Valdane's Chronicles

The Gathering Storm - Part 3

Defending the Choir. Lordsholm burning.

The acolytes and enemy assaulters exchange barrages of gunfire as the small enemy vanguard breaches the House of Echoes’ front doors. The first few attackers are agile, ducking and dodging around much of incoming fire. The attackers are well armed and organized – led by an imposing figure clad in heavy armour and wielding an impressive blade.

Taeric charges headfirst into the enemy, swinging his heavy maul from side to side. The concussive, crackling strikes smash bone and pulverize flesh. Taeric kills the first attacker outright, slamming down through the man’s clavicle, splitting him in half from shoulder to groin. The tremendous force of the attack sends the maul smashing into the floor, peppering the fine marble hallway with a pulpy mist and sending shattered stone into the air.

The rebel leader strides forward, counter-charging Taeric with his ancient blade – beginning a swirling clash in the middle of the foyer. The two exchange a flurry of blows, well-timed parries, and ruthless counter-attacks. Eventually, the rebel leader mistimes a parry, taking Taeric’s furious strike with his pommel hand rather than his weapon’s blade. The leader’s fist explodes apart, ripping his arm asunder into tattered strips.

Another rebel charges Taeric – seeking vengeance. He manages to connect firmly with the warrior’s side, but Taeric’s heavy armour snaps the man’s bayonet in half.

Meanwhile, the other acolytes deal with their own frantic engagements.

Caradoc – pummeling the crowd with accurate bursts – is charged by one of the crazed attackers. Immediately, he locks his bionic legs and fires himself backwards, putting distance between himself and his assailant. Raising his Hellgun, he scythes the man in half.

Ishamael reaches out through the warp, attempting to consume a few of the attacking riflemen in all-encompassing wychfire. With the chaos in the hallway in front of him, he is unable to focus, throwing his attacks wide and high. Eventually he connects with one man before being forced back into cover.

Caradoc provides support for his psychic comrade, shearing apart the remaining attackers’ dwindling cover. Eventually, one of his volleys strikes home, punching into a man’s rib cage. The superheated rounds blow out the man’s back with a burst of burned and congealed blood. The rebel slumps over and slides down the wall, dead.

The acolytes make quick work of the others before the final attacker panics, having realized that the assault has failed. The acolytes dismember him with righteous fury.

Meanwhile, on the second floor above, Calidus rains fire into the horde pouring through the ruined compound walls. His bolter chatters incessantly in his grip, mowing down scores of rebels. Still, the attackers press forward, supported by fresh troops bringing up the rear.

Behind the assaulting force, a rebel team scampers through the rubble, attempting to set up a heavy stubber emplacement. Calidus tries to target and disable the gun, but his bolts smash futilely into the stone around them.

The heavy stubber shoots back, hitting Calidus’ position with an outrageous volume of fire. Calidus attempts to dive away as the rounds slam into the windowsill around him. Still, one of the heavy bullets hammers into his shoulder, sending him sprawling out in a pool of his own blood. Screaming into the vox, Calidus retreats, relocating to another vantage point.

The horde outside continues to pour into the manor courtyard, making their way toward the House of Echoes. Calidus, having quickly reached a new position, opens fire on the machine gun team, ripping them apart with renewed vigour and accurate bolter fire.

In the foyer below, the other acolytes prepare for the new wave of attackers. Hearing the horde rapidly approaching from outside, they gather themselves and reload their weapons. A few of them ready autoguns, hoping to overwhelm the attackers with a torrent of fully automatic gunfire.

Calidus continues to pour fire into the crowd from above, ripping apart some of the stragglers. Still, they reach the House of Echoes’ main doors. Scampering over their comrades’ bodies, the fresh wave of attackers make their way into the marble hallway, exchanging fire with the acolytes within.

With psychic fury, Ishamael ignites the first one through the door – sending him screaming to the ground. The screams turn to gurgles as the man’s lungs char and explode from the enveloping flames.

Taeric, standing in the middle of hall, mows down scores of rebels with a menacing laugh.

Caradoc, from behind cover, takes out the closest targets with well-aimed, bursts.

Eventually, the enemy’s numbers start to thin – but not quickly enough. They press closer and closer to the astropathic choir chambers.

The acolytes know that should they fail to protect Elsharna during her attempt to broadcast a distress call, Cel is likely doomed.

Calidus – now unable to see the attackers below – decides to take action. He pulls out a single injector from his combat vest and slams it into his thigh. The powerful chems hammer their way into his system, pounding his shattered body full of adrenaline and other powerful combat drugs. The Slaught assumes control.

Calidus takes a few steps back and then dives out of his second-story window. Spinning in mid-air, he lines up his sights on the front entrance. He lands awkwardly, falling onto his back, but still manages to unleash another volley of explosive rounds into the rear of the dense crowd. The micro-detonations blow apart limbs and faces, sending corpses crumbling to the ground.

Unaware of the carnage behind them, the remaining attackers charge the acolytes – with Taeric taking the brunt of assault. Thankfully, well-place automatic fire from the other acolytes and the Hollow Guard whittles the rebels down. Taeric manages to finish off the last few in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

Having secured the House of Echoes, the remaining Hollow Guard and PDF units push out, attempting to mount a counterattack and retake the manor gardens. The acolytes accompany them, hoping to help seal the breached compound walls and to possibly contact Felpox, Arkady, and Corvath.

In Lordsholm below, raging fires and sporadic explosions light the night sky. The remaining PDF troops gather to watch the capital rip itself apart.

Staring out to the burning cityscape, one of the weary officers lends words to everyone’s thoughts:

“It’s going to be a long night.”

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enentol

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