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There was always the smell, it mattered not that the foe were kinsmen or xenos. That smell. The modified armour that he wore should have been able to filter any odours out but it was more in the mind, a stench of the spirit. It was that combined scent of sweat, smoke and gak. His brother in arms would have laughed and called it the smell of victory, or even something cruder. For him it was the beginning of the end, the signal that for now the fighting had been done and the real work could begin. Now he could begin to reflect on what he had ordered, what he had been forced to do in the quest for victory.
From behind the wreck of a burnt out holding he heard coughing. It was a wheezing, wet sound. One of the enemy, lung wound he summarized, probably from shrapnel rather that direct shot. He walked round till he was facing the corpse to be. It was a male, a broken rag doll of a warrior. It carried a las gun that looked relatively modern to his ancient eyes but even so it was burnt and blackened at the barrell. It's flak was camouflaged for the urban setting though incongruously a bright red and gold sash was strung across it's chest. Perhaps it was a leader? If it had a helm this had been lost in the battle. Blood was caked around it's mouth and as he had guessed a wound to the right side of it's chest. The amount of blood that was pooling around it led him to believe that this wound was fresh. A quick glance round and he knew what had happened, there were the tell tales signs of a frag grenade explosion, recent only minutes before he had come into this zone. It had probably been laying around having failed to detonate and just gone off when this warrior had been passing - bad luck really.
The mortally injured warrior coughed more black blood, smoke inhalation was doing it's part in it's demise but would be secondary to the lung wound. "Water, please".
He saw no reason why not, ease the passing of a warrior killed by it's leaders before he had even stepped onto the field of battle.
Squatting down onto his haunches he tapped the fore arm of his armour and a tube appeared from his gauntlet. He squirted some water into the warriors face and mouth.
"Thanking yee", the smell of the fresh water was sharp in the acidic air. "Have we won?". The warrior was already slipping away from consciousness.
In his cold voice he could only tell the warrior the truth.
"No - you were doomed the moment you turned away from His grace and favour".
The warrior nearly choked on the water and it dribbled down onto his chest. "What? Who are ye? A silver devil?". It scrambled pathetically around in it's lap for its burnt out gun.
"No more little man. We have come and cleansed your world and are returning to see what wonders He has wrought while we have been gone. Do you require his Grace? It will be quick"
"I be wanting nothing from youse, scum, youse come to my world and done it much wrong. We did nothing but stand up for what was right. We could not pay any more...we just could not pay" This last was in a whisper as the outburst had robbed the warrior of it's last breath.
Lord Of Hosts, Captain of the Silver Legion, Spearbearer, Shield Eternal, Lord-Captain Morningstar stood for he had been crouching. The mortal human had been the third of it's kind that had mentioned payment. Clicking back the feed tube he hoisted himself up. He would need to know more of this, this world had much going for it, except of course the ruling class had deemed themselves better suited to the role of guidance that governorship and declared "independance" from the Empire.
The Legion were still only on the outskirts of the Empires spacial awareness. This meant that they were encountering the frontiersmen of their kind and by nature these had always been tough self reliant folk. This was understood but for them to reject the Emperor and all his glory, that was sheer folly. Yet the warriors that he had encountered had not mentioned the Emperor in their curses only this thing called the Administratium? They cursed this with the venom one would have associated with the damndest of foes.
Before the Search had been hailed and the Great Crusade was in the planning stages Morningstar and Malcador had realised that there would be a need for a civil leadership program and they had devised a partial implementation for Governorship. They had not really expected there to be many worlds that lacked a unified governing body there for a simple over arcing body of Planetary control was envisioned. Yet out here had they decided that they were better off with out the guiding light of the Emperor?
Back at the HQ several thousand enemy service men and women had been captured. They had all been disarmed and corralled into large pens which had been erected by the Legions own Army. Once the Army had the basic pens in place they quickly erected medica facilities and hot tents where the captured personal could be cleaned and their uniforms washed. Hot food was served and a census taken. Any officers were removed and taken to another holding bay, here those with command structure experience and overall command of more than 1000 men were separated. The remainder, the cadre officers were debriefed on their role in the battle by trained staff and then briefed on what would happen to their personnel they were then released back to spread the word. The command officers, on this planet referred to as the Junterrial consisting of Lt. Col and above were interrogated to the fullest extent of the Legions Interogators. Information on the political, military and economical destabilisation of the world was obtained, those that were cooperative were granted a quick Grace, those that refused were still granted the Grace, it took a few more hours that was all.
The whole process took less than a Terran standard week. The Legion had done this many times and knew that for a world to become compliant then you had to remove the leadership while keeping the masses unaware and re educate from the start.

Some time later Lord Captain Morningstar stood apart from the Army Commander on the pitch of the hill. He was facing the Legions Armies who stood to attention. Several million warriors all born to the Legion and trained by the Legion and ready to fight and die for the Legion. At the back stood the silhouette of the precious armoured Divisions, each led by an ancient BaneBlade or StormHammer. Behind these like the statues from some ancient Terran nightmare stood the Legionous Titanicus. Over three hundred Warhound, Reaver and Imperators stood weapons raised in salute to the Lord Captain. These were the mortal hammer of the Legion, the true might of the Legion, it's genetically enhanced warriors of it's Astrates Division were already back on their Battle Barges. They needed no speeches, they knew that this world would have become compliant with just the army, they had just made things happen quicker that was all.
"Warriors of the Legion, you have done well. Your duty to the Emperor has been completed and you have gained much honour. More than this you have brought another world back to the Emperors Light and for this there can be no greater praise." He slammed a gauntleted fist against his ceramite encased chest and as his words, carried by Vox Servitors across the giant plane, they were matched by the "Hoo HAA" salute of his warriors. They punched the air and kept yelling and punching.
He raised his hands for silence and slowly the armies quieted.
"From the assimilation process a new Enemy has been ascertained, one whose foulness we have only begun to explore. This world was once loyal to the Emperor but was led astray by it's ruling class because they feared this new Enemy. Fear in his Majesty is understandable, he is strong and all knowing but this fear was fear of processes, of rules and paper. This was fear of the little man wielding an electro stylus and datapad." He could feel the confusion from his warriors. "They have told me that they fear this thing called the Imperium, this thing called the Adeptus Administratum"
The warriors now looked in shock, how could warriors fear data scribes ?
"Soldiers of the Legion it seems that it is these who now rule the Emperors domain."
That sudden news brought out a cry of NO and NEVER, ripped in disbelief from the the throats the massed army. Officers looked as scared and angry as the men. The titans, who Principus Adepts had been briefed before this still took a thunderous step forward, the sheer scale of this news was world shattering.
"I understand your reaction and your anger but first we need to obtain more on this news, it could be foul lies or misinterpretation of facts. Soldiers, friends, it could be anything. Yet I felt that you have lived and served and fought in his name deserved to know that we are now back in his domain."
Exiled for nearly 10 millenia on a mission that only the Lord Captain had known of meant that these warriors who for generations had fought and died for an Emperor and a realm that they had never seen.
Now that they had returned and found that the realm that they had fought for and died for was gone, it had been replaced by this Imperium. When they had left the Emperor had spoken to the Lord Captain and given him his mission, to travel beyond the stars and return with the knowledge of the Deep. This was their mission, their goal, their life. Whatever the Lord Captain had sought had been found, this they knew because for the last sixteen or seventeen generations they had been travelling home. Now that they were home they had found a home filled with hate for what they had loved.
"I will be returning to the Glory to analyse this and other slabs of data. Yet this is news for tomorrow, for today you have fought and survived and there was horror in this battle. There was horror and honour and you have played your part, we salute your bravery." Morningstar picked up a data scroll and held it up, the men below knew that he had no need, that his enhanced memory could recall all of the actions that they had fought in for over the ten millenia. He read out loud "2nd Corps, Third Division, 4th Regiment, 1st Battalion "Iron Sights". Yet again your bravery has heralded you in despatches." From somewhere in the middle of the field a ragged cheer and salute roared out. "1st Corps, Armoured 2nd Division, 1st Regiment.." The captain paused "Good Ol'Boys - you bunch of space hrud you were told to hold the eastern flank for three days, not roll them up in under 24 hours." The armoured division fired in recognition of their Lords humour and intimate knowledge. The 25th Heavy were recognised for their duty, the 3rd were honoured for their decisive counter thrust. The list went on. Finally, after nearly an hour honouring the various heroes of this campaign the Lord Captain closed the data scroll down.
"Thank you warriors of the Legion for your Duty ,Honour and Courage the Day is all your. I leave you now for the 'Glory to liaise with the High Command and see what we are to do about this new foe."
In a shimmer of silver and gold the Lord Captain was teleported back to his flag ship and his armies began to disperse back to the jobs they loved.

In the Tatica Theatre of the Emperors Glory sat the High Command. This consisted of the Legions finest tacticians and officers. The theatre when at full capacity could hold three thousand Astrates and twice that in Legion Army officers. They would have sat on the heavy stone benches that ringed the main stage. The stone had been carved from the Emperors Mount so long ago,from a different age. At it's heart was a large holophic displayer which dangled from the ceiling like a bizarre floating sun,for now it was illuminated with the silver laurels of victory around the Eagle bearing twin lightening bolts.
Yet for now all that stood in the Theatre were Azreal Morningstar and Leonardus Davidinus, Captain of the First File of the Legionaires and Spearbearer for Morningstar. Standing next to these two behemoths of warrior perfection was The Ancient. The Ancient was a Dreadnought of fearsome aspect. The sarcophagus which held the remains of the warrior known only by his title was heavily armoured in ceramite and plasti-steel. It was rumoured amongst the Tech Astrates that The Ancient had become paranoid of death and so had taken to reinforcing his coffin continuously. Unlike the majority of the Legions dreadnaughts he did not carry a missile launching system in replacement of his left arm, instead The Ancient had use of both arms which ended in wicked Power claws that each contained a pair of linked flamers. The Ancient liked to deliver the Grace up close and personal. The Ancient was the primary tactician coginator for the Legion, he had fought at the side of the Emperor before the unification wars for the myth of The Ancient was that he was no mere Astartes but instead the lone surviving Thunder Warrior granted immortality for his battle prowess.
"The campaign was expensive for the Army but victory is never without cost". The flat tone of the Ancient was amplified by a small speaker servitor linked at the base of the sarcophagus. "We can resupply here and also with the correct indoctrination recruit perhaps as much as 87.03 of total losses."
Davidus grunted his acknowledgement. The Ancient was a revered warrior and a link to the Legions past, a tactician without peer and a fearsome presence to behold. Yet put simply Davidinius did not like him 'cold voice, cold mind, cold heart' when pushed to make comment.
Azreal smiled, he full well knew the dislike his brothers felt for each other yet he could not but help smile. Back on 611 Quintiple C The Ancient had been struck in the legs by some xenos power weapon. He had been unable to move and had finally run out of promethean to power his flamers. A horde of green and yellow armoured xenos scuttling like insects had spotted the stranded Ancient and were forming to charge, they had wicked looking whips made of a mono filament wire that would have slowly tore the Ancient to a thousand shreds. Davidinus was marshalling the ground troops when he registered the Ancients predicament. Firing his jump pack he had led the counter charge that ripped the heart out of the xenos and saved the Ancient. Later at the vicotry feast Morningstar had to ask Davidinus what he had felt when he had realsied who he had saved. Davidinus, well onto his third barrel looked dark eyed at his lord and snorted, "Emperors Balls I knew it bloody was him before we charged. Still I guess he's a Brother aint he." and went on to complete another four barrels and break the Legions own Jarel competion that he had set himself only three campaigns earlier.
"What of this new threat? Our interrogators have found much discontent on this planet regarding the threat of this Adminstratum?"
There was a pause, static hummed through the servitor, in a normal voice this could be the clearing of a throat to buy time but with The Ancient meant that deep thought was taking place.
"My findings are... inconclusive to the threat level. On one hand they are scribes, data monkeys whose job it is to tally and route mercantile from one system to another. On the other they are in immediate control of vast swathes of the territories linked with this Imperium. They have access to all levels of data so at this time we have to treat them as Alpha's."
Davidinus snorted. " Bloody scribes, piss their robes as look at you. And you grant them Alpha threat status. Not even those bloody six legged monsters that spat acid on what's you call it rated much over a Gamma. And they were a bastard to clear out as you damn well know."
The lord Morningstar smiled, Davidinus knew well of planet 4213 and the deadly species that had invaded it. They had been at the apex of their journey onto the deep and had just completed His request when they had discovered the planet. It was literally being sucked dry by the foul xenos and it had taken the fleet near on a year to wipe them off the face of the planet and destroy it's fleet. Granted that the lesson learnt that year had served well. Fore as they came terra wards they encountered more and more of these fleets and were able to avoid or destroy many that they met - still they were xenos what could one expect.
The Ancient remained deathly silent and then in a crackle of static replied " I grant the assessment is inconclusive but consider - from whence does our enemies power lie. Answer in it's ability to direct the armed forces of this Imperium. They may not have direct military control but who has the greater power, the warrior whose finger is on the trigger or the man who controls that warriors mind. Who controls where and when that warrior sleeps, eats, lives and fights. Who decides how that warriors family back home will continue without him, who decides when and where that warrior will pull the trigger? I retain my original assessment as Alpha will prove woefully in adequate"
Rarely had The Ancient been so scathing in an assessment and if Morningstar was right, as fearful of a foe.

