Rain lashed the rubble strewn streets of Jornsberg. Battles had raged over the ruins of a city once said to be the most beautiful in the whole sector. Over the last few months the town had been under loyalist control and now housed the command headquarters, but this was increasingly threatened. The arrival of Legio Tempestus had at first been welcomed as valuable support, but that welcome was no longer warm.
"What should I do?"
The question, always the same question, had been raging in his mind for weeks. News had come only a month ago of the death at the hand of Legio Mortis of his friend and mentor Indias Cavalerio, the Storm Lord and Grand Master of the Legio. He was shocked by the treachery of legio mortis, long hated rivals of Legio Tempestus. The two Legio had come to blows in the past, if never so destructively. While that news was terrible, and rightly demanded retribution, more cataclysmic news followed.
The Warlord Titan ‘Custodi tempestas’ stood motionless as a statue. The rain hammered on the carapace creating a fine mist. Fractured blue and checker board livery streamed with water. The Ultramarines and Solar Auxilla working in the defensive works stared up with a mixture of both hope and mistrust. Legio Tempestus, were no longer trusted.
A battered cruiser of the Salamanders Astartes Legion had arrived six days ago bearing worse news from Istvaan V. The treachery of Horus put the treachery of Legio Mortis in a new light. Worse news of the betrayal of Maximus Karania made the Princeps doubt there own course. If Karania was following Horus, maybe his cause was just? Much of the rogue battle group, including Karania he considered friends, even if his demi legio's redeployment to Orestes had been unexpected. Now he knew his loyalty, and the loyalty of all the remaining legio, was suspect. Maybe rightly so. The salamanders had fled before the coming storm and the Titans had been ordered to the reserve, powered down but on station.
"What should I do?" The though came unbidden again. Angrily he studied the sensors.
A cry went up from the battle lines. Tiny dots were visible across the horizon. Faint sensations could be felt through the ground. Artillery started to fire, dozens of Basilisks shelling the area the enemy had been sighted. Visibility across the Jorn plain was reduced. Lorenzo, Captain of the Ultramarine Legion and commander in chief of the forces at Jornberg, directed a large column of solar Auxilla tanks out, more than a hundred tanks of the Leman Russ and Malcador classes rolled out. They disappeared from view quickly, soon the sounds of a desperate fire fight could be heard above the bombardment.
"Princep, Captain Lorenso asks us to remain on station until the enemy are in the kill zone." Came the disembodied voice of his Senior Moderatii Titus. He enhanced the auto senses to maximum. The lead Titan was visible now, a Warlord clad in the same fractured Azure armour as the Decimus's own force. He knew Titans were present in the region, but the presence of other Legio Tempestus Titans had been concealed from him.
Troops and tanks swarmed around the feet of the traitor Titans feet. Their continued March could be felt strongly through the ground now. It was now clear a further seven Titans of Reaver and Warlord Classes were visible behind the first. The lead warlord bore a large banner which Decimus recognised as belonging to the Warlord, 'Imperious Maximus' bearing the Eye of the arch traitor was moving into the kill zone. The traitors Warhorns roared.
The sky started to rumble, as if in answer to the challenge.
"What should I do?" Desperate, Decimus clutched the Throne Mechanicum. the solidity of the great command seat offered little comfort.
Two dozen Ultramarine landraiders went hull down in the mud to turn there weapons on the great metal beasts. The act was futile and the traitor Titans return fire boiled the mighty tanks to vapour. From trenches, Astartes Legionaries and Solar Auxilla poured disciplined fire on the enemy Titans and troops as one by one, the trenches were overrun. Now was the time to act, but for who? Who was right?
"Omissisah give me a sign!" He cried aloud, tears rolling down his face.
A single arch of lightening split the sky, striking the 'Imperious Maximus's' banner pole. The banner burst into fire, quickly turning to ash. The sign was given, the Ommissah had not forgotten them.
Decimus took a breath and switched on the master vox. " ‘Custodi tempestas’ To demi Legio, your target is marked, commence bombardment". Twenty battle Titans powered their reactors, raised shields and readied there weapons.
The doubt was over. There were friends to avenge. An Imperium to save.
It was the traitors turn to die...
This was original written for the Forgeworld Win a Titan 2016 Competition. Unfortunately it was far too long so I though I would share it.