"Into our graves" Warcry of the Cavador squad
"I didn't know Astartes could die like that!"
Gurthen wanted to slap the Guardsman for speaking such a thing, and on the presence of Space Marines no less, but now was not the time to risk creating panic among the mortal defenders of the Palace. His real reason not to exact discipline was a darker one, though. He'd shared the thought with the impertinent soldier. In centuries of warfare, against gargantuan monsters, colossal war machines and Primarchs, Veteran Sergeant Gurthen had never seen an Astartes simply explode in shreds of meat and ceramites. He knew it was a matter of coincidence, a Primarch could do that. An artillery shell could, as well. But to see it happen was disheartening enough for him. Now that he thought it through, the Guardsmen defending the room alongside the Imperial Fists were being nothing if not brave.
Gurthen had heard of the Cavador squad, the Iron Warriors' secretive breaching unit but, again, to see them in action was something else entirely. They had almost litteraly exploded into the room. One second the Imperial Fists Scouts on the ramparts were warning the defenders inside that a trio of Perturabo's Fellblades were aiming at the wall, the next a tremendous explosion blew the colossal walls apart and he saw traitor Astartes entering the room alongside the still-falling debris. Two of them were actually killed by the very explosion. What kind of suicidal men were these? The Iron Warriors were know to display ferocity on the battlefield, but this kind of behaviour had more to do with Angron's Berserkers.
One of them, his anthracite and silver armour spiked and riveted from head to toe, only the bone-coloured faceguard breaking the metallic tone, stood atop a pile of debris...was he posturing in the middle of a breaching action? Shells flew past him for less than a second, thundering on his armour the next. Gurthen had to admit, whatever the general though about MkV armour was, the rivets and spikes were efficient, deflecting the bolter shells. He saw Thoroff charging the Iron Warrior, powersword in hand. The traitor slowly turned his attention to the Iron Fist, but his reaction was much faster. The butt of his enormous maul broke Thoroff's sword hand, the loyalist grunting and reaching for his combat blade. He had barely taken hold of the hilt when an upwards strike shredded him to pieces with the sound of a crashing Rhino.
Gurthen blinked with the thought. He was not a man given to metaphors or eloquence, known even among the stern Imperial Fists are a straightforward one. Hence why the similarity of sounds troubled him. It wasn't a metaphor or a trick of his mind. The wrenching sound of Thoroff being rent by the power maul had been exactly like that of a Rhino crashing against ceramite. The thought would've stayed on Gurthen's mind if the sight of the other Iron Warriors traitors hadn't taken prevalence. Even has he brought his bolter up, Craius Gurthen knew his fate was sealed.
During the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy, reports on the Iron Warriors venting their rage on the battlefield with unbridled ferocity were commonplace, yet they all paled when compared with the breaching actions of the Cavador Breacher Squad of the 17th Great Company. At every time comprised of exactly 20 Marines, all of them armed with a wrist-mounted Melta Gun and either a Thunder Hammer or a Power Maul, each manufactured by its very owner. Inclusion into the Cavador squad was therefore tremendously hard to accomplish, its warriors being experts in both creating masterpieces and killing with them, yet there rarely was any lack of aspirants. Or, truth be told, openings, seeing as the average life expectancy among the squad was of 3.2 battles, with a good deal of deaths being caused by friendly fire, not out of negligence, but because the Cavadors had the habit of timing their charge with the artillery strikes that broke the walls. Still, most squad members died of the massed enemy fire that welcomed them from inside the invaded bastions. Before the inclusion of Veteran Sergeant Lacantides, the longest-lived Cavador breacher had been Techmarine Artamartes, with a staggering record of 8 battles. At the time of his death at the start of the Horus Heresy, all of Artamartes' limbs had been replaced by cybernetics. Lacantides surpassed this record and more, living through the whole Heresy and the ten thousand years that passed since. This he achieved by means of his supreme tactical genius, being able to perceive and predict every aspect of the battle surrounding him and acting with the right mix of fury, tremendous close-combat skills and wits to both throw his enemies off-balance and survive their counter-strikes. This innate inteligence was made evident at the time of the Iron Cage incident, after which Lacantides was elevated to a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch (albeit one unusually adept at melee combat, and with a mace no less).
Happy with Lacantides I am, young Padawan. Both his concept and execution. Hope you like him, guys. Dark Angels next. Cheers.