Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tales of the Rancid Blade: Part Ninteen: the Emperors Succor

Anemos' jump engines subsided. The whine of the engines cooled as the turbines slowed down. They sounded almost like the moan of a animal. In the darkness of the night the cloven 'toes' of her suits' feet hit the cement as the engines lowered her to the street. The massive bulk of her suit kicked up stones, scattering into the darkness. She had landed right outside the Chapel of the Emperors Succor. A tall tower dominated the surrounding city blocks. She paused for a second looking beyond the still intact tower. To one side of the tower gouts of fire erupted from beyond her field of vision. They lit up the ruins of the surrounding buildings like a brilliant truth when told lighting a barren mind. The burning wreck of a Devilfish reminded her that the first incursion with the defenders of New Boston was not going entirely as she would have liked. She glanced to her right spotting a clumsy Imperial tank, smoke billowing from a forward exhaust port. As she had crossed the square she had blasted one of the vehicle's exhaust ports. The smoke obscured her approach and though she knew the tank was only momentarily stunned, she too the opportunity to cross the square and force the old door of the chapel. Were one looking behind her, as the large bulk of her form crossed the threshold, striding through the doorway, one might have seen the large forms of Boradside suits crouching in the ruins across the square. Their targeting lights scanning the darkness seeking a target. All about the massive forms scoop helmeted Tau warriors picked through the darkness.

All was not dark within the church. As her massive form pushed through the doorway several human figures, in different places throughout the dimly lit worship chamber, turned from various tasks. One seemed to be praying, a couple more stood by a brazier burning documents, a third at the window with a rifle. They seemed almost oblivious to the battle outside. To them she must have seemed like a monster from the Dark Age of Technology. The white of her suit, its glowing green servo lights, the accented orange of her Sept made a stunning sight. The large rotating barrel of her Cyclic Ion gun sweeping the room might have killed everyone in it had she fired. As she strode into the chamber, her large form knocking over tables and splintering worship benches, one of the several human figures approached her. The sound of an explosion outside seemed to fill the room and from one of the narrow windows a clatter of light lit the room for a moment.

The green shrouded human drew itself up to its full height and flung back its hood. The woman who stood before Anemos had white hair, features befitting one of the Emperors most faithful, and beneath her robes could be seen the armor of a warrior. Her hand was on her pistol. The woman, in her dark robe, was like a shadow against the massive form of Anemos' Crisis Suit. The two woman confronted each other, each proud, one towering over the other, the battle raging outside.

"Are you Anemos?" asked the human. She didn't wait for an answer. "I am Sister Sylvie of the Order of the Cloistered Heart." There was an urgency punctuated by the sound ofBolter fire outside. "I represent Sylax and speak in his name." Anemos's translation unit converted the speech inside the cavity of the suit. Sylvie looked up at the massive suit, its green "eye" staring down. The robot seemed to be frozen. After a moment a small tune seemed to issue from the suit. It heralded the activation of the communication. AsAnemos spoke the suit translated her speech into a faulting Imperial Gothic.

"We express appreciation to your master for disabling the security grid. He will be witness to the greater good. Where is he?" The tone sounded again as the mic turned off.

"He is absent. We have been w..." She was cut off mid sentence by another explosion. A huge crack appeared in the wall. One of the statues toppled. Sylvie ducked, gaping at the fragility of the old chapel. The speaker tone sounded from the still motionless suit.

"Bring him to the Balls Pier. We have communication ships returning to orbit at any time. The greatness of the Tau can not protect him while he roams this city." Sylvie looked about. Her patriots were still busily burning documents. 'How could Dolgath have found us again?' she thought to herself. So distant from Mordia and their old paths.

Sylvie spoke again. "We will co..." her words were cut off. Within the suit Anemos had been watching her 'heads up' display. A maze of tangled and overlapping neon and computerized screens and information displays. The sensors on her Stealth teams were being relayed to her. She had been watching Jasti and Rethlian's teams move in and out of a building beyong the chapel. A video feed was relayed straight from the stealth team. They were laying down suppressing fire at several teams of Space Marines crouched in the cover of their destroyed vehicle right outside the door. A request for assistance had flashed over her com. In a instant, and Sylvie's mid sentence, Anemos activated the engines again. The suit burst up into the air, the heat haze shimmering beneath the angelic form. The suit went from inanimate statue to a whirl of arms and legs moving. Sylvie stepped back shielding her face, her cloak storming about her. The twin plasma guns on the suit flashed with a blue light as they powered up and rotated into position. The suit rose. The Ion gun's barrels started spinning. The legs and arms of the suit moved int an aerodynamic position. As Anemos powered up she sent a message to the Pathfinders and Fire Warriors holding the green line from where she had come. "Move up and secure the chapel". And then swiftly she veered forward and smashed through a window toward the top of the room head first. The stained glass head shattered easily. Sylvie watched the glass spin down like a thousand stars through the night.

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