BREACHSPACE: Fiendish Profiles, “Organized Chaos” by E.J. Tett
Battering Ram and Stampede. Armaturi demons.
The army kicked up a cloud of yellow dust as they trooped across the plain. Feet stamped and weapons – pikes mostly – thumped the earth in a rhythmic marching beat. In the distance, rippling in the heat, the enemy waited, stretched far across the horizon, patient and still.
Stampede looked over at his companion, the demon known as Battering Ram, and shared a wicked smile. Ram was huge, with long, well-muscled forearms and knuckles hard as rock. Toxic vapours seeped between the scales on Ram’s body, as they did on Stampede’s own, and they walked at the fringe of the army to avoid losing too many of their forces too soon.
Stampede’s heavy feet pressed into the ground and, although slightly smaller, he knew he was every bit as impressive as Ram – his long rhino-like horn was as sharp as steel.
“They won’t know what’s hit them, brother,” Ram said, his voice rough as gravel. “We’ll smash them into the ground.”
Stampede gnashed his teeth. “Suck the marrow from their bones,” he said. He brushed past a weedy plain-shrub and it withered and died away, blowing into dust.
Ahead, the commander of the army bellowed orders and the men charged. Ram and Stampede stayed back as the two sides clashed. Men shouted, weapons clanged and the air filled with the delicious scent of blood, sweat and fear.
Stampede snorted, sending up a little puff of sand. “They have a rabiemi,” he said.
“I see it.” Ram laughed. “Pathetic.”
They grinned at one another again and the glitter of blood-lust in Ram’s eyes made Stampede want to charge straight into battle. He raked at the earth with his foot. “I bet I kill more than you.”
“Impossible, brother,” Ram said. “Nothing will stop me.”
A scream and the twisted body of a soldier landed at Stampede’s feet. Blood spurted from the man’s cut throat and he gurgled, shuddered, and died.
“Rabiemi,” Stampede said, looking up from the body. “Do you want him or shall I?”
The rabiemi, a human-shaped fiend armed with a saw-toothed glaive, whirled and raged in combat. His wiry beard moved of its own accord, snatching at men and drawing them within striking distance. The fiend foamed at the mouth while his mad eyes sought its next victim.
“He’s mine,” Ram said, and he started to push through the ranks.
Stampede left him to it. Instead, he lowered his head and charged into battle. He crashed through the enemy, throwing men left and right. Someone came at him with a lowered spear – he teleported just behind the man and grappled him, squeezing the life out of him while the toxicity of his hide ate at the man’s clothes. He dropped the body and faced the next soldier.
He was aware of Ram off to his right, striking out with his large arms. He despatched the soldier and looked up in time to respond to Ram’s cry of, “A gift, brother!” A man, screaming, arms flailing, dropped down from above and, grinning, Stampede caught the man on his horn, impaling him.
He laughed and tossed his head, throwing the body aside. When he looked again he saw the rabiemi striking out towards Ram, glaive cutting and slicing through soldiers to get to him.
“Chaos burst!” Stampede called.
Ram slammed the earth with both fists, unleashing chao energy and sending multi-coloured explosions of light bouncing among the soldiers, scattering them and clearing his path. Stampede let loose his own attack and balls of energy joined Ram’s. The air filled with screams and shouts of alarm as men fell.
When the dust settled and the energy dispersed, those soldiers still alive and with their wits about them swarmed towards Battering Ram and Stampede, their weapons at the ready.
Stampede grunted as a spear jabbed into his side, though it didn’t pierce his tough skin. He snatched it out of the soldier’s hand, snapped it in half and turned it back on the man who had wielded it, forcing it into his guts. Roaring in anger, he turned to face his next foe and spotted Ram entangled in the barbazu’s beard.
He laughed, met Ram’s eye and an understanding passed between them. Ram turned to mist to escape the barbazu’s clutch and Stampede took advantage of the confusion, teleporting behind the fiend.
Stampede drove his horn through the rabeimi’s back – flesh ripped, bones broke – and out through the fiend’s chest. Hot blood gushed over his face and his mouth filled with the metallic taste.
The rabeimi twitched. In a ragged voice, it said, “But… Armaturies are chaotic… how…?”
Stampede snorted in derision and blood bubbles popped at his nostrils. “This is why we’re so dangerous. Together we’re—”
“—organised chaos,” Ram finished, joining him.
As the rabeimi choked on its own blood, Stampede roared out and tossed the body to the ground – it landed with a meaty thud.
They looked around at the corpses surrounding them. Allied soldiers stood nearby, tired and weary. Ram clutched a corpse and showed it to Stampede. “I think we wiped them out.”
Stampede bared his teeth in a bloody grin. “I think we did,” he agreed. “We win. Where’s the next battle?”
BREACHSPACE: Fiendish Profiles, “Organized Chaos”, written by E.J. Tett, published by XEI is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.