Assault on Caldoss
Khorne lord of the Luster Skulls Warband
Captain (Command Level 4)
WS6 * BS4 * S4 * T4 * W3 * I5 * A3 * Ld9 * Sv3+
Juggernaut of Khorne
Feel No Pain (+1)
Maximum Points Allowed:
Facing the ever-constant threat of the Black Rage, Adrastus has fought an unending war not only with the Xenos and Heretic alike, but with himself. With every battle that passes, he finds himself amidst his battle bothers stricken with the Rage, knowing that he too could one day find himself in their ranks. For this reason, Adrastus and his chapter fight diligently and with great pride and tactical ruthlessness, proving themselves time and time again to be one of the most potent forces in the Imperium, all the while knowing that each pure-minded battle could be the very last, be it by death, or the all-consuming Black Rage. But, it is the very ruthlessness of Adrastus and his warriors that draws constant suspicion from allies, and strikes terror into Adrastus’ foes.
Upon arriving in the Caldoss Sector, the newly appointed Sergeant Adrastus Catigernus was among the first to be sent to the surface, including his tactical squad “Honor Guard” as well as the Dreadnaught containing the mangled body of the former Sergeant, Calleus. The Aeterna Venatore had arrived shortly before, greeting his chapter to the system as did the Venatore tactical squad sergeant, Eldrin, on the planet’s surface. Upon the meeting, the two strike teams set forth on a training exercise, pitting the two strike teams against one another in a simple, friendly wargame. Though the Aeterna Venatore valued mobility and tactical execution, the Blood Ruby chapter emerged victorious through sheer force. It was during the last rounds of the exercise that Adrastus felt something call to him. Backed by two of his fellow marines, brothers Vergilius and Iulius, Adrastus made his final orders for the battle as he approached the center of an ancient shrine. A strange hum numbed his senses as he approached the center of the shrine, ever cautious within this uncharted system. Between the four pillars and half-buried within ash, laid a powerfist that crackled with life.
“Surely the machine spirit beckons you, brother,” said Vergilius, feeling the power in tandem of his brothers, “however strange that a gift of the Mechanicum would fall here.”
Adrastus lifted the fist from the ash, dusting off the brass-gold metal as he fitted it over his arm without a single thought.
“It is further proof of the Mechanicum’s legacy,” said Adrastus, clenching his fist and smirking as the disrupter field forced a jolt of electricity to cascade over its surface, “and quite fitting for our success here, if I may declare.”
Brother Iulius opened his mouth to speak, but felt no force exert itself in his breath. He felt concern wash over him, but dismissed his previous thoughts as a vision of Sanguinius ran through his mind.
“Is all well, brother?” inquired Adrastus, taking notice of Iulius’ bothered expression.
“I am fine, brother,” he replied, “though I may need to speak with a priest after this.”
Giving a nod to his fellow marine, Adrastus turned away as Eldrin approached.
“What was it that you found, Adrastus?” asked Eldrin, peering at the artifact.
“A powerfist, it seems,” said Adrastus, eyes suddenly locked on the mechanism.
Eldrin stood firm, sensing worry build in his gut, “Surely you should take care with such things,” he said.
“It is a powerfist; a holy relic of the Mechanicum and its majesty,” said Adrastus, firm in his decision.
“Fulgrim thought it was just a sword,” returned Eldrin, the vision from the night before flashing in his thoughts.
Adrastus sneered, clenching the fist then releasing his grip.
“An alien sword forged by xenos scum is bound to have its imperfections, something Fulgrim should have known. This is a gift of the Mechanicum, and I have not any possibility of heresy with this to remind me of the Emperor’s might.”
Nearly a week passed before word of other conflicts reached Adrastus and his team. A series of pylons of unknown origin stood across a desert of red sand. Proud and sturdy, the metal of the pylons were unlike the majesty of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and it was at that time Adrastus ordered his team to keep their eyes on the horizon. The crackling glow that began to erupt from the pylons yielded a sickly green as they clunked and shifted with energy Adrastus hadn’t seen in some time.
