to fight on their own and possibly die, she offered them a blessing from the God Emperor himself. The two men looked at each other sceptically, but with the usual practicality of the Taelorn First knelt down, believing that any edge was worth taking. She laid a hand on each of their heads and suddenly they found themselves outlined in golden light, a strange peace and certainty settling into their bones. As they stood somewhat stunned the little girl returned to the cathedral to wait for her protector to finish her prayers.

Some thirty or so minutes later the Battle Sister stood and thanked the Commissar who had procured some rations for her and the girl, before gathering up her charge and lighting up her jet pack to carry them ever further southwards.
As the two men who had been blessed discussed what had happened the Commissar proceeded to the Vox and attempted to reach command. When a voice answered at the other end he swiftly gave a full and detailed account of the meeting, the location and heading of the nun, and the fact that she seemed to have a child blessed by the Emperor with them. It was only when the voice on the other end thanked him kindly for the information, that he began to realise that he had not recognised the voice on the other end, or asked for any confirmation of who it was. When the Vox began to spew scrap-code, Liana rushed over to turn it off before any further damage could be caused.

Realising what he had done the Commissar swung into action. If the enemy truly wanted to get to the girl the fastest route would be straight through the platoons position. As such they needed to ensure that they put up as much resistance as possible. He ordered a few of the disposable missile launchers to be cached in the Tithery, and a few more up on the first floor of the priest house. Two more were placed in Byarl’s prepared hide so that if his Meltagun proved ineffective he would have some back up. He also instructed Liana to open the back of the Pump house up so that if they came under heavy attack Vyn would be able to retreat. One application of Krak grenades later and a wide hole was opened in the back.

Then began the waiting once more. Off in the distance they heard the strange chanting once more, the throbbing cadence seeming to speak their destruction. However a whole day passed without any sign of the enemy and they began to hope that they perhaps had already seen the worst the enemy would throw at them. Of course they could not possibly have been that lucky but it was not until another day had passed that they heard the enemy approaching.
It began as many attacks had done, with Liana hearing the sound of an approaching column of vehicles. They realised they only had a few minutes to prepare before the enemy would be upon them, and so they moved into action immediately. Jellin ran forward, dumping one of the Krak Mines in the gap between the ruins of the statue of Dorn and the pile of rubble that used to be the Sacristy of the Paupers. He then retreated to the Tithery where two of the missile launchers had been placed. On the other side of the square Byarl and his squad mate dropped one of the other two Krak mines in the gap between the ruins of the Statue of Thor and the Primarcherie, before retreating to his prepared position. Squad 2 headed over to the Leman Russ which they did not expect to last long as it was stationary, and squad 1 took over the Multi-laser and Auto-cannon on the first floor of the priest house. The Command Barricade had the decoys set up behind it, the Vox having been moved into the back of the priest house, and Liana and the Commissar along with Argartha stayed on the first floor as well with some of the disposable rocket launchers. Vyn stayed in his Machine gun post.

They didn’t have to wait long for the Enemy to appear. Their first warning was a roar of engines as two Leman Russ Tanks ground over the rubble and headed across the square. However the traitorous guard in charge of them had not expected the land mines and both tanks hit the Krak mines. One bounced a full foot in the air before crashing back down to the ground, stunning the crew. The other meanwhile hit the mine and skewed sideways shedding its right track as it did so. The troops started to cheer but stopped as it continued going forward, gun tracking towards the Command Barricade.

Behind these two behemoths three more smaller tanks approached, Two Chimeras, that rumbled up the rubble of the statue of Dorn and the Sacristy of the Paupers and disgorged traitor PDF, and another tank which looked like a desecrated Sister of Battle tank, with two huge cannisters of what looked to be promethium on the rear. It had originally been covered in devotional symbols but now it was daubed in blasphemous symbols, seemingly painted on with some form of rust brown pigment. Chained to the front with barbed wire was what seemed to be the remains of one of the Sisters of the Shattered Blade, but luckily it was so disfigured it was difficult to tell.
The Traitor PDF deployed into the rubble taking cover and setting up ready to fire on the squad, but at they did so two of the men stopped and sniffed the air and then let loose a howl that sounded more like the howl of a predator than anything else. The two men turned and loped towards the squad, one heading towards the Tithery and the other tearing the huge rocks the squad had spent all morning moving over the broken hole into the tunnels in one sweep of its arms.

