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Alexei

The Harrowing | Kadia Event

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As Tenkai spearheaded the path toward the chieftain, aided by the Kadian Inquisitor's powerful psionics, James guarded the monk’s flanks, cleaving through any beastman who stepped forth. The enemy onslaught slackened off the main line of the Force Majeure as they focused on the advancing trio. Unable to take them down through any prowess of arms, a group of the warped Chaos beasts lined up and charged at James, a shoulder-to-shoulder mass of snarling flesh and lashing blades.

One beastman he could cut cleanly. Two, and three were culled just as well. The combined surge of five hound-faced fodderbeasts of Khorne finally snagged his flaming blade in a tangle of split flesh and shredded steel, and James had to let go of his weapon to avoid what would have been a mortal blow.

However, he remained no deadly a foe. 

The first hound of Chaos pressed its advantage against the Daemonslayer, expecting to finish the unarmed man swiftly. It did not expect its iron-like skin to warp under the force of a destructive counter-punch to the gut as James ducked under its deadly swing, its innards bubbling out of its lips a moment later as a secondary explosion went off under its hunched form. James had emitted an explosion of his sacred flame from the fist, in the manner of his signature powered striking technique, the deadly one-two known as the Hellish Shock Fist. Dead on its feet, the large beastman was hurled into its cohort a moment later, whom barely had the time to cast aside the corpse of its ally before it found James leaping at it with a flying knee, riding upon its chest and sending it crashing to the ground. The Daemonslayer finished off the monster with a thunderous punch that caved in its skull, splattering fresh grey matter across the sands.

The beastman chieftain of the horde took stock of the monk as he approached, slaying his warriors with a flourish. He bellowed, a great keening sound and stepped forth to meet Tenkai, his hands batting aside his lesser soldiers easily before it drew its primary weapon, a flail with three hook-like heads dripping with crimson ichor. It was an ungainly weapon, but perfect for bloodletting. Its other hand drew what would have been a greataxe to any other, but appeared only as a handaxe in its meaty paws. Swinging the flail around its head, the chieftain built up momentum and swung the flail at the monk in a great horizontal blow from right to left.

Edited by Fierach

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It would seem as if Tenkai’s little spectacle had done the trick.

While James, Selene, Alexa and their retinues dealt with the rest of the horde, the monk’s display of prowess had caused the largest among them, presumably the one in charge, to single him out. As James had indicated, the beast was carrying some manner of aetheric converter, which was likely the source of their siege weapon’s shielding. Through the void and with the aid of his “eye”, Tenkai could perceive the ebb and flow of the creature’s hate-filled soul and the red aura wreathed around it. Had he the opportunity to surmise, Tenkai would have said that the shield was being fueled by the beastman’s bloodlust, a source that was likely nigh unlimited.

All the more reason to put it out of its misery. The monster seemed to agree, as he took initiative in bringing his massive flail to bear against his much smaller opponent. Aside from the massive weaponry, the beastman chieftain was much larger and had superior reach compared to Tenkai. Even if he put his sword in naginata configuration, it would be a close match. But that wasn’t the only trick up his sleeve, and wielding the much shorter weapon was a good way to breed overconfidence in his brutish opponent. 

As the heavy swing came in, Tenkai pushed off his lead foot and sprung backwards out of measure of the attack. Giving ground to an opponent with reach advantage was not the best idea normally, but Tenkai had different plans. Bringing his sword low into a waki-gamae as he made distance set him up for an immediate counter-attack. Barely a beat after he touched down, Tenkai swung upwards at an angle with a furious slash, scattering the sands in front of him and sending a flashing arc of displaced air pressure at the creature’s face. It was enough to cut him as of Tenkai had struck him directly, but would likely be little more of a distraction to something so large.

 

@Fierach

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The Chieftain missed, and as it carried through the momentum of its swing to bring the flail heads around for another pass, Tenkai made his lightning riposte, air pressure slicing forth and drawing a thin bleed of blood from the Chaos Warchief’s visage. It bellowed, more in surprise then pain, and retaliated by altering the trajectory of its swing, arcing it high up into the air before bringing all three heads down on the monk. It would be a thunderous impact if it landed, a blow powerful enough to crumple the armor of fighting vehicles, let alone a man. Even if Tenkai dodged that, if he moved to his right, he would have to contend with the Chieftain ready to flash out with a forceful thrust from the axe in it’s left hand. The monster would not his foe’s insult of drawing first blood go so easily.