In a palace so secure that the air itself was said to have been scrutinised and dissected for any taint, sat upon a Throne of gold was a dead god. The Companions, each a warrior of renown and prowess stood guard, 300 of the finest minds and muscle that a galactic spanning empire could create, resting, recuperating. Theirs was a war that none knew, a strife unburdened with glory or renown.
The dead god sat immobile as he had for millennia eating the souls of the gifted and suffering the pains of a race on the brink. On the brink of what was the question ? Greatness, total universal domination, survival or mere extinction ?
A billion upon a billion souls died daily, each a thorn cut and a blessing to their dead god, a billion upon a billion more were born, reviving and draining the same sanctity.
Heroic deeds were done in his name, felonious acts upon his name. Shadows were crept in and blazing flame brought forth for his glory.
Now though, despite the horror the eons each of the companions as one turned their vigil to their lord. They were the first to hear the psychic back lash as the Choir as one spoke a single phrase, a death bed phrase, a mewling birth cry from their lord. 10,000 psykers died as one and the great Astronomican beacon floundered and failed for a day, casting a million vessels into the oblivion of the warp. Lives without number were lost in the playful, malign madness of the epryum, military campaigns years in the planning were thrown into ruin and trading routes of millenia were destroyed as sand before the wind. The ripple spread with the force for a tsunami, worlds starved with lack of import and fires roared born of madness and grief and war.
Yet for every single, individual soul which died the masters of Terra considered it a blessing beyond worth.
For the first time in 10,000 years their god had spoken to them - in so doing had flayed his people beyond number with the flail of death and suffering but he had spoken.
His words, heard as a whisper upon the soul in the gale of life by the countless billions of Terra's holy population understood by less than 12 and of that only one ancient truly grasped the sheer impossibility of them.
"The Spearbearer returns".
   
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The prisoners sat in the rain, beaten, battered, humiliated and quite clearly defeated. Their many wounds had been hastilly bandaged with sleeves and bed sheets. Of the mere thousands that had survived the crushing defeat in the miserable camp sat less than a hundred. The others had already screamed out their pain as they were nailed to the sacrafical poles.
The wardens of these pathetic dregs were in truth no warriors, in look and feel they were as beaten and desperate. Yet in thier hearts and flesh were carved the marks of their foul Gods, sickening to the sight and soul. They carried stolen las rifles and heavy cudgels, happy to feel the illusion of real power for a few moments as they beat another soul to the dirt.

Yet for all the fear that swan through the hearts of the prisoners they had a desperate hope, a burning flame that sat within their soul and bled through their tears and screams. Mor'lo'Shablak, tortured thrice damned Prince of the Eight Fold Path, Bearer of the Holy Word and Suffer of his Divinty felt that hope and it burnt his essence even as it fed his soul.

All of these wretches, the blessed nailed and those about to be anointed believed in a greater purpose, oh to various delicious deapths and ebbs of faith. Yet for one who had bled through the Long War, these mere mortal shells held a new blief. For a start not a single soul had pleaded for the God-corpse, none begged for the False Emperor to aid or release them. Instead, to a soul they had sent their final wishes, prayers and curses to a being known only as "Spear Bearer".

Mor,lo,Shablak floated upon a pyre of burning corpses, his mighty wings easily bearing him aloft, his cursed twisted legs bent and twisted no longer able to support his tonnage that now was his most blessed body. Three horns grew from his chest to form a helm that allowed him to view the world through bone and crimson. The Eight Fold Path had been cruel to his earthly form, and had been divine. He spread wide the four arms he now sprouted, a stump lost to a warrior lost to the blood path, one grown enormous, scaled and serpentine on the filth of xenos souls, one encased in his old armour, though now ending in a crustacian claw, the last, massive in size and scared with the million names of the devout souls he had sacrificed to the Pantheon. His bestial head, tumored and grotesque roared with three mouths and too many teeth, he whose being was a living breathing, writhing temple to the divinity called forth mere underlings from the Great sea. From within pain wracked memories, ten millenia in the losing, he fired pure atoms of the Emperyum, burning away whole decades of recall to try and locate any hint of such reference to "Spear Bearer".
Then within the burning halo of a dead decade a stray conversation was ignited. An over heard conversationas while only a mere novice, half recalled, it sparked and grew an inferno and then died. "Spear Bearer", while acting as an honour guard to the Lord Aurellian while he was visiting his then Captain on the Frigate "The Silent Word". He was three corridors away from the meeting, he had at that time never even seen his Primarch and was a mere Sergeant of the Watch, yet he had heard the scream. The Golden One had screamed, the first, not the last, time he had heard such a cry. "Never, Never would the Spear Bearer Betray", seven words, cried with the pain of a fresh born soul. Centuries later he would hear the same voice but without the innocence, the sense of true loss, true shock. His Captain, a nameless wretch who time had failed to remember died that day, but he had survived, he remembered....
   
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This is my attempt to introduce a lost legion...it is a budding idea that I want to develop as they are re-introduced as a Legion strength force with full Army / Ad tech into the modern setting with no knowledge of what they are facing
   
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Generalleutnant





Muslpelheim

So far this is a solid and good read, well done
   
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Thunderhawk Pilot Dropping From Orbit





Agreed. More please.

Come into my web, said the spider to the fly.
Come rest your wings, and let us talk eye to eye.
For I am a spider, and you are the fly. Now that you are here, let us sit, and say hi.
But I have have no morsel to share, nor anything to eat. But wait, what is that stickiness upon your feet.
Ah now I have you, now I can eat. Now I can enjoy you, or store you as meat.
For I am the spider, and you are the fly. How else could it have gone, between one such as you, and one such as I.
 
   
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Two of the Shrouded withdrew, their blessing from the Pantheon numerous and well earnt. They left behind the prone form of a beaten man, beaten physically and mentally, though not Mor,lo,Shablak felt spiritually.
This beaten phlegm of flesh held a core of belief that was...inspiring in it's clairty and damning in it's purpose. The Gifted One loved and loathed it with each beat of his twin hearts.
With a twist of one his many tongues he lashed the meat of the man with a word drawn from the Great Ocean and was rewarded with the spray of weak blood from it's caderverous chest and a cry of pain pitiful in it's form.
"Tell me human, For whom do you offer fealty? For whom do your hope your soul crys will reach?" Mor,lo,Shablak asked, his thrice blessed mouths echoing the other.
He had asked this of the last ten and the answer had been the same, yet he had to be sure, had to have validation before he risked the next part of his offering.
The human could not look up at him, but from broken teeth and split lips he answered as his kith and kin had, " I spit on you Xenos, my loyalty is not for sale, I am soldier of the Silver Legion and a loyal sword to the Spear Bearer".
Between ragged breaths, clearly several broken ribs and even a punctured lung were slowing the defeated soldiers actions, he stood and forced his gaze to the corruption that floated before him.
"I am Captain Karl Franzrez... of the... "Iron Sights" and I...defy...you".
Mor,lo,Shablak could feel the essence of the mortal swaying before him burning out, fever and defeat, beatings and deprivation had taken their toll on it's all too frail flesh. Yet in it's core, in it's being, belief bellowed defiance.
Mor,lo,Shablak swirled high into the air, this was a new sense of belief, or rather an ancient one, but still one had not felt for millenia. No fear or dogma guided this belief, it was held by worth and honest conviction.
In a scathing yell Mor,lo,Shablak, for in the purity of the belief held before him he could feel his own corruption, his own comprimise of the soul, cried " Who is your Spear Bearer?".
At the name the mortal slumped to his knees, not in defeat but in reverence, he his head bowed but not in subdigation but in gratitude and in no more than a whisper he damned Mor,lo,Shablak and all he stood for " He is my Lord and Master...he is my Emperor's Son and he has returned..."
Mor,lo,Shablak shrieked, cursed and prayed all in one divine moment, could this shell of mortality, even now failing before his thrice blessed presence, be the herald of such...portentious revelation.
From within his own abused and tortured psyche Mor,lo,Shablak searched for answers he knew he would defoul with the mere act of recall, he forced himself to truthfullness, to long set aside honesty.
He remembered...the battle for the Imperial Palace..no earlier...Istavvan...earlier, deeper, Monarchia..no...be honest...be faithful...there, then, on Kalais V.
He was a line Sergeant of the Watch, a mere bolter brethern, no greatness lay upon is soul, no majesty beguiled his image. It was on Kalais V where he first saw his Primarch in battle, from a distance but the perfection of battle, the joy knowing that a being as powerful as this called him son filled him with...faith.
The spear of memory bought a painful sweet recognition, it was this knowledge, this belief, a true honest belief before the Pantheon granted more honest enlightenment, it was the simple held belief that his Primarch walked his path...this faith, now he recognised it, savoured and damned it.
For an hour or a minute this knowledge bled through Mor,lo,Shablak, when he glanced down on the mortal who had brough such revelation he found only a corpse, one well bled for it's pain.
Mor,lo,Shablak laughed and cried and prayed at once, his path of the true believer had been ardeous and filled with so much blood but now he believed that he cause to waken his Lord...one of the Aurallians brethern had returned.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/04/25 23:34:02


 
   
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The Morning Star knelt before the Dreaming Gates, each double massive slab of adamantium as tall as a Reaver class Titan.
The mindless cleaning servitors that normally scurried and crawled over it's magnificence had fled back to their sanctuary alcoves, leaving the mirror shine finish of these doors unmarred.
No hinge or lock was visible to mar the perfection of the silver finish, a perfect mirror. It should of been possible for a soul to stand and see their smallest imperfection face them in the glare of the thousand solar lamps that kept a constant vigil on these mighty gates.
Yet nothing stirred in those shiney depths, the outside world looking in was lost to perfect blankness.

The Morning Star came here once a decade and spent 24 hours in contemplation and review, he did not consider his state one of prayer, such an act was an anathema to one of the Imperial Truth, yet this action helped cleanse him and prepare his mind and body for the heavy duties he had the honour to be beholden to.

He never once thought that the Gates would open, in the near ten millennia that he had served his Emperor that act had occurred but once, a shameful day that lay like a wound buried deep in his soul, one that would never, could never heal - he would never let it.

From within his reverie he startled, he had not thought of that day in many a cycle, in many a millennia if he was to be truth bound. Why now? What had caused him to dredge the most painful day of his ancient life to the fore?

Was it the promise of returning home to Glorious Terra?
To see how those mighty Primarchs had created the Empire of Man, how it had grown and flourished through these long ages.
To bathe, once again, in the Emperor's glow of mere being.

This was the Legions dream, their hidden hope that had carried them through the endless dark.
Yet it was, as truth bound as he was, the Morning Star's only fear.
True, he was Astartes and so he knew no mortal fear, yet this was a different fear, a fear of failing or worse irrelevance.
When he had left he knew that he and his kin were different to their cousins in the other Legions, they were different but the same.
Their purpose was the same as the others, to serve the Emperor in all, it was how they were destined to serve that forced them to be made different.
The difference lay with each of them, bred and ingrained by their Primarchs, those Lords of War, humanity made perfection.
Their names and humours came unbidden to his recall.
Horus, simply the best of them, the sheer personification of perfection, leader, follower, scholar, warrior, diplomat, Russ the most fearsome, savage Lord of the Winter time, Manus so clever so intricate, yet oh so strong, Fulgrim the seeker, so adroit, so near perfection, Vulkan the humanist, the crafter, the avenger, Dorn the ever loyal, the man of stone with the quick silver mind and volcano heart.
Names of power, names of strength, the Galaxy never truly had seen their like.
Gulliman, builder, slayer, a man of order yet such a warrior, Magnus The Crimson King, a mind so powerful only matched by his heart, warrior savant, servant and king. Sanguinius, a sad soul hidden by the sheer glory of his being, keen minded and keener eyed, El'johnson so candid and calculating, a true warriors scion, a leader of men and winner of wars but needing to be more.