“Necrons,” Adrastus muttured, “they’ve been expecting us.”
Adrastus readied a round of Kraken bolts into his boltgun and his unit followed suit. A tactical squad had joined for the investigation, and each marine kept their boltguns raised. In the distance, as though reality had blinked, a pack of Flayed Ones started their wretched march. Their razor-sharp claws crackling and chattering with malign fervor, a being rose from the sands just beyond them: an Immortal.
“Go forth,” the being commanded to the infected Necrons, “see to their end.”
Its voice was calm and confidently projected, forcing the marines to feel a knot form in their abdomens. Adrastus gave the word, and the marines open-fired upon the progressing machines. Adrastus fired a round at the Immortal in command, the Kraken round bouncing harmlessly away as the being approached the activated pylon without taking notice of the shot. Immediately, the Flayed Ones leapt at the marines of the tactical squad, shredding three of the battle brothers immediately as the others desperately tried to fend them off.
“Fall back and open fire!” Adrastus called out to his Sternguard, before looking towards his marines “Brothers Anielos and Genellius, strike whilst they are distracted!”
At this time, a flayed one dropped from the sky, leaping at Vergilius. Adrastus charged in. Like all Blood Angels and their successors, a powerful surge of energy broke through as they approached combat, and Adrastus struck his opponent with the fury of a god, just as the creature had brought its blade to kill Vergilius. Despite the effort, Adrastus watched as the pylon suddenly pulsed with an energy signal, the Immortal stepping away with a stave of incomprehensible power. As more Necrons began to rise from the sands, Adrastus ordered a full retreat.
Prompted to a mock battle by Eldrin of the Aeterna Venatore, Adrastus was eager to redeem himself to his brothers. The loss in the desert and his inability to stop the Necron’s sudden advance had left a dark mark, if not to his brothers and chapter, to his ego.
“Surely despite the loss you can give us a challenge, yes?” Eldrin teased, knowing it would easily spark an affirmation to the friendly challenge.
“We will crush you,” Adrastus returned, “then it will be you who must prove yourselves to us.”
The marines of the Blood Ruby chapter were highly outmaneuvered by the biker-heavy marines of the Aeterna Venatore, but this is something Adrastus had come to expect.
“To hunt them down would be foolish,” Adrastus told his men, “let them come to us.”
Despite the speed and ferociousness of Venatore, their weapons were unable to pierce the armored hide of the company’s Vindicator, surprised by an assault led by Adrastus and his veterans. In the distance, Calleus dropped from the sky to force pressure on the Venatore’s enhanced Landspeeder as a squad of marines took the mock fire from the Venatore bikes and launched an assault.
In the assault, Adrastus pulled on biker from his bike, pinning him to the ground as Vergilius did the same. Just as one of the Venatore brought his fiber-glass mock knife down, it was met by Adrastus arm and knocked away. Instinctively, Adrastus reared up with his power fist, a thought in his head echoing like a mantra. Crush him; he is weak! Adrastus realized what was happening, and in the last second brought his fist down onto the bike, knocking the marine over the handle bars, drawing the attention of Vergilius, Iulius, and brother Genello.
“Sergeant, collateral damage isn’t called for!” Vergilius exclaimed. Adrastus ran to the aid of the Venatore he had uprooted, helping his brother to his feet.
“Dispatch a Techmarine to fix it,” Adrastus called to Genello, “it was a momentary lapse of judgement and a product of instinct.”
It was then that Eldrin approached, his halberd bearing a wax symbol of the Ordo Malleus just beneath the blade.
“My apologies, brother,” said Adrastus, his eyes locked on the wax, “you have spoken with the Grey Knights?”
Eldrin gave a nod, “Only to prove a point,” he said, “that I yield not any corruption.”
Psyker, Adrastus heard in his head. Shaking the thought from his mind, Adrastus looked to his veterans and Eldrin.
“Shall we call it a day?”
