CHAPTER 24.3

Approx. 3800 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ

Chaos on Terra Aurigae:

The Lord of Change

 

written by  SJ

 

 

    LaFong’s Special Ops team didn’t have to wait very long before Chaos made its move. After about fifteen minutes, one Rhino pulled out in the open, Ahriman’s Rhino, and even though the Chaos Sorcerer Lord was no where in sight, two Sorcerers led a Chaos Marine out of and away from the vehicle, then after helping him to remove his battle suit, he stood, unmoving, like in a trance, where the two Sorcerers helped him put on a dark blue and violet robe with symbols of Tzeentch all over it. Afterwards, they handed him a small pedestal displaying a Crystal, which started to glow a bright yellowish color.
    “This is beginning to look familiar...like what happened on Pavonus.” Lana recalled the event distastefully.
    Jennifer sat staring also, then closed her eyes to concentrate...seeing something in her mind.
    Lana looked at her, assuming, “another Demon Prince?”
    As the glowing Crystal quickly began consuming the Chaos Marine, the Librarian didn’t answer right away...then she gasped. “No...it’s worse...bigger.” Her voice crescendoed. “It’s coming...the Lord of Change!”
    As soon as Jennifer finished speaking, the Crystal’s glow turned into darkness, growing quickly until it was a much larger mass...then, at the same time as the darkness disappeared, a creature appeared, as if replacing the Chaos Marine.
    This creature stood a little more than nine meters tall. It had a very thin, sinewy, body with large, clawed, hands and large, taloned, bird-like, feet, its tightly stretched skin a dark, putrid, yellowish color, its claws and talons black. It wore a dirty, violet, robe-like, garment trimmed in dark gold with six-meter-long sleeves flowing behind it blown by the wind; at the waist, the front and back sections of the garment hung like a long loin cloth almost touching the ground on both sides. It had some kind of long, metal, cap on its head with violet leather straps hanging down from it on each side of its long, bird-like head. On its right hand, it had a couple pieces of what looked like jewelry, all of it having an evil glow. In its left hand, it held a large, thick, heavy, Staff, at least as tall as it was, on top of it a large, dark, piece of metal in the shape of the symbol of Tzeentch, underneath that, a dark golden eye--glowing like the jewelry.
    When it stepped forward, everyone viewing it could swear it had large, wide, dark blue and violet, wings. As it stood and looked around, the Sorcerers backed off and returned to the Rhino, which drove back into the woods.
    “That’s a demon, a GREATER demon!” Jennifer exclaimed.
    The creature raised its wings, then seemed to flap them downwards once, an action that propelled it forward toward the Terran forces about fifty meters, then a second time for the same distance, coming up behind a hill, the movements of its slender body agile and nimble.
    Everyone watching the two bursts of flight found it hard to believe as the demon seemed to blur, then suddenly teleport itself to the new location. It looked unreal, to say the least.
    “WARP wings.” Jennifer commented, then began explaining. “According to Marcellus, the demon doesn’t actually have wings. He says they’re WARP wings. The demon is propelling itself by the use of some kind of WARP power. We see them as wings because that's the only interpretation our brains can make of them.”
    Captain Davis was listening. “That’s very interesting. But, is something coming our way--something we should know about?”
    “YES.” Lana and Jennifer answered at the same time.
    The Librarian spoke next. “There’s a demon coming your way--”
    “Just one?” Davis was unimpressed.
    “Listen!” Jennifer became serious. “This thing is a greater demon. I have no idea what it’s capable of--”
    “I see it.” Yarrick spoke up, then joked. “Oh, yeah...he’s a big boy.”
    “Those Chaos vehicles have left the woods and they look like they are preparing to advance on your left flank.” Lana informed, seriously.
    “Yeah...I see them.” Captain Davis confirmed. “I just spotted a Land Raider plus some Rhinos behind it.”