These were beings whose presence was intoxicating, who at the head of their Legions were humanities saviours.

Perturbo, ever reliable, ever honest, so complex in his dreamings. Mortarion a soulful warrior whose focus and determination were as inevitable as the wind and rain. Lorgar, the thinker, dreamer, philosopher and all contained in a warrior of near perfect balance. The Khan, wild and free, fierce and cunning, loyal and challenging, the greatest contradictions of them all. Curze, a broken dream that still held so much potential, the lost child prodigy, the flame unbound.

These were the beings who would secure the galaxy for humanity, these were his fathers brethren, his accusers, his judges.

Mighty Angron, Lord of the Pit, the truth bound, scared and blood soaked , so broken, so complete. Corax, the hidden son, the shadow that walked in noble light.
Him, the Great Betrayer, the Only to Fall, forgotten yet loved.
Alpharius as cunning a warlord as ever bore arms, loyal in his schemes, so complex in thought yet at heart a simple soul.

These were the hope of humanity, Morning Star had met them all, had dined with them, talked with them and as truth bound, he loved them all.
He had felt their power, in the training cages on Terra, he seen their wrath on the Crusade and challenged their honour at the foot of the tower.
Some he held in awe, some in fear, some in friendship.

They had known who he and his Legion were, more significantly they knew why his Legion were.

It was to the judgement of these Avatars of Humanity that he returned, to present his glaive on bended knee and see how they judged his worth.

He knew deep in his soul that it was to these Lords he would have to answer, the Lord Emperor had granted them mortal rulers of his Empire and if all had gone as decreed then it was to them he would have the honour and glory.

It was with these burning thoughts that the Morning Star stirred from his contemplation to come to full battle alert. Though dressed only in his simple white robe and trews, his muscles became iron tort, his twin hearts pounded loudly and the stench of adrenaline filled the air as it flooded his system.
Sense unbound by mortal physicality stretched out, looking for threats and danger and found...

A father, a failure, his Father, His Failure. ..
   
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Mor,lo,Shablak flew over the city of a Thousand Spires, a poor recollection, a reimagining of glorious Monarchia, remade in the blood and bone of martyrs to the False Emperor. The warp bled into the city through a hundred small lacerations as his devoted Shriven conducted blasphemy onto whom ever they so wished.
He had been flaying this system into True Compliance for the last three decades, the armies of the Carrion Lord had been felled quickly but the billions of billions of souls that made up this wretched population needed time to be corralled into true belief.
He had made much progress, the veil had been torn in a thousand places and held open with the desperate belief of his lost. It was his conviction that he could create an ataraxia, a core of belief strong enough to allow the blendings of these temporary rifts to a larger, more permanent vestibule into the material realm. This could then be replicated in any system with the appropriate teachings.
Yet such an undertaking, no matter how important to the Chronicles of the Word, could be allowed to proceed such news of import.
The last of the captives had been bled in the pursuit of verification, each blessed soul had in it's own small unimportant way confirmed his conviction in this matter.
There was a strong belief, so crystal and refined, that a Return had occurred. Who had returned was disputed, but it was clearly one who called himself " Spear Bearer" and oh ! how that name now sent glorious chills through Mor,lo,Shablak.

Through the dark veil of ages he could recall the name, and more so the pattern of deployment these humans had used when they had come into the system. This was a classic scout patrol as prescribed by Vulkan, the intention to announce their presence but offer no violence. It was the opening gambit in many a Legion compliance through diplomacy.
Here it had failed.
Here it had heralded unprecedented times both ancient and refreshingly new.

Mor,lo,Shablak glided over the Great Cathedral, it's sound bows forged from the teeth of million new born faithful, each mighty clanger from the gilded femurs of False saints, tolling from the crux of mile high spires.
Mor,lo,Shablak had no true recollection of the Great Crusade, it was too far lost in the dust of ages.
He knew of others of the Chosen Astartes from that era who claimed knowledge of that time, yet they recanted only common knowledge the specifics, the details were lost under the grinding wheel of time.
He could really only recall true events from the last three or four millennia, before then it was like trying to recall a dream after waking.

Still he recognised the disposition of the forces against him because the follies of the Corpse Lords followers were many and varied, unlike their tactics. Indeed these were tactics he too had employed.

Which meant then that at the Mandeville Point was a light frigate company that were sitting as a reserve. With his thrice blessed gifts of divination he had sensed where they were at anchor.

He had commanded the Exalted to capture these vessels, a feat that bore no little risk but by his guidance was an ordained factuality.

The Deamon Prince knew deep within the well spring of his hate and bitterness what he would find, a rarity to be blessed and savoured... a newness.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Ja'Henr'phalx, Highest of the Exhaulted, Gifted Prime and Blessed of The Word stood staring at the holo-display flickering green and black.
Three robed and hunched Dark Brethren scuttled about their arcane tasks, the near constant buzz of their invocations a trivial irritant that had been growing hourly.
The command bridge of the Faithful was shrouded in the half light of combat readiness, fresh incense, the shorn hair from the corpse god's faith starved flock burnt strongly, blessing the recycled air as it went on it's cyclopean path.
Every station was crewed with faithful slave-flock, each having proven their competence and loyalty to earn their place on his bridge a dozen times over.
From the shadows the whisperings from the Neverborn sang of promises and desires yet unknown as they skirted the pools of light.
Ja'Henr'Phalx knew none of these lesser beings would dare intrude on an operational level, he would send them back to their endless yearning in the Great Dream if they dared and they were all too aware of his own Patron floating by his shoulder.
The Nameless had been with Ja'Henr'Phalx for over five millennia, he had fed it and freed it from the warp on the souls of xenos raiders and corpse god worshiping scum and in return he had been granted...faith.

The Retaliator class Grand Cruiser, "Mor'Lo's Ire", had been his flag ship for the last three millennia, ever since he had captured her from a Iron Warriors reclamation yard. Now with his three squadrons of Iconoclast and Idolaters Escorts he had enough fire power to challenge most star systems.
Yet here he was, deployed by the Dark Apostle Phor'Lean'Aiun at the behest of The Lord of Burning Candle, to seek and destroy some intruders to their realm.

He shifted his helmed head and with a blink of an eye selected a vox rune activation to his two Captains of the Watch "Prepare brothers, we are to be in contact range in minus three minutes. As per the Lords words and direction we are to destroy two of the three vessels and render the third as sacrifice, acknowledge."

The edification on this mission had been despatched to all his line captains and crew masters but Ja'Henr'Phalx was a careful warrior and he waited the confirmation his orders before proceeding.

Shifting his vox rune to fleet wide he intoned the Prayer of Dedication to The Word and then granted permission to proceed.
There would no glorious prayers, no supplication or invocation of the Pantheon - this was not a mission that was worthy of such devotion, sweep and cleanse with a capture and hold clause.

Once he saw that all was as ordained he rose to his full height, his battle plate was freshly anointed with oil's and blood of the faithless, his power sword mag locked to his hip countered the weight of the ancient bolt pistol holstered to the other.
He knew others of his chapter preferred a more esoteric arsenal, he however kept his killing like his faith, pure and simple.
He strode without a look at the holo display, his plans and his faith intact.

The triple escort squadron swept through the Imperial Sword Class Frigates as ordained. In the days before the Great revelation the Word Bearers were oft criticised for the lack of speed in their compliances, never the efficiency of those compliances as the False Emperor discovered later.
The Iconoclast "Bearer of Promise" led the charge, her serf-flock keen show their devotion. With burning plasma engines she led "Pantheon's Grace" and "Lorgar's Praise" into a Eye-ward dive, descending on the Sword Class escorts just as planned.
The three escorts, sitting as they were on the cusps of the Mandeville Point split and tried to run.

Each of the 1.6 Km long vessels would have been a fair match for any of the initial pursuers, against two squadrons who knew exactly where to send their torpedo and las spreads, they were as chaff to the breeze.

Only the "Shield of Kolothos" pulled free, only to run into the Ire who with preternatural aim tore her void shielding asunder and with ancient malevolence stole her engines of their plasma core with supreme skill and hate. Then with a surgeons hand her dorsal arrays were destroyed and with an artists care her port and starboard guns were silenced.
In the dance of the void this took only a matter of hours, the death of a thousand loyalists played out over the astral distances of hundreds of thousands of kilometers.

Left floating in the void her captain, Marial De Louise, ordered a full lock down and prepared to be boarded, the good captain had no idea how right she would be.

With security teams flooding the vital lock down bays and corridors all non combat crew were lashed back to their cells.
Marial De Louise in her white uniform stood stock still, with the bridge locked down as was what was left of the engineerium she prepared her crew to sell themselves dearly. She rested a hand on her command throne, the first time in a hundred years she had ever had such desperation, it's mewling occupant insensible with the pain feed backs of it's broken system uncaring of her need for solid reassurance.

The sudden impact of two dozen boarding torpedoes rocked the corpse ship, each killing hundreds of loyal serfs as their meter long drill bits tore into the outer hull. Then melta charges forced the drill's even deeper into the carcass of the vessel. Finally once they had come to rest came the final thrust, bursting from the insides of the torpedo's came the Exalted.

The flack clad security personal, armed with short but powerful shotguns were highly trained and experienced in facing many xenos enemies. What they were not prepared for was the horror of an Astartes boarding action, led by a millenia old warrior with a faith in his hate that bordered on the divine.

Ja'Henr'Phalx swung his power sword in a holy figure of hate, his age ravaged throat tore afresh as he sang the Praise of Lorgar. His command squad struggled to keep up with his pace, he cared not. The first to meet their doom were a dozen strong patrol group that had tried to use a bulk head as cover. He strode dismissively through the scatter and solid shot fire they poured onto him, he thumbed the activation rune and the prayed to the foul spirit of the blade as it's power field leapt to life.
Weaving the blade as according to the holy scriptures he tore through the patrol, beheading and disembowelling the security personal, revelling in their powerless screams.
Fresh blood anointed his armour as he called for his warriors to secure their sacrifice.

They marched through the halls and head ways of the Loyalist ship like the spreading of The Grandfathers blessing, leaving only corpses. Each death, each act of blessed slaughter, be it on armoured security patrols or menial serfs led fervor to the prayer of summoning that Ja'Henr'Phalx was now chanting.

As they passed through the final bulk head, it's metre thick adamantium doors no bar to the destructive power of the melta charges placed in a holy pattern upon it, the prize became apparent.

Ja'Henr'Phalx fired with the precision of the killer born he was, De Louise was parted with a single bolt round to the chest, her second and third also felled. The crew tried to return fire but the prayers of the Exalted and the ministrations of the Dark Apostles had summoned shadow witnesses from the void, who wept and cried out at the slaughter. Their mere presence was enough to shroud the on coming warriors and the lucky shot that did make contact fizzed harmless of the Exalted blessed armour.

In less time than it took to complete the Sermon of Faith, a mere half hour, only a single Loyalist remained alive, gibbering with the pain of the death of his body. The prize, plugged into the command throne was a truly horrific sight, an Astartes, ancient beyond the stars, shrivelled and hairless, near skinless, eyeless and limbless. He had been at one time significantly injured but instead of the Grace of Release or internment into a Sarcophagus he had been plugged into the ship. It's sensors had been his senses, they were now burnt out, it's beating plasma engines had been his beating hearts, they now ran cold. Wires, ancient tubes and techno-connectors ran from it's wasted torso, head and limbs high into the shattered shell of the machine, each now pulsing a torrent of pain direct into the remaining nerve ends.

Ja'Henr'Phalx wondered at the pain this skeleton of a warrior was now feeling, even as he scarred into it's scalp the blessed Words of the Eight with the point of his de-activated power sword.
The warp pushed against reality in the command deck, the price of blood had been easily spent, a coin of little worth but still of some value when spent so readily by the faithful.
A rip of howling madness followed by the tearing of light and the sundering of space, a three metre circle of nothing birthed it's self right before the carrion heart of this ship and lunacy caressed it's heart.

Time had no meaning, only of longing to exist, before the Shield, before the pain, he had been Captain Hadirian Goyle a Legionaire of the Silver Legion and Loyal son to the Emperor of Mankind. Then had come 3453-48965 and his body crushed in the void war in it's Xenos plagued system. Goyle though had a skill at void fighting, a talent for second guessing other space faring warriors and more importantly he was a True Son. So near death was no excuse for ending his duty, he was entombed in the command throne of the Shield and in all but essence became what he never had, the soul of the ship. He, it, fought on and on, Xenos raiders, Xenos Empires and a thousand more. Every encounter he became less Goyle and more Shield till finally he had lost himself and embraced the metal around him. Oh at first the ships machine spirit had fought him, fled from him but finally he had caught it and crushed it by his mere presence, he was the one and only master of this vessel of death and he was the Shield.

