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Librarium

Blood and Bullets

Crouched in the smouldering ruins of a hospital, Lorgof tipped his helmet back with his thumb, gathering his thoughts after seeing Morkul's mob reduced to vapour. The acrid stench of urine betrayed the fear that had stabbed through the mob, but Killa Kur, the biggest of them, had laid any faltering members low with a brutal clubbing. Vurmin and Fast Knife were laid out flat, their thick brown blood clotting quickly in the cold, and two others were getting to their feet warily.

Lorgof guessed that Fast Knife would recover shortly, though he'd be short of a couple of fingers for the upcoming fight. Vurmin was almost certainly dead. Indeed, as he watched, Killa Kur gave the corpse a desultory kick, then bent down to steal his battered helmet. Lorgof shrugged inwardly. He'd had his eye on Vurmin's bull-horned helmet, but there was more to think about – in particular, how to bring down that huge walking eldar.

The Goffs glanced at each other from their cover, aching to fight, but all-too-aware of destruction at the hands of the titan. With a series of guttural barks punctuated by a curled finger, Killa Kur beckoned Lorgof over to him. The ork walked over, and began to crank the humming generator as he passed the far-speaker to the chieftain. His gaze wandered as Kur began to mumble thickly into the receiver, and lighted on the lithe figures of the eldar behind the barricade.

Soon enough there'd be more orks arriving... and that meant far more chance of him getting to the fight. He pictured swinging his pickaxe into the skinny eldar, and hearing the crackling of their hard-shelled armour failing, and licked his lips in anticipation. Killa Kur voiced an order in a low growl, and the Goffs perked up immediately. They fell to checking their guns, the silence punctuated by the sinister sound of dry scrapes of metal on metal, and sharp pings and clicks as hammers fell into place.

Lorgof crept to the front of the building, taking up a hidden place next to an unfamiliar ork. He looked over his comrade's backplate, and pondered how best he'd kill him if it came to a fight. He pictured grabbing his topknot and slitting his throat. A proper Morker's kill, he thought. He grinned to himself, baring a row of jagged and yellowed teeth. The other ork turned warily and pulled his lips back in a snarl. For a brief moment, their eyes locked tensely; then the two backed down. There was eldar killing to be done today – and all orks knew in their marrow that alien blood was better to spill. The other ork relaxed and grinned as Lorgof mimed strangling an eldar soldier.

A few minutes passed, and the group of greenskins remained absolutely motionless, camouflaged amidst the rubble. Lorgof ignored the cramp in his leg and contented himself by idly pulling his arm back and forth across a short length of barbed wire he'd absently crept over. Pain was nothing to the orks. Killing was everything. The eldar infantry shifted warily back and forth in patterns too complex for Lorgof to follow, so he turned his attention to the Titan after only a few moments. It was incredible. An enormous figure, wasp-waisted and shrouded by a glimmering field every time it moved. It swayed back and forth, altering its posture to shift its weight and effortlessly sweeping its deathrays back and forth. Dim thoughts of power and challenge drifted across Lorgof's mind, as he waited, patient as the rocks themselves.

A dull chopping sound drifted through the air, and the orks' eyes glittered as they saw the flying machines arrive in a cloud of belching smoke and spiralling missiles. The titan cocked its head and dived behind a building, the black smoky contrails of guided missiles following it down the street. It disappeared from Lorgof's view, but he heard the deep impact of the missiles exploding. Whether they'd hit the titan or not was immaterial to Lorgof – it was out of the way and they could charge the infantry. His mouth was open; he was on his feet, yelling – the ork next to him was firing wildly; Kur was bellowing the order to attack – they were all charging; all firing; all screaming... The killing could begin!