Big Game V – Chapter Forty Two: Curse of an Angel
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Muted cheers and shouts of rage echoed from a space beyond the small concrete chamber. The tang of blood and sweat filled Brother Cervantes’ senses as he woke. White flashes and muted shadows were all he could make out with his blurred vision. He knew his armor had been stripped away, and reports of pain from deep bruises and broken bones shocked his system as he struggled to rise.
Memories of an ambush aboard the Angel’s Wing flooded into his mind, of warriors in armor of blood red, like his own, whose armor was decorated with blasphemous symbols and cuneiform script from a language he could not recognize. The Thunderhawk had been attacked in mid-flight. Where had he and his squad been sent, and for what purpose? His mind was hazy. As he stood straight, the flesh on his back ached and strained, and an unfamiliar weight threw off his balance. As he fumbled behind him, Cervantes felt the soft brush of down. He twisted his neck around, and saw an arch of white protruding from behind his shoulder.
Before his mind could fully grasp what had happened, a rumble of granite began to reverberate throughout the chamber. Soft light filtered through the widening crack under one wall as it lifted, receding into the ceiling. Cervantes’ eyes winced shut instinctively, his senses, even though long heightened to superhuman levels, momentarily overwhelmed after so long a captivity in darkness.
A wet thud sounded directly before him, and he could make out a human form lying at his feet. As his eyes began to adjust, he recognized the broken body of Brother Achilles. He shouted in horror, and looked up. The room before him was a wide amphitheatre, and in the ringed seats sat armored figures in the liveries of Traitor Legions. Directly in front of him, in the sand-covered theatre floor, stood an enormous warrior in intricately decorated Terminator armor, in the dark reds and silvers of the Word Bearers Legion. At his feet were the eviscerated bodies of Cervantes’ squad mates.
The Blood Angel shouted at the Word Bearer, cursing him in the name of the Emperor and Sanguinius. As he strode forward, driven by anger verging on madness, his foot glanced off of something hard and metal below him. A sword. Without breaking stride, the winged angel grabbed up the weapon, and continued towards his foe.
The Terminator-armored warrior gestured at Cervantes with one ancient lightning claw, mocking him in a harsh language that he could not comprehend. Then the Traitor closed his fist, and Cervantes doubled over in pain. He could feel the veins in his back stretch under the strain of chemicals that flowed from within the artificial wings. His vision darkened and went black.
Feeling a sudden rush of power, Cervantes stood, and roared at his enemy. He had betrayed his Emperor! Spit on all he had fought for! Hatred and anger rose inside of him. Had the Emperor not made them all of his flesh? He pointed his blade at his foe, and bellowed a challenge.
The Traitor began to speak to him in dark words, which conveyed meaning even as the syllables flowed through his mind without reference. Join him? How could his brother ask this? After all the good works of the Great Crusade, could Horus truly believe that he would rend it back to the chaos and anarchy that had reigned before, and, worse, under the heel of dark gods who drank the blood of humanity and feasted on its soul? With a cry of rage, he surged towards the traitor Warmaster, determined to end this madness.
As he brought his sword down, Horus reached up and battered it away without a hint of difficulty. It clattered to the ground, and the winged angel watched as his arm fell with it, sheared clean off his body. Horus’ return blow slashed open his ribcage, and exposed his twin hearts. He felt himself lifted off the ground, the traitor’s claw still embedded in his midsection, and his mind went blank with rage and pain as his hearts exploded, splattering the ground with his lifeblood. Then the Angel knew no more.