Now though he screamed silently, he retched plasma into the void and bled crew through the rents torn into his skin. He was blind, deaf and mute, insensate with pain and feed back their was no where he could hide, except back into the broken shell of his biological body.
So he fled his body of the stars and shrank and screamed and died, back into a body he had not felt in eons. In the cold dead flesh of his birth there was no escaping the pain but a new note of agony tore at him. The invaders had inscribed a hieroglyph of torment into him and as his essence, his consciousness settled into the empty sack of metal and meat it flared anew.

Ja'Henr'Phalx felt the cold of the void fill the command deck, it's laughing, screaming bedlam a psalm to his faith. Then he felt it fade, only a little but a definite push back, as if the tide had hit a rock and flowed around it but not through it.
A well was sucking it in and felt the depth of hate recede. Such a feeling was an anathema to him, he looked around for it's unholy source. His helm's targeting array had been barren of prey for the last five minutes but now it focused on the revenant on the throne. Then it slipped away again, bereft of purpose and the flow of the Path refilled the deck.
Life had briefly flared in the trapped Astartes on the throne but had extinguished almost as soon as it had appeared. Yet in that flaring had forced an Exalted prayer to slow it's true course, this had never happened before and Ja'Henr'Phalx was intrigued. He ordered his command to rip the remains of the dead Astartes from the command throne and they made their way back to the boarding torpedoes.

In their exaltation of the sacrifice the Exalted never felt the last act of the Shield, a single tight focus vox cast to a remote drone that had been left in the deep of the void was thrust outwards. There was no hope in this cast, this was not the death cry of a defeated foe, it was a single message, a single command, "Revenge Me Father".
   
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With a breath that bore no wind the thousand lamps were doused, in a cry that bore no voice a summons was sent.

Morningstar knelt once again, his hearts hammering, his hands clenched in fists, already he could hear through the ever present vox in his ear the commanders organising and preparing for war, from a foe they knew not.
Within that patterned chaos he heard the simple bark of two orders, Davidinus ordering the stand down and his resolute march to the Gates and the Ancient sealing the command deck.

Both knew this call, both had heard it once before, only the once but they had recalled it and their memories warned them. Of a Legion as long lived as theirs still less than a hundred warriors still fighting were from the days of Legend, days of the Launch. All of these were now great captains and leaders within the Legion, warriors whose resilience and valour were to be sung of and praised, all now warned their confused Chapters into battle ready defence, of the enemy within.
Warned then, even as they as warned the Morningstar, warnings sent through the very genetics of his being, their father, their gene-sire had woken. Yet it was not just these warriors who heard the calling, others, the True Son's also heard the call, they though did not know the meaning of the cold in their hearts or the fire in their eyes.

Perhaps it was the fact that the Morningstar had been in a state of deep...reflection....his enhanced brain reached through the mists of time for answers rather than reacting on instinct and it saved him.

He froze, no motion beyond the heavy breathing of his combat enhanced physique.

The Silver Gates opened, slowly with the soundless screams of the damned, all light was doused by the tsunami of shadow that raced to engulf them.

A figure from the Imperial archives strode forth, near twice the height of the Morning Star when clad in full armour and thrice his bulk, it was clad in a simple silver shift. A warrior both borne and bred he walked easily, rolling shoulder and neck muscles to ease aeon aged tensions.
A face of classic grace and humility, so close to the pinnacle of humanity yet...yet...

Morningstar had to bite deep his cheek, deep enough so that he drew blood and his acid enhanced spit burned the wound afresh, to stop screaming out.

To a scholar of the Primarchs what strode out would resemble nothing less than Glorious Sanguinous made flesh again, though no wings bore testimony to his mutation. A gentle smile and no more than a caress on the kneeling Legion Master's shoulder of the great Lords finger tips, brought forth a shuddering moan.

In a voice of the Emperor's the being spoke "My Morning Star you greet me, but where is my Lord of the Red Sun ? Where is my Lord of Midnight? Where is my Triumvirate?"

The words, no more than whispers tore into Morning Star's very soul, flaying his being and tearing his reality back to the core, robbing him of any honour, any dignity, any shield.

In no more than a sob the greatest warrior of his generation admitted his failure " Dead sire"

The glorious being stopped his slow stride three long paces beyond the prostate Morning Star, the darkness dancing around his frame like the flames around a candle.

Slowly, like the sweep of the tide the figure turned, his head rolling as if to see the millennia he had missed as they passed by.

"Tell me...all" a whisper, a merest suggestion, a request of a bereaved father, a demand, a royal request, a summons for the truth.

Morning Star forced himself to stand, to turn his face his gene-sire, his liege lord, his charge, his failure.

In a face of perfection, even Fulgrim himself was said to have envied his lord's likeness to their Father, the eyes gave lie to the truth. Orbs of pure darkness, not black, but light engulfing darkness stared down onto the standing warrior.
From those pitiless pools radiated...nothing, a void numbing coldness, a soul searing blankness of non-being.
It was in there that Morning Star felt the old wound open as new.

The command forced the words from his lips, he told of Galax V where the brilliant and abrasive Lord Red Sun was cut down by a tide of xenos warriors after he had over extended his flanks in an all or nothing charge that had ended with the death of the world's Xenos warlord crushed under the sweeping advance.
He wept afresh as he told of Milos IV, where Lord Midnight had fallen to a Horde of Xeno-kin horrors while he held the canyon opening till fresh troops could be deployed to cleanse them in totality.

Morningstar could not recall how long this accounting took, minutes or hours but when he had finally gained the courage to speak he found that he could not stop. He reported on the many worlds that had been reclaimed in the early years of the Voyage, then of the mind numbing coldness of the deeper void and the few xenos they had encountered out there. Then finally he told of their final success hence why they had returned.

"Enough now my son, I read in you the truth of your words and the horrors you have fought you need to recant no more". a gentle blessing of peace by any other being, made lie by the soul wrenching nothingness that bled through them.

"Are you please to see me my son?" a simple honest question, laden with genuine concern for the answer.

"No, My Father, Emperor himself may judge these words but you were incarcerated for...crimes...the Empire needed to be kept safe", the honesty of his words were no balm to the sting of betrayal they inflicted on his already scarred psyche.

"All true my son, I was judged, if harshly, by a morality that was far beyond ours - however I would submit for your deliberation the simple fact no single punishment in the history of our race exceed mine. The death of a convict at the hands of his jailers is an immediate, if permanent, punishment. Imprisonment for a life sentence or even exile merely carries the weight of ages as it's ultimate sanction. To be banished from a tribe for a single life time, devastating as this is to the judged, it is a reasonable sanction to expect and receive." His masters words were as the cooling waters bathing his wounds, they were simple and reasoned, plain yet perceptive, damning and demanding of his attention.

"I my son, your gene-sire, your Legion Lord, I was cast down and imprisoned for over 400 life times, to be exiled for 10 millenia. Yet who was to be my judge, my own creator, my own master, nay - it was his lackey, his messenger boy, his proxy cum lately. It was the he one who hated me for the simple act of existing and such hatred he bore. Malcador The Spitlackle, The Untruthed and Unsanctionable. My son do you even know the nature of the charge that he levelled at me?"
There was no real emotion now his words, these were the well rehearsed scriptures of a supreme advocate.

The question hung in the air, Morningstar could no more look at his Lord in face as he could out stare the sun and with his honour and dignity shredded from him he groped for his only resource, his courage.
"No Sire, they were a blemish and a shame on our Legions name and were never to be spoken of"

Laughter, strong and well meant greeted his courage and swamped it with it's honest mirth. "Never spoken of ? Your Gene-sire was locked away on his own Flagship and not a one of you questioned as to the why? Well I have returned and I will tell you my son, I will reveal the darkness that has sat at the heart of this beacon of light and you will know all..."
   
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This is truly awesome stuff. I can't get over how good this is. I'm totally hooked on your story, Rika. I beg for you to continue your sterling work.

Come into my web, said the spider to the fly.
Come rest your wings, and let us talk eye to eye.
For I am a spider, and you are the fly. Now that you are here, let us sit, and say hi.
But I have have no morsel to share, nor anything to eat. But wait, what is that stickiness upon your feet.
Ah now I have you, now I can eat. Now I can enjoy you, or store you as meat.
For I am the spider, and you are the fly. How else could it have gone, between one such as you, and one such as I.
 
   
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Mor,lo,Shablak swam within the ether, he bathed in it's holy glow and belched with it's glorious power.
He was no more a man, he bore no kinship with that base form, he was gloriously torn a new every second and born older and wiser, a bloody, depraved wisdom long shunned and eagerly sought.
In an aeon's age an eye brought visage back to his twisted soul, this was a new eye, his other, mere fleshy physical eyes had been blinded by the blessing of his masters.
Mor,lo,Shablak saw again, he saw the slaves soul substance leaking to the crucibles he had ordained, he saw the slaver's purpose add to the tsunami of misery. A million, million souls all harnessed to his cause, his calling, his being.
Freshly engorged wings slapped the air and sent his bloated and malformed, thrice blessed body into the air.

Swinging his tusked heads in the air Mor,lo,Shablak received the confirmation from his newest protege that the invading frigates had been destroyed and the screen's captain had been captured. The smugness from the message tarnished what should have been an ordained relevance. Still all had been enacted as instructed.

Through the clarion calls for benediction and glorification though the minutia, the trivia, still seeped through, the puzzle box that was the bridge report. A feeling, sense of recognition, a dream of a thought long awaken from. Not for the first time Mor,lo,Shablak cursed the passing of the aeons, the draining of his mind to the past. That all these events were connected was apparent, but the how and why were lost to him and that frustrated his sense of divine chastisement. He was the thrice damned, the thrice cursed and thrice blessed, the Last of his Order and he would have answers.

Summoning with a mental command his menials they carried forth his war panoply, a suit of heavily modified armour that was so heavily adapted to his benedictory physicality that it's true form was a distant as his memories. The Pantheons own blessing had encased his three heads in bone cages that would serve as helms and the strength of righteous third arm was only enhanced by the huge claw that replaced his hand. He selected a tool of his calling that he longed mastered, a truly massive chain sword, more at home on the mighty Knights of the Holy Orders. It was easily three meters in length, each tooth inscribed with the most heinous of blasphemies to metal and flesh. It's roar was the very essence of carnage and it's swiftness was that of the most blessed judgement.

When girthed for war Mor,lo,Shablak was a true Lord of War, a symbol of the personification of the Pantheon's honourings. His new eye, floating over his three heads flared open, a direct link to the Pantheon and their eternal power. Within the chamber the attending devotee's screamed as their heads exploded with the pressure of Mor,lo,Shablak flexing his presence. He had put no real power into the wave, it had merely ebbed from within and needed release. Two dozen dead lackeys lay blessed to give their lives in the presence of their master merely whetted Mor,lo,Shablak thirst for more death.
With as mental whisper he sent forth his summons, any more he risked destroying the recipient mind, not that such a though did not possess validation.