    At that point, Lana flew the shuttle (re-engaging stealth) up to within 600 meters of the greater demon, setting it down behind a wide hill. She ordered her team out of the shuttle, telling Zane and Ramcke to find concealed locations on top the hill, while she, Jennifer, and Burns (armed with a plasma gun) maneuvered closer to the demon using a network of several dry riverbeds, getting to within 500 meters.
    The entire area of the battlefield was lightly wooded, which reduced visibility only at longer ranges. The greater demon was easily spotted by her team.
    “Last time I saw that thing, it was about five kilometers away.” That was Yarrick. “If it gets any closer, Davis and I are ready for it.”
    “Do you have a visual on it?” Lana meant the question for both commanders.
    Only Yarrick answered. “Not right now. But, I know where it’s at.”
    “I have my eye on those Chaos armored vehicles.” Davis answered. “They seemed to be just sitting and waiting for something. I’m over here on the left flank. My Demolisher crew say they spotted your demon. But it’s still a little out of lascannon range--”
    “Then what’s it trying to do?” Lana thought out loud; she had zoomed in on the demon with her Scout binoculars, watching it. “That thing has a Staff as large as it is. It looks similar to what those Sorcerers use--wait, it looks like it’s aiming at something--”
    When the demon fired, the sight of it was much more than Lana (or anyone) could’ve possibly expected. From its Staff it launched some kind of projectile that had to be moving at near light speed, the ground opening up all along its flight path, the earth exploding, five kilometers long, vaporizing any trees in its way and flinging those nearby through the air like tinker toys...the entire event taking place in a nanosecond.
    A second later, Captain Davis began shouting, “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? Something just ripped my Demolisher wide open--almost cut it in half. There are NO survivors. Did that demon just do that? Whatever it fired, it went through my tank and plowed into the front side of the hill my infantry are on.” He began cussing, then exclaimed. “It felt like the hill was going to explode. It knocked me and everyone off our feet.”
    “That demon just fired on you with its Staff.” Lana tried to explain. “Like I was trying to say, it must have the same capabilities with its Staff as the Sorcerers do--only in proportion to its size--”
    “And its power!” Jennifer cut in, attempting to clarify. “This is a GREATER DEMON...and not JUST a greater demon, a SPECIFIC greater demon: the Lord of Change. It...it's MUCH more powerful that any normal demon--or ANY demon we’ve seen so far. When Marcellus said the worst was yet too come--he wasn’t joking!” She sighed. “You guys might want to think about falling back--”
    “To hell with that!” Yarrick became angry. “My battle cannons are within range.” He could be heard giving orders to his Leman Russ tanks. “FIRE! Fire everything.”    
    Soon the faint sound of battle cannons firing in the distance could be heard. The next thing that came were the beams of lascannons, all firing out of range, hoping for a lucky hit...then the explosions, one which landed within twenty meters of the demon, knocking it off its feet...but, only for a second.
    “What’s it doing now?” Davis was still upset, his voice angry.
    “It looks mad.” Lana responded, not taking her eyes off the demon. “One of Yarrick’s battle cannon explosions got close enough to knock it down--”
    “Yes!” Yarrick cheered.
    “I think all you did was piss it off.” Lana responded just before she heard the sound of battle cannons again.
    “Well, then I’m planning on pissing it off a whole lot more.” Yarrick remained determined. “I’m looking right at it--”
    The demon then moved, using its WARP wings, a blur as it traveled almost instantly to a location on its left. Lascannon beams flashed inaccurately, then there were three explosions near where it once stood.
    “WHAT HAPPENED?” It was now Yarrick’s turn to be amazed. “Where’d it go? That thing just suddenly became a blur.”
    “It flew off to the left.” Lana informed, then corrected herself. “...to YOUR right about eighty meters.”
    “IT FLEW? That thing can fly?” Yarrick seemed amazed all over again.
    Jennifer began trying to explain WARP wings...
    But, before she could finish, Lana spoke up, warning, “it’s getting ready to fire, again!”
    The ground erupted, just like before, only this time in Yarrick’s direction.