The squad however didn’t have time to think about that as they opened fire on the tanks with their disposable rocket launchers. The Commissar managed to strike the left Leman Russ but failed to penetrate the armour. Liana also fired upon it doing some damage but nothing to critical. Argartha however managed to strike the Right Leman Russ in the side armour as it slewed sideways from the impact of the Krak mine, blowing a chunk out of the left track, causing it to snap and start to unspoilt as the tank continued forwards. Both the Leman Russ tanks had now taken mobility damage but they continued moving, an in the Tithery Jellin crept forward, trying to get a shot on the rear of the right Leman Russ hoping to penetrate the thinner armour there. As Squad one also opened up on the Leman Russ with the Multi-laser and captured auto-cannon the Battle-cannon traversed and opened fire on the command barricade, annihilating it and leaving pieces of the fake guardsmen scattered all over the square. However they had done their job as the Auto-cannon and Multi-laser raked the roof of the tank doing minimal damage.
Way on the left of the battlefield, the Flame tank pushed through the wreckage of the Sacristy trying to get in range with its weapons. The other battle tank ground forward on its ruined track, while hidden in the Primarcherie Byarl quietly loaded one of the missile tubes.

The Commissar shouted through the vox to squad two in the borrowed tank, “The Hammer of Palaedeon”, and they rotated the turret to open fire on the Flame tank. With a crunch the tank was shunted a foot to the side by the impact of the battle-cannon round. When the dust settled one flank of the tank was ripped and fuel was leaking from it in a swift torrent, but much to everyone’s dismay it still came on.

In the Tithery Jellin raised his missile launcher to strike the Leman Russ near to him in the flank, but suddenly one
of the traitor PDF appeared at the far end of the room and howled at him. The man’s jaw stretched and stretched, tearing the flesh of his cheeks and causing blood to pour down his neck. Jellin was more surprised than shocked, but rather than snap fired his missile launcher at the man. Given the Krak missile was designed to penetrate Tank armour he was shocked when the man staggered but still came towards him. Vyn also caught the man in his burst of heavy bolter fire that he raked across the front of the PDF, killing three of them but barely scratching the strange man in front of Jellin.

The Leman Russ tanks both opened fire once more, the right most firing on the squad with the Multi-laser killing 5 of them in one shot, collapsing the roof in on them. However the two men actually manning the weapons were left strangely unharmed and both of them returned fire lightly damaging the tank.
The other tank fired on the Hammer of Palaedeon, but the shot went high missing the tank but demolishing part of the statue of Sanguianius. The Hammer meanwhile fired on the PDF killing many of them and forcing them to scuttle into cover by the fountain. The other PDF squad fired on the Commissar Liana and Argartha but without much effect.

The Commissar grabbed one of the disposable launchers and fired it at the right most of the two battle tanks, hitting it and knocking its secondary weapon askew on its cupola, as Liana tried a long range shot on the Flame tank. He damaged it somewhat but it still came on. Argartha fired down towards it as well but the shot went wild, passing over head and shattering the stones behind it. The right most tank however had realised that the command barricade had been abandoned and fired up at the Commissars position. There was a boom and a huge cloud of smoke and the room in which they had been firing from disappeared. The other tank fired at the Hammer of Palaedeon, rocking it back on its tracks and damaging one of them, not that it mattered as the troops inside had no idea how to manoeuvre the thing.