@Tenkai Matsumoto

Edited by Fierach

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k2axoLr.pngConnor stood beneath the shadows of the forest’s boughs, the place where his sister, Olympia; had been injured during an ambush by the beastmen. The signs of battle were evident, blood marked the ground and great gouges marred its once ancient and pristine surface. There were no bodies, however. Dragged off by the foul creatures for some perverted purpose Connor would rather not contemplate, there was nothing to be done about it besides. He frowned as he knelt down in the epicenter of what had been the fighting. Metal-clad fingers tracing the tracks that remained in the churned soil.

He could discern where Oly had stood, the soil almost still pristine, a testament to sheer skill and brutality f his sister. “Hmm.” He made a thoughtful sound as he followed more tracks, these leading off into the woods. The signs of many bodies being dragged into the depths of the forest were evident. He stood, making a gesture with one hand, to which Legionnaires stepped from the brush and into formation before him. The beastmen had moved on, no doubt to set about whatever dark deed they used his people’s bodies for.

A favor he would return in due course.

“They will make another ambush soon.” He predicted. “No doubt against our forward army, no doubt to divide Deiter’s strength.” He said to the lieutenant who approached to stand beside him. “Have a message sent through secure vox, then prepare to move out. I have no desire to let them complete such a plan.” He kept the possibility of there being a Champion amongst their ranks to himself. It wouldn’t change what needed to be done. The Legionnaire saluted crisply. “At once, your majesty.” He said, his voice slightly distorted by the speakers of his helm, before he went silent as he switched to internal vox transmissions.

Connor took one more look around the forest, maintaining a calm, almost cold; expression. After a few moments he signaled for them to follow him into the trees. He could guess that the beastmen would be attempting a flanking attack, though the forest was large, it allowed for great leeway of positioning for the likes of those filthy creatures. It had also been some time, meaning that he and his men had a lot f ground to cover in a short amount of time. If he couldn’t stop their attack, he would flank them. Though his force was small they were elites.

Above all, they were Kadians.

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k2axoLr.pngThe march through the forest was long, and harsh. Despite this they made good time, mostly due to high morale as Connor led them personally from the front. One might have considered him a mad man, or foolhardy, but those were the ones who understood nothing. Connor knew exactly how important he was, not the self-importance one would find in other countries by their rulers. They were at best mere political leaders with great charismatic influence, however; that was the extent of their existences. Connor understood he was a symbol, the son of a God and Goddess, and one who shouldered the weight of an empire on his young shoulders without complaint.

Should he fail to lead, they would all shatter. Should he die, they would all die.

He understood these two facts, which made every action and decision a gamble that must be carefully evaluated. Right now he had to lead, a blood debt had been incurred, amd the fate of an entire army was on the line. Unavoidable risks had to be taken, and that was why he had take only the most experienced of his elites with him. There was none better to do this, none that would not break should he fall in battle. These men and women would fight to the death should he fall, carrying out their duty with the very same fanaticism as the Militant Orders of the Holy Father Church.

The scent of blood filled the air, mingled with the sharp stench of unbathed beasts, telltale sign that they were close to their quarry. He raised his right hand into a clenched fist, ordering his men to halt. Green eyes surveyed the forest around them, his senses sharper than any other Kadian’s. They had yet to be noticed, evident by the fact that they had not been attacked and surrounded already. Good. Beastmen and Aravian blood would be spilled today, the debt would be washed away in a river of it. One debt, at least. The greatest debt would not be washed away until an ocean of Aravian blood had been spilled.

Not until the last of them had been stripped away from Kadian soil.

He signaled for them to move cautiously but with haste. There was little time to spare, and from the not so distant sounds; the battle had already begun in earnest. They reached the treeline and crouched, staying hidden in the brush. His men numbered no more that a few hundred, a small force to be sure; but Kadan elites made up for that in their sheer quality. “We wait until they attack, it will be the optimal time to do so and make better use of our small number.” He said to the Lieutenants around him, each one nodding in agreement. Deiter’s forces would have to hold until their charge, when the enemy had committed themselves fully to the flanking ambush.

Only then would they be able to shatter their spirit completely.

 

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On 6/4/2019 at 6:14 PM, Fierach said:

The Chieftain missed, and as it carried through the momentum of its swing to bring the flail heads around for another pass, Tenkai made his lightning riposte, air pressure slicing forth and drawing a thin bleed of blood from the Chaos Warchief’s visage. It bellowed, more in surprise then pain, and retaliated by altering the trajectory of its swing, arcing it high up into the air before bringing all three heads down on the monk. It would be a thunderous impact if it landed, a blow powerful enough to crumple the armor of fighting vehicles, let alone a man. Even if Tenkai dodged that, if he moved to his right, he would have to contend with the Chieftain ready to flash out with a forceful thrust from the axe in it’s left hand. The monster would not his foe’s insult of drawing first blood go so easily.

