Smoke drifted up into the
sky dissipating in the air above in a hazy mix. The sound of crackling flames was all around him. He could hear the low voices
of his comrades all down the line. Weapons being polished, armor adorned, full dress uniforms buttoned.
To tell the
truth Shas'la Dal'yth Mai'Jor was surprised at this display of fancy. It seemed so out of place yet all along the line everyone
was doing it.
He could see the space marines polishing their armor and patching the holes. The Eldar adorned crested
helms and long robes that fluttered in the soft breeze. The Kroot adorned feathers and attached skulls and scalps to their
weapons and person. Crude armor was strapped in place. The Tau warriors all wore clean under suites and polished armor. Their
weapons were spotless and badges of rank and honor in full view.
Turning to his team leader Shas'Ui Rand'Ko he inquired
The Shas'Ui smiled at him. "It is a show young shas'la. A show to prove to the Mont'au that we are ready
and that we will not go with out a fight."
"But why shas'ui?"
The officer sighed forlornly. "You may never
fully understand but it is important in its own way."
"But doesn’t that Tauva teach that material possessions
"Never you mind shas'la, clean your weapon and prepare yourself. The end is nigh upon us." With that
the Shas'ui moved off checking on the rest of his team.
Mai turned his attention across the field. The warriors of
chaos, as the gue'la called them, were arrayed in garish fashion. The enemy horde had stopped its advance and waited as their
prey prepared to meet them. Apparently they found some sort of sick pleasure in it. Giant men clad in ancient armor and seeming
diseased and ghostly stood laughing into the wind. All around them hideous mutants and human filth scurried. Daemon spawn
prowled the lines chained to their handlers. Great abominations towered over the horde bellowing orders and chanting in dark
and blasphemous tongues. Corrupted machines leered out over the field with twisted and unrecognizable features.
sight was enough to make one ill. But for some reason he was not scared. He couldn’t say why. Whether it was the show
of bravery around him or the simple fact that he would either die fighting or in a hole that kept him strong. He was not going
to survive so he may as well face his death. There just didn’t seem like any other option while his comrades stood firm.
the war call ran along the chaos lines and its massed hordes began to advance out of the hills onto the great plane that stood
before the beleaguered outpost. The forces of the Tauva stood in a long line outside the ruined colony. There was no point
to tactics. They simply had to make the Mont'au pay this day in outright battle. Nothing else they could do would serve that
purpose any better. No batteries were left intact; no urban areas were worth fighting for anymore. Not even any ambush or
defensible areas remained. Just destruction, just death.
Mai wondered how many enemies there were. An estimate he
had heard put the numbers at 20 to 1. Now he thought a zero should be added, so numerous was the army of chaos, the army of
hate, the horde of the Mont'au.
Off to his right he heard the Space Marines roar. The sound of the Gue'vesa's remaining
artillery firing roared across the field mingling with the bellowed battle cries. The Eldar came out with a fierce chant of
battle, the song rising to a crescendo as every Eldar joined in. The clicking and clashes of the Kroot war dance caught his
ears. Of all the races assembled the Tau were the only ones refraining from some verbal show of battle lust. That was until
the resounding chorus of Kovash Tauva roared up all around him. He nearly fell he was so off guard. Never before had he heard
his brethren sink to such a display. Yet somehow he was heartened and could not help but join in.
All through the chaos
horde explosions rent flesh apart dropping whole units of scum but still they came on.
of pulse fire rang out mixing with the chatter of bolters and metallic zing of the Eldar weaponry. Lasguns crackled away and
kroot rifles fired at will into the oncoming mass. The whole front of the chaos horde fell to the fire, over three units deep.
Still more enemies pilled in, the mass did not stop, did not falter for an instant. There were just too many of them.
all hell broke loose. The forms of Kroot and Space marines charging with howls of rage entered his vision. Drones zoomed forward
exploding into the chaos mass. Fire warriors marched forward firing as they went and drawing knives. He could see the Eldar
leaping in a graceful dance into the horde of the Mont'au.
Before he knew it he was surrounded by rushing bodies.
Everywhere his comrades were charging in to meet the enemy. Even the Tau normally cautious of close combat were leaping in
with abandon. He tried to keep up his weapon firing away, reloading again and again. Then his gun was torn from his hands
an axe imbedded in the material. A shot of pain ran through him from his stomach and he fell backwards the world spinning
above him. The giant outline of a chaos marine rose above him. For a moment his life flashed before his eyes seeing that axe
rise up. Then it was gone. Blood rained down on him along with the shredded flesh of the marines head. A fire warrior leapt
over him bearing down on the corpse, pumping shells into its chest. Insuring that it would never rise again.
himself to his feet drawing his combat knife and trying to remember his training. The whirlwind around him would not stop
and the fight was a confusing tangle of random slashes at passing bodies. He was not even sure who was friend and who was
foe. The blood of all the races on the field covered the combatants. Dirt and gore covered the insignia of allies and blocked
the sigils of chaos.
But as seemingly abrupt as it had began Mai suddenly found himself standing in an empty field.
There was nothing but corpses for many yards around him. Those few still fighting fit were charging the other way toward the
area of fighting. The combatants had moved away leaving him behind.
With a gasp he realized what was around him and
tearing his helmet off he fell to his knees his stomach disgorging his last meal. Finally standing again he stumbled off away
from the fight. He slipped and fell many times on the shattered insides of friend and foe alike.
At last he fell and
did not get up. He could not feel his leg. Looking down he only just then realized a knife was protruding from his foreleg.
His armor shattered in several places he was bleeding freely. Unable to think or move everything went black.
shas... wake up... shas."
Shas'la Mai'Jor awoke slowly. Peering around with watery eyes he realized after some pause
that he was in a white field medical tent. Around him lay many moaning bodies, Human, Eldar, Kroot and Tau. All the same in
their pain, all the same in death. The scene was almost religious.
"Wha... what happened? Whe... where am I?" He mumbled
"You are safe." The medic attending him replied. "The fight is over, we won."
"How... how is that
possible? We were... we were... outnumbered, we were... finished."
"The reinforcements came, the Mont'au was crushed
utterly. The day was won."
Refusing to rest Mai wandered out of the tent limping on a crutch for support. As he exited
the tent the air vanished from his lungs. Choking he fell to his knees and stared out at the plain before him.
field was non-existent, carpeted in bodies three or four deep in places. The carnage was unbelievable. The bodies of Tau and
humans lay scattered evenly with those of Eldar and kroot. Groups of warriors ranged over the field... terminating any remaining
enemies and dragging those few survivors away to nearby devilfish's. The sound of the dying and wounded was broken by the
occasional retort of gunfire.
To Shas'la Mai'Jor the day seemed hardly a victory. Looking at his hands he wondered
why he lived where so many had died. But maybe it was his duty to ensure that they did not die in vane. If so he would not
fail. Staring out at the field of battle the battered shas'la made his vow.