- * * * * * * *
The ringing in Adrastus’ ears left the battlefield covered in fog, as he had no memory of what had happened. The bodies of his brothers lay dead around him, all but Genello, Vergilius, and Iulius. He heard commotion in the distance, the sound of bolter fire and knives against metal. The Vindicator tanks in the distance let loose volleys of powerful shells to targets in the distance, but Adrastus’ mind couldn’t register. He looked to his own form. His armor had been singed and impacted with metal; shrapnel stuck out from gaps within his armor, and one piece had struck into his flesh. Pulling the piece from his chest carapace, he felt the warmth of his blood fill the gap. Tossing the shrapnel away, he noticed his mangled bolt pistol in the sand. In that moment, his mind filled with memory from the moment his Special Issue Ammunition had betrayed him. As the ringing subsided, he heard a familiar voice calling to him, one urgently begging him to get up.
“Vergilius,” Adrastus let loose the whisper from his lips as he dizzily looked around. The explosion had done a number on his body and mind.
Adrastus forced himself to his feet, crushing his shattered pistol with his Power Fist in a display of revenge to the forsaken weapon. He suddenly felt hands pulling him up.
“Adrastus, we need to move!” he heard Vergilius cry as a series of Gauss arcs flew by them. Though victory had been claimed that day, the battlefield was still a dangerous place to be. Together, they rushed to the distance, through the river and back where they had started the battle earlier in the day. Vergilius brought Adrastus to the ground, lighting a flare for the dropship to return. With him were his brothers Iulius and Genello, wounded but alive as they left their bolters raised up in defense. As the drop ship slowly descended, Adrastus closed his eyes.
Through the constant battles against the Necrons, it became abundantly clear that their intention was to activate their ancient technology for their own, death dealing ends. Perplexed at this possibility, Adrastus ordered that a request be made to the tech priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus, hoping that they could bring to light the situation in progress. Upon meeting the Tech Priest Dominus that had entered the system, Adrastus had struck a deal with the worshipers of the Omnissiah. His campaign would ensure that they take what they seek of the alien technology for their own study, meanwhile they would find the answers of the Necrons’ plan. In the ensuing battles, a detachment of Skitarii and their machines of war would join Adrastus’ forces, and would prove to be invaluable in their implacable advance. It was in this time that Adrastus was elevated to the rank of Captain, having proven his desire for the conquest against the Xenos foes. However, the rumors of Inquisitors soon made themselves evident, as Inquisitor Tyrannus of the Ordo Malleus had entered the system, seizing control of the detachment of Grey Knights that had originally accompanied Adrastus’ ships to the system. Word had spread of how Adrastus had survived a lethal malfunction, and with the ever-present threat of heresy, including the infamous nature of the Blood Ruby chapter in itself, Tyrannus had been alerted and assigned to the system, tasked with keeping his haunting eyes on Adrastus and his forces.
As the Grey knights flooded the corridors of the ships of Adrastus’ forces, he was met with the Inquisitor, whose taller-than average frame was still dwarfed by Adrastus, who was in turn eclipsed by the Inquisitor’s stern demeanor.
“This is highly unnecessary,” Adrastus said, his tone firm, “highly unprecedented.”
The Inquisitor glared at Adrastus, peering into his soul.
“You are not the one to decide, Space Marine,” he barked, his gravely voice asserting his power, “you survived an incident that very well should have killed you. Through something daemonic or ruinous otherwise is unclear, but I am the one who will decide your fate from here on.”
Adrastus clenched his fists as he gritted his teeth.
“There is not a threat of anything ruinous here, Inquisitor,” Adrastus proclaimed.
The Inquisitor looked to the Power Fist.
“Have you come across anything suspicious in your time here, marine?” He asked, his eyes locked on the Power Fist.
“I have not,” Adrastus returned, “and your assumptions are inaccurate.”
“Are you questioning my intuition, marine?”
Adrastus chewed the inside of his mouth, a rancid thought echoing as though a whisper in his ear: Crush him.
“No,” Adrastus dismissed the thought as vengeful, “I only wish to express my concern for your implications.”
“I will make the final decision, marine. And you and your chapter better hope you pass my judgement, lest the Ordo Malleus sees and end to your existence.”
