Lycurgus Stahl glared at the incorporeal, twitching and screaming with a thousand mouths and yet more terrified faces, as it was rendered down into component essences suitable for the production line of currently dormant machines.
“zo'ta yiz y'nao'quna iai'ae o maenz niksq iq's dae'ziqiaer oz aeunx zaere'dabbi” The drone of the Dark Mechanicus echoed in the chamber.
“Marcus, you failed me, now you serve as a machine.”
A klaxon alarm screamed throughout the complex and Stahl, knowing what it meant, opened his comm-channel.
“The Emerald Serpent, they are here! Repel them!”
“Warsmith...” A tentative reply came. “The Primarch of the XV is with them.”
An unfamiliar flicker of emotion rushed through Stahl. Fear.
“You heard my orders, Darrix, now carry them out. Unleash everything and repel them, even the Primarchs must serve.”
On 2107.018M42 a brief and bloody civil war raged on Mordecai, centred around the Daemon forge and fortress of the Iron Warriors of the 144th Grand Battalion.
The Emerald Serpent, outraged at the brutal attack by Warsmith Stahl, made preparations for the rescue of their beloved Daemon Prince Marcus. Throughout the warp the Sorcerers and Daemon Princes of the Emerald Serpent could sense the screams of Marcus' essence being rendered and bound into the Daemonic Engines of the Iron Warriors. Pleas and sacrifices were made to Tzeentch in their thousands, which were finally answered by his chosen son Magnus the Red. The long range defences ensured that attacking from distance was suicide even for the Rubrics, Daemons and Knights of the Emerald Serpent. The skeins of fate spoke of an opportunity, should the Emerald Serpent reach the walls of the Daemonforge unmolested.
On the Night side of Mordecai, the Magnus and a cabal of Sorcerers tore a gaping hole in the warp that passed directly through to the Fortress of the Iron Warriors. An enormous host of Land Raiders, Knights, Daemons, Sorcerers and Rubrics, all headed by Magnus the Red, marched through. The creation of the Warp tear lashed out with eldritch fire into the ranks of the Iron Warriors, cutting through the ranks of the human slaves and Thorakitai soldiers. The remaining humans were either lobotomised or even more terrified of the Iron Warriors than the horrors assailing them. Magnus and the Sorcerers glided over and the Knights strode over the tank traps and razor wire without hindrance, while the Land Raiders were slowed by navigating the treacherous defences. Even with the assembled Sorcerers and Daemonic experiments of the Iron Warriors, they were hopelessly outmatched in warpcraft. Magic was the easy victor at this point in the battle, as the Predators and a Hellbrute were annihilated, their violent explosions scything through the Iron Warriors lines. Not done, Magnus charged through the storm of fire at the Iron Warrior Knight, his staff scything through a Vindicator, but as Magnus raised his staff high to cleave the Knight in two the Sorcerer Darrix leaped forward and stabbed out with force sword. Magnus roared in fury and pain and his attention was momentarily focussed on the Darrix.
With Magnus momentarily distracted, the Helldrakes screamed overhead and set Magnus alight. The entire Iron Warrior force pointed every single gun at him and turned Magnus into a ball of exploding munitions and light. For an age Magnus' form was seen fighting through the cacophony of fire, enough to obliterate a whole regiment of Astra Militarum. But finally, with a frustrated scream, Magnus was cast back to the warp.
If the Emerald Serpent were shocked by the loss of Magnus they did not show it, rather they redoubled their efforts. Daemons tore into reality as the Scarab Occult appeared in the back lines of the Iron Warriors, ready to push on to rescue Marcus. The Emerald Serpent Knights charged, gutting the Iron Warriors line of defence, while the Castellan Knight and Daemonic Flamers roasted the whole slave host of the Iron Warriors who died screaming as the forms dissolved in changing fire. In return the daemonic engines of the Iron Warriors were hurled forward in counter charge, the Defiler grabbing and pinning the Castellan in place as a Maulerfiend leapt on and tore chunks out of the massive Knight's frame. On the right, the Knight Errant came under the war calculations of the Iron Warriors. Scrap code infesting the Knight's systems and overloaded its Ion shield just in time for Autocannon and Lascannon fire to bisect it. In response, the Knight Gallant uppercut the Iron Warriors' Knight and tore off its entire carapace.
As the 3rd line of the Thousand Sons closed in and further Knights emerged from the Warp gate, the Iron Warriors hurled their own reserved into the fray, as Hellbrutes charged into battle. A Hellbrute known as Kuarack the Insane first carved through the Scarab Occult, then the Flamers. The Knight Gallant on the left kicked the Hellbrutes aside and attempted to charge beyond to rescue Marcus but Kuarack would not be stopped, spearing the smoking Knight dead with its twin Lascannon. The Daemon Prince only known as “Experiment LXIV” soared through the air and, along with the Sorcerer Nicator, cut down their wounded counterparts. With their deaths the Warp gate began to flicker, its tether to reality cut. The Emerald Serpent were forced to flee, leaving the Iron Warriors severely battered but victorious.
Stahl looked over the ruins of the fallen Knights and, along with his coterie, appraised each of the broken hulks.
“These three will walk, this one is fit only for salvage.” A blurt of machine code gave agreement.
A faint breathing from beneath some shattered rubble caught Stahl's attention; kicking aside fallen masonry he came upon Daxis, his armour utterly shattered and his body akin to a broken mass of blood, like a blister that had burst. He had been kicked into the side of the building by the Knight Gallant and it didn't take Stahl's training as an Apothecary to tell him Daxis was as good as dead without help far beyond what the Imperial lap dogs could ever hope to receive.
“I will rebuild you Daxis, you will see the Empire of Iron reforged. Iron Within, brother”.