- "It is the way of Fenris! We stay as long as we can! Fight as hard as we can! Kill as much as we can! Only when we can do no more do we move on!"
Skold Greypelt was a Space Wolves Astartes who was involved in that Chapter's action on the Ice World of Shadrac, and subsequent escape from that planet. During the engagements against the Tyranids on that world, Greypelt rescued and eventually befriended Sergeant Poul Marlin of the 10th Slavok Regiment of the Imperial Guard.
Provoking the Swarm
When the world of Shadrac was attacked by the Tyranids, one of the Space Wolves' Great Companies attempted to defend it, and when it became clear that this effort was in vain, Skold Greypelt and his Pack decided to remain behind with the assistance of an Iron Priest and his Thunderhawk gunship, to inflict as many losses as possible on the Tyranids and make them pay the heaviest possible price for the Imperium's loss of the doomed world.
Thirty standard days after the beginning of the Tyranid invasion, Greypelt and his Pack chanced upon two score survivors of the 10th Slavok Regiment. The Imperial Guardsmen, weakened and hungry, were proceeding on foot toward one outpost they hoped had not yet been overrun by the Tyranids. The Space Wolves immediately began to shadow the retreating Guardsmen, somewhat callously using them as bait to draw Tyranid swarms into attacking this weakened prey. When a swarm managed to surround the surviving Guardsmen, the Astartes intervened, exterminating the swarm of lesser Gaunts before disappearing again, leaving the bewildered Guardsmen unharmed but alone.
The Guardsmen eventually reached the outpost they were making for, where one of their numbers suffered from toxic dementia after eating rotten food. The madman escaped into the frozen wastes surrounding the outpost, and was killed by a Hormagaunt. Greypelt intervened and shot the Hormagaunt as he prepared to jump on Sergeant Poul Marlin, who had come out to attempt rescuing his crazed fellow soldier. Again the Space Wolf left without making any other form of contact than the sound of his Bolter and the glimpse of grey Power Armour picked up by Marlin.
The situation would be complicated the next day, for the Guardsmen had found Chimera APCs in the outpost, and one of them had managed to get three of the transports in working order. The Guardsmen moved out at speed in search of the Space Wolves, but this left their protectors unable to follow them, save by exposing their Thunderhawk, which they did not desire to do just yet, as the Tyranids had only started gathering in numbers to eradicate the stubborn defenders. Skold Greypelt then decided to follow the Guardsmen with two of his brothers mounted on their three remaining Assault Bikes, while the rest of his Pack waited on board their Thunderhawk. The Guardsmen ran headlong into yet another large Gaunt swarm, and fought them fiercely, and when the three Astartes bikers joined the fray, they quickly routed the lesser Tyranid bioforms, only realising too late that they had been led into a trap; the Gaunts had sacrificed themselves to slow the humans down and allow a mighty Carnifex to enter the fray. As the "Screaming Killer" charged forward, Skold Greypelt ordered the Guardsmen to run for it, and turned to face the gigantic Tyranid with his two Battle-Brothers. The three Space Wolves fought bravely, but without any anti-tank weaponry, they had little hope of slaying the mighty beast. The Carnifex smashed their bikes to pieces and advanced on the two still-standing Space Wolves. They were only saved in the nick of time by Poul Marlin, who, refusing to flee, fired the last remaining Krak Missile from a Missile Launcher straight down the Carnifex's maw.
Showdown on Shadrac
After introducing themselves, the Space Wolves took the surviving Guardsmen to their camp, where they first erected a cairn for the mortally wounded third Space Wolf biker, and then built a large fire and held a feast in the traditional Fenrisian way, with a lot of singing, boasting and downing of tankards of Fenrisian Ale in honour of their dying brother. The bewildered Guardsmen were asked to participate, and when a hesitant Sergeant Marlin dared asking if the Space Wolves weren't afraid of attracting the Tyranids, he was answered with roars of laughter, oaths that Space Wolves were not afraid of anything and the assurance of Skold Greypelt that attracting the Tyranids in their largest possible numbers was precisely what the Space Wolves' plan had been all along. Greypelt explained that the Astartes wanted to make the Tyranids pay the heaviest possible price for Shadrac, and that with their defiance and destruction of so many lesser swarms, the Tyranids had finally started converging in earnest on the annoyance, and would be there in a matter of hours.