Tenkai's attack had hit home, though he would not waste any time assessing the sort of damage it dealt. After all, the air pressure blade wasn't meant to deal critical damage. Though the technique had caused the Chaos Warchief to re-direct his counter attack, strikes to the head in such a fashion that did not result in fatal damage had a second purpose.

Distraction.

That small fleeting moment where the strike to the face would cause the monster to blink and flinch, a moment so brief that a lesser swordsman would not have been able to make use of it. But for one such as Tenkai, it was all the opening he needed. With a burst of speed he dashed across desolate ground, leaving a sharp trail of sand in his wake as he closed the distance just a moment earlier than anticipated to the creature's right side. Tenkai advanced ahead of the point of impact and off of the beastman's line, neutralizing the bone-crushing flail swing and avoiding the aftershock of its thunderous impact. 

Well within range to attack the offending arm, Tenkai brought down his sword at an angle towards whatever exposed part of the arm he could cut, in line with the beast's arm from its elbow down its forearm. Even if he didn't cleave the limb off at the forearm, it would rend the taut sinewy muscles of the abomination's arm well enough to weaken its mace-swinging hand. That would leave the axe-wielding arm still able to strike. Yet with Tenkai moving off to the beast's right side, thrusting the axe head would require some rather awkward arm-crossing and a clockwise turn, tying up the opposing limbs enough for Tenkai to slip past it with only a shunted strike against his shoulder armor. 

If Tenkai advanced to the flank, he could have a good shot at reaching the crude shielding device that protected their siege weapon. Yet the monk abided for the moment, knowing that the beast's positioning could leave it wound up for a truly fierce counterattack if he moved in hastily.

 

@Fierach

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xxEA2D6.jpgThe clash came as Connor had predicted it would. The droning growl of the Beastmen’s horn spurred the foul creatures forward into a mad charge. There was little in the way of cohesion among their ranks, more the stampede of wild beasts, really. There was a sense of force, not to be underestimated. To Connor, the charge seemed to take minutes; rather than the mere seconds it truly took place in. His eyes looking at not the host of foul mockeries of man and beast, but to the armored figure amongst them. Leading them. An Aravian by the design of the armor, and the marking of heretical magic gave him away as a champion of the Dark Gods.

Connor almost smiled, there could be no better instance in which to cement his strength.

Deiter was quick, no inexperienced or hesitating commander, adapting his rear lines into a defensive formation to resist the attempt to break into his center. It worked, barely. As the Champion called on his corruptive gods to give his makeshift and savage army strength, Deiter had prepared as he could, using the Authority to limit the potency, but on such short notice it was all that could be managed. The Kadians stood true to the names, displaying a strength and stoicism where other armies of Valucre would have broken.

The young prince raised his hand, signaling for his men to be ready, and though his fellow Kadians fell to the clubs and axes of the best men, or their flesh stripped away by chaos magic, he waited until the horde was completely engaged. The enemy’s forces spread, prodding for weak points, leaving their own lines unguarded. They had now fully committed. He clenched his fist and rose, the Kadian Elites followed in unison. There was no war cry, or signaling horn. Just the heavy fall of armored feet and the silver glint of Connor’s power armor.

They cut the distance in great strides, firing their polybolos rifles into the backs of their enemies. Connor’s pistol barked as it slammed rounds into the beast men, detonating immediately after entry and sending a spray of pink mist into the air. Then he and his men were in the thick of it, Connor wielding his Logos like the power blades his Elites used to cleave into the foes before them. A Monochrome light that drained the area of its heat, using it as fuel for the spell, shaped into a makeshift blade that extended four feet before him. Violent phase transition turned the areas it touched instantly into a gaseous state.

Bodies either fell in pieces surrounded by the gaseous remains of what had been flesh and bone, others simply disappearing altogether.

They pushed in deep, using their ambush and the surprise it had created to capitalize of the hesitation and fear that shown in the dull beastial eyes of these creatures. Their center buckled and gave way, Connor’s target the one who united them, the Champion of the false gods. The armored giant of a man turned to face the prince, bringing his large, two-handed sword down at Connor in a mighty blow.

Edited by Alexei

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xxEA2D6.jpgConnor turned his body to the side, making a minimalistic movement that caused the blade to chop down past him, hitting the churned dirt with a crack like thunder. He brought his hand up in a knife-shape, the monochrome blade of Influence cleaving through space between them, leaving a freezing chill in its wake. The Champion, far more nimble that his size and armor should have allowed; hurriedly pulled away from the deadly spell. He cursed in his foul tongue at the boy who dared to meet him in battle. Connor cared little for the Aravian tongue, only knowing that he was surely being insulted.

