domingo, 4 de marzo de 2012

SDIV Chapter 12 Part1

Chapter Twelve

Upper Atmosphere
Unknown Location

High in the atmosphere the deadly light show continued; misshapen lumps fell, their outer skins sloughing off under the intense heat. None were symmetrical; lumps and nodules spotted their surfaces, becoming more pronounced as they came closer to earth. Faint shapes writhed beneath the protective coating, their sinuous movement increasing with each layered removal.

None hit the ground lightly, dust and rock particles shooting high into the air. The thud of these miniature meteorites shook the earth and was followed by distinct cracking sounds. As the air cleared, one small clawed hand broached clear, a sibilant hissing accompanying this first sign of life. Clicking and rattling could then be heard, as first one then another of the creatures called to its fellows. Wings buzzed rapidly although none took flight.

Pale eyes stared upon the rocky landscape, segmented bodies rasped the earth dragging their owners clear of the landing site. Diamond-shaped teeth gnashed in anticipation as monstrous mouths opened and closed. The Ambryn had arrived.

Ruined City
Zone II

Clari watched the landing from the safety of a snoring Cornelius’ grasp. She instinctively knew when danger approached, and this sparkling display smelt all wrong. Only one stared as eagerly as she; Sargeant Harms shivered within his blanket and checked his autorifle closely. He had seen this once before, and from a distance. The next morning three hundred were dead, many more to follow as the Protectorate blanket bombed the area. No-one ever explained why. Church propaganda had spoken of an infestation, but had been less than specific with the details.

Harms used the toe of his boot to rouse Cornelius, receiving a hiss of indignation from the diminutive warrior’s guardian.

“What?” snorted Cornelius, “I’m already awake…”

Harms laughed, “Trouble,” he muttered, “time to move.”

Butt rolled to his feet, one of his knives appearing magically in his hand, all semblance of sleepiness disappearing.

“Where?” he questioned, scanning the area.

The Sargeant indicated the lit area with his rifle, his gestures under-pinned with the thump of impact.

“Over there. Let’s wake the others.”

There was no need. Each of the soldiers had felt the earth tremble and woke; battle conditions bred alertness in the living.

Clari stared over Cornelius’ shoulder as the men marched away. A wind had sprung up suddenly, filling her delicate nostrils with a rank stench; rotten vegetation mixed with a spicy musk. Her throat vibrated as she growled in challenge.

“Not to worry, pet,” said Cornelius, stroking her head, “I’m here and I won’t let anything hurt you.”

Harms wanted to laugh, but Cornelius spoke with a vehement sincerity, and for the first time the Sargeant believed.


Grishak too had seen the lights in the sky and sniffed warily, something was wrong. He had found the Tauran soldiers earlier and after a few sharp lessons, including two deaths, they had relatively quickly agreed to follow him. Some rather crude field surgery had seen the shaft rammed through his body and a dirty piece of tunic wrapped around him.

Normally his body healed rapidly, and he expected to be able to go back tomorrow and deal with the Churchmen. It was whilst he was lost in his own brand of reverie, that he heard the first gurgle. That and the splatter of blood which arced across his vision alerted him. The Tauran was amazed, nothing should have been able to get that close. He ducked, avoiding snapping jaws and reached absently up, his thick arms encircling a scaly neck. One sharp wrench and he moved on.

Taurans died around him; flesh ripped free of screaming bodies, limbs dangling out of falsely smiling mouths and an unpleasant smell pervaded all. Grishak knew when the battle was lost and wasted no time; his axe made no distinction between friend or foe, it was merely the key to opening a way out. These creatures were new to him. They looked like they should belong to the Taurans, but there was a mindless hunger which could not be controlled.

He burst at last out of the cordon of monsters and re-oriented himself; he knew of only one portal and was not going to let anything get in his way.


Morning came in a cacophony of noise, rousing them from their apathy with the unwelcome familiarity of the sound of weapons fire. They rather hastily gathered up what little belongings they had and Harms sent Burns out to scout the area. He obviously held little confidence in Butt, and at least knew that Burns would do a passable job.

Cornelius watched the Sniper disappear, his jinking run keeping him close to the scattered piles of rubble which lined the main street. If his supposition was correct, Taurans would be the least of their worries. He would have to be a little more careful in future, Harms was keen on leading their group, but he could not let him interfere with his own plans.

“Run!” screamed Burns, tearing around the furthest visible corner and waving his arms urgently.

Harms grabbed his rifle and scrambled into cover.

“Why are they running?” asked the Tartan.

“What? Oh, I’m not sure …” Cornelius began, but any explanation was halted by the appearance of a horde of screaming Taurans.

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