Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Hall

Deep in the warp a drinking hall was alive with revelry. Think oak beams and bronze braziers filled the round hall and the air was thick with smoke and sound of bravado. For here the brave and the mighty drank. They drank for the honoured dead and the honour to come. They drank for the glory of battle and the spoils of war. They drank for the brotherhood of the wolf.

The battle brothers of the Sons of Fenris gathered here to listen to there great wolf, Hiemdall Oaken-Staff, speak of great deeds of bravery to come. The rumour that the Tyranids have been spotted spread like wildfire and the blood was up. As Hiemdall entered the hall the dull roar of the brotherhood erupted in cheers and calls of battle. The young blood claws screamed for the need to show there worth in battle. The stoic long fangs muttered and grumped among themselves, but they too wished to unleash death and pain on the alien scum. Only the mighty frames of the dreadnaughts stood still and silent. Vast war machines driven by the husk of the once great but the now mighty brothers from before. The great wolf stood before his brothers in silence. His twin cyber wolves growled and flanked the mighty warrior. Slowly the crowd stilled and the silence was broken only with the sound of the flagons being quaffed. But still the wolf lord stood silent. From the back an impetus blood claw (only 56 springs of age) shouted out if they would have to save the poor weak guardsmen. Another declared that all such men where mere boys and old men compared the might of the battle brother. A few more agreed that there was no honour in fighting beside such poor warriors and the brotherhood should shun them and fight alone. At this the wolf lord stirred.

‘You say that we have honour?’ he declared at the cheers of the assembled warriors.

‘You are mighty and honourable warriors and heroes all!’ This drove the crowd wild.

‘Are we not stronger than ten men naked in the snow? With our armour and gear of war we are worth a battalion of the guard, are we not?’ The cries of agreement rattled the beams. Only the older souls in the room looked at the wolf lord with wry anticipation. He was a great hero but a greater orator.

‘We fight for honour and the glory of the fight. We stand before the strong and cast them aside for the name of Russ. We know no fear and watch as lesser men cower in the mud afraid of the dark!’ He cried.

As the din died down he murmured softly ‘aye, we are strong and mighty. Are weapons keen and ready and we look to war for our sport and honour. We look at these men and curse there weakness. What do they fight for? Honour? Glory? Survival? ‘The crowd was straining to listen.

‘Old men and boys fighting the nightmares from beyond do not do so for glory and the saga. No, they fight and die for there wives and daughters, friends and parents. They are weak and feeble armed with little more than toys and sticks. And yet they fight. Hope has fled there hearts. And yet they fight. The long seconds of there torment stretch out and end in terror and anguish. And yet they fight. What greater honour is that? I say to you there is none! We are heroes and strong, yet I am humbled by the honour and bravery of these old men and boys.’ His voice trailed off. Grendal the eldest dreadnought stirred, his vox cracked into life. ‘My lord, we are humbled by your words.’ This was all he said.

Hiemdall looked up at the brotherhood. ‘What say you my brothers, shall we fight with these men of honour? Shall we learn from the weak the true meaning of strength? Brothers I say to you that the woman and children look to the skies and see only black and void! I say we fight! They cry out hopeless! I say we answer! We will not allow these men of honour to fall unmarked! We are to battle!’

The ship shock with the sound of the brotherhood cheering.