He advanced without hesitation, never losing stride, his Elites were the same, advancing and firing as though this was merely a simple walk. Beastmen fell one by one, limbs blown away, chests and guts opened, heads nothing more that mist. Any beastman that sought to capitalize on Connor’s focus, would find themselves cut down by the strange spell the prince wielded. His siblings might’ve been shocked at the sheer brutality of their younger brother, for his strikes now did not make for clean deaths.

Indeed, he struck so with a purpose, these foul creatures would be useful in sowing fear.

A confident smile formed on his face, as the Champion focused foul sorceries in his blade, and their spells met with cracks of thunder and branching bolts of raw energies. The young man proved to be more than the armored Aravian’s match in raw strength, and his skill seemed to be an equal match. They soon fell into a rhythm, blades clashing as the air shuddered and shook. The Elites continued their brutal work, their polybolos rounds or blades cutting through the enemy as they drove deeper into the center, wreaking chaos within the enemy formation.

The rhythm was what Connor wanted.

In an instant Connor changed his pattern, the monochrome blade flicking first into a light upward cut at the Champions eyes, before immediately pulling into a thrust when he flinched beneath his helm. The blade struck true, A thunderous boom shook the battlefield as the Champion’s ensorcelled armor was stripped of its magic, and the metal exploded into a superheated cloud of gaseous metal. The Champion dropped to his knees screaming in agony, and for a moment Connor halted; allowing it to be heard across the battlefield. He stood over the so-called Champion, a dark look in his eyes.

He raised his metalclad hands, the spell released as he took the wounded Aravian's burned and blistered head in his hands. He knew now, that all eyes on the battlefield were on this scene. A strange quiet took over as the prince slowly squeezed his skull. The Champion feebly tried to fight back, but it did little good. His struggles and screams finally ceased when the sounds of cracking bone and crushed flesh were finished. The scene would be burned into the eyes of all those present, and soon the bleating calls of fearful beastmen filled the air.

They routed in full retreat. “Where are your Dark Gods now, Champion?” Connor mocked quietly.

Edited by Alexei

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Whilst single combat passed between the monk and the Chaos war chief, the battle raged on around them. James Eredas blurred past flashing blades, landing debilitating blows to joints and vitals before tearing out throats and pulverizing skulls with his bare hands. Etched on his face was the most pure expression of wrath ever seen on a mortal, at odds with the disciplined forms in which he moved. One Chaos beastman’s mighty axe-blow fell away into emptiness as he parried it softly, directing it past he twisted around and smashed the creature’s legs out from under it. The smooth maneuver was in stark contrast to the brute follow-up, as another corrupted beastman attempted to take advantage and split James with his cloven sword. This one, the Master Knight stopped outright, catching the blade in a single gloved fist, a feat even the Greatswords would have been hard-pressed to perform in their powered armor. 

The beastman grunted as strength was met, and fundamentally matched by superior power. All of the dark boons and twisted bestial might it possessed could not overcome the grip James possessed, and the next instant saw the monster's blade tumble from its hands as the Daemonslayer broke its wrists with a precise knife strike, and sent it staggering back with an impactful palm, creating the opening needed to slay its grounded ally before it arose with the borrowed blade. James spotted one wildly charging monster sprinted at him out of the corner of his eye, and the Daemonslayer sidestepped it deftly before engaging yet another, using an arm to parry an axe blow with a circular motion before blowing three holes in its body with as many strikes. Blasts of sacred flame issued from his fists with every punch, carving deep through weakened metal and broken flesh to spray chunks of gore through the air.

Elsewhere, the press of the beastmen focused itself on the extreme right flank of the column. If they could break the flank, the column of Custodes that were with Lena that were pressing forth to create space for Tenkai would be surrounded, and that would bold ill for them all. There only one Greatsword and a handful of Guardians held, the single elite Custode being of the Mortis type, holding back down his foes with a truly prodigious amount of firepower. He was staggering his weapons fire, in order to stave off that critical moment where all had to be reloaded, but it was approaching all the same.

Tenkai's strike against the chieftain cut deep. Had it been one of the lesser cohorts, the arm might have been sliced through completely, but the beastman leader's limbs were not only armored and as thick as tree trunks, but also corded as if the sinew and gristle were actually iron as well. 

