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World Eaters Short "The Bloody 13th"


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Hi everyone. So sometimes I like to write as stress relief, and partially inspired by whythre's hopefully continuing Nurgle story I decided to start something up about everyone's favorite gang of bloody axe murderers, the World Eaters. I probably won't ever finish it because I never do, and there isn't any actual axe murdering yet, but there will probably be later, as well as probably at least 1 other important character. Basically I am trying to show the World Eaters as a very informal "shut up and get things done" kind of legion that while having no particular qualms about violence or even fratricide is still more than just a gang of looney morons and well--hopefully that comes across in the characters. Anyway, thanks for reading!


The Bloody 13th


“The Emperor is assembling a carnival of monsters for his amusement, although I doubt whoever he unleashes them upon will see the jest” –The Primarch Sanguinius upon visit to the World Eaters muster world of Bodt


++World Eaters Strike Cruiser Silencebringer, 40 years before Istvaan III++


“Wake him”


The voice was distant and hollow, as if echoing across a great chasm or perhaps from the other side of a dream, he couldn’t see who or what it belonged to; what was left of his vision being filled by a single overpowering light. He tried to blink, to clear the cold antiseptic glare from his eyes but found that his eyelids would not respond. It vaguely occurred to him that he was not entirely even sure that his eyes were indeed open or if the light was merely the manifestation of a brain mangled beyond sense and perception.


“Wake him yourself if it’s so damn important, in any sane universe the stupid bastard would be dead, a fate to which I still have half a mind to resign him”


This new voice was closer, sounding grainy and metallic, like gears turning long without oil. He tried in vain again to blink, though his frustration found some succor in the fact that the incandescent blur began to resolve along the edges, revealing a minor constellation of glinting steel; saws, spikes, and syringes, hanging in a lunatic pattern about his vision’s periphery.


“And I have half a mind to have you join him, now wake him or I will personally deliver to Angron news of your—inability”


The first voice again, though clearer this time, as if the great void between then had shrunk. He strained, pushing against himself to try to turn his head, to see the source of the voices. He attempted to concentrate, to will his body into motion against the invisible restraints that seemed to hold every fiber of his physical form. He pushed further, focusing his frustration and impotence into rage, a bottomless reservoir of force that had hitherto never forsaken him.




Something clicked inside his skull, and his vision jittered.


“And that was?”


The first voice again, closer still but still as dispassionate, a terse bark of cold indiferrence.


“His implants, his damn butcher’s nails, they’re beginning to fire. Wait--”


Before the Apothecary could react, the body on the table sat up, pushing himself up with his gore spattered left gauntlet. He turned as he rose, his right hand plucking a meter long drill from its segmented adamantium arm with the alacrity of a man swiftly picking a flower. Unarmed, the Apothecary could only begin to raise his hand to defend himself as the drill came round in a wide arc aimed at his head. The makeshift weapon’s point hissed through the air as it descended, stopping mere inches from the pale blue of the Apothecary’s visor lens. The figure on the slab turned his head, his face a deeply scarred and twisted mockery of human expression, testament to facial bones broken and reknitted haphazardly, a mosaic of injury and toil bearing witness to a life lived in the howling crucible of war.


His eyes locked on the pale glue gauntlet that had wrapped itself around his wrist, the single thing that was forcing back his vengeance against his tormentor. Having finally regained the faculty, he blinked to clear his vision, and his eyes then shot up, meeting the gaze of the warrior responsible. One eye was a shade of deep oaken brown, like the long-lost hardwoods of ancient Terra, its rich hue in utter contrast to the worn papyrus of the warrior’s flesh. The other eye was a milky morass of irrecoverable injury, an inscrutable globe that seemed to swim and shift by the force of some unknown eddies from deep within the man’s skull.


“Welcome back Brother-Captain”


The owner of the second voice said, his voice still calm and indifferent, his single good eye never once having moved.


Brother-Captain Cerren Zhul stood aboard the Silencebringer’s bridge, his eyes absently tracing the paths of the myriad smaller cruisers and escort ships gliding like remoras along the pitted hulls of the larger barges and battleships of the 13th Expedition. His eyesight had come into full focus now, and he enjoyed the opportunity to drill himself in the rapid acquisition and tracking of potential targets, potential—foes. Boasting the largest combined fleet of the XII Legion, Angron himself had been appointed by the Emperor to lead the 13th and while this would have been a source of great honor to a warrior of the Imperial Fists or the Word Bearers, Zhul found himself largely indifferent. Fawning adoration was below a true warrior’s dignity, and in any case Zhul well understood that after all pretense and pageantry had been stripped away, his only general was Death, and it was a master he had served well.