Vyn continued pouring fire on the PDF killing a large number of them, but he saw them setting up their own heavy stubbers and realised that very soon his position would be untenable, not least of all as he could hear something howling in the tunnels below him. Firing once more and knocking one of the heavy gunners down, he retreated through the back of the pump house heading towards the wreckage where Liana and the Commissar had been just a moment ago.
In the Tithery the strange mutated man roared and rushed Jellin, who just about managed to drag his Chain-sword from its holster as it charged. From somewhere the creature had produced a wicked looking blade made from rusted shards of metal crudely welded together, and brought it round so swiftly that it made a ripping sound. However Jellin was able to get his chain-sword in the way, knocking the enemies blade off line and probably saving his life. His training took over and he used the force from the parry to curve his chain-sword back and round before bringing it down on the creatures shoulder.

What happened next was not expected. There was an explosion of golden light, and a sound like an Ecclesiarchy choir in full voice. The Hound had enough time to scream before it exploded into a million tiny golden droplets that rained down around Jellin. However he had no time to celebrate as the PDF squad moved into the other end of the Tithery and fired upon him, killing his orderly and driving him back out of the building.
From his hide Byarl could see that more traitor PDF were deploying into the cover of the wrecked building, giving the squads already there fire support. The issue was that with the left most Leman Russ outside, and the flame tank not much further out if he made his presence known he would no doubt come under very heavy fire. Instead he moved very carefully forwards trying to get a side on shot still.

The Hammer of Palaedeon fired again putting a dint in the front armour of the right most Leman Russ, and was struck by the tank in the front track in return. The right Leman Russ continued forward as the fire from the squad in the Priest house slackened off. As it came forwards, Vyn crossed the clear area between the machine gun nest and the priest house, heading towards the ruin of the room where the Commissar, the Tech-priest and Argartha had stood a moment before, but before he could reach the wrecked frontage however the other man who had howled earlier barrelled into him, trying to get to the wreckage. Vyn found himself engaged by the man who whirled a cutlass made of chunks of Sororitas armour crudely welded together at his head. He Managed to get his blade in the way but his arm was almost numbed by the impact. He managed to swing sideways from it striking the hound in the side and drawing foul smelling blood from it. It roared and gave up its attempts to reach the wreckage, instead determining to kill the man that stood in its way. Before it could cleave Vyn in two however the Commissar and Liana barrelled into it, covered in brick dust and scratches. They joined Vyn in fighting the thing, with Liana trying to use the gift the little girl had given him to end the creature. rocket tubes out of the

Argartha meanwhile lugged one of the last undamaged missile tubes out of the wreckage and as the right most Leman Russ roared past in front of him, heading towards the Hammer of Palaedeon to finish it off. He fired at it without aiming and the Krak missile punched through part of the armour at the rear. Very little seemed to happen at first but then black smoke belched from all of the hatches on the tank. It slewed sideways, and collapsed into the makeshift trench in front of what had been the Command barricade.

Seeing the Leman Russ taken out the Flame tank began rumbling forwards to douse the command squad in fire. Realising that this could spell the end of the squad Byarl finally emerged from his cover and fired the rocket he held into the rear of the flame tank. It struck the fuel tank punching through the thing metal before detonating inside it. Burning Promethium was blown up into the air and fell upon the tank in a burning rain lighting the Promethium that had leaked earlier and igniting the outside of the tank. with a wooshing sound the entire tank went up. However before Byarl could duck back into cover he heard a grating squealing sound as the Leman Russ he had been waiting to shoot traversed its turret. He had a brief moment of staring down the barrel of the battle cannon before there was a bright flash of light and he was thrown through the air to smash into the statue of Sanguianius in the Primarcherie, hitting it with such force that it snapped at the waist and came crashing down above him. Byarl found himself underneath the wings of the Primarch with the weeping face directly above him. For a moment he thought the statue was weeping tears of blood, but then the pain dawned on him and he looked down to see that his chest was a red ruin. With a shaking hand he reached down to his thigh pocket, where his med kit was stowed.