Bellowing again, the monster chief shifted the enormity of its bulk into the Knight's path and shoved forth on its right shoulder This was no ordinary attack, but the ramming strength of over a dozen men, focused into the mass of a mutant brute. Even as it executed the attack, it swept its wounded right arm outwards to catch him if he dodged straight back or to the side to get behind it. The strike was slower then it might've been thanks to the injury that was inflicted, but still potent, the beastman ignoring its own lifeblood flowing freely down its arm.

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The ache on her muscles was overwhelming at this point. With each psychic blast, each blade stroke, each dodge she did, her body felt more and more tired. However, at the same time, her fear began to subside... It was still there, but faint. What was survival instinct was shifting, shaping into something more, an energy that fueled her psyche with power she previously felt chained in the deepest recesses of her mind.

She was not a warrior. She could not face the beast men face to face, blade to blade. No, she had to be devious, so she stayed behind Lena at all times, burning those who tried to attack her blind spot, providing shielding and finishing off the occasional down-but-not-out beast with her side arm. It was a steady rhythm, but like everything in war, one that was bound to change in seconds.

The beasts pushed mightily against the custodes combat lines, and despite the greater effort they were doing, the breach they were providing for Master Eredas and Master Tenkai was slowly being pushed back. It was not until a charging, filthy goat-monster crashed into her side that her concentration was broken, carrying her on his fortunately blunt horns towards the right flank. As the beast stopped, Alexa was flinged back forcefully, crashing into the dusty ground violently. Lena watched helplessly, a surprised "Alexa!" being bellowed before another group of foes called for her attention. Lena could only carry on with her gruesome task, her armor covered in a thick coat of blackish-red blood.

Alexa on the other hand, tried to stand up only to feel a sharp, excruciating pain to her side. Blood dripped from her mouth, and every breath was a horrid task. Her heartbeat thumped inside her head, to her ears, and her sight was obscured by a red blurry filter.

She was no warrior. She was frail.

The beast walked towards her, drooling in anticipation to what she hoped was a clean killing blow. The custodes around them had problems of their own, as the chaos horde was just too large and the Guardians, though fierce, could only kill so many at the same time. She prepared to give up, to close her eyes and let the dark take her.

But something in her mind would not shut up.

"Stand up!" it screamed.

"Stand up and fight!"

She gritted her teeth. It was nothing super natural. It was not a voice from the warp, nor an entity pleading for her life.

It was herself, he own instincts stubbornly asking her to shut up and do her job. Something had clicked, tempered by the sheer amount of death around her. She understood now.

If she failed here, she would never see those she loved again. Her new home, her new family, her friends, those who found her in the gutter and still thought she was worth something. She was now worth something, no longer a mere slave to her condition.

She screamed.

The beastman was taken aback as the diminutive Inquisitor charged towards it. Not even bracing, the chaos minion merely readied it's axe to strike her down when suddenly, Alexa raised her arms towards his figure, her eyes bursting aflame in incandescent warp energy. A wave of kinetic energy pushed against the sinewy muscle with unrelenting force, the massive knock back so strong it sent the beastman barreling towards it's brethren, striking them like a cannonball at full speed.

Without even wasting a second, Alexa gazed towards the hordes of chaos and held her head between her hands, screaming at the top of her lungs towards her assailants. An expansive wave of warp energy suddenly shot out from her, like purple static chaining through every beastman in a large radius. The custodes in the right flank would find their enemies clutching their heads and braying in pain, desperately clawing at their temples trying to get whatever something was currently assaulting their heads. The weaker ones straight up collapsed into seizures as the targeted psychic scream overloaded every nerve in their brains beyond their limits.

"This is our chance! PRESS THE ASSAULT! WITH ME BROTHERS, ADVANCE!" Yelled a Greatsword, practically jumping into the fray with his weapon held high. The rest of the warriors followed suit as they attacked with renewed zeal, massacring their foes left and right before they could recover from the psychic assault.

James and Tenkai would now find out the custodes at the right flank being able to support their efforts as combat medics rushed towards the inquisitor who was now kneeling on the backlines.

Alexa fell on her back, exhausted and calling for aid. The medics took the chance given by the push to gather the injured and give the wounded some proper attention. A concerned Lena rushed to her side as the medics carried her back.

"Inquisitor! You are alive, thank the heavens. You have done it, you gave us a breach. Our troops will hammer these beasts until none of them are left..."

Alexa gazed at the Guardian with a faint smile before looking up into the reddened sky, for it were the Dark Gods that would taste defeat today, and she knew it.

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e1bdbb64a386c8ee9de853e8cd955ed7.jpgMetal on metal rings throughout the area as sword battles sword. Bone is broken and gouged into whilst blood splatters against the already reddened earth beneath their boots. Pulverizing the masses takes time and effort, and to say they don’t fight back would be an insult. Without true faith, however, the creatures call forth nothing but rage in fighting. Leaving The Order to calculate and think beyond those more basic instincts. 