A tesla surge erupted from the first Vindicator of the armored detachment, pushing Adrastus’ men to begin to question their chances of survival. The Necrons had arrived in full force, flaying the metal of both marine and vehicle alike. On the ground, a detachment of Skitarii led by Inquisitor Tyrannus held the western flank, their weapons piercing the metal flesh of their foes as heavy phosphor blasters were fired into the enemy ranks by scuttling Onagers. As more Necron reinforcements arrived, Flayed Ones began to crawl from their pocket dimension, slowly approaching from afar.
“This is hopeless without reinforcements!” Cried out a scout, hoping word had been sent to the ships in space. His prayers answered almost immediately, a drop pod carrying Dreadnaught Calleus crashed amidst the metal army, his frag cannon blasting his opponents to pieces as heavy flamer burned them away. Immediately there after, Adrastus and his sternguard veterans arrived, their bolters spitting armor-piercing death at their foes. As hope began to rise, a sudden flash of green light choked the sky. Once the light had disappeared, the remains of the final vindicator lay irreparable.
Rushing into his Necron foes, Adrastus rallied his guard and leapt into the fray, his fist crushing all in his path as Vergilius, Ganello, and Iulius tore their opponents limb from limb. In his mind, Adrastus felt a pulsing sensation as he silenced his foes. A faint thought felt as though a whisper to him yet again,
“More,” said the voice, almost audible in his ear, “you must kill more of them!”
Iulius drove his knife into the warrior’s metallic frame, the light leaving it’s hollow eyes as he pushed it away. A flash of Sanguinius left an impression on his sight as he fell to one knee. Genello approached, hand out to retrieve his brother.
“You too?” Genello said, halfheartedly. Iulius felt his eye twitch. Knowing he wasn’t the only one didn’t bring comfort, but rather disdain. As Genello pulled Iulius to his feet, they watched as Adrastus caught the fleeing warrior, pinning it to the ground as his hands tore chunks of metal from the xenos’ body. Vergilius approached cautiously; Adrastus had never seemed so aggressive. He let out his hand to touch the pauldron of his sergeant, suddenly feeling a jolt of pain as Sanguinius face flashed in his mind.
“Adrastus!” he managed to exclaim, pulling the sergeant from his bezerk fury, “it’s destroyed.”
Adrastus blinked a few times, surveying the remains of the metal alien he had rent. A feeling of calmness swept over him suddenly, unlike what he had felt before. In the distance, the Necron Doomscythe flew over the heads of his troops, it’s beam disabling all but the weapon systems of the final Onager. In instant retaliation, the Skitarii took aim with their guns, firing in unison. Their bullets struck true into the weaker metal of the rear section, and the final Skitarius ranger fired his Arquebus, bringing the aircraft crashing into the war-torn dirt. Adrastus admired their unorthodox tactics and abilities, but found himself with little time to appreciate any view.
The battle in the distance raged on as Calleus continued to tear his metallic foes apart. As the flayed ones fearlessly approached, they were met by his heavy flamer and frag cannon.
“May you never be back,” he shouted as he crushed the final metal body in his power fist, incinerating the remains and dropping the red-hot Necron to the dirt. Adrastus accompanied by Vergilius, Ganello, and Iulius, brought their fight to the lone Necron Lord, Volundur, as it stood perched above the bodies of the doomed scout squad. Furious and mind set on its destruction, Adrastus leapt with his squad towards the Necron Lord, only to find their blows matched perfectly. Every strike from the blades of his honor guard was met with a swift parry, and every fist thrust was effectively dodged by the seemingly frail lord. In those moments, a sudden flash in the distance lit up the area as Calleus’ chassis fell to the ground, battered and electrified.
“Calleus is down!” Adrastus exclaimed, pain gripping his emotions, “fall back to the rally point!” Defeated in battle, Adrastus and his squad were forced away by the frail Volundur, who only stood silent as they withdrew. The Skitarii rangers provided covering fire for the squad as tesla cannons cracked through the air, while the remaining troops fled the field. The battle was a draw, but to Adrastus, it had been a severe loss.
