The Iron Butcher, History of the seven blessed. (part 3)

In a slight diversion from my planned posts while I sort out a number of pictures after the break it's time once more to delve into the blood soaked history of the Knight that would one day be known as the 7 blessed.
Part one.
Part two.

Hours passed, blood soaked oils where applied to pistons and joints, greases rendered from a thousand dead, payers to the machine god and the dark powers carried on without further incident. The beast sat in its throne bonding with machine, mane of shaggy fur matted with sacred unguents distilled from blood and ash.

The fire of the soul forge stoked and weapons systems stirred as they awoke the mighty chainblade humming to life as flesh, bone, metal and machine found sustenance from reconnected power conduits. 

With the waking of the blade more images crossed the eyelids of the pilot, grey and dead a warp travel centuries after his dedication to the blood god. Kharn and his band had separated and a new lord offering riches and glory to those who would follow him out into the galaxy.  

The images sharpened as the great steed’s machine spirit was slowly waking, a bonding ritual much like this and focus on a chronometer. Over 6000 years ago the dial read for the first time 888 and little was the pilot and machine back then aware of just how much that year would mean. 

Time passed and a landing had been made yet something had clearly been on the planet first, signs of war and ruin filled the landscape far beyond that suggested by orbital scans.

Approaching the world from the shadow of its twin moons there was very little sign of orbital defences, nothing but orbital scrap and the aftereffect of battle. If it wasn’t for the mass of life signs around the southern continent the fleet would have turned and moved on.

Thick clouds of black ash and smoke clogged the skies and great scar rent the world’s surface, what at first had been declared by the chaos lord’s Demagogues a disaster sent by the gods, to prepare the world for the taking proved far more troublesome. But with a nuclear winter blocking detailed analysis the Traitor forces made their landing. 

The cause of the planet’s strife was soon made clear and the Gods of chaos had no part to play. Much like the rest of the galaxy at this time Xenos filth had overrun the imperial defenders, greenskins crashed a great hulk into the world and disgorging huge numbers onto the defenders. Instead of landing amongst tattered remnants of the population the chaos forces found themselves dropping into the mist of reinforcement lines and stragglers leaving the wreckage in the north and heading south to new warzones.

While portions of the lord’s fleet abandoned the planet the followers of the Blood god and many more relished a fresh challenge and chance for real war. Having made a landing in the ruined northern continent the chaos forces quickly reacted to the unexpected foe and fell on the Orkish rabble. 

Green blood flowed and the slaughter began as the Ork reinforcements and scavenging stragglers fell back. With a landing point made forces of the Dark Mechanicus headed north to cut off any remaining Orks and claim the wreckage of the Hulk for the secrets it might hold. The rest of the force headed south towards the main Ork strength, driving the stragglers before them.

Yet for the Orks the news of a fight worth getting involved in spread quickly and with each mile south resistance grew. In the mountains separating the north and south continents the Chaos numbers where no longer such an advantage over the Ork stragglers and resistance grew as more of the greenskins stood and fought. While the Chaos force slowed the Xenos forces grew to a hoard and the challenge so long sort by the followers of Khorne presented itself.

The half human beast sat in its throne and shivered as memory spikes grew sharper and less grey once more, images of bloodshed and slaughter heightened his senses and drew the attention of the awakening steed. It would be some time yet but the ritual was fully underway and the pair could not be separated once more without a great deal of bloodletting and murder. 

With mental images flickering together and overlapping it did not matter how progress had gone, the earlier losses or kills are irrelevant as the memories flowed towards the one point of importance. 

Canyons and mountain passes became the great equaliser as bottlenecks became meat grinders and the scale of slaughter weakening the barriers between reality and the warp. As the followers of the blood god pressed on signs that they were being watched became more apparent, a storm gathered blackening the sky, thunder beat almost constantly like a heartbeat as lightning arced, blood rains and hail of splintered bone fell down on the blighted world. Yet the blood god and his minions are fickle the stalemate drew on and Orks are cunning, seeing the fight come to them and having fed the most eager boyz to the grinder the Orks began digging in and fortifying the mountain paths blockading them with walkers of all sizes while dakka obsessed lootas and tank hunters rained fire down from above.

Memories of blood and failure flooded the throne bound pilot as the battle played out, attacks repulsed and sorties denied as the images sharpened further focusing on a single canyon. Guarded by a massive Ork stompa and crazed orks swarming the high ground the canyon had seen thousands of cultists and renegades slaughtered. The corpses of two world eater warbands littered the rocky floor among the remains of mortals and wreckage of once proud vehicles.    

Yet the orkish success would also lead to their downfall, baying and jeering the greenskins watched a blood red knight bedecked in chains and the symbols of the blood god approached the entrance to the killing grounds. The ground trembled as the knight began its charge, reaching out it grabbed a ruined Leamon russ by a broken barrel and hurled, following it with the carcass of a once proud rhino the Ork infested canyon walls shook as tonnes of ceramite and steel crashed into the rock collapsing crude fortifications and causing a rockslide on those below.

The stompa’s main gun boomed, firing wide the massive shell missed its mark the blast obliterated a hoard of cultists and mortal blood warriors that had dared to follow in the Kornate war machine’s wake. Another battle tank pummelled the surrounding rock to dust and mobs of Orks died amongst the rubble. Reloading a firing again the stompa this time landing the shell short, Iron shield flaring the Knight staggered in its charge. 

Grabbing the turret of a ruined chimera with chain blade revving, steal screamed as the transport was cut in half lengthways. Holding the wreckage up as a shield the knight continued its charge towards the Ork line. With the bombardment of wreckage stopped mobs of Ork tank hunters flocked to take down the oncoming walker and rokkits screamed down the ravine. Smashing into the carried tank wreak and flaring against the Iron shield they couldn’t halt the screaming death approaching them as its war horn blurted praises to the blood god. 