    Yarrick’s HQ was located on a hill behind the hill his Basilisks mobile artillery were set up on. Five hundred meters in front of that hill was where his three Leman Russ tanks where located, each of them sitting behind a narrow mound, the tanks fairly close together so they could all fit, giving them hull-down protection, figuring he would be facing the weapons of a Land Raider.
    Each of his tanks were slightly raised up in front by the mound, but not so much they couldn’t fire downward, giving them a large field of fire. The greater demon’s projectile (or whatever it was) blew away the mound in front of the center Leman Russ and struck it on the front of its hull, underneath, coming out the back, just behind the turret, making a massive hole and flinging it off to the side where it landed against the side of the tank to its left, knocking that one over onto its side...one tank destroyed and another out of action with one shot.
    There was a short delay before Yarrick began cussing...
    “What happened over there, Yarrick?” Davis needed to know. “Did you lose--”
    “HELL YEAH I LOST A TANK!” He became almost incoherent. “That thing ripped a big hole through one of my tanks and knocked another one on its side.” He settled down quickly, then began giving orders for his mobile artillery to use direct fire on the demon, telling them in no uncertain words--NOT TO MISS.
    Captain Davis had split his forces, locating one Marine squad and one demolisher tank on each flank of Yarrick’s troops. He began giving orders for his troops to advance. Whatever weapon that greater demon had, it outranged his weapons. If he was to have a chance, he needed to get closer.
    Yarrick’s last Leman Russ tank had pulled back a little so only its turret could fire, hoping to gain a little more cover. But, after firing once, Yarrick witnessed his last tank get blown away, its turret destroyed and its hull split open along the top.
    Lana watched the greater demon carefully as it began holding out its right hand, the one with the jewelry, which began to glow. In one motion, it waved its hand to the left, then right, each time creating darkness from which demons appeared, two groups of three.
    “Okay, guys,” Lana announced urgently. “You’ve got six Screamers coming your way...two groups of three. I say again, there are six Screamers coming your way.”
    “Where the hell did they come from?” Yarrick asked, shouting.
    “That greater demon summoned them.” Jennifer answered.
    Lana had an idea. “Davis, my team is in position to starting firing on that thing from behind--”
    “No.” Davis responded quickly. “We’re not that desperate, yet. If that thing turns on you, we won’t be in any position to support you.”
    Just then the sound of artillery fire was heard far away soon to be followed by explosions, earthshaker cannon explosions, all landing in close proximity to the demon. When the dust and smoke was clear, Lana announced the Lord of Change was down, hurt...but, then watched as it got up again. As Yarrick’s artillery fired again, the demon flew to the left, then to the left again, this time the artillery missing completely.
    Yarrick could be heard cussing again...
    “It’s gonna fire again!” Lana warned.
    “Where? It can’t be within range of my artillery!”
    This time, when the Lord of Change fired, the ground split open less than half the way to its target, since it was apparently firing upward.
    When Yarrick began cussing again, Lana knew what the target was, even though it was hard to believe.
    “That thing just blew one of my Basilisks in half.” Yarrick shouted with disbelief. “How can that thing be in range? Doesn’t it ever miss?”
    The demon fired again...
    “There’s goes another one!” Yarrick announced, still shouting. “The crew of my last Basilisk has casualties from the explosion of the first one. I’m pulling it back.”
    In the distance, Lana’s team could see the flashes of novaguns and lasguns, Terran infantry firing on the Screamers.
    The greater demon, because of its subsequent movements, was within about four hundred meters of Lana’s team now. Jennifer began trying to get closer, staying well concealed inside a gully.
    When the demon stood up to look around, it took a direct hit with a lascannon, Davis’s last Demolisher. However, just before the tank fired again, the demon flew to the right behind a hill about twenty meters away. It seemed to be hurt, Jennifer confirming it with her special power.