Ja'Henr'phalx strode into his masters arming chamber with the arrogance of his victory ebbing with each stride. The Exalted of The Order of the Burning Candle marched with militant precision, their grim faith etched onto their armour with acid and the blood of the faithful.
Ja'Henr'phalx had been eager to grab the laurels of this victory as his, the Dark Apostle Phor'Lean'Aiun had shown great reluctance to pass these up but now it seemed to Ja'Henr'phalx that the Dark Apostle's show had been as fraudulent as his faith seemed.
Ja'Henr'phalx's victory march slowed as he grasped the full impact of the devotion of his Master. Floating ten meters clear of the en-graced floor Mor,lo,Shablak's blessed form took on it's true context. For all of his life Ja'Henr'phalx had been a true believer, gifted with and blessed by a deep understanding of the Pantheon he had excelled in the scholar pits and corporeal collegiate s but now he saw what true devotion granted and he wanted it, all of it.
Ja'Henr'phalx knelt on one knee and slammed his fist to his chest, in the other he raised the head of the strange Astartes he had brought back from the void. He refused to bow his head, he was a proud man, pride in skill, in his leadership and in his faith meant that he refused to grovel for favour, he would prove his worth.
Mor,lo,Shablak felt the pride and the eagerness radiate from the victorious raid leader, it felt raw and unfettered by guile and to one of his age, his wisdom, petty and naive.
"I have digested your recital and there is a significant flaw in it's construction", his words mangled by his tusks came from all three mouths, each taking a turn at a word so that the sentence rolled round the chamber like thunder.
Ja'Henr'phalx kept his arm held forth, determined to show that he was no initiate to be intimidated by his betters. Instead he simply tilted his head to one side, voicing his query without profaning the holiness of this place with his base words.
"Ahhh, you have not felt the pull of the path of blood and baroque honour as strong as I was led to believe young disciple. My question for you is a simple one, though the thoroughness of your victory is to be blessed I ask this of you, whom did this victory come against ? Which unworthy foe was dispatched to the void grace, whose blood do we offer unto the Pantheon this night?"
Ja'Henr'phalx's armed wavered only a fraction, enough to cause the skull grasped his hand to wobble like a barbaric Grox bell. He knew now that his answers in the next minutes would mean more than his life, it could mean his very soul. "By order of the Pantheon's Dark Apostle..." He got no further, a force of rage so powerful that it spun him and his warriors to the floor, Mor,lo,Shablak rose and spun all three heads roaring their anger at his minions incompetence.
"I know who commanded you to war, it was I. I gave the word and the word was divine hence the inevitablity of my victory. You were the pen that I dipped in the blood of my enemies to write my sermon of glorification to the Unholy but Dog you have not answered my enquiry, in whose blood did I spear my pen? in whose cruor did I write my word in?"
Each demand of an answer was matched with the unholy flaring of Mor,lo,Shablak eye, it bathed the room in eldritch ghost flame that smouldered the corpse's present and lifted them in ghostly mockery of juror.

Ja'Henr'phalx rose from the floor and stood tall before his Lord, before the embodiment of the Unholy Pantheon, of the Lord Aurialn's Word made manifest. His helms targeting reads were reading multiple enemy lock but he refused to activate the acknowledgement rune. Scrolling down one eye lens column were his own internal injuries, significant but ultimately not life threatening. In another column he blinked clear the health runes of the Exalted, two were vermilion, fatalities at the whim of Lords displeasure, all were titian.
He threw the head of the defeated foe at his Lord's withered feet.
He lifted clear his helm and stared with is unfiltered eyes at the being that was his Lord - " They were unworthy My Lord", his voice growing stronger with each word as his belief in them hardened to a diamond faith. "They were the Corpse God's lackeys, followers of a false prophet of truth. Warriors of little skill and even less faith, mere mortal men who were as blades of grass before the storm. That one there, " pointing to the now settled skull beneath the mammoth Lord " that is all that was worthy of your inspection."

Mor,lo,Shablak pulled the skull up to his eye level with but a thought, his mind now as one with the warp struggled not with the application of thought but the focus of it. Still the rotating bone cranium had dried leathery flaps of skin still attached, these relics of life were the key. Delving deep into his own genetic past Mor,lo,Shablak flesh warped and dragged up from a hideously malformed and cancerous cavity his bile ridden Omophagea. With a careless flick of minds eye he cleaned the scraps of dead flesh into his cavernous maws, this flesh though days dead still held the essence of the warrior. Mor,lo,Shablak knew that he would not be able to divine much from such carrion but with his warp blessed gifts and his earlier, cruder gene forged abilities he would be at least know which of the failed Corpse-God's litterings this dead thing had once served.
Seconds stretched to minutes as he turned his gaze inwards, the physical remnants had been destroyed as soon as they encountered his warp graced gullet but the spiritual essence of the warrior should have been still lingering. Instead as he masticated the juices of his own warp bloated self he felt nothing. Perhaps the time indicted within the heart of the void war engine had swamped the warriors own sense of being, or perhaps in the act of death it fled into the corpse of the star engine?
Then, like the tsunami of a warp storm he felt even his mighty body reject the poison. Pain flared within him, a burning bright plain of a thousand holy candle points. With a vomit from all three of his heads, he renounced with divine necessity the essence of the warrior, it's bodily nothingness an anathema to his benightedly blessed soul.
Deep in his core, where the little that remained of his humanity, swamped by the teachings and rituals, blessings and prayers of the Pantheon, still clung to being felt the sweet sweet pull of the void and Mor,lo,Shablak who had evolved beyond such considerations roared his defiance.

Ja'Henr'phalx stood in rigid attention, his sense of the warp only enhanced by the proximity of his Lord but then, just for a second, when the great Cardinal of Chaos had been ruminating on the skull of the warrior he had seen that mighty edifice to the Pantheon shrink in on it's self, the floating eye had blinked out of existence and then on the stream of warp matter that had evicted itself from Mor,lo,Shablak snapped back into place.
"My Liege what did you divine?"

In a single voice, raw with pain and flame the Great Mor,lo,Shablak replied in a husk "Nothingness, void born, void lived, void died, one with the void, a blankness to cover the stars..."
   
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Morningstar was enraptured as his father and gene-sire began to recount the saga of his fall. Many had considered Fulgrim the greatest of the orators amongst the Brethren, personally Lorgar had such a way with words that he felt this title should have have been his but now hearing his father speak he realised that he had been wrong.
With a voice carved from the bedrock of Terra ancient history was woven back to life, starting from the day that The Emperor visited Massachusetts Prime with Morningstar and his brethren.
Even though every second in the presence of the Master of Mankind was indelibly painted in his mind the recanting of the tale pureed fresh illumination on an ancient masterpiece.
It took a massive effort of concentration but the recognition of modernity invaded.

His master stopped his tale and looked with amusement with him.
"I believe that somebody wishes to intrude upon our time my son, pray not let them be disappointed". There was no censure in his Gene-sire's voice, only concern.

"I am sure it is nothing my Lord", he hated how he sounded no more sure than the youngest of initiates standing at the Potentiate bridge. With a sharp nod of his head to one side he ejected the vox bead from his ear and flung it to the floor.
And so fate reached a cross pass, a moment of inconsequentiality that bore the weight of ages. In a million futures the vox bead spun through the air inactivated it's message left unheard till too late. In a hundred thousand more it crashed to the ground to lay broken, in many and more it was simply lost in the debris on the floor.
Yet in one, in one golden threaded future, protected by a dead god and guided by his infinite will, the bead spun high in the air, it's widely erratic momentum activating it. From within it's minute core came a dead voice with a dead message "Revenge me father".

Mornigstar's snatched the bead from out the air and unthinkingly plugged it back in. With an unconscious tilt of his head he heard the message play over again.

"A problem my son?" with the softest caress of a inquisition.

"There is nothing, nothing sire that would rip me from your recount, but this...this. An honoured brothers Requirium Mortalis." Mornigstar's impressive mental and strategic facilities were already cogitation.

"A single warriors death is worth your time my son? Time with your father? Remember the river of time runs past the rocks of missed moments?" said though with a kindness and a probing, testing inquisitive.

"One of your son's has died Sire and seeks revenge. We are not a Legion bred on death, we are not the Hounds or the Dune Raiders. We are a Legion in your image, a Legion where we are strong because the many hold the one and the one hold to the many. When we fall in battle we do not cry our shame to the stars nor do we lament our losses, death is but the end for all Astrates better it be in honest war than foul accident. Yet if our deaths are to have meaning then they must have purpose. If we fall and the purpose is incomplete then we must know that our brethren, our Legion will see it done. This is a call for a purpose to be completed and it shall not be left unheeded." Morningstar surprised himself with the strength of his words, they were true to his core and he felt no shame in them.

With a regal nod of his head his Gene-Sire showed his agreement, "Well said my son, I would have had no other way. You are aware of what Malacador the Broken called me, my father's Dark Son. Well good Horus joked, as he often did, that it more our father's Dark Sun - for when I march to war the souls beneath my gaze shrivel and die and I spread shadow and sorrow with the wind."
With a firm hand he clasped Morningstar on the shoulder "Will you grant me the honour of marching with my Legion once more, of marching to revenge my Legion ?"

Morningstar struggled not to bend his knee under the weight of his father's grip, he could feel the passion and the need to be what his father was, an avatar of war, a leader of warriors, a general and a slayer, all pulse through that ever tightening grip.
He knew he should deny this request, to banish the Legions shame once more to his kennel but he could not, not in the face of his Gene-Sire, not when all he wanted more than the next breath was to acquiesce.
"It would be your Legion's honour to march with their Father one more time".

Morningstar slammed his fist to his chest in the Imperial salute, his father simply nodded and then in that near silent near whisper added "Not one march, my son, not just the one."
   
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Awesome Rika, nice little update. Please continue with this great story.


Come into my web, said the spider to the fly.
Come rest your wings, and let us talk eye to eye.
For I am a spider, and you are the fly. Now that you are here, let us sit, and say hi.
But I have have no morsel to share, nor anything to eat. But wait, what is that stickiness upon your feet.
Ah now I have you, now I can eat. Now I can enjoy you, or store you as meat.
For I am the spider, and you are the fly. How else could it have gone, between one such as you, and one such as I.
 
   
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Mor,lo,Shablak swam among the stars, his esoteric presence a gift to the universe, with a thought, a whim, a hint of suggestion he flew back and forth in time, seeing all, sensing all, comprehending little.
With an effort of will Mor,lo,Shablak withdrew himself from the great ocean, back to more mortal, mundane realms. Oh but what realms he now ruled.
Mor,lo,Shablak luxuriated for a while in the knowledge that his great works, his great codification of the Arts, his supreme victory in this and several other sectors.
All and everything aimed at the exhalation of the Gods and their True power and if the proxy of greatness be no more than it's envy and duplication, his one true Father.
A century or a second later he was back in his blessed body, the tonnage of his physicality an earthly anchor to this mortal realm.
With a twist of his three heads he looked with his benighted senses upon his slaves works and he was satisfied.

Kneeling in concentric circles, starting with his own coterie of Blessed Sorcerer's. Eight of the most powerful mortal psykers ever to be blessed by the Pantheon. Chained by sixty four bone forged links to these mighty deification of his faith were eight powerful Primaris Psyker's, each the most potent servants of their cloisters. Linked to each of these Primaris's were a further eight loyalist adepts of the arts till finally mewling meat sacks of wasted potential ringed them all in a throng of eight to it's Unholy power.
A conclave of real meaning and edification, yet it felt, inadequate.
To a being, he no longer could think of himself as human or even trans-human, of his glory perhaps the stars themselves should be on their knees to him.
Still he felt whole again after his taste of the void, blessed and revived yet there was proverbial fly in his ointment, a thorn in his side, a song without key.

His Protege looked on with stoic incomprehension, he could not divine the need that Mor,lo,Shablak had felt to cleanse himself of the filth that he had ingested, to purify this physical temple to the Pantheon and re-anoint his mortgaged soul with it's faith.

Ja'Henr'Phalx contemplated his refreshed Lord and Master and felt...jaded. In his centuries long existence he had prayed harder, trained more diligently and fought more ferociously than any of his rivals all in the name of the Pantheon and power. Only now as he neared the apex of his journey he saw that there were mountains he had yet to climb, mountains of knowledge and gulfs of ignorance he had to traverse and he could see his guiding light, his mentor slipping into the madness all the truly blessed were prone too. Had he come this far only to be failed by one mighty than he could dream, to his path to greatness block by the titanic body of his teacher as it fell, dragging him and his order with it?

Clearing his throat he led the remainder of his body guard and the choir his master had summonsed in blessed voice, revealing for perhaps the first time in his long twisted life his true feelings, subtlety by the choice of psalm and dirge he recited.

Mor,lo,Shablak floated on his wings, held gently aloft by the winds of the warp taking the benediction of warp blessed choir and his Chosen's prayers. He sensed the unease in Ja'Henr'Phalx and the queries that lay behind his praying tongues.
When the candles of human fat had burnt themselves to their twain he raised his massive blade to the stars to order stillness.
In his three voices as one sang the hymn "Glory to The Word", not a soul in the room, ancient or otherwise could not be but roused to faith.

"You have enquiries you wish to make?" he directed to Ja'Henr'Phalx, it was not a question but a permission.

Ja'Henr'Phalx nodded, he did not bow, he looked around at the gathering as if to ask if it was safe to speak, here of all hollies.

"Speak on Exalted of the Burning Candle, these minion will soon learn the truth of the Word if that is the will of the Word"

Again Ja'Henr'Phalx nodded and stood as if ready to deliver a battle field sermon, feet planted wide and his hands clasped to the small of back.
"Sire I saw occurred when you consumed the corpse-god followers skull, it diminished you for but a blink of the eye but diminished you none the less. You have called this conclave of blessing to revive what was lost, to renew and reaffirm but why? How did a long dead skull of an Astarte have such an effect on one so sacrosanct to the Pantheon?"

