Lord of Nonsense2
A world still entrenched in its feudal roots, guarded by an old sect of warrior-nuns. An old priest, finding himself thrust into a role he never wanted. A tide of world-devouring creatures poised to engulf them all.
“Alisandra, Bethany, get everyone you can to the centre of the village, now!” she shouted. “Kassandra, you’re our best shot, so you take up overwatch on the church tower! Everyone else, get to covering positions on those walls, NOW!”
Her Sisters acknowledged her order and ran off to their positions. Bethany immediately began to herd the villagers back to the centre, where they would be safest. She heard a few of them still shouting or crying in terror, but thankfully, they didn’t descend into a panicking riot. That was the last thing they needed right now.
Running up to the wall, Avriel saw the oncoming Tyranids in the distance from the west. She saw the faint edge of a dust cloud gathering on the horizon, a thin line of black outlining it. Flipping out her macro-binoculars, Avriel zoomed in on the image.
She was greeted by the sight of a tide of Tyranid creatures stampeding towards. There had to be dozens, perhaps hundreds of them-- a carpet of scythe-armed creatures with long, lean bodies, bipedal, hooved feet and forelimbs ending in long, arm-length talons that were curved forwards like sabres. Their small, antlike heads were ringed with needle-like teeth. Hormagaunts, Avriel remembered the official designation for these creatures. Fast-moving attack beasts almost as fast as a horse. They were gaining, and fast. She bit her bottom lip. If they tried to get the villagers out of here now, they would be caught and overwhelmed. Their only chance was to make a stand here, and pray that they could hold out until Canoness Arcadion brought them reinforcements.
“Bolters at ready!” she shouted, pulling her own weapons free. Her Sisters on the walls quickly slung their bolters over the edges of the stone wall. She, Liana, Ereyn, Kali, Aylia, Rakel and Zhoe were spaced widely across the wall, with Esther and Morena stationed further back to bring their flamers to bear the moment Avriel ordered it. A classic defensive formation, but one that would have been better done with greater numbers. There were thirteen of them, and for all their armour, weaponry and training, they were badly outnumbered.
“When I give the order, be ready to fall back into those houses,” she said. “Alissandra, Bethany, you two find basements, cellars....some way of getting the villagers out of sight.”
“Acknowledged, Sister Superior,” came the unanimous acknowledgement. Gazing over the parapet of the wall, Avriel saw the Tyranids coming onwards and onwards. Her mouth moved of her own accord as she began to recite the Fede Imperialis under her breath. Over the comms, she could hear her Sisters doing the same.
Within seconds, she could see the black pits of their eyes as they came within minutes of impact....
The roar of boltguns fire drowned out the chittering shrieks of the Hormagaunts as the Battle Sisters opened fire. The formeost ranks of Hormagaunts burst apart like rotten fruit as the bolter volley scythed into them. Piece of carapace and severed, scythed limbs went flying in all directions. Normally, this would have caused a charge to stumble or even break, but the Tyranids simply kept coming. More of the creatures surged forward, trampling over their dead as their raised their blade-arms. More and more bolter rounds scythed outwards, and and another rank of Hormagaunts was blasted down.
Heedless of their losses, the Hormagaunts charged on, more and more charging on behind the ones who had been killed, chittering as though in animalistic fury. Avriel saw some of them leaping towards the wall section Avriel was occupying, talons raised for the kill. Without even thinking, Avriel raised her hand flamer and fired. A stream of burning liquid doused the Tyranids, and Avriel watched in satisfaction as three of them stumbled and fell, twitching convulsively. Two more burning Hormagaunts continued their charge, shrieking as they leapt at her, talons-first.
Spinning to the side, Avriel swept upwards with her chainsword, the buzzing teeth of the weapon slicing through the Hormagaunt’s forelimbs. The alien came crashing over the wall, flipping over onto its back with a shriek. The other one leapt at her, but Avriel’s free arm swung out, her pistol smashing the thing in the jaw even as one of its talons stabbed down against her shoulder pauldron. The impact sent the thing stumbling sideways, giviing her enough time to swing her chainsword at its exposed side, ripping open its innards in one fell swing.
Avriel turned t face the other Hormagaunt she’d maimed, seeing it stagger back up to its clover feet. A second later, its head exploded messily. Glancing up, she saw Kassandra in the tower, firing calm, precise shots with her bolter down into the fray below. Avriel smiled despite herself. Well done, Sister.
Turning back to the battle, Avriel saw more and more Hormagaunts making it to the wall. Ereyn and Zhoe had drawn their combat knives and were desperately trying to fend off multiple attackers at once. She swore under her breath. “FLAMERS! NOW!”
In response, Morena and Esther ran up to the edge of the wall and turned the heat up. Two searing blasts of flame jutted over the parapet, the great roar of their weapons followed by innumerable shrieks. Almost a dozen Hormagaunts were caught in the flames, collapsing into twitching, charred shapes. In an instant, the wall had been cleared. Bolters and knives were quickly brought to bear where the flames had not claimed any Tyranids, and within moments, those few Hormagaunts still alive...including the four wrestling with Ereyn and Zhoe- had been slain.
Avriel took only a quick breath. The thunder-like rumbling continued: in the distance, she could see another wave of the creatures rushing towards the wall.
She swore under her breath. She should have known it wouldn’t be this easy.
She slammed a fresh canister of fuel into her hand flamer. She prayed that the rest of the Preceptory won the battle soon: the sooner they recieved reinforcements, the better.
“Be ready for the next wave!” she shouted. “Ave Imperator!”
“AVE IMPERATOR!” came the answer back.