    Then from behind the hill, it looked like it was getting ready to fire again, facing the direction of the last Terran tank. At first, Lana thought it was going to, at the last moment, get up on the hill to fire. When it didn’t, she tried to warn. “Davis, have the crew of your Demolisher bail out! Bail out, bail out!”
    Several seconds later, the demon fired, literally splitting the hill in two, the earth beyond ripping open even deeper than previous shots because of the projectile’s closer proximity to the ground.
    She waited for a response...
    “Damn...there goes our last tank.” Davis was calmer this time, but still unhappy.
    “Did anyone get out?” Lana asked, wondering if her warning did any good.
    “I don’t know.” Davis sighed...then his voice became louder, crescendoing. “Those Chaos vehicles are advancing on us! I need to know what that greater demon is going to do because in a short while we’re going to have a whole new ball game over here.”
    “It’s falling back.” Jennifer didn’t sound happy as she began explaining. “That thing is hurt. I think its falling back so it can heal and regenerate its power.” Her voice became stressed. “Lana, we can’t let it do that.”
    When the greater demon began holding out its right hand again, the jewelry glowing brighter, Lana had to ask, “Davis, what about those Screamers?”
    “We got those.” Yarrick responded happily.
    “Yeah, we got them.” Davis confirmed, adding, “no casualties.”
    “Well, it looks like you’re about to get some more.” Lana informed, then watched in dismay as the greater demon summoned two more creatures, big ones.
    Lana began trying to describe them: “These things are large and have mechanical legs...like the Defiler on Cornucopia. But, these have the body of some kind of demon. Their left hand is like a mechanical, bladed claw. Their right hand looks like an organic claw, but there’s a multi-barreled weapon inside it.” She sighed. “They’re moving toward you fast now. I’m sorry...other than what I told you, I have no idea what kind of weapons they have.”
    “Oh, no, no...what the hell are those?” Yarrick sounded exasperated.
    Jennifer had been in a trance, trying to gain some knowledge about the creatures, speaking as she did. “They are demons...demon machines.” She gasped, then came out of her trance, announcing their name. “They are Soul Grinders...the Doomstriders of Chaos.”
    Once she was fully out of her trance, she saw the greater demon starting to withdraw, then began imploring, “Lana, we can’t let the Lord of Change regenerate.”
    When Jennifer began firing her Scout bolter, Lana ordered the rest of her team to fire, Zane with his Scout heavy bolter, Ramcke with his sniper rifle, Burns with his plasma gun. Then she spoke to the Librarian. “Jennifer, stop firing. Lay low and hide. We’ll, try to get that thing closer so you can use your Staff.”
    Officer Dakota complied as Lana began firing her Scout bolter.
    Over her com, Lana heard Davis’ voice. “If you can keep that big demon occupied over there, I think we might stand a chance over here.” He sighed and offered her the only encouragement he had. “Good luck, LaFong.”
    Soon, the Lord of Change was hit with light-arms fire, most of which seemed to go through or around it, proving it still had a powerful WARP shield. When it moved toward the Special Ops team, it became a blur, causing a lot of firing to miss.
    By now, Lana had learned to detect when the demon was getting ready to fire. When it did, she shouted one simple command. “TAKE COVER!”
    On her back laying down in a ravine, she looked up, seeing Corporal Zane still firing his heavy bolter. But, before she had a chance to repeat her order, the hill underneath the Corporal’s feet exploded. She watched was he was flung through the air like a rag doll, him and his heavy bolter landing somewhere far behind. She frowned and sighed angrily, thinking to herself, “damn it...he better not be dead.”
    Lana got up quickly and began firing again, soon to be joined by Ramcke and Burns. When the greater demon moved forward again, it stopped and fired its Staff, this time not giving her time to shout an order. Only this time the Staff fired like a heavy bolter, covering the expanse of the hillside with explosions.