Fevered movements, the twist of the torso to evade a swipe while bringing down one of her own cleaves a hand from an arm but does little to slow the beings forward motion. Selene chooses not to waste time on only this one and lifts her wrist  and arm preparing to take it head on, raising the tip of her blade as she does so in order to run it at an angle. Straight up into its gut and behind the rib cage merely to push it away afterwards and charge another. 

The hilt becomes as apt as the blade when used to crush a skull or bludgeon the air out of a pathetic set of lungs. Bones breaking beneath the weight of her blows barely audible in the midst of the continued battle. Somewhere, fevered shouting commences causing the gaze of her next victim to drift. All the creature finds in the end as its glazed gaze rolls back to her is darkness. 

The influx of bodies from off to the right brings forth a battering surge against the oncoming enemy force. Colliding harder than those currently fighting. Somehow she finds the briefest of moments to rest her eyes on James’ frame as it drifts into yet another attack against his chosen foe. From there her eyes roam the battle falling on Tenkai as he moves back from his adversary, taking stock of the situation before making any hurried decisions. Knowing he wouldn't let that armored behemoth get the advantage if he couldn't help it.

Having spent more time under taking a physical approach she finally decides to rearrange her intent. It begins with the bloodied being still held tightly in her grasp… Azure light flickers from the depths of her eyes as a far away and familiar voice speaks to here from behind them. 'Take from them that which you can wield…' To Selene that feminine voice is an otherworldly enigma, but without thought she does just as it said. Energy, rather than radiating from her, trickles towards her. The massive pull of fluid eliciting agonizing final screams from the dying and leaves the already dead to shrink in form. Matching her eyes the fury of the red streaked pale jade ring locked onto the middle finger of her left hand, begins to glow and fuel the fighters wrath.

Beyond her comprehension the being that she had previously been engaging drops from her grasp as nothing more than a dried out husk of its former self. Hitting the ground nearly as lightly as a feather might, but exploding in a cloud of red dust as it does. From the frames of their fallen enemies, the blood soaked ground, to the air they breathe, water is pulled harshly away from her immediate surroundings and from further still as she expands her reach.

Edited by -Lilium-

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From the momentum of his advance, Tenkai continued to his left in an attempt to keep himself off of the beastman’s line. It was the best course of action, considering that the creature’s hide was so strengthened by the blessings of the Blood God that a simple cut would not be enough to incapacitate it, let alone sever it entirely. Even so, the beast would not relent even with such a wound carved into its limb. Like other Khornate adherents, it possessed a berserker's tenacity that allowed it to fight through pain until it was completely put down. Tenkai knew of this first hand, and this small fact made all the difference in anticipating the beastman's next move.

Though the monk was able to keep clear of the chieftain's charge, there was no way he could avoid the swipe of its injured arm. He barely had enough time to follow through from his strike, turning the hilt upward as his blade rose into a hanging guard braced against his upper arm. That, combined with the heavy shoulder guard on his right side would at least be enough to brace against the oncoming strike. But it wouldn't be enough to keep Tenkai on his feet.

With a loud crash of taut sinewy flesh against hardened steel armor and blade, the massive limb swatted Tenkai away, sending him tumbling to the ground. Going with the force of the blow was all he could do to avoid having his arm or ribcage broken, even with armor in the way. At the very least, it would allow him to recover fast enough to face the beast before it could change its momentum.

In the midst of this, Tenkai could hear the Inquistor shout and feel the aetheric ripple that projected from her last psychic attack. Meanwhile, Selene put to work some other unknown yet clearly devastating form of magic that left the beastmen surrounding her crumpling into dried, lifeless husks. For a nation that seemed so distrusting of magic and possessed several means of suppressing it, the warriors of Kadia seemed to hold little qualms about utilizing psionics and sorcery. Mayhap there were certain personnel who were sanctioned by the Empire to possess and utilize such power for the sake of their nation. Whether such privileges spared them any mistrust from their fellows was not something Tenkai could assume. After all, far be it from him to judge any who resorted to measures they felt to be contrary to their values. A Buddhist monk who took to taking the lives of his enemies was quite the contradiction indeed. 

But he, like the others, would do what was necessary.