Without conscious thought his hand glided behind his head, the rough surfaces of his gauntleted fingers tracing the inflamed edges of flesh where barbarous cords of Dark Age technology punctured through his skull into the very core of his being. Sharp spikes of pain struck him with every touch and the left corner of his mouth quivered in what might have once been a smile.


“So tell me again why you saw it fit to—mutilate me like this”


Zhul spoke without turning or using his vox-caster, his voice carrying easily to the warrior beside him.


A giant even for an Astartes, Armand, known also as “The Headtaker” was company champion of the 39th and a crowd favorite in the endless bouts held to commemorate victory and death in the bowels of the flagship. The smooth ceramite of his battle-plate was unadorned save for a single heavy chain that hung diagonally across his breast, an ornament that was also a weapon, a heavy cord of wrought adamantium links that could be used to distract or ensnare an unwary opponent. In his left gauntlet he held a great poleaxe, an archaic weapon of unknown provenience that constantly hummed faintly with deadly potential. Several techmarines of the 39th and other companies had offered to inspect the weapon so as to discover the source of whatever defect caused it to emit its characteristic purr even when the disruption field about its blade was powered down but none were allowed to lay hand upon the blade, with every request met with a slight nod and a subtle shift into a fighter’s stance, all the talk any World Eater needed to brook no further argument.


“Because the primarch willed it so”


Artificial muscles and corded fiber bundles whirred as the giant approximated a shrug, as if the captain’s question was one of inanity or at least unimportance.

“Though I suppose your asking that question also means that you do not remember how you got onto the slab in the first place”


Zhul turned to his interlocutor, the left side of his face drawn in what now looked most like a muscle spasm, his hand resting on the pommel of the notched greatsword he wore at his hip.

“I grow tired of your posturing Armand, answer the damn question or begone from my bridge, but in either case do not assume that your status among the company nor your record in the dueling pits puts you above my word”

The giant shrugged again, his one good eye never leaving the viewport.


“Angron struck you”




Something shifted inside Zhul’s skull and his weapon hand seemed to spasm closed about the grip of his blade. The sheer absurdity of his champion’s jest had tripped a fuse in his mind, and needles of white hot pain punched into the back of his head.


“Well, not so much struck as slapped”


Armand continued, seemingly unaware of his captain’s changed stance, nor the spasmodic tic pulling together the left side of his scarred face.


“You are a skilled warrior Brother-Captain, and a brave one. You defeated Captain Dezboch of the 21st, and quite handily may I add, though apparently your victory somewhat swelled your pride. In your fervor, you roared to the crowd that no augmented berserker could best a true warrior like yourself. Apparently, the primarch found your boast—amusing.”


Zhul gritted his teeth, shutting his eyes and once more pushing against the inside of his mind, attempting to focus the blind frenzy into a something more refined, to chisel a scalpel from the broad bladed axe hacking through the core of his post-human brain. Something clicked again, and Zhul felt hot liquid running down the valleys of scars that rolled below his right eye. He released his grip on his blade, and wiped the blood from his face with the back of his gauntlet.

Moment by moment, the pain in his skull began to wane, and he finally opened his eyes, winking flecks of rapidly drying blood to clear the red sheen from his vision.


“Why didn’t he just kill me?”


For a rare moment, Cerren Zhul felt genuine curiosity, a prickling desire to know why his primarch had not simply ended him for his indiscretion, a fate that an uncounted number had faced for lesser words.

“Oh come now, Brother-Captain”


The tone of indifference in Armand’s voice had finally seemed to partially quell, being replaced by a shade of amusement.

“Where would be the excitement in that?”

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Thanks for the responses, oh and the apothecary implanted Butcher's Nails as well as keeping him alive, I was trying to imply that Angron didn't just kill him for the "insult" because the idea of putting the Nails into someone claiming to not need them amused him, and seemed like a more fitting punishment. Anyhow, I'm going to post some more soon, it's a pretty nice diversion.
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I like it that the marine is completely destroyed by a slap from Angron. Fun stuff.


Your descriptions are quite gripping- Zhul's pain and rage are fleshed out well. Is this going to be continued or is this just a vignette? More would be better!