For days, Adrastus sat in his quarters. The feeling of loss loomed over him with every thought that involved his previous training under Calleus. Having taken the sergeant’s place when he was placed into the sarcophagus of the Furioso Dreadnaught, Adrastus felt he had finally met the purpose his sergeant had trained him for. Yet, knowing he was no longer among the living drew a pain to Adrastus’ gut.
One thought that battered his mind was one that made he himself feel insecure: Perhaps I’m not strong enough to be a leader. Slamming his fist down onto the cold metal floor, he reflected on his battles in the past, and how he had still pulled through where others had not. This argument in his mind, he felt, was just only an attempt at justifying a reason to feel better. At the far end of the room, his powerfist lay. His eyes were locked on it as they came across its brass surface. I can make you stronger, he heard a voice hiss. For the first time, he decided to mutter a response, “How?”
He heard not an answer, but suddenly felt a surge of energy come over him as tunnel-vision choked his sight. When he could see clearly again, he found himself wielding the gauntlet as a strange symbol flashed in his mind. In that moment, Tyrannus entered the room, clad in his terminator armor and surrounded by his Grey Knight retinue.
“Come, marine,” Tyrannus said, “the inquisitor lord demands that a certain marine of the Aeterna Venatore be taken into our custody.”
Adrastus thought about his loyalty to brother chapters, tasting disdain at the request that he betray them, even for the Inquisition.
“And should I refuse?” Adrastus said, his voice gravely and stern. He didn’t feel himself, but rather more confident and unyielding to the inquisitor.
Tyrannus approached, looking over the captain.
“You found an artifact of unknown history and did not submit it for inspection,” Tyrannus returned, his voice powerful and firm, “by all accounts it should be seized and you should be scheduled for some form of punishment. Yet, we have an offer for you,” the inquisitor glared as though the thought was terrible in his mind, “help me capture our quarry, and I will let it slide. Your life will be spared, and that of your men.”
Adrastus groaned. He hated the inquisition in every form, and their constant threats only angered him. He looked down to his relic, the displacement field crackling with warm power.
Destroy the psyker, he heard.
“Fine,” he said begrudgingly, “I will help you.”
On the ground, Eldrin had been dispatched with his honor guard to rendezvous with Alexi, a leader among the Aeterna Venatore. In retaliation to the Venatore for what they had seen as a betrayal, the Inquisition had dispatched a detachment of the Skitarii present in the system and, perhaps most deadly of a choice, a Culexus assassin. Adrastus, forced into service, sent out a wave of Vindicator tanks and Correo, a Furioso dreadnaught. For the bulk of the battle, the Skitarii held the line as the Vindicators fired off their destructive shells, guided by the luminagen light of the Skitarii phosphor weapons. Adrastus, Tyrannus, and a prepared squad of Grey Knights teleported to the surface to confront Alexi, meeting instead Eldrin and his honor guard as they opted to destroy the Vindicators.
“Eldrin, halt!” Adrastus called out to the marine, “it does not need to go any further than this.”
Tyrannus stepped forward, his glare visible through his helmet.
“Alexi will come with us, lest you face the blade of the Ordo Malleus,” he said, the head of his hammer to the ground in a display of peace for the moment, “stand aside.”
All that was given in return was a frown from Eldrin, whose eyes began to glow with psychic power. Sending forth a paralyzing shock wave towards the inquisitor, the Grey Knights quickly nullified the power before it made contact. Returning their fire, they found their blessed bullets only bouncing off the pyschic energy Eldrin had released. In that moment, as if formed from the shadows themselves, the Culexus leapt among Eldrin and his guard, instantly dissipating all psychic energy around them. Seizing the moment, it fired negative energy from its Animus Speculum, the energy all but destroying two of the guard as it rushed into the squad, ignoring all fire directed towards it.
“Leave them alive, but incapacitated,” Tyrannus ordered.
From behind them, a series of Ravenwing bikers boosted past the squad, leaving many the warriors of the inquisition dead, crushed by grav-weaponry. Adrastus pulled the inquisitor behind a drop pod for cover as the battle began to grow heavily. In the distance, one of the Blood Ruby chapter ancients had taken Alexi into custody as the Skitarii held off intruders from a distance. Tyrannus called for a transport, taking a shot to the leg that pierced his terminator armor.