Tenkai could have tried another attack from a distance, but that only had marginal success the first time. He would have to presume his opponent cunning enough to not be fooled a second time. Charging back in like he had before without something to cover his advance would be rushing right into his enemy's measure and surely end up being rather painful. That being said, one would think that the past few exchanges managed to achieve virtually nothing, allowing that siege engine of theirs to continue its assault unabated. What Tenkai did manage to achieve, however, was directing the aberration's ire. Worshippers of Khorne were smart enough to catch on to enemy tactics in the heat of battle, but their rage was single-minded enough that it was nigh irresistible for them to allow a warrior they have engaged in combat to live. The chieftain would not stop until Tenkai was broken and slain. He would come to him. 

The monk stood up, raising his sword into a high, straightened hasso no kamae, Muramasa held above shoulder height at a 90 degree angle. His spirit rippled through his body and into his weapon in the form of a blazing azure flame, crackling with aetheric conductivity. He knew not whether the sudden routing of the beastman warband by the combined efforts of his compatriots would do anything to distract the beast, even if only for a moment. But even that would be enough. 

 

@Fierach@Maverick@-Lilium-

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Sensing the pull of Selene's spell, many of the beastmen in the immediate vicinity of the forward group redirected their attention toward her, making straight for the swordswoman even as they were cut down from behind by the renewed Custodes assault. Blade and bullet hammered into the tide of flesh, but they seemed set on attempting to overrun her before she could complete what she was planning. The ministrations of one witch-kin, the Kadian Inquisitor, was bad enough, but to allow another, one who even matched them with her skill at arms to resort to her magicks drove them into a new frenzy of hatred. 

The nearest hound-man raised a large, bloody and wicked axe, intent on cleaving her through, and in the next instant pulled back howling in pain as his hand fell away in a spray of flame and boiled blood.  James too read the flow of battle, and he pulled back to guard Selene and let her complete her spell. He once again wielded the nodachi in his hands, plucking it from the desiccated corpse it had been laying in. The next instant saw the Daemonslayer stepping in, punching the beastman in the gut with enough force to send the monstrous being flying despite being much larger then either of the two humans. It flew back into its cohorts, delaying them all and creating space. The sight repeated itself six times in as many seconds, with the Daemonslayer cutting down any monster who approached with his flaming sword, or sending them flying back with an expertly placed punch or kick. None would get near the Kadian Knightess.

James would not allow it.

---

The monk's stance was clear. It spoke to the warchief, beyond words, beyond race, it was challenge plain and simple. The bloodthirst in the air seemed to weigh even more heavily even as the monster seemed to draw it in, standing upright at its full height and bellowing an earthshattering roar before affixing two beady eyes of hate upon Tenkai.

The maddened creature charged.

Even as the Chieftain bounded forth at a blistering speed, it reversed the grip on the axe in its left hand, and swung the the flail around its head, building speed. Its animal cunning made it take a different tack. It would not swing at Tenkai, but instead using the flail's increasing speed to form a deadly barrier, and use the shortened, but quickened reach of its axe to attempt to counter any attempts to bypass the spinning obstacle. The whirling spiked head would draw close to Tenkai indeed as the warchief closed.

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Even as the beastman made his charge, Tenkai did not falter from his posture, standing in the way of what would surely end up trampling him if he did not act. The menacing flail threatened to dash him to pieces if he didn't move out of the way, and yet the beast was expecting him to do just that. With his axe poised to strike Tenkai the moment he sought to maneuver around the flail, one would think that despite the berserk nature of the charge, the Chieftain had put Tenkai in check. 

But the beastman had gravely underestimated just how much the swordsman was capable of. 

With a step forward to his right, Tenkai did just as the beastman expected. He stepped past the angled arc of the flail as if he was trying to step around a shield, right towards the creature's left side where the axe would surely come down to smite him. But the size differential between the two of them and the sheer amount of reach the Chieftain possessed in his arm left Tenkai with more room to advance into the strike, and more areas to cut. The sword held over his shoulder in a high hasso-no-kamae transitioned over his left shoulder as he stepped in, and as the beast brought his mighty axe forward, he struck.

 

Releasing the pent-up aetherial force he had stored while waiting to receive the charge, Tenkai swung his blade downward at an angle to intersect the axe swing from the inside, meeting it at the elbow. Unlike the first time he struck the aberration's arm, the power behind this strike would be enough to sever the forearm clean from the rest of the limb, sending both it and the axe spinning off to the right side away from Tenkai. This was immediately followed up by another stroke as his blade wound around into an angled horizontal swing, and from that into an upswing from the left. And so it would continue with great rapidity, a barrage of cuts that flashed across the massive form of the beast like brief streaks of light. Each stroke was enhanced to the point that even the tough, mutated hide of the Cheiftain wouldn't be able to withstand it. Each cut sheared through his body with such unnatural cleanliness that it almost looked as if Tenkai wasn't cutting him at all, save the arm that had already been in motion. Still, the attack itself was enough to halt the berserk charge of the beastman, for even he would realize that he was already dead.

