Kaspar sat in a foxhole dug under the remains of his chimera. For three weeks the Orks had thrown themselves against the Krieg lines, and for three weeks the Krieg had repelled them. Leaning against the sides of the foxhole, the solemn death-masks of his squad stared back at him, as stern and stubborn in death as they had been in life. Kaspar had already removed the chemical filters from their masks. The retched gases of Heavenreach seemed to wear them out within days.
Every Ork attack was larger than the last. Kaspar imagined that they were probing Imperial lines, instinctively searching for weak spots. He still wasn’t sure how smart an Ork was. Certainly they had no discipline to speak of, but each attack had more strategy than the last. Commando raids, rolling artillery, looted tanks battalions. Taking losses only seemed to make them stronger .
Through the cracks of the chimera’s shattered armour, Kaspar looked upwards to the ragged skies of Heavensreach. The lights of orbital combat flashed intermittently. Over the past week, the flares around Vesper had fizzle out, and the skies were now dark. Kaspar wondered if his brothers had held the line there.
He was confident that they had. It would be heresy to think otherwise. . .
Personal Log of Herodotus Dauchus
4 056 143.M42
Orwellus Spire – Heavensreach Prime
Vesper is lost. The reconnaissance signals have gone dark, and the headquarters there no longer responds to our hails.
The command staff is ragged and exhausted. Few of them sleep, and all are steadily consuming a cocktail of re-caf and combat drugs.
Good news came last week from Antigone, where the Elysians were able to beat back an incursion of the archenemy. Though a contingent of Astartes were defeated, no ground was lost thanks to rapid reinforcements and superior air support.
Similarly, on the edges of Kasr Ferocia, the battle has ground to a standstill. The Krieg there are in their element, grappling endlessly with the tide of greenskins.
Some part of me wonders how all these myriad enemies came here to fight at once. None of them are natural allies, and the great volumes of the Index Xenos detail their many combats against once another. To think that they have coordinated their efforts a paranoia worthy of a veteran inquisitor. I prefer to think that violence simply attracts violence, and that crusade simply spilt blood in the water. But in this age of war and darkness, nothing is ever so simple . . .
“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”
– Ancient Terran Proverb