2nd Company Champion Ustulio Nibus of the Incinerators travels into the abysmal, caliginous mines of his homeworld Lux Aeterna, in search of an unknown behemoth which plagues the lower levels of the quarries.
Gelios was many things, a servant of the Emperor, certainly. A miner of Lux Aeterna, without a doubt. Food for the Leviathan that lurked within the bowels of the planet’s mineshafts, unfortunately. The miner sat against of the tunnel’s walls, his life slowly bleeding away from the injuries he had already sustained. The air smelled of burning ores from one of blast furnaces ways away from his current position. The tunnels were lit dimly by the dusty glow orbs that sat upon the pommels of various pegs wedged into the soil. What a terrible place to die.
The miner doubted anyone would find him, word had spread rather quickly around the facility above ground that some terrible creature haunted the tunnels and slaughtered the miners. Gelios imagined that when word got around that he, and no doubt other miners had disappeared, they would shut the station down.
Pain overcame Gelios for a moment, just a moment, and he suddenly found himself puking blood upon the soil. He was dying; of this he was certain, and how could he not? His left leg was severed at the knee, and a ragged gash ran across the flesh encasing his collarbone. Each gout of air the miner inhaled was met with blood streaming in his mouth and down his throat. He was dying, but he was not dead, the monster had made sure of this. Somehow, it toyed with him, and it would continue to toy with him until Gelios could draw breath no longer.
He heard footsteps from his right, and struggled to turn his head to face that way. Holy God Emperor, it had returned. It had returned to finish him off. The creature was a serpent-like creature, its body ended with a barbed tail that slithered behind it. Six limbs formed from its upper-body, two of them were reminiscent of clawed talons, the bottom limbs ended with razor-edged paws, perhaps used to carry some form of weapon. The final limbs were no more than scythes, no doubt used to tear its prey apart. It slithered and slid towards the miner, before stopping a few feet away. The creature propped itself up on its tail like a snake threatening another creature that it was invading its space. Its jaws opened wide, giving way to dagger tipped teeth, and it hissed. It hissed, before raising its scythe-hands, ready to deliver the killing blow.
Gelios knew the story of his life had ended; he could do nothing to prevent the inevitable. He was a dead man, and embraced such a fate with his head held back and eyes shut. He sat like this, waiting for the death he knew was knocking down his door.
It never came.
Instead of death, a feral roar resounded across the quarry. Gelios’ eyes shot open, and – to his astonishment – the creature no longer bore its claws towards him. No, a new presence had entered the tunnels, and it was even more terrifying than the beast that had just a few seconds ago been prepared to kill the miner. Further down the tunnel, a giant stood ever motionless. The figure dressed in massive, khaki green power armor, with enlarged shoulder pauldrons coloured a burnt orange. A massive chainblade was held in the giant’s right hand, and an even bulkier combat shield of the same burnished orange in its left. The monster with six limbs howled towards its opponent, and the monster in power armor answered with a roar of its own. Gelios wasn’t sure if the giant was its savior, but he knew that it meant to kill the serpent creature, that alone was good enough for the miner.
“Kill it!” Gelios shouted towards the giant. “By the almighty God-Emperor, please kill it!”
The two beasts charged forwards, each one ready to kill the other. All Gelios could do was watch as they tore each other to pieces like feral wolves.
I raised my combat shield as I collided with the Xenos Abomination, protecting me from the razor-sharp scythes that would have otherwise tore into my chest plate. The ravener’s claws tore and hacked at the shield, leaving various cuts and scratches, but nothing more. I gripped my chainsword tightly and couldn’t help but smile bitterly as I heard its engine gun to life. I bashed the xenos back with my shield, before parrying its next attack with my chain-weapon. I proceeded to swing the blade upwards, aiming for the beast’s throat.
The xenos lurched its head back, moving it away safely from my blade, before exposing its sharp teeth through its alien maw. It lunged its head forwards, aiming to dig its teeth into the soft armor covering my neck. I laughed before head-butting the xenos’ face with my skull helm. I felt teeth rattle and bite furiously at my helmet to no avail, before its head was sent reeling backwards.
I threw my combat shield to the floor, freeing my right hand before I lunged it forwards and dug my gauntleted fingers into the tyranid’s throat. I tightened my grip, and laughed as purple ichor splattered and drizzled down my fingertips. The beast sputtered and thrashed in my grip, and I suddenly found its barbed tail swing and slam into my left leg, setting me off balance for a moment. I growled and tossed the tyranid against the wall, before slamming the sole of my boot against its skull.
I slammed it against the beast’s visage again and again, it howled in agony and tried to slither away. I barked a sickening laugh before raising my chainsword, relishing the sound of its revving engine as I prepared to bring it down upon the beast. Suddenly, I stabbed its tail at the soft armor under my shoulder plate, drawing blood.
Grabbing hold of the tail with my free hand, I pulled the barb out of my flesh before bringing my chainsword down upon the tyranid. More ichor sprayed out and stained my ceramite plate and my chainblade dug through its lamina and flesh. The ravener made one last, feeble attempt to free itself and kill me, before it fell limp.
I stepped back, examining my kill and taking pride in such a victory. Some Tyranid Ravener’s had been known to slay full squads of Space Marines before, before tearing out their Progenoid Glands and snatching any hope the chapter had at reclaiming their fallen brother’s lineage. I was not one of those astartes, I was the Emperor’s Torch, his fire, I was an Incinerator. I served among the Chapter’s 2nd Company, and had been given the position of Company Champion. I had slain Ork Warbosses, Dark Eldar Archons, and even deadly Eldar Autarchs, all in single combat.
I turned back to the human that the xenos had originally been praying on, and marched over to where he lay. The man breathed in ragged gasps, and was no doubt dying from blood loss. I knelt down and removed my skull helm. The man looked at me with fearful eyes…fear, such a pathetic emotion. He gasped before sputtering blood.
“Please, I am dying. If you are to kill me, do so quickly and mercifully. Please, send me to the God-Emperor, I do not wish to live, not like this.” He rasped and gurgled.
I nodded, before standing up and hefting my blade over my bare head. I gave a silent prayer that the man before me may live peacefully in the afterlife, before cleaving it downwards. There was no need to power my weapon, the chainblade tore through his skull and split it in half. It continued to tear downwards until it was level with the poor soul’s ribcage. I tore the weapon free before picking up my skull helm and nailing it back in place.
As I went to go grab my combat shield, I heard a variety of hisses and clicking noises. I spun around, and lowered my blade in a state of near shock. In front of me, stood and lay at least half a dozen Raveners. Each one stared at me with their milky white eyes, before howling and charging forwards. I unhooked one of the Promethium Grenades attached to my belt, before hurling it into the crowd of xenos. The promethium blazed to life, and I could hear the Ravener’s cry out in agony.
Still they came, ever wanting to draw my blood for slaying one of their kin, or simply out of primal desire. I kicked my combat shield up from the ground and into my grasp, before spurring my chainsword to life. As the xenos came forwards, I charged forwards myself, shouting three words that millions had chanted before me.
“For the Emperor!” I cried, and ensued in a bloodbath that would have made my ancestors proud.
This entire story is meant to kill writer's block. I was inspired to write this extremely short story from the 1,000 word ebooks that the Black Library has been posting lately. Even so, I'm quite proud of this piece, and hope you will enjoy/have enjoyed it as much as I have!