The storm of cuts halted for just a moment as Tenkai brought his blade low, finishing with a heavy upswing that released the remainder of his stored-up power in an overwhelming wave of force. It would split the Chieftain down the middle, blowing him away as he broke apart into several chunks from where the monk had cut through him. The final wave also split through the device that had been maintaining the shield on the beastmen's siege weapon, the sudden disruption causing it to explode as it was blown backward by the force of Tenkai's attack.

With a whip of his arm, Tenkai briefly flourished his Muramasa in chiburi fashion before returning it to its sheath, having been sated with the blood of the Chaos champion. With their chieftain slain and the shield disrupted, there was only one thing left to do in order to bring this battle to a close.

All James needed to do now was give the order.

@Fierach

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The chieftain’s vicious expression turned into one of shock, and then disappeared altogether as the monk’s technique mulched it with a finality, limbs, armor, and weapons flying out of the epicenter of the vicious exchange almost comically before they all landed several feet outwards with wet thuds. The field around the daemon-engine shuddered and fell, leaving it vulnerable.

That shift in the battle coincided with another turn as the knightess Selene cast her own masterstroke. Pulling water from several dozen corpses, wringing them into desiccated husks, she formed hundreds of silvered spikes of water in the air, and solidified them as ice. Her powers had grown in the few years she had traveled abroad, constantly tested in all manners, constantly learning, and each beastman killed by her guardian was added to the tally of her spell. With a furious hymn upon her lips, she cast a storm of ice, uncountable thin razors that shot outwards and blanketed the area, slamming into the exposed flesh of the enemy dozens at a time. Each shard of ice further fractured upon digging in, tearing flesh to shreds, opening bloody wounds, and bursting vitals. The immediate area was cleared, the Chaos horde halting in disarray as the concentration and focus of their killing intent was shattered, and the Daemonslayer immediately transmitted the order immediately to retrain the airship’s guns.

The Tower of Skulls fired only one more hell-screaming projectile before the entirety of the Imperator Bellum’s arsenal lanced into it. The searing power of energy particle cannons combined with the pounding of projectile munitions cracked its daemonic armor at first, and then broke it open completely, ripping the daemon-engine apart in a towering explosion upon a background of released, screaming souls.

 

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It was a decisive victory for the Order of Force Majeure as much of the beastman horde began to splinter and run away. The Custodes cheered and jeered after them, slaying any which remained too close or too slow with well-placed bullet and blade. The battle over, Selene staggered. Her fury had powered her spell, her will had seen it to completion, and it had taken all of her effort to cast a spell of that scale and devastation. James caught her before she could fall, the woman almost unnaturally light in his arms despite her war-gear and his own exertions. He propped her up, and she gave him a grateful smile, her fury ebbing away as well. What passed in their shared gaze were words for later. James looked for the monk next. “Tenkai! Let’s go!” he yelled, waving to head back to the ship.

When the monk got closer, he’d clap him on the arm roughly. “Good kill. You’ll have to teach me that maneuver sometime. Captain Clavis reports that they are repaired, our techs have the engine back to full operation again and-... I-“ he suddenly stopped, blinking. A haze seemed to settle over his eyes. 

.

.

.

They could both feel it.

.

.

.

There it was again... a fresh surge of killing intent. It pulsed across the air like the color of madness, like the braying of a thousand hounds and clash of numberless blades. James whipped his head around to follow it, a hand shooting up to the comm-link in his ear, new messages flooding in and confirming his fresh concerns There, on the horizon, another horde was approaching, one that looked 

They had only barely turned back this one. He looked back at Tenkai, his face grim again.

"We can’t stay here. All units, pull back to the Imperator Bellum. We are leaving! Put our Kadian guests onboard first. Greatswords, rearguard with me." he snapped off fresh, crisp orders to all. Selene would protest that she could still fight, but James called over a quartet of Guardians and forcibly entrusted her to them, and to see on-board with a minimal of roughhousing. Another Guardian, Lena Drachenberg, reported that the Inquisitor Alexa was secured as well. Good.

James glared out at the new tide of Chaos filth on the horizon. So damn many beastmen. They must have been permanent denizens of this blasted warp-land, eternal slaves and supplicants to Khorne himself. The one upon his brass throne would not see his potential sacrifices escape so easily, gladdened that their skulls would prove so worthy. James would be happy to disappoint the Lord of Blood.

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