Valdane's Chronicles

Standing in the Shadow - Part 6

... into the fire.

In seconds, the camp bursts into a massive, chaotic firefight.

Uziel hammers the camp. Each report of the heavy stubber rattles and reverberates through his body as the men in front of his sights are turned into a chunky pudding.

Grax leaps with a scowling hiss down into the compound below. Locating an enemy patrol in a state of surprise and disarray, Grax lashes out with a furious psychic assault. Although effective, his witch-blows attract the attention of a nearby machine gun nest.

Before Grax can batter this new opponent with his maelefic forces, he’s cut down by a well-placed burst. In a panicked moment of self-preservation, Grax frantically taps into the immaterium. Although stunning everyone around him, Grax’s unnatural methods form a massive, eerie storm above him. With howling wind and a rain of blood, the warp bleeds into reality. The laughter of daemons echoes throughout Grax’s soul as he attempts to maintain his hold on reality and a tenuous grip on his draining life.

From somewhere within the compound, bolts of blue-white energy ripple across the night sky, ionizing the air with a crackling hiss on their way toward Uziel’s position. Diving for cover of the post’s sandbags, Uziel feels the searing heat ripple past his cheek. More of the energy bolts slam into his barrier, immolating the canvas sandbags and turning their contents to oozing molten glass.

Across the compound, Amador’s bolter chatters away from its mount atop the Sand-Lynx. After empting the weapon’s box magazine into the bodies of some unfortunate souls, Amador slides out of the pintle, over the top of the shattered vehicle, and through the compound’s torn and twisted front gate. Taking fire from an approaching patrol, he takes to the fight with his pistol. Making his assailants pay for every inch with blood and tears, Amador’s bolt pistol easily severs arms, legs, and faces.

On the parapets, hoping to suppress the incoming plasma fire, Uziel blind-fires his grenade launcher into various buildings, tents, and sheds. The frag rounds rip through the temporary structures and prefab buildings. Flaming sheet metal pieces, plastek splinters, and rockcrete shards blow across the camp. Fire quickly engulfs many of the remaining structures.

In the guard tower above, Tybs plunges accurate fire into the crowds below. From promethium tanks to human flesh and bone, he strikes out at his well-armed foes. Eventually, Tybs finds the origin of the bright blue plasma bolts hammering into Uziel’s position. Locating the shooter among the smoke and cinders far below, Tybs takes aim.

Amid the chaotic din and the crackling of his plasma pistol, the mercenaries’ leader barks orders to the men around him, unaware of the threat above. With a slight spasm and a resounding thud-puff, the man’s head bursts like ripe melon, spilling his once valuable mind into Desoleum’s silicate wastes.

With the rest of the enemy destroyed or fleeing, the acolytes regroup. Although Grax is gravely wounded and Travers dead, the warband has won a hard fought victory. With his auspex, Uziel locates a remaining group of survivors – most likely the “bone folk” – that appear to be inside the bizarre structure that they had spotted in the middle of the camp.

Many of the compound’s structures are now destroyed or in flames. The acolytes reload their weapons, bandage their wounds, and being a desperate search for more clues about their shadowy opponents.

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