“You need to get out of here!” Adrastus exclaimed, watching the remaining grey knight fall to the weight of fire.
“Quite the contrary,” Tyrannus said, holding himself up by his daemonhammer, “you have fulfilled your task, be on your way.”
Having stepped up to the task and completed it, Adrastus had been pardoned for his relic. While he felt pride burn in his heart for giving aid to the Inquisition and surviving the ordeal, he still regretted turning against his brother space marines. However, the longer he thought of Eldrin and the Venatore, the more he felt a sense of disgust and rage.
They only wish to undermine your efforts. Adrastus heard. Knowing he was alone in his quarters, he looked to the fist. In his time of using the weapon to crush his foes, he had never thought of what he sensed in it. Perhaps an enhanced, sentient machine spirit powered the fist? Or was it just his own intuition having taken a paranoia-induced form?
“The Venatore are serving the Emporer, just as I am,” he said aloud. For a moment, he didn’t hear an answer. Just as he chose to brush it off as his intuition-gone mad, he heard a response echo in his mind.
They have turned their backs to you despite your service. Adrastus paused.
“I have only done what is best for all,” he muttered in agreement.
They fear your power, and only wish to vanquish you.
His mind raced with the brief history of the battles within the Caldoss system. Every step he had taken resulted in someone questioning his authority or choices. Eldrin had objected to the claim over the power fist, the Inquisition was using him as their tool, and for obeying orders, the Aeterna Venatore no longer had a friendly standing with the Blood Ruby chapter. Disgust, he felt.
In that moment, he received a message over his comm.
“Adrastus,” called the familiar voice of Vergilius, “Genello has fallen to the Black Rage.”
- * *
Upon hearing about the release of Alexi and the traitorous Eldrin from custody of the Inquisition due to an attack by Eldar and Necron forces, Adrastus was selected once again to bring his troops to the forefront against the Aeterna. Without a choice of his own, Adrastus dispatched all that he could to approach in his place, as he felt that preserving the sanity of his honor guard was more important than fighting his allies once more.
Entering the brig of the ship, Vergilius and Iulius guided him to Genello, their fallen brother. Foaming at the mouth and speaking soliloquies to himself about the traitorous Horus, he didn’t acknowledge his kin as they stood in front of him. Genello hadn’t even been aware that he was in chains, placed to keep him from harming himself or others.
“It’s a pity,” Vergilius said, his mind flashing with images of Sanguinius, “and soon, I fear, I’ll be with him in the Death Company.”
Adrastus looked to his battle brother.
“You’re not saying,” he choked.
“We’ve all been feeling the onset, Adrastus,” Iulius said, “with orders by the priests we are to remain in the brig, so that we may be easier to hold once we fall within a few hours.”
Adrastus felt his heart sink. How was it that he had avoided not only death in multiple instances, but the rage, and would no longer be able to fight alongside his brothers?
“We thought we would say our goodbyes, brother,” Vergilius said, his hand placed firmly on his captain’s shoulder. Adrastus returned the favor, as did Iulius. For the final painful moments, the trio stood in brotherhood one final time.
On the ground, the final of the chapter’s ancients fell to the onslaught of the Venatore assault. The remaining marines on the ground called for full retreat at the sight of the fallen dreadnaughts, only to be shot to pieces by the swift bikers of the Ravenwing. In the aftermath of the loss, Vergilius and Iulius, along with another few squads fell to the black rage in unison. In his quarters, Adrastus was alerted by a sergeant that the chapter ancients had been destroyed by Eldrin and his forces.
“And the others?” Adrastus felt his face twitch in disgust and anger.
“They,” the sergeant choked, “there were no survivors.”
Adrastus stood up, gripping his desk with his power fist and throwing it across the room with a roar of frustration, the desk shattering against the hard metal wall.
Your allies have betrayed you, the voice hissed.
“I will crush Eldrin’s skull in my fist for this!”