Mor,lo,Shablak heard the questioning behind the enquiry, Have the Gods withdrawn their favour of you? Have your blessing finally turned to curse? Are you Weak?

A terrible, burning anger detonated to life within his bloated form, wings spread, heads a flame with the onyx fire of the warp he sent a pulse of that hate along Soul Reaper, his mighty chain blade and it flared to eager life.
Did this insignificant whelp, this worm, this speck of dust, this molecule of filth dare to challenge him?

With his bale eye pulsing with warp bleed he bored into Ja'Henr'Phalx, his gaze peeling the very soul of his sub-ordinate to seek the hidden truths - of which there were none, oh there was doubt but no sense of treachery or challenge.

His wrath some what mollified he eased his gaze back to the heavens, his arms thrice spread wide as he spun on the aether winds of his power.

"A fair enquiry, if some what crudely put, I sense in you a lack of faith in me, so let me enlighten you. Ja'Henr'Phalx, Exalted of the Burning Candle, an ancient Order from a time before the truth of the word was revealed to our father. What does the Burning Candle illuminate?"

Ja'Henr'Phalx rose from his knees, the sheer magnitude of hate that his Lord had piled upon with that single look had cracked his armour and splintered bone, shorn skin from muscle and rent blood from a thousand small cuts. Meaningless to a warrior of his might but still the sting of pain brought a realisation, he passed yet another test one he knew not he had been challenged with.

It took a second for even his trans-human brain to adjust from the concussive force of his Lord's stare, shaking his head he had began answering even before his brain had realised his voice was in action - "We illuminate the Dark with the Light of the Truth of the Word"

Every neophyte and quillion knew the parable of the blind priest and the burning candle, this humble allegory was the first of the myriad of steps that had to be learnt within his order.

"The truth that you would know is an ignorance not of your making, there is no chasm of learning that you have failed to delve, no scriptures that you could study that would guide you, least none in this realm. I ask you another question, and forgive me but I mean that you answer wrongly so I may guide you otherwise, think no less for this prolonging of your doubt though my son, you will learn all yea have need and more I warrant by the end of this exercise." There was now a kindness in Mor,lo,Shablak that had been absent from any of his previous teachings, it sat like a blanket over his words and this led Ja'Henr'Phalx to suspect, never fear, but suspect what horrors they were covering.

"Tell me of The Great Crusade, for what does your Order's scriptures have to say of this lost time?"

Ja'Henr'Phalx felt surprise at this question, he had never heard his Lord talk of these times, the days when demi-gods walked the stars and the truth was subverted and hidden for the vain glory of mere mortals and there carrion god. Though of course it would have been no carrion bait then, it would have walked and lied and spread it's unholy gospels in person. The Order of the Burning Candle was indeed a millennia old order, formed from a monastery on ancient Colchis. It's scriptures dated far far back into the annals of humanity's history on this giant world. Of the many volumes dedicated to the time of Lord Aurelian and his Holy trials and endeavours there were some that dealt with only the time recalled by most as The Great Crusade. Ja'Henr'Phalx as an Exalted of his Order had both permission and inclination to study these texts and had at great expense of time and blood, for the knowledge within the orders scriptures were oft guarded by hidden prayers and bound Neverborn guardians.

Ja'Henr'Phalx sent his mind deep within his spiritual librarius seeking the knowledge he sought. A cathedrals worth of words and phrases split out in a Tsunami of enlightenment, his to know and divulge.

Yet Ja'Henr'Phalx sensed that his Liege did not require or even desire to hear the past retold in any significant detail so he paraphrased and pruned and butchered his scriptures. At first in a halting voice as he struggled find the rhythm of the sermon he quickly gained confidence, striding and lifting his voice to the heavens.

"It was the time of Legends, a time when our Father and his brethren bestrode the galaxy. The false Emperor led his 18 sons from Terra outwards to reclaim the mortal realm though he used lies and false reason to try and parch it of faith and meaning. Many worlds were reclaimed into this falsehood and indeed it seemed that only Holy Colchis held to the true Faith. Led by the False Emperor into ever darker ignorance mankind seemed destined to fall until his humblest son, The Urizen himself, saw through his foul cloak of deceit and led a rebellion back to the light. Sadly only 8 other brethren saw the path back from destruction and sided with our Father - the remainder either hid from the horror of what needed to be done or were so beguiled by the corruption of the False Emperor that they could not see the path before them. The most lost of these sad, little souls was the Man of Stone, the rock on which the False Emperor erected his rotten Realm of Reason. The Emperor of Deceit led his few sons who could or would not see the folly of their course into Heresy and the galaxy burnt in war. Finally the Urizen's general, the Regal Horus led the Pantheon's armies into the cave of the beast it's self, Cursed Terra where he made the ultimate sacrifice and channelled the Pantheon's grace in totallis to render the Arch-Deceiver to near death. It was only by the foulest xeno tech that this gambit did fail and in shock and loss at the great sacrifice Noble Horus made the armies of The Urizen retreated unto the Eye to re-engage at times more suiting the prayers of the Pantheon."

The bitter betrayal of the Carrion God and his miss-leading of his noble sons into his Heretical thinking still brought a pain and sense of loss to Mor,lo,Shablak these many Millennia later. The facts of that time were long lost in the clouds of his memories, he could be dint of the application of power and great will recall them but it suited him that they remain lost and congealing.
It took a moment for him to resurface from his thoughts of betrayal and revenge, enough time for the present to reassert itself once more into primacy for his focus.
"A grand telling of a Dark Age my son, you honour the scriptures of your order well."

Ja'Henr'Phalx flinched, this was the second time that his Liege had called him his son, they were Master and Student, Priest and Parishioner but he had only one true father, did this mean that Mor,lo,Shablak felt he was on some kind of Par with the Urizen - such conceit, what folly of a kind that could only lead to the disapproval of the Pantheon and that meant death or worse.

Mor,lo,Shablak did not notice his slip, or the reaction it brought about, his entire self was given to the exhortation of the Word.
"As I said, a grand account but one that is flawed, oh of no fault of your or your Orders. Indeed many scriptures of that time are flawed in some small way, such was the times and such was the loss. No blame is to be held unto you and yours for the blame lies with the Carrion Lord, the Arch-Betrayer himself who mastered lies as easily as he mastered the secrets of the flesh. There were in fact 19 sons created, noble or otherwise is a matter for much ecumenical debate among the Pantheon and it's legion of priests. The Lost Son was like his brethren a Primarch of immense power and led a legion of Astrates like none other, forget the rage of the Hounds or the patience of the Dusk Raiders, the nobility of the Angels or the tactical acumen of the Wolves, these Warriors were as close to ideal of the Astartes as any of us. They were close but they were flawed, so deeply flawed, so deeply that they were of no use to the Pantheon. They had a lack of faith that was soul deep, so when combined with beast that was their Primarch, well, they became a positive threat. Yet the False Emperor was ever learnt to folly and thus was the Legion of the Anathema sent out to the deep void and it's memory purged from record. It is only because of the erosion of my own recall, time is as damaging as it is a healer that I have forgotten the purge and can now recall what was once lost. Ironic. "
Mor,lo,Shablak could still feel the pain of the purging of those memories, they had been hidden by a fog of deceit and now they had been revealed, they were still painful. Recalling the days of yore were never pleasant, too much time had robbed the glory of it's colour, the taste of ancient victories now ash. The only remembrance that could stir eon aged emotion were all to do with his father and they were greying with time. His faith was strong, his belief vibrant, his convictions solid though in truth it was these that had guided his intellect the last dozen centuries. His past was a path now travelled and ignored and in ignorance it faded. There was too much of the now, the ever changing future to coerce and guide to dally in dusty chantries of the past.
Mor,lo,Shablak rose higher, his lesson about to be imparted in full, his voices blending in a disturbing sermon of love, hate and pity. "Tell me Ja'Henr'Phalx," who stirred with pride as the voices of his Liege said his name and then chastised himself for feeling such pettiness, "Have you see Legion warfare?"

Ja'Henr'Phalx growled, the Legions as Mor,lo,Shablak knew them had been shattered some ten thousand years or more. He had vast armies though, made up of the faithful and the misguided, he had led hosts of the Neverborn into battle and on nearby Juncipher V led five whole Chapters of the Word made up of hundreds of Orders with varied Dark Mechanicum assistance to glorious battle and victory. Indeed it was to victory, what could stand in the way of nearly 6000 faithful warriors of the word and their kin.

He stood tall and proudly told his Liege such.

Mor,lo,Shablak barked a scornful cacophony of a laugh at the hubris presented before him.

"My Father led nigh on 175,000 soldiers of the word, the Heralds of The Word, into battle. A million more faithful mortals manned the never sleeping great guns and the trench lines. The braying of the war horns from the Lords of Battle would deafen a man ten kilometres or more away, the ground shaking at their thunderous step. The dust rising up as the steel hosts rode forth would blot out the sun. We were Legion. "
"Now though, now those Legions are shattered, either by fate, or force or both. In our case we have splintered over dogma, over precept and tenent, over doctrine and creed till we are no better than the war bands of the Red Angel or the raiders of the Dead King."
In the cusp of his mighty claw he drew a spiralling arc that illuminated the space, a system, this system appeared in the colours of the warp. On this aether drawn map a single silver point appeared at the rim ward most Mandeville Point. Ja'Henr'Phalx's eyes had widend at the description of the Legions, such power at the hands of one being was intoxicating, with one such composition he could conquer a whole Segmentum of the Imperium, with 18...the galaxy would present little challenge. Now though his eyes narrowed, he recognised the jump point, it was where he had destroyed the invading ship and taken his prize, one that had caused his Lord to diminish and suffer. His eyes then sprung back open wide as the silver dot exploded and then re-emerged, as whole, then as three, then as twelve then as a whole fleet, then as a battle group and then as an Armada.
"Legion war, dead these ten long millennia, dead by the hands of the Arch-traitor Gulliman, dead by our own pettiness and hate. Legion war has returned, my the Pantheon save us or damn us it has returned."
   
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Clad in full war harness Morning Star, his honour blade drawn, point resting lightly on the deck of The Emperor's Glory his hands resting at ease of the lion headed guards. He stood at the eye of the Occulus, a massive window that opened from the main deck onto the void. He stood as if at the bow of an ancient Terran Oceania, eyes piercing into the void, seeking, hunting his target.
It was not the calling of the Silver Legion to fight this sort of war, they were deigned for other purposes but at their core they were Astartes, the best of Humanity and in truth they lived for this.

So far they had been only called upon to preform compliance, the bare minimum needed to secure a world and return it to the fold.
This time, this was personal. One of their own, a True Son and Great Captain had called for the destruction of a system in revenge, had called for their father to lead them in this most brutally glorious of deeds.

A shadow engulfed Morning Star, in it's embrace he was assailed by the cold of the void, only this time it warmed him and fed him. It's painful ice crept through him and focused him onto his task. He had missed this focus, this guidance.
He did not turn, only one being in creation had made him feel so complete, his Father.
Dressed in a suite of onyx enamelled armour, trimmed with gold and silver on the vembrances and greaves, one shoulder a massive lion's head roared his defiance, on the other a blind folded maiden's visage. Across his massive breast plate a set of silver scales were embossed, one scale held a feather, the other a sword. A cloak of silver mail spilled from his shoulders, a helm of hawk like lines sat mag locked to his belt. Held loosely in his right gauntlet was the spear, a massive three meter long weapon gifted by the Emperor himself, under slung of the blade a powerful las cannon hummed it's baleful snore.
On the other arm sat the Shield of Prime, a reinforced kite shield of adamantium, few were the beings who could wield it with the ease that his Lord did. Etched onto the massive silver shield was a jet black sun, it's corona made of lightening and spears, around it's edge were the several dozen battle honours that the shield had seen service in, there was painfully more space that had been left unscribed.

"We are to war then Sire". Morning Star invoked the old pact.
"We are to war then Son".
"Till victory or death"
"Till victory or death"

A simple, near paganistic ritual though both participants would cut any who dared say such a thing down. Simple and yet devastating, only twelve times in the Legions annals had it called upon the death of a system. Each had followed a bitter event, Galax V, The Cracked Lanes, Milos IV, Golothorian Gate, Karnel Minor.
Names that bled the blood of heroes.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The galaxy blinked and returned to the Golden Age of the Imperium in a burst of light. First came the Frigates and the Destroyers, in their hunting packs by the dozen storming forward to form a tight picket. Then came the Cruisers, Luna and Gothic Class forming the bulk, filling the void with their anger and their rage, a string of Dictator class formed an inner cordon. Then in this ballet of the colossi came the Leviathan's the Battle Ships of the Legion, they were as varied as they were deadly, the slab sided killers of the void, the Gloriana's and the Infernus's slotted into higher planar orbit's, the Invictus and the Imperator's held the virgin line and the Retribution and Dominus classes filled the primary.

