The Liberation of Epdermus
From his vantage point on the top of a small rise behind the central offensive line, Brother Ashriel looks out across the battlefield and smiled. The attack on the traitor’s last fortification is going well; The Dark Angels’ center, even though outnumbered by the traitors 5 to 1, is pushing the traitors back with superior fire discipline, laying a massive amount of suppressing fire while advancing slowly thru the ruble of what was once the Spire City of Epdermus.
Over the course of three weeks, the Dark Angels have systematically pushed back the traitors to this position; a city on the edge of a cliff side. The traitors have retreated to their last bastion on this beleaguered world. The huge city has been adequately fortified by the Traitors, turning it into a defensible position but it is clear to Ashriel that the traitors’ commander did not even consider that he might be fighting for his very survival here.
Turning to survey the right flank Ashriel heard an amplified howling laughter and his smile grew wider; Brother Amurael is gleefully firing salvo after salvo of armor piercing krak missiles into the Traitors’ gun emplacements. Ever since the techmarines took off the twin Powerclaws from brother Amurael’s Dreadnaught chassis and replaced them with a Missile Launcher and Lascannon; Brother Amurael has somewhat mellowed out. He is far less likely to charge the enemy position regardless of the odds and now would much prefer to stand back and shoot them down before moving in to crush them under his metal foot plates.
The detachment of Havocs Ashriel put in the right flank is also doing a dutiful job of supporting brother Amurael’s assault, rapid firing heavy bolter rounds into the enemy to keep them occupied and disoriented. “Soon…” Thought Ashriel as he turns away to look at the left flank; “Soon they will break.”
The Dark Angels’ salvaged heavy siege tank; Basilisk, on the left flank has been bombarding the Traitors’ position since morning and although it is protected by the nearby woods, there is nothing else on the left flank but a lone Dark Angels Predator tank to guard it. Ashriel can see that the traitor’s commander has seen this weakness in his lines and is moving troops to exploit it; guerrilla fighters are even now emerging from the woods carrying bombs and grenades to engage and probably destroy the Basilisk and Predator. With the Left flank gone, the Traitors will have broken through the Dark Angels’ lines and can attack Ashriel’s forces from behind, effectively boxing in the Dark Angels between their fort and army. Ashriel must act now to snatch victory from defeat.
Grim faced, his smile all but forgotten, Ashriel scans the Traitor’s lines to be sure of the enemy’s disposition before issuing his orders. Elements are moving from the right flank to the left, probably to anticipate the destruction and consequent breakthrough on the Dark Angels’ left flank, and to escape brother Amurael’s furious assault. The enemy’s central elements look to be holding for now but they will soon be overwhelmed by the Battle Brothers’ steady and disciplined assault.
Satisfied that everything is moving according to Brother-Captain Zuriel’s design, Ashriel activates his inter-armor link.
“Brother Halmeth, the traitors have reached the kill-zone.”
From behind the central offensive, in a hidden position behind some walls, Brother Halmeth’s gravelly voice comes over the growl of his assault group’s activated jump-packs; “About time.”
“Strike, brother,” Answered Ashriel; “Show them the Emperor’s Wrath.”
Roaring with unadulterated rage, the nine man assault team lead by Brother Halmeth came into Ashriel’s view, soaring over the battlefield to land in the midst of the surprised flanking Traitors. Brother Halmeth himself landed directly on top of a traitor, crushing him under the weight of his power armor. Blood and brain matter spraying his armor, turning it red with the first kill. His Jump-pack turned off without a thought; Brother Halmeth began laying about him; each swipe of his chain-axe taking a limb or head, each bolt pistol shot knocking a traitor from his feet. Halmeth roared a sky splitting roar and started to enter a state of semi-conscious killing frenzy, his warriors following suit. The nine assault marines hacked and butchered the flanking force.
Brother Ashriel saw the slaughter on the left flank and hoped that Brother Halmeth remembers his orders. The state of semi-conscious frenzy that the brother assault marines enter is not something that Ashriel understands nor does he want to. As long as they perform their duties, the end result very much justifies the means. After all, their former… allegiance… did not care much on whose blood was spilt as long as blood was spilt.
The destruction of the traitors flanking force by brother Halmeth’s marines took a direct impact on the traitor’s lines; it wavered and stopped moving to the left; fearful and very much intimidated. Tanks and other fast moving elements milled about adding to the confusion in the middle of the lines while the right flank is continuing to move back from brother Amurael’s assault.
“A brilliantly planned assault, Brother-Captian Zuriel.” Thought Ashriel begrudgingly, “With the Traitors crushed on the left flank and the ones on the right flank being pushed back, they have become entangled in the middle, easily picked off by my Battle Brothers from which there will be no escape, yes… brilliant.”
“Well.” Ashriel thought, shaking himself out of this musings and clearing his Bolter’s magazine cartridge, “It is now out of my hands now that the battle lines have met. At least it gets much simpler from here on out.”
Striding down to the center of the battlefield, he activated his helmet’s vox-link and gave his command squad the order to engage.
“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War