The Thunderhawk had been shot down from orbit two hours ago. The vessel’s crimson hull was mostly blackened, laid about in smouldering pieces after the explosion. Master Shaper Roksan Gora and her Kindred lay hidden around the wreckage, waiting amongst the frosted pines of the wintry forest for signs of survivors. Roksan had fought Astartes many times before and was keenly aware of the unnatural resilience of the Space Marines. Then again, this was a bad crash, a very bad crash.
‘Must we wait much longer, Master Shaper?’ asked Gorik Kroh, the Kindred’s Houndmaster, crouched next to Roksan with his Kroot Hound pack behind him, ‘Surely, if any Humans remain alive, they remain too weak to resist.’
Roksan looked at the debris and saw what remained of the crew; she saw arms, legs and Astartes weaponry. But what intrigued her the most was the severed upper body of a Space Marine, blackened and lying still at the end of a trail of blood stained snow. Gorek was right, any survivors would have shown themselves by now, and a rescue party could arrive soon.
‘We wait no more, Houndmaster, but approach with caution.’ She signalled to the rest of the Kroot to move forwards.
Gorek grinned with anticipation.
‘Good, my hounds are getting hungry, and so am I.’ He gave a loud whistle and his pack quickly dashed towards the bloodied half body.
‘Wait, leave that one to me,’ Roksan ordered Gorek, who quickly halted the beasts with a crack of his whip.
Roksan approached the body slowly, inspecting its armour. It was black, but not because of any scorching- it was painted black.
‘Peculiar,’ she muttered to herself, ‘the Tau Fire Caste reported that only warriors of the Blood Angels Chapter had been deployed on this world.’
Before Roksan could inspect further, the warrior suddenly surged to life screaming and wailing from its helmet, flailing its arms trying to grasp her from the floor. Her quills stood on end instinctively as she stepped back and aimed her Kroot rifle, unloading 4 rounds into the Marine’s head, killing it definitively.
Roksan looked at the dead warrior, her heart still beating rapidly at the unexpected shock of the Marines rising from assumed death.
‘Space Marine endurance always amazes me, They are worthy prey,’ commented Prek.
The Kroot Predator walked up to the corpse to take a closer look, even when on snow Roksan couldn’t hear his footsteps.
‘Still, I was expecting a good fight,’ he said with disappointment in his voice.
As if responding to his statement, a loud furious howling came from within the wreckage, followed by the banging of heavy armoured footsteps. The steps quickly became faster as whatever dwelled inside began pacing the insides of the ship. Suddenly indentations began jutting out from one of the crashed ship’s panels, accompanied by the sounds of striking metal and unintelligible roaring.
‘Looks like you might get your fight Prek,’ exclaimed Roksan, the comment seemingly reaching no one as Prek was already nowhere to be seen.
‘Ready yourselves, little ones, a fight approaches!’ she barked at her kin, who began chirping and hooting in anticipation.
The ship panel flew outwards revealing the Space Marine warrior, clad in black power armour revving a chainsword. Roksan saw its exposed half burned face, and saw its eyes, bloodshot with rage. It began bellowing in gothic, which Roksan only partially understood, though whatever this human was saying mattered little; it was here to kill.
Like a rampaging animal the Marine rushed Roksan’s warriors, cutting down a Carnivore and tearing another’s arm off. The rest of the Kroot quickly opened fire, shots bouncing off of its black carapace as it continued its onslaught. The roaring berserker then charged Roksan, its chainsword swinging down at her head. She stopped it with her axe, locked together eye to eye like two duelling Rams; she felt the superhuman’s brutal strength. Thankfully she knew this strength very well, for in her years of hunting she had feasted on many fallen Astartes, carefully shaping herself and her Kindred to gain their power.
‘Gorek, Prek, quickly now!’ barked Roksan, still struggling to keep the chainsword from reaching her.
Gorek whistled to his hounds who darted towards the Marine ferociously biting its legs to pin it in place, Gorek himself taking hold of the Warrior’s neck with his beast catcher trying to pull him away from the Master Shaper.
Then they heard the distinct whistling sound of a flying Predator Dart, Roksan saw the Marine’s head explode, thick blood splattering on her face, coagulating instantly. The Kroot warriors carefully let go of the body, watching as it dropped to the floor.
‘What in the name of the Ancestors was that?’ asked Gorek.
‘It was like a wild beast! Do you think it was ill?’ asked Prek, still aiming his darts at the corpse.
‘It couldn’t, I know the Astartes’ traits very well, no known disease affects them,’ she said, with quills still stiff from adrenaline, ‘but I’ve never seen one act like that.’
Roksan quickly contacted Shas’vre Musami and informed them of the incident. A research team would be deployed soon to analyse the site and gather information. Again she turned to inspect the corpses one last time, noticing the Blood Angel Iconography on their black armour.
‘Today, we shall not feast on our prey, my Kindred,’ she said, raising her ceremonial blade.
‘Does the Tau Earth Caste want to examine their remains?’ asked Prek.
‘Most likely, but even if they didn’t we should leave these corpses be, this is bad meat.’
About the Author
Benjamin is an artist, hobbyist, game design student and active Warhammer Fan. He goes by the name of Kabewski/Kabooski online. He’s a variety creator and his work can vary greatly in technique, themes and styles. In recent years, he’s focused mostly on the Warhammer 40.000 universe, which he’s fallen in love with. He is fond of creating original content from the media he likes and enjoys going deep into creating his own content.