The system, dismissively given only the prefix "T" for target, was surrounded.

The enemy had a "fleet", it was pointed at the Mandeville Point and at the first sign of incursion had fled inward to form a pathetic ring around the most inhabited planted.

Without a shot being fired, the system void space had been won. Truth be heard it would take weeks for the manoeuvres to be completed, for void war fare is a slow paced duel to the death. The enemy had forsaken their lines at the first warp tremors at the Point and the Legion knew it's business well, still for a full system enclosure it would be weeks.

Then came the Legion battle barges and troop ships, supplier and Mechanicus hawlers. It is said that the void is infinite, well system "T" now seemed crowded with aggressive intent and purpose.

"T" was made up of several planar bodies, a decent sized central solar, a few burnt husks covered in boiling gasses that held a few ancient mining stations long since abandoned.
The system Prime, designated "Alpha", was where the main body of the foe were located. The only notability that was entered into the Legion scriptures were the several very minor warp storms that held stationary Geo orbit, the smallest a couple of thousand kilometres wide the largest over the polar north nearly five times that length.
There was then three inter-orbitary locked class N planets. Each in essence barren rock with no atmosphere. However deep scans had revealed that each had several thousand life signs. These centred around large liquid bodies that were enhanced by high powered UV lights to generate an edible algae. This was mass produced, daily harvested and requiring little processing, fed both it's own farmers and Alpha's population. They were considered of little military threat and so designated "Gamma" status.
Finally lurking some 700 million kilometres from Alpha was Beta. A massive dead rock of a planet, the only breathable atmosphere provided by ancient archeo-tech. This however was lost beneath the layers of rusted adamantium and iron decking that sheathed the planet in a cocoon of decayed structure. The closest the logic engines of the Legion could compare them to were the noble Forge worlds of the Martian Empire yet this lacked the cohesive purpose with seemingly random and chaotic structures vying for supremacy.

In a conventional compliance Gamma would have been the prime target, threaten to cut the throat that feeds the stomach of the populus and thus win a war without fighting a war.
This however was not a compliance, this was a war of vengeance and as such there would be no Naval bombardment of Alpha into submission, no cyclonic torpedoes, no tetonic targeted missiles.
This was a fight that would be fought up close and very personal, this was to be a Legion fight.
The enemy after initial scans, and the Silver Legions previous deep void incarnation meant that it had perfected the art of deep scanning, led to only one conclusion. The enemy were a clear Primary threat, a corruption of Xenos and Human, a common plague found in these far flung systems, far fro the gaze of Imperial justice. True the threat was high, but so was the contamination, the humane was clear, the xenos an unknown, the result - Purgitation.

The Ancient had forgone his usual chassis and instead had plugged his sarcophagus into the heart of the Empire's Glory and it's many stratagem-machines. From this most formidable of beings, crushed and beaten unto death by an unknown deity yet with a will to live that had stretched to millennia, came a battle plan of ruthless efficiency.
His calculus and deep knowledge of the star craft guided the slab sided killers into the void and into the heart of victory.
Without flourish or embellishment he presented to his Lord his plans of conquest and annihilation. They were guaranteed to provide maximum destruction for minimum loss.
They were as cold as the hard silent logic that he longed to embrace, they meant victory and yet they were rejected.
Morning Star had come to rely on the Ancient for his impressive stratagems, they had led to victory after victory even in the cold dark.
Yet his master denied them, with a single shake of his great head and a barely contained sneer he countermanded the killing blow.
With a nod to the Ancient the Dark Sun strode forth into the centre of the Statergarium, activating a fleet wide vox link.
"This, this is not an act of the machine, this is an act of humanity, raw and beautiful, terrible and cruel, powerful and needful." With another nod of acknowledgement to the Ancient " My thanks for your works Ancient One but now gird yourself for war, this will be our Legions rebirth in this Age. This is a new time that we now walk in, this enemy before us has been singled by one of our own as worthy of extinction. My sons you have been led by heroes, you have claimed victories beyond count, you are the Empires Angles of Death. I know that too most of you I am a lost myth, yet hear me now, I am reborn, as you will be reborn. From the ice of the void we have come, vengeful and glorious. This is but one system, one foe, yet we are a singularity of purpose that can not be defeated. We do not fear because we are fear incarnate. Our is an ancient curse, one that is all but forgotten in this modernity" then in a sudden roar fit for the thunder of the venerable Warriors of Lightening " WE SHALL MAKE THEM REMEMBER, WE ARE THE EMPEROR'S LEGION, WE ARE IS SPEAR, WE ARE HIS DOOM".
















   
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Hmm, not sure what to make of the Primarch. Is he evil. has he come to save the Imperium? who knows. All I know is this is good fluff.

Come into my web, said the spider to the fly.
Come rest your wings, and let us talk eye to eye.
For I am a spider, and you are the fly. Now that you are here, let us sit, and say hi.
But I have have no morsel to share, nor anything to eat. But wait, what is that stickiness upon your feet.
Ah now I have you, now I can eat. Now I can enjoy you, or store you as meat.
For I am the spider, and you are the fly. How else could it have gone, between one such as you, and one such as I.
 
   
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The sky rained fire and brimstone, admantium and ash. This was war on a scale not seen in this galaxy for ten millennia.
This was as an unholy a revelation as ever Ja'Henr'Phalx had faced.
He had pledged his soul and his blade to the Pantheon with his first words, he had fought against the host of xenos that polluted this galaxy, from the hordes of the green skins to the scions of the ancient and dead gods of metal. He had fought tooth and claw, las, bolter, power maul and more exotic foe and gained glorious victory.
He had faced the minions of the Carrion-God in all their deluded multitudes on hundreds of occasions, he had hunted them in the stars and on their miserable Hive worlds. All he had ever brought was death and ruination, the burning pyres of his fallen foes would have blinded the gods themselves.
He had faced the wrath of their vaunted Adeptus Astartes, the loyal sons of a dying creed, and triumphed. Their's was ever a personal war against the Word and the Primordial Truth but one that he had emerged victorious time and time again.
This though was war beyond his scope of perception, this was his own art form, one he had deemed mastered and tamed, unleashed in monstrous and ancient ways.
He stood upon the Balcony of Sinners in the Basilica of Bone watching the sky burn and all his master's plans burn and in his beating hearts he knew that it was glorious.
They had created in this sector what should have been a bastion of faith that would have warded any Imperial intervention. They had not foreseen this, they could not have foreseen this, but yet again the Word would not be denied and he admitted the truth, perhaps not all of them could have foreseen this, but his Master should have.
Mor,lo,Shablak, his Lord and Master, as blessed by the Pantheon as was possibe and remain sane. His power was unquestionable, his visions unheralded. He had led them to crux of glory and now was it possible to their terminus.
Sajniun Holt, the Ferous planet was a burning wreck, the last transcriptions that the star scribes received from their twisted brethren were of a wave of armour and bodies pouring through the entry ports into the Dark mechanicus's secret chambers. The fighting would be apoplectic but with his battle knowledge he knew that the enemy would win out.
Now, here, he saw his own doom and in truth he revelled in it. He was a loyal son of Logar, a father whom he had never seen but he was faithful and in that faith he saw the Truth. The truth of this war was that they were out gunned, out numbered and out manoeuvred. He had read the scriptures of the enemy as laid down by the gainsayer Gulliman, how the "modern" Astartes should enact, and these just plain ignored them.
The void war, far above, had been ably composed by his Legionnaires, he had endorsed their plans personally and they had been blown apart as chaff to the wind. His guilt was like a hurricane, tearing his soul apart but he sat within the eye, watching himself being torn apart.
Turning his back on the fire streaked sky he marched back to his Lords atrium, here, where he should have answers, he expected none. Again in his belief to the Word and to the Truth he knew that his master had reached too far, had delved too deep and accepted one to many blessings from the Pantheon. He feared that his master had tipped past the apex, though pure of faith he was now engorged with the gifts of the Gods and slipping fast into holy madness.
Still he had bent knee and sworn oaths, so he marched to see his Lord and he had never felt before, he feared the worse.

Mor,lo,Shablak floated on the winds of the aether with his mighty wings aloft. All three of his heads smiling a grimace of pre-ordained acceptance. This was beyond his prayers, here was the ancient past made real, here was his own childhood revisited in actuality.
10,000 years, such a long time, a epoch, a dozen or more "ages", his life. How long had he had control of it though? He had given his oaths and his service to the Auralian so long ago. How long did an oath of servitude last? For the undeserving applicant who was deemed still worthy of servitude, a decade? , two or three at most as serf. To a loyal menial who preformed adequately, perhaps an infusion of minor never-born and metal, a century or more.
A powerful Astartes Chaplin, learned deep in the Dark Lore, blessed by the Pantheon and a great deal of luck- a millennia or more.
Mor,lo,Shablak had lived 10 of these and more - he had had his fair share of luck but truly he had had the grace of the gods. Perhaps now was his time to join his brethren from the Long War, to let his soul drink deep within the Great Ocean.
Yet for his antiquity he did not want to die, that small part of him that was human, even one as transcended as he there remained a kernel of filthy humanity, he wanted to live.
The greater part, the loyal son, the Prince, the Herald of the Word, that glorious being saw not desperation but validation and more importantly opportunity.
He was watched as his aide Ja'Henr'Phalx marched into the chamber, ever militant, ever loyal, every blind to the whispers of the Gods.
Ja'Henr'Phalx stood firm against the aether winds, his damaged face stern and uncompromising.

Mor,lo,Shablak again wondered at these new pilgrims, Ja'Henr'Phalx had been a child raised within the eye on a Cathederal world orbiting Holy Sicarus. Raised in the faith and of the faith he would have been tested and found strong. He would have been tested in the pits and the scriptoriums till his flesh failed and his mind yielded. Then he would have been judged and deemed worthy undergone due process. He would have raised high and drawn low and once bequeathed all that his Chapter could bestow allowed to continue his pilgrimage in greater stead.
Yet did he really, truly understand his calling, or was he a weapon of such perfection that the route to true enlightenment would be blinded by the glint of the ever victorious blade.
He would probably never know but he had served loyally these last centuries and had shown glimpses of the possibility that he could be a student worthy of the name.

Mor,lo,Shablak thought he would once more try and prise open the bolter case of his aide's soul and show him the blessings of the Pantheon.
"Ja'Henr'Phalx you are witnessing a rebirth..."

Ja'Henr'Phalx spat onto the floor, it's stone hissing as the acidic phlegm ate at the intricate carving.
"I am witnessing no more that the death throes of all we have striven for, all you have ordained is failing about you and all our mighty leader can do is pontificate in his magnificence."

The bitterness with which his protege laid into his sermon enlivened Mor,lo,Shablak who rose to his full titanic height, wings unfurled and a beam of pure warp essence cascaded between his three heads up to the stairs.

In a deafening choral rant Mor,lo,Shablak sang of his great plan, his vision, his destiny. As his psalm reached a crescendo he brought the full power of his being down on the hapless Ja'Henr'Phalx.
"Boy, now do you see? now is the veil ripped from your eyes? These are the dead relics of a soulless time, the epitome of that faithless age. Yes they are powerful, yes they are numerous and by the Eight yes they are deadly but they are ultimately doomed as the cursed remnants of a dead age. They are Legion, but what leads such a beast? Only one thing in creation ever led such a thing. Others had the numbers and managed them, guided them, lied to them but one and only one thing ever led them. Do you not see? Are you still clouded by the dust of petty victory?"

Ja'Henr'Phalx balked at the essence as his Lord unleashed the strength of his being, he was forced to one knee as he battled against the winds of the aether. His Lords ramblings though were a sermon that he could not ignore, they nailed him to a cruciform of thought and pounded him with hammer blows of belief. And he saw...

In a reverent whisper, saved for the last breath of lovers, in little more than a devotional hymn spilt from a dying sinners lips - "Primarch".

Mor,lo,Shablak laughed with insanity, insight and pleasure at the scales falling from his works eyes. "Aye my son, a Primarch. Who else could lead a Legion ? More significant though is which Primarch? We know of the Arch-Traitor's return but he is safely caged the other side of the Great Divide by his blessedly pestilent brother. The Wolf? Hawk? Raven? no, not their time. This presence is lost upon me and that means only one, The Dark Sun returneth."
He breathed deeply, filling his triple lungs with the flow of the warp, pulling deep into his reserves his very essence, he knew he would need every shred of it.