    The remaining members of her team took cover, getting up only up after the firing had stopped, then quickly finding new locations...just like they were trained to do. Lana did the same, but instead of firing, she attempted to spot Jennifer...
    Then she spotted her hiding in a ravine, the Lord of Change close, only about fifty meters. When the demon moved forward, taking long strides with it legs, Jennifer seemed to realize she was spotted and rose from the ravine to get closer...face the demon directly.
    The demon then suddenly stopped and reached forward with its right hand, jewelry glowing; as it did, darkness enveloped the Librarian.
    Lana had read the reports about how Tzeentch Sorcerers had turned people into a Chaos Spawn. What was happening to Jennifer now, was exactly the same. She gasped, shouting, trying to warn, “JENNIFER!”
    The ball of darkness wrapped around Jennifer, holding her like a black hand. Then she stood, unaffected, the darkness dissipating...then disappearing. Lana watched the event, amazed--then as the Librarian charged the demon.
    It was like the Lord of Change was taken completely by surprise, its obvious egomania not allowing it to believe that any living creature could resist its magnanimous power. It lifted its Staff and tried to use it to smash Jennifer, but was too late. The Librarian then struck the demon in the leg with her Staff.
    As the greater demon began to collapse, Jennifer looked up expecting it to fall on her. But, the demon disintegrated before then. The Lord of Change was gone!
    Lana had left her hiding place and was standing on the hillside, surprised and happy that Jennifer was still alive, watching as she collapsed to her knees...as if she needed to rest. The team leader began giving orders. “Ramcke, Burns go and find Zane. Jennifer, I’m coming...are you okay?”
    The Librarian had recovered by the time Lana reached her; she had to ask again, “are you okay? That thing hit you something that turned others into...well, I’m glad it didn’t.”
    Jennifer smiled at Lana, remembering a time before when she wasn’t able to resist Chaos. “Like I said.” She put on that same determined grin. “I’ll NEVER let Chaos control me again.”
    One end of Jennifer’s Staff was crumpled in. Lana pointed at it. “Looks like you damaged your Staff.”
    She sighed and smiled. “Yeah..I don’t think I needed to hit it that hard.”
    Lana’s com suddenly came to life, Davis’ voice. “How are you doing over there with that greater demon? What’s your status?”
    “Jennifer got it. It’s gone.” Lana informed gladly.
    “Good going, Jennifer!” Yarrick gave her a cheer. “We finally destroyed those Soul Grinder things with our lascannon support teams, but we lost almost all of them in the process.” He suddenly shouted, “one of those things spat something at us, like a big acid loogie.”
    “Their Land Raider is still operational, but we finally managed to immobilize it.” Davis updated. “We’ve had to fall back. They’ve got three of those Thousand Sons squads and two heavy weapons teams. We can’t hold. We’re going to have to retreat. We’ll update you on our new location as soon as we have one. Captain Davis over and out.”
    “My squads are getting ready to mount their Chimeras and bug out.” Yarrick quickly informed Lana of his status, then sighed heavily. “Damn...I didn’t expect to lose this one. I’m gonna join up with Shaw’s team and regroup.”
    “Where’s Shaw at?” Lana wanted to know. “What’s he been doing all this time?”
    “He been chasing a bunch of Alpharius Cultist squads that have been infiltrating their way toward the suburbs of Pech Garnell.” Yarrick responded clearly. “He said he’s taken out almost all of them and is in the process of joining up with a couple militia Pathfinder teams. I’ll let you know when we’ve regrouped.” He became more serious. “If you take to the air with that shuttle of yours, be carefully! Those Chaos heavy weapons squads have a couple autocannons. They already knocked out both of Davis’ shuttles. I’m going to be sending my Chimeras over to pick his guys up as soon as we get organized.”
    “Understood.” Lana answered, then mentioned, “once my team is loaded up over here, I’m going to take to the air and try to keep an eye on those Chaos vehicles...covertly, of course.”
    “Good luck...see you later. Yarrick out.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 

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