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Thanks whythre your Nurgle story was a partial inspiration for this actually, so I hope you decide to stick to that as well. Anyway, next part is ready, it's fairly long but it was necessary to set up for the next part which will actually just be a big battle. As always thanks for reading!


The strategium was bathed in a deep red from the single holographic image projected above the table at its center, the glow making the white and pale blue plate of the warriors within appear the deep crimson of venous blood. The hovering image depicted a great vessel of impossible complexity and grace, the organic skin of its hull intermittently interrupted by great gashes and scars, it’s flowing causeways and needle-like minarets broken in dozens of places, shards of disorder thrown amidst the perfect alignment of the ship’s design. Runes flashed about the vessel’s image, describing armaments, threat diagnostics and believed points of structural vulnerability.




Carren Zhul almost spat the word, the left edge of his lip pulled up to reveal steel teeth that seemed to glow in the eerie red light of the projection.


“It is that”


The agreement came from Battle Brother Drekar of 2nd squad, a relatively young warrior that had already demonstrated unusual prowess and tactical acumen in each of his three campaigns. Although some legions might have balked at the prospect of allowing a mere line legionary to attend a meeting of officers, the XII in general had no such pretenses, any were welcome and any could speak, though in doing so each would accept responsibility for his words, from novitiate to Devourer. As far the warriors of the XII Legion were concerned all were equally bound by the same killer’s code.


“But disgusting hardly means innocuous”


Armand cut in flatly, his voice retaining its customary neutral tone.


“Let us remember that though these aliens certainly are rather—fey there has hardly been an engagement in which they have failed to bleed us. In point of fact, it cost the Imperial Fists 7 cruisers and 3 battleships just to cripple this one. And now—“


He raised his right hand and moved his index and middle fingers in a circling motion as if gesturing for someone else to continue so as to save him the tedium of speaking.


“And now”


Zhul continued where the champion had left off, his voice staccato and uneven, as if the cords of his larynx were under constantly shifting stress.


“and now finish what Dorn’s overcareful legion of stonemasons has begun. The enemy has been brought to bay and all that remains is the beheading stroke. The Imperial Fists have withdrawn their fleet here”


The holographic display panned out, showing the alien vessel drifting through the void amidst a sea of wreckage, all of it unrecognizable save the ruined hulk of a an Imperial battleship bearing the great sigil of a clenched fist across its superstructure. The vessel floated lifelessly, its hull torn open to the void like the body of a rodent set upon by a Fenrisian wolf. Given a reference, it was obvious that the xenos vessel was enormous, more a tiny artificial world than merely a large vessel, a miracle of craftsmanship eons beyond human understanding.


The frame panned past the debris field, focusing on a small group of Imperial vessels, bloodied but unbowed, drifting just beyond the range of the xenos craft’s banks of pulsars.


“While the Imperial Fists continue tiptoeing about, the World Eaters shall carry out their duty. The 13th Expedition has been called, and for our foes that can only mean a single thing: extermination. The Silencebringer is to flank the Conqueror herself and add to the curtain of fire on approach to allow the flagship to reach boarding range. Assuming we survive—“


A muscle spasm caused Zhul to pause for a several seconds, his speech momentarily swallowed in his throat.


“Assuming we survive, the 39th Assault Company will, as we always have, bring the inevitable violence to the foe. We shall deploy via Dreadclaw, penetrating the target’s hull here”


The image had again resolved over the xenos craftworld, this time centered upon a mostly unblemished surface of hull toward the rear of the vessel.


“It is believed that this area houses some form of generators that are providing what little power this abomination retains. We are to board and disable whatever such sources we may find. As this objective is of pivotal import, the 8th and 15th Companies shall likewise be assigned to it, an over-application of force that the primarch hopes will make the possible loss of any single company rather inconsequential”


Finished, Cerren Zhul stepped back from the holographic table, standing once more amid his warriors. Never known for being overly verbose and without anything substantive the legionnaires remained mute as additional tactical date streamed across the holographic display, giving projected resistance numbers, tactics and equipment alongside estimated legion attrition rates for every stage of the battle accompanied by variances weighted by how many of each type of elite aspect cult this particular craftworld was home to.


The legionnaires watched on in silence as the slowly strobing red runes of the holographic prophesied their deaths.