In that moment, the sergeant was put aside by Inquisitor Tyrannus. Despite being out of his armor, he still felt imposing to all around him.
“What do you want, Inquisitor?” Adrastus demanded.
“That you don’t take that tone with me, Space Marine,” Tyrannus growled, “come with me. You have some explaining to do.”
Tyrannus and Adrastus stormed into the brig, where two full squads of space marines, including Genello, Vergilius, and Iulius, were being held back by chains as they cackled wildly to themselves.
“What is this madness?” Tyrannus said, a demanding tone prompting an angered response by Adrastus.
“They have fallen to the Black Rage,” Adrastus said, holding his anger back for a time, “there’s nothing that can be done.”
Tyrannus approached a marine who had fallen, gazing into his blood shot eyes. He pulled out his bolt pistol.
“What are you doing, Inquisitor?” Adrastus approached, cautiously.
“This is the source of your Death Company, isn’t it?” Tyrannus asked.
“Yes,” Adrastus responded, “they are the fallen of Death Company.”
Tyrannus observed the beast of a man before whom he stood, bringing his bolt pistol to the marine’s forehead.
“Execute them all,” Tyrannus ordered, firing his round into the marine’s skull. The rest of the fallen marines in the room raised their voices in uproar at the sound.
He wishes to destroy your finest warriors.
“Inquisitor, stop!” Adrastus ordered.
“Execute them now, or I will do it myself,” Tyrannus said, glaring at the captain.
“They don’t deserve this; there’s not a cure!” Adrastus reasoned, hoping the inquisitor would take pity.
There is one who could cure them, the voice argued.
Tyrannus placed the barrel of his bolt pistol against the head of Vergilius.
“Your decision has been made, so I will decide who lives from here on.”
Crush him, in the name of Khorne!
In that fleeting moment, Adrastus felt all time stop. The voice had not been intuition, nor a machine spirit of higher intelligence. A daemon of Khorne ever relentless; one of unfettered fury locked within. The voice spoke again, Today is not their day to die; they will be your strongest warriors! Crush him!
“And turn my back on the Emperor?” Adrastus argued.
It is the Emperor and his damned Inquisition who have turned their backs to you. You served them with unbound loyalty and they choose to destroy you. Khorne will give you the power to lead, and bring your revenge to those who betrayed you!
“I will decide who lives from here on,” Tyrannus said, his finger over the trigger. Adrastus approached from behind him.
“No, Inquisitor,” Adrastus said, gripping the man in his power fist and pinning him against the wall, “you will not make any decisions for my warriors.”
“Unhand me this instant!” The inquisitor fired a round against Adrastus, the bullet bouncing off his helmet.
“I served you loyally and in return you have betrayed me,” Adrastus’ fingers began to tighten around the inquisitor’s body, “you are against us, and like all who oppose me, I must destroy you.” His power fist began to to squeeze around the squirming inquisitor, who then started to feel his bones break under the pressure of the fist. He let out a desperate mutter for release, his mouth unable to even let out the word “marine.”
“And like others such as yourself, I will crush all who oppose me in my fist!”
Adrastus clamped down on the inquisitor quickly, crushing the man painfully as Adrastus proceeded to slam the remains repeatedly against the cold metal floor.
Yes, blood! the voice reveled.
Adrastus released his grip, the eviscerated remains of the once-human lay on the ground in a pool.
His blood, the voice growled, put it on them!
Using his fingers, Adrastus wiped a splotch of blood onto the foreheads of every marine in the brig, saving the remains for Vergilius, Genello, and Iulius. As he completed his task, Adrastus watched his brothers as they continued to have their bloodshot eyes locked on him.
The power of the blood god shall be yours! the voice erupted.
The blood on their foreheads retraced itself into a fashioned mark, not dissimilar to a skull as it then burned into their pale flesh. Adrastus watched as the pupils of their bloodshot eyes thinned and elongated, only to return to normal as they once were before. In that moment every marine broke from their chains and approached Adrastus, loyal to his whims as they saw not a captain of space marines, but a brutal Chaos Lord of Khorne.