After the feast, the Space Wolves and the Imperial Guardsmen took up defensive positions to hold back the Tyranids for as long as they could. Battle was soon joined, and wave after wave of lesser Tyranid bioforms threw themselves at the stubborn defenders, who slaughtered them in droves with volleys from their Lasguns and Bolters, before cutting those few that managed to reach them to pieces.
Yet the valiant defenders eventually ran out of ammunition, and Greypelt called in his Thunderhawk, upon which the surviving Astartes and Guardsmen hurriedly embarked. As his brethren departed, the critically wounded Space Wolf lay down on his funeral cairn, and with a last shout of defiance, detonated the nuclear weapon that had been buried within it. A cataclysmic explosion that was seen by the survivors from orbit ravaged the surrounding swarms, incinerating thousands of Tyranids and denying their bio-matter to the Hive Mind forever. Shadrac had fallen, but the Hive Mind had paid a hefty prize for it.
Escape from Shadrac
The survivor's woes were not yet over, for the Imperial Navy and the Space Wolves' starship had been forced to leave the system after being harried by Tyranid Bioships, leaving them trapped onboard their Thunderhawk gunship. Greypelt took the fact that they had escaped the Tyranids only to die of asphyxiation in the void stoically, but the surviving Imperial Guardsmen did not, and Sergeant Marlin had trouble maintaining discipline amongst his men. The desperate Guardsmen manned the Thunderhawk's Auspex station and eventually came up with a somewhat desperate plan to save themselves.
By scanning a Space Hulk present in-system, they identified a recent addition to it, an Eurus-pattern Fleet Tender from the Imperial fleet that had somehow crashed against it. Auspex scans showed that the tender's bridge and reaction drives were intact, so the Guardsmen reasoned that if they managed to sever it from the Space Hulk's main mass using Demolition Charges without damaging the vessel too much, they could use it to blind-jump toward the nearest Imperial outpost. Trunglas, the Iron Priest, showed some reticence at the plan, and Skold Greypelt watched with detached amusement how Sergeant Marlin stood up for his plan to the grumbling and muttering servant of the Omnissiah, who did not want to commit sacrilege against the ship's Machine Spirit by modifying it or repairing it without the prescribed Adeptus Mechanicus procedures and rituals. The Guardsmen then agreed that they would let the Iron Priest conduct his blessings while they went about placing the charges to separate the fleet tender from the Space Hulk and would only proceed with the actual detonation when the Iron Priest was ready.
The Guardsmen and Space Wolves went about their task quickly, but trouble erupted when they encountered a party of Orks from another part of the Space Hulk, who intended to loot the most recent addition to their home, and eagerly took up the opportunity to do battle. Skold Greypelt ordered the Guardsmen accompanying him to remain at their post in silence, so as not to disturb Trunglas while he began his rituals, and went to investigate the reports of battle. Arriving just in time to help the beleaguered Sergeant Marlin who was keeping the Orks barely at bay with bursts from his Bolt Pistol, he joined the fray, savagely chopping Orks into little green pieces with his Power Axe. Greypelt bursted out laughing when Marlin reminded him that they only had one shot at taking the ship, happily countering that life itself represented a single shot, and at that, the only thing that mattered was making the shot count. Both warriors then made a fighting retreat toward the fleet tender's acces hatch, buying the necessary time for Trunglas to complete the necessary rituals. Once completed, they jumped through the hatch and detonated the charges, which liberated their new ship from the Space Hulk's mass with the added bonus that the explosion incinerated the attacking Orks.
As the Fleet Tender moved away under its own power, Greypelt laughed at Marlin, who remarked in a daze that he was down to his last Bolt Pistol shell. The Space Wolf told his friend once again that one shot was all he would ever need.
- "Do you ever go into a fight thinking 'There's no point giving my best, I'll get another chance later?' We only ever get one shot, Marlin. Life is one shot! Making it count is all that matters!"
- — Skold Greypelt teasingly encouraging Poul Marlin
Skold Greypelt is a typical Space Wolf Astartes, fearless and tenacious in battle, boisterous and easy-going when feasting and fiercely protective of his Battle-Brothers and friends. Like most of the Space Wolves and unlike some Astartes of other Chapters, he has neither problems nor qualms interacting with normal humans, and readily befriends them and shows them whatever respect they have earned. The Great Company he belongs to and his exact rank are unknown, but judging from the fact that he is in command of a large Pack, and that even an Iron Priest defers to his authority, it is most probable that he is a member of his Great Company's Wolf Guards.
- Lone Wolves (Graphic Novel) by Dan Abnett and Karl Richardson