Cerren Zhul closed his eyes within his warhelm as the Dreadclaw accelerated away from the Silencebringer’s flank. The Imperial warship had brought itself close the craftworld’s alabaster skin, such that the jaunt between vessels would require but moments, denying the Eldar time to fire upon the vulnerable unshielded assault boats. His eyes shot open as the Dreadclaw struck the craftworld’s hull, the bladed vanes of the World Eaters craft gouging deep into the outer layer of wraithbone. Holding fast to its prey, the Dreadclaw’s logic-engine ignited its forward melta cutters, the twin nozzles spinning as they seared through its victim’s multiple layers of quasi-organic plating.


The legionnaires about him shifted in their harnesses, discipline and restraint giving way to the frenzy of the battle to come. Chronometers ran down in unison within the helm of each warrior, the series of runes rapidly shrinking as the Dreadclaw prepared to disgorge its contents into the bowels of the enemy craft.


With a final lurch, the assault boat breached the enemy craft, its forward section penetrating several meters from the floor of a vast vaguely ellipsoid amphitheater of pearlescent blues and whites. The walls and floors were entirely unadorned, with the only interruption to the room’s flow being a large black dais near the amphitheater’s far wall, upon which stood a statue of an Eldar in ceremonial garb bearing a mane of tentrils about his head and a jagged green claw upon one of his hands.


The inner wall had melted where the Astartes pod had burned its way in and rivulets of quicksilver ran down from the ragged hole that now marred the elegantly sloping amphitheater wall. With a mechanical sigh, the front hatch of the Dreadclaw irised open and a figure in heavily battered Mark IV plate fell the distance from the hull breach to the deck, spreading a spiderweb of fractures through the glassy polymers with the distinctly unsubtle nature of his arrival. He landed in a low crouch, his arms spread to either side before him, a great chain locked about his right wrist coupling his longsword to his gauntlet and causing the weapon to appear more as a graft onto the arm itself than a simple held blade.


Cerren Zhul began to rise as his warriors dropped from the pod behind him, the targeting matrices of his armor immediately identifying the small group of Eldar prepared to repel boarders. They were spindly creatures, appearing fragile and weak, armored in suits of the same disgustingly organic appearance as that of their vessels, having nothing of the intimidating brute presence of a warrior of the Legions, much less a World Eater. They were arrayed in a loose formation, sighting their smooth bone-white rifles from behind the great obsidian dais, the statue upon which dominated the amphitheater.


With a single economical motion, Cerren Zhul pushed off from the deck with his left leg, simultaneously standing and beginning to run toward the small group of defenders. Within a fraction of a second, the air rang with the whip-crack of shuriken fire as the squad of Guardians fired their weapons with little heed for accuracy into the rapidly closing group of World Eaters. Zhul gritted his teeth as a razor disc ricocheted from the sloping surface of his warhelm and spun laterally, scarping a furrow through the pale blue of his eye lens. He watched it trace its path, musing momentarily on how but a few more degrees of deflection would have sent it straight into the lens with enough force to fracture his skull and pulp the matter within.


And then the thought was gone, replaced by the accelerating buzzing in the back of his skull and the imperative to kill. He ducked, though for what reason he was not consciously aware and took the final steps in a low loping run with his sword arm pushed against his breast and the blade itself pointing behind him. The Eldar attempted to escape, turning with an inhuman grace that was only subtly sullied by the alien’s obvious panic. Zhul swung wide, his blade traveling from under his opposite arm in an arc that bisected the nearest Eldar, the half of the body still gripping a weapon blindly firing a nonsense curve along the side of the dais as it separated from the torso. Within moments of reaching the haphazard defensive position it was over, the Eldar were butchered with a contemptuous ease that bored and enraged Zhul. Some had even attempted to run. Revolting. His sword hand trembled with suppressed rage, throwing a fractal pattern of blood from the weapon’s point across the pale blue of the craftworld’s skin.


He turned from the broken bodies of the Eldar to look at Armand, who was turning his great horned gladiator’s helm left and right as if searching for something just beyond the range of sense.


Zhul chuckled dryly, despite having almost come to blows with this Company Champion on more occasions than either would care to count, the Captain had a great respect for Armand’s prowess as a warrior, a respect that as far as any World Eater was concerned was the only respect worth having.


“What is it, do you suspect rats?”


The ongoing whine emanating from Armand’s poleaxe intensified as he replied in his customary short bark from the faceplate of his specially fashioned gladiator’s helm.


“No Brother, Scorpions”

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