The Leman Russ didn’t have long to celebrate its victory however, as soon afterwards first the Hammer of Palaedeon struck it blowing the turret clean off, and then directly afterwards Argartha managed to tag it with his very last rocket. With an earth shattering explosion it detonated, scattering the area with debris, some of which scythed through the traitor PDF who had been pushing up across the square.

Behind the pump house the Hound was easily holding off Liana, Vyn and the Commissar and had landed blows on both Liana and the Commissar, leaving Liana with a bloody slash across his chest and the Commissar with several small but deep wounds. It was only a matter of time before it landed a telling blow. Vyn meanwhile was doing well having scored a few well aimed blows that had seemingly done very little to the creature. Suddenly it turned and stuck him so hard he went to his knees. Vyn looked up as the creature raised its weapon high above its head and knew that if the weapon fell it would be the end, but as it began to descend Jellin appeared behind it and with a mighty blow cleaved through the creature from one shoulder to its waist. Before the weapon descended the creature exploded into a rain of golden droplets, the weapon clattering to the ground.

As the Multi-laser of squad two played across the front of the approaching troops, the Commissar realised that while they had been dealing with the tanks more and more of the enemy troops had been making their way into the rubble and were firing down into the square. Worse he heard the blare of a war horn and way off to the north, but approaching at speed was a Warlord titan, in the scintillating greens and blues of the Hunter of Bayles forces. Leaving the squad to pour fire into the enemy PDF he ran and began scrambling up the face of the wreckage of the priest house trying to get to the rear of the building where the Vox had been stored.

Beneath the wings of Sanguianius Byarl continued trying to staunch the bleeding from his chest but without much luck. Somewhere over to his left his squad mate Gernin had expired and blood was starting to paint the underside of the wings red. He keyed the vox and called for the medic, while attempting to keep pressure on the wound, but he began to realise that it was beginning to go dark.

The Commissar reached the Vox and dragging out the speaking tube radioed command and passed one of the commands he had been given before the battle started. As he relayed the coordinates to the Orbital Bombardment monitors however Commander Culchan cut across him ordering them to belay that order as the support he had requested had finally arrived. There was a brief argument with command but the Commissar wasn’t listening, instead he was watching the Warlord titan as it raised its Plasma gun seemingly to point directly towards him. Above it the clouds suddenly brightened and the entire arm fell away from the war machine as it was struck from above by some form of globule of white hot metal, which ate into its carapace where it hit. A second and third hit it reducing its upper portions to a mass of twisted and boiling metal, but it was not until tear-drop shapes began to rain down all over the city that he realised what the weapon had been, Space Marine Bombardment Cannons.

Down below the fire from the command squad had proved ineffective at keeping the PDF at bay, and they were now charging over the open ground, when two of the White drop pods slammed into the ground amongst them and the ramps came down crushing many of them. The storm of fire that followed was awe inspiring but no more so that the mighty figures in white armour but with no chapter markings that strode out after it. The space marines who had saved Taelorn had come to the aid of the men who had defended the city.

One of the forms peeled off from the firing line that was now moving across the square pouring fire into the panicked foe. It walked to the Commissar and stood towering over him, before taking a knee and telling them that as per their previous agreement with Commander Culchan they had arrived to aid them. The Command squad stood stunned but thankful, they had survived.

Jellin, no longer pinned down by the fire of the Traitor PDF, grabbed his medical bag and ran across the square, vaulting wreckage and dodging between chunks of iron heading towards the Primarcherie. He dived into the area where he had seen Byarl fall and tore through the rubble around the statue of Sanguianius. He finally was able grab hold of Byarl’s hand and drag him bodily out from under the statue, but when he did he found the man was grey. Jellin pressed his hand against the troopers neck but could feel no pulse, and Byarl’s uniform was soaked red with his blood. Jellin slumped down next to the man, out of breath and out of strength finally, and watched as the Emperors chosen took the war to the enemy.

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