The lone White Scar charged the whole of his Legion, the attack bike's roar contrasting with the rider's utter silence. Kalur entertained the blasphemous thought with a slight smile on his lips. The fact was, a single rider racing forward to meet a Legion whose warriors seemed to be always combat-ready (and eager) could easily be mistaken for a traitorous madman.
The bike halted, skidding sideways before a the Primarch's Rhino. Thunderstride, it had been named, and it was the reason why so few Adeptus Mechanicus worked with the White Scars. The driving system had been radically altered to allow the steering and propulsion to be controlled from atop the vehicle, the driver using two sets of chains and leather straps to direct the metal beast, while standing on two weight-sensitive pedals, the slightest straightening of a leg being enough to accelerate or halt the Rhino. This system demanded tremendous movement coordination, but made the Rhino extremely responsive, like a steed of fiery temper finally becoming obedient.
A voice like the distant rumble of thunder within the clouds brought Kalur's eyes up. 'Reports from the front', asked Jaghatai Khan, and Kalur's eyes turned down in a bow, before speaking.
'The Orks are advancing, Lord. They outnumber us seven to one and sport a great number of their elite, the "Nobz". Contact should be made within an hour.'
'Too long', the Primarch boomed, making no effort to hide his legendary thirst for battle. He turned around and addressed his army. 'My warriors, sons of Chogoris, sons of Terra...My sons. The orks will take an hour to come to us. The fight of their lives. The greatest and last foe they face...and they'll take a whole hour to honour us with their vaunted ferocity and skill at arms.'
One hundred thousand warriors jeered, scoffing the greenskins' slowliness or enraged at what they perceived as a mocking delay.
Jaghatai Khan turned as he addressed the whole of his army. Not just his head, but his whole body. He'd gotten this habit since mouting the skins and skulls of the Kings of the Plains of Colchis - a couple of great predatory cats, Rubla and Cougros - on his shoulders. They were the embodiment of a world, and the Primarch felt honoured to have their authority join his. That they didn't shirk from him at the time of their death was enough for the Khan.
'Mount your steeds, enter your transports, White Scars. Today, we show the Orkz how we respond to insults from those beneath us. Before the day is over, each of you will sport a new Xenos head on your belt of bike.' Turning his back to the Legion, he griped Thunderstride's reins and let his own roar join the Rhino's: 'Leave the land soaked with their blood!'
Jeremek stood no chance. He was one of the Legion's most accomplished swordsmen, having slain all manner of foes. That he lasted only a few seconds against the Warboss before being torn in half made Kalur's blood boil. The battle was going well for the White Scars, but the leader and its bodyguard alone threatened to turn the tables on the Space Marines.
Kalur ran a Nob over with his bike and lashed at another's face with his chainsword. He wheeled his bike around to prepare for another charge and to obscure the greenskins' advance, but in the time it took him, he was rammed by a Land Raider.
Kalur tried to convice himself of this while he raised his eyes to contemplate what he already knew had really charged him. The Warboss' head was larger than Kalur's torso, his skin a blackish-green canvas of scars and warpaint. He scarcely used any metal plating, save on his hips, which marked him as a Savage. In his left arm, a huge, crude axe made of a jagged plate of a White Scars' tank loomed ever closer, its white surface covered in dents and gore.
The Warboss raised his weapon with a roar, but when it came down, Kalur was already moving. An armoured punch broke one of the Ork's great tusks, but before Kalur could bring his chainsword on the monster's throat, a headbutt as strong as a dreadnought's punch threw him back, his armour crumpled and his bones broken.
The Warboss raised his axe again, and this time Kalur did not move. But it was the Ork's turn to be trampled. A white and bronze blur came into view, charging the Warboss. A punch shattered bones, made an eye burst. The greenskin responded with a flurry of strikes, but all them were parried and the monster was pushed further back by a brutal strike with the butt of a greatweapon that left him gasping for air.
True to his ruthless self, Jaghatai Khan gave the Ork no quarter. Some of his Nobz advance to protect their leader, but the Primarch's own veterans fell upon them, scything them down with their tulwars.
The Khan's tabar greataxe had been a gift from the Emperor himself. Named Tarpan, in honour of the Primarch's horse riding skills, Kalur had seen enemies scythed by the dozen with a single swing of the giant blade, which was decorated with a high relief of Jaghatai's cavalry during the unification of Chogoris.
The Khan and the Warboss exchanged roars, then wild swings, then Kalur saw something that filled his heart with pride. Following a blow that threw the Warboss off-balance, Jaghatai Khan grabbed the beast by the throat and, with what seemed like little effort, lifted and threw the behemoth greenskin sideways. A second later the mountain of meat exploded, Tarpan emergin from its back in a single swing.
The few surviving Nobz broke and ran, the whole Ork army was already surrounded by the White Scars. By the end of the day, every warrior of the Legion was indeed sporting a new trophy. The Primarch was impressed by Kalur's courage and urged him to keep the Warboss' tusk, while the beast's head was strapped to the side of Thunderstride.
For Kalur, the tusk would become his greatest mark of honour, and for the few seconds more he had to live, his accomplishment would brand him before the whole Legion as Kalur, the Tuskbreaker.