"Fall Back to this Line!"
Like the well trained unit they were, the Pikemen of the 85th Iron Fangs quickly regrouped on the Unit standard, and on Alexei Kyznetsov, its bearer. 'A rough campaign already,' he mused, 'and this our first time in battle.' He thought back to the wild train ride south, then the short river ferry and the last few miles to reach the base camp of Force Kommander Radik Sashenka Grigori Egorov. A hard man in a tough spot, to be sure, left to fend at the tip of Khador's spear.
As his friends and comrades formed a line and locked shields, Alexi took stock. They had spent the morning groping though dense fog and unfamiliar ground only to blunder into the Cygnar warkaster Coleman Styker with Khadoran forces in disarray. The new kaster, Kommandant Irusk threw the men forward, bringing all his tactical savvy to bear on the situation. The Men-of-War were nearly destroyed by the Cygnar warjack that threw lightning as easily as others dropped clinker and ash. The Khadoran Behemoth seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time shelling the dug in troops on the opposite side of the battlefield. The fur clad Manhunter, rumored to be the fiercest killer among the Force spent all the time relocating. Then it happened.
Irusk, was a legend among the troops of Khador for his ability to draw the very best from the men. Sensing a change in the strategy, he stepped forward and began shouting "For the Homeland! For the Empress!" in Khard. Over and over, taken up by officer and trooper alike, passed from man to man, bolstering the courage and breathing new life into every man.
In this case, the fervor of patriotism was carried too far. As Kommandant Irusk led the cheer, discharging his rifle at the enemy, both Alexi, and the unit Kaptain Adrik Stepanov saw Irusk's error. While in full view of his own men, he had also moved in full view of the enemy and was standing exposed on the battlefield, open to fire from two units, two warkasters and the hellish 'jack of Cygnar's. Nearly as one, the two men yelled, "Protect the Kommander!"
Too late the Pikemen turned on its flank and ran to screen the Khadoran warkaster. Bolts of chain lightning and numerous bullets impacted the man knocking him back, making him jerk like a puppet. The last of the Men-of-War died and the spell warlocks of the Greylords began summoning the power to freeze and break as the Cygnaran trench fighters slid behind the Khadoran Behemoth to continue their fire. Even Stryker was lured from his cover, the life of Irusk tempting him from behind his wall of steel.
In later days, Alexei would tell of Irusk's willingness to used his own body to lure the wakaster from his position. In reality, while ordering the Behemoth to finally rid the battlefield of the Lightning spawn, Irusk staggered into a patch of forest as the 85th formed a screening wall to block him from view. Kaptain Stepanov gave his final order, "No one crosses this line! Ve kill all who try." A trench fighter's bullet killed him as he stood next to the unit standard.
Bullets from all over the field were converging on the woods where Irusk stood. Some fell short, some flew beyond the shield wall, and some scored on the Kommader again. Alexi saw the smaller Cygnar warjack plunge its spear through the Manhunter, ending his feeble attacks on Stryker. It was then the Behemoth, its boiler shrieking the same rage as Irusk, plowed through the wreckage of the Cygnar heavy to pummel the Cygnaran warkaster with armor-piercing fists.