Giving up on the cannon and orkish aim the stompa began to move, building up speed to a collision of titanic proportions. Seeing his opponents challenge the knight discarded the smoking remains of the improvised shield, launching it at the frantic Tank hunters crushing several and bringing rocks down on the rest. 

Speed building the stomper began its charge the chasm shook as the two engines of war covered the ground between them. Chainblades screamed as they clashed the knight blocking the clumsy thrusts and swing of the orkish brute. Fineness and skill vs brute force and resilience the follower of khorne was under no illusion as to the damage the ork walker could cause. 

Yet the canyon was not wide enough to get round behind the xenos construct forcing a head to head confrontation. Both machines blasted away with support weapons, melta gun and fist tearing apart the stompa’s front armour while chain blades struck and parried. Both machines misjudged steps or pushed back by their opponents crashed into the chasm walls raining rock and debris down. Yet the battle had to end and in a mighty swing the Orkish brutality won out shattering the adamantium chainblade of the smaller machine. Rage exploded from the neural interface overwhelming the pilot as the machine spirit reacted to the grievous wound. White hot boiling hate fuelled an uppercut from the thunderstrike gauntlet smashing servos and joints while melta fire finished the task severing the crude close combat weapon that had so devastated the walkers own.

Howling in rage and hate the Knight staggered backwards as rokkits pounded its carapace and shields and the disarmed stompa retreated backwards raising the massive cannon arm intending to finish the bezerk machine. Grabbing for anything in range the Knight launched the wreck of a vanquisher at its opponent just as the stompa’s cannon breach closed. Distant watchers could be forgiven for mistaking the explosion for that of an orbital bombardment as the tanks ammo cooked off, rock ran molten and the walls around the combatants collapsed as a rockslide that eclipsed anything before it began to tumble down. 

The devastation wreaked the passage walls and there was no choice but to flee the cascade of rock and boulders.  After a while quite settled and battered and broken the Knight picked itself up to survey the scene and extent of the damage. 

The Orks where blocked by a wall of rubble and joints whined and grated as the warmachine made its way back towards the chaos lines the only sign of the stompa was the still spinning chain blade held in the gauntlet fist. 

Night fell as mortals and astartes alike came up to plunder the wreckage and survey the canyon ruins. Earth moving machines and tanks with dozer blades works tirelessly to begin clearance of a path, all night small firefights broke out as Ork or chaos forces climbed too high or tried to cross over and around the devastation.    

Dismounting from the damaged machine the pilot surveyed his steed, oil and grease wasn;t to hard to come by but with his Sacristans so far behind the frount lines there was no real choice but add hock repairs and jury rigging. Rage burned through his blood at the denied kill and more than one mortal that night perished because it got in the way of the supplies and tools needed. Using cabling torn from the stompas arm and rough welding the pilot worked through the night binding the orkish blade to the stump of his own shattered weapon and patching holes in armour. By dawn the fighting had grown in intensity both sides having dug pathways through the shattered stone and ruin. Yet the way remained largely blocked until with a crescendo or crashing stone the stompa pushed through breaking free from its tomb of rock and rubble to once again wreak devastation on the chaos forces. Massive cannons and reloaded Supa-Gatler opened up as it broke free pushing forward and forcing the followers of khorne back. More orks surged out from the breach in the collapsed rubble poring fire into the fight with whoops of glee. 

From the far end of the canyon the challenge was accepted remounting his steed and plugging in, the machine spirit welcomed its pilot ready for revenge and the charge began again. 

Bellowing a challenge from its war horn the Knight plunged into the fray indiscriminately cutting down or smashing anything that got between it and its prey. Only the giant mechanic skull would be an offering worthy of this battle and the knight had no intention of letting anything else claim the prize. 

The Stompa saw the knight coming and opened up with everything it could devastation rained as the orkish marksmanship hit nearly everying but the knight. Yet under the weight of fire hits where inevitable and the iron shield was pushed to its limits before shorting out with a loud bang. Carapace and pauldron armour took the brunt of the assault  as the gap was closed with the stompa desperately back peddling to escape the raging machine while the stump of the massive chopper are waved ineffectually.

Locked under rock the stompa had little time to repair and even less access to the worst damaged areas, simple reloads of the rear hoppers had been possible but even that had its limits as the gatler stuttered and ran out of ammo. Armour smoking and dented the knight kept coming leaping onto the ruin of the stompa’s front and grasping the shoulder armour with its gauntlet while plunging the stolen blade onto the chest plate of the stricken foe. 

Three times the blade struck severing armour, servos and framework before the knight let go of the shoulder and tore the mechanical idol’s head clean off crushing through the faceplate in its grip and the pilot inside. Black green blood spurted and ran down, anointing the ruined engine with the life fluids of its pilot and creator, lighting shattered the mountains and a black rain poured from the heavens. With the final obstacle to the plains overcome Khorne looked on pleased as daemons clambered out of the muck and swelling pools of raining blood. 

Drenched in the blessing of the blood god, bone and warp fused Sinew burst from the ruined jury-rigged blade binding the ork weapon in place within the jaws of a raging daemon. With the victory at the pass the forces of chaos flooded out and pressed onto the plains, sweeping round behind the other passes and opening way for more of the blood god’s followers. The Knight pressed on into a walker force of the orkish meks, smashing through metal and flesh with equal ease surrounded by daemons of the blood god and cultist forces chanted its glory christening the war machine “The Iron Butcher” in their feverish chants.