"What did our gloriously blessed father fail to do Ja'Henr'Phalx? Of all the great and holy achievements he accomplished what simple act did he never accomplish that indeed only one of his brethren ever did?"

Ja'Henr'Phalx was visibly shaking, the power that was leaking off Mor,lo,Shablak like the sweet dew in the dawn he was forced to endure and soak up. His mind reeling with revelation upon revelation was close to cracking, but he forced his warriors iron will to contain, to control, to conquer. The last, what was the last, the Great Aurellian fail to do? nothing, he had saved the Galaxy from the Carrion-King and his misguided lies and deceptions. That only one brother had ever achieved? Swirling possibilities fought accross his soul, draining him, lifting him, invigorating him.

Only one? One, no two - two but singular, one, ONE, one, kill, none shall be blessed, slay, rend, one, Blessed above none, slaughter, Only one.

From the choas came knowledge, or rather the cohesion of knowledge - only one brother had been guilty of this crime, blessed with the accreditation of a duel sentence he had been of late be partially redeemed.

Fratricide.

Mor,lo,Shablak laughed again " See, See" he commanded "The path of the eight fold now leads such opportunity to our door, I will sink blade and claw into one of the Carrion Gods own blind sons and revel in the flow of the anathema's son's blood. I will do what our Father could not, should not, would not, I will slay a Primarch and bring a whole Legion to the Pantheon's truth."


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


The Silver Legion marched, with honour and glory through the dirt and the mud, the smoke and the blood. The realisation of what they were fighting slowly dawned on the Legion, it spread like a fever, hot and raging. This was not a strand of humanity contaminated by Xeno's blood, this was there own.
It felt wrong, even the idea that such a thing could happen was as alien as the xeno's that lept out of the very air at them, jabbering wildly in low and high gothic about a million things that made no sense.
Morning Star led the First chapter as was his right, his privilege and his honour. He did so the same way he wielded his blade, with a fearful efficiency and brutal elegance. When ever he met more than a token of resistance he applied the subtlest touch of force in just the right point and the foe were crushed.
Yet he could not grasp the fact that these had once been Astartes, they were devolved and base with.. he had no other word but corruption.
There mark of armour was far in advance of his own but it was foul and weak in places where his less developed but was at least honest and strong where it needed to be.
They fought as he knew Astartes could fight, tough and deadly, they had accounted for more men than he had lost for many a campaign but at their heart was something missing.
It was not hyperbole they were lacking though, these fighters, he would not deem them warriors, were all singing a constant stream of verse and curse.
It was some 5 hours into the battle when The Ancient voxed Morning Star on the command channel.
Activating the rune with a thought pulse he connected to The Ancient.
Spinning his blade he parried a wild swing from a power mace wielding abomination in red armour and riposted with an economic thrust to the throat. A random piece of exposed bone, perhaps a horn or some other xenos growth, had grown from the foes's chest and against all normal logic sprouted further up to deflect the death strike into the things pauldron. The power field tore a terrible scar down the side of the pauldron and Morning Star went with the blow and forced the great blade down, chopping the arm from his foe. No natural blood flowed from what for a mortal would have been a mortal wound, instead a sluggish purple ooze slipped down along with a foul smelling oily black smoke quickly evaperated. The beast still held it's over sized mace in one hand and with a roar of xenos hatred lashed back at the Legion Master's head.

"Legion Master, I have..." The Ancient's voice was as dead as a servitors, though the sound of fierce battle could be heard in the back ground.

"A second Ancient One" Morning Star apologised, damn these twisted things, the greater the xenos influence the longer it took to kill them.

Ducking under the mace's head he used his momentum to sweep low and pierce the enemy through the stomach, for a second the great blade met resistance against the superior armour and then the relics power field burst through.

For the first time in this encounter the thing actually voiced something resembling pain and Morning Star grimaced, it was an all too human sound.
He twisted his blade so allow it to slip back out and as he rose back to his full height he ripped the blade through the foul things helm, tearing it loose and horrendously scarring the already battered face beneath.
It shrieked but too true to it's form did not fall, even though it was half blinded it was still wildly swinging it's heavy headed mace.
Morning Star, paused, spun the blade through 90 degree's and beheaded the damn thing, not even an Astarte could function without a head.

"Apologies old friend, please go ahead."

If The Ancient detected any tiredness in his Master's breathing, fighting these bastards was hard going, he did not give voice to the thought.

"I have been analysing the foes pattern of defence and behaviour and have drawn a logical if primary conclusion" The Ancients dead voice betrayed nothing but it was clear from the sounds being picked up from the vox relay he was in the heart of battle, where he both loved and loathed to be.

Morning Star sighed, for once he wished that his Tactical Master would be brief - he had spotted three of the enemies tanks, a rude class of Predator, cresting over what remained of a housing block.
With another thought pulse he high lighted the three tanks to his nearest Devastator squad and trusted them to the task.

"What conclusions have you drawn?"

"We are fighting a degenerate version of the Astarte's gene form..."

Morning star was already directing an assault strike on a bunker three hundred meters ahead, he could hear Davidus laughing as he plummeted straight down with his huge thunder hammer already glowing.
A second cohort of the xenos crossbreeds, this time with standard mortal stock, numbering just under a hundred were racing to engage his own command squad. They were armed with the ubiquitous las rifle of Army stock as well some cumbersome locally produced belt fed heavy slug shooters.

"I believe I am aware of this abomination Ancient One"

He nodded his head and his command squad, ten legends of the Legion, each a towering warrior of suberb skill clad in the Legions finest Cataphracti Armour lumbered to engage.
Morning Star dismissed the rabble from the account, they were as good as dead.

A sudden roaring explosion indicated to him that at least one of the in coming tanks had been dealt with.

"I have also analysed there incessant screaming of...words" The Ancient actually sounded offended, the Legion fought with roars of rage and honest hatred, they did not chant or sing in battle, though Davidus and his Elite Vanguard were known to mock the foe this was an idosyncracy of his nature not a rule of the whole.
"They are praying at us My Lord, they are invoking the wrath of their 'Gods' at us and damning our 'souls'"

How little they know us thought Morning Star before another thought occurred "How do you know this? Surely you have not had time to translate their xenos language already?"

"I have had no need My Lord, I realised early on that I already knew it, or at least a finer less corrupted form of it. They are speaking Cholchisian, or at least a direct sub-dialect of that noble tongue."

Morning star paused, the screaming and the explosions of tanks dimmed, Cholchisian - these were once loyal brethren of the Imperial Heralds, his brethren.

Davidus's vox icon flashed up and with a thought Morning Star activated it.

"I just heard what The Ancient said," a roar of his jump pack lifted out the debris of ferrocete and steel that was all that remained of the bunker obliterated his next words "but those 12th fanatic have always been fracking loyal"

Morning Star had to acknowledge his First Chapter Master assessment, if not his choice of words, the 12th, Lorgars scions were the most loyal to the Emperor of all the Legions, if scuttle but were to be given credence they went as far as venerating the Emperor as a near deity.
He had sparred with Lorgar, drank with him, there was not a Son who was more loyal, not even the Stone man had the genuine love for their father that Lorgar had. He was more loyal than his own father he thought ashamed at the truth of it.

Morning Star fixed his gaze on the massive bone structure that dominated the skyline of the city at sat at it's heart like a caged tumour.

"I want some bloody answers, all units converge on my mark..."
   
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What is done in the dark will brought into the light...
With these words the worm spittle dragged a Legion into infamy and sent a legend into the great dark of a race's memory to be the Forgotten.

Now though, 10 millennia later, so many life times adrift from the love a father, now though he had returned and returned ton a dark, dark age.
And he was glad, it was for the darkness that he was made, oh it was true he was no natural nocturnal like his brothers the Raven or the Haunter.
He had an affliction to the night that was deeper that any sinew or skill.
They made the night their cloak, their terror, they could skulk within and manipulate the darkness, enveloping within it and sharpening it to a blades edge.
He could do none of these things, that was not his genius.
He was not made to live, fight and conquer in the darkness, he was the darkness.
He was what the first man created fire to banish, what the first wise man ranted against, what the first and last religions prophesied for their sinners.
It always amused him, as much as mirth ever touched him beyond the superficial understanding that it put others at ease, that his brother in darkness, Konrad, hated him so much.
He recalled their first meeting, Konrad standing skeletal still and pale, his ripped cloak flapping about him, his talons clacking against his thighs.
Morning Star sauntering past with an ease he himself never truly felt among his own fraternity. Konrad raised a hand in acknowledgement then dropped it in haste.
Those piercing eyes had latched on too him as stepped out of the Towers archway, from the darkness. A sudden shock at surprise, Konrad had no notion that he had been present, none of them ever did, and then a look of confusion then hate, oh such hate.
Konrad had said nothing, just spun on the spot and stalked off, his shoulders hunched and his long arms hugging himself.
Years later Fulgrim had told him that this was probably the only time in Konrad's life that two things unexpected had happened to him, one he had failed to sense the presence of another being and secondly the pain of head aches and future visions had dissipated like tears in the rain.
Such was the sense of emptiness at the loss of his precious pain, one the few things that Konrad felt were truly his, that he hated him ever since.
Their Legions had never fought in the Great Crusade together, though that was true of the majority of the Legions fore it was not long after that the Emperors lackey spun his lies and weaved his deceptions and had him and his sons banished.
Yet that was history, as he could never really take to mirth he could never really feel hate or any of the other so called 'human' emotions.
Apart from love, oh he had felt that and been damned for it as surely as he had been banished.
Here and now he stood, his honour of True Sons were ranged about him, each armed and armoured according to their tastes. The presence of so many Son had caused several servitors to cease working, simply stalling in their mono-programmed functions. None of the mortal crew of the 'Glory could bear to be within the launch hold, several dozen had tried to assist but under the pressure of such a gathering their resolves had been broken and they had fled.

Stretching his arms wide, in one hand he held the Emperor's Truth, his mighty spear, in the other the Shield of Prime. In a voice soft yet filling the cavernous hold he held forth, "True Sons, none have never been named more fair. Within each of us is a gift that is given to precious few. Now we have a chance to exercise this gift. Your glorious Leader, my Morning Star, has called forth total war upon this foul system and I find it good. My honourable Morning Star has led you well these long years and has marked upon this Legion well. He now calls for you to mark this world for him, shall we oblige this call?"
His son's as one punched their breast plates twice, once above each heart, and raised their clenched fist in the old salute of Union. Others of their Legion would have wrathfully cheered their assent or called for blood, but such emotions were not for the True Sons.

Horus had called him the Dark Sun, when ever he rose and spread shadows the coldness of death was spread. He had felt at the time a pride at the name, now it meant as dust. He still held the name of Horus as brother, but also as honest betrayer.
Horus knew what he was and knew that the worm scum Malicador's words were as false as his order but he could not stand against their Father. When he Father had banished him, deemed him the forgotten son, the omitted one, Horus has knelt in acknowledgement. Great and noble Horus had neither the wit or the wisdom to face their Father for his beloved brother, he had allowed his kin to be banished and branded such was his loyalty to their father.

A nova burst of memory, cold and bright, tore forth, a hall, the Hall, his brothers sat in judgement, in witness. Not all, his friends were absent - busy on the business of the Crusade no doubt. Those who sat were his brothers all, accusers and judges, harbingers of his fate. His Father, absent as well in his stead stood his human worm, his lackey Malicador.
No brethren in Stone or Iron, no Hawk or Raven or Death Lord. The master of Fire was also absent, thankfully.
In their stead sat Konrad, manically triumphant, Magnus relieved though pained still be on the planet as he. A bored looking Red Angel, a sad looking True Angel. The Lion looking regal though his confusion was obvious to those who knew him best. Alpharius had sent a proxy who sat in the back making no comment. The Wolf prowled about, snapping at growling, his doubts at this convention tearing his soul as clear as the thunder inside. Lorgar sitting in terrible anticipation, not of this matter, his constant glances at the gateway, he was needing his Father to guide him, to show him the way. Ferrus stood erect and bristling, his anger barely in check at the waste of precious time in the Crusade.

Reality speared memory and his True Sons were lowering their salutes. Alarms were being to voice and the rune signifies in his helm were activating.
With a blink he removed reality and delved once more into lore.

Horus stood as prosecutor, his eyes were filled with honest tears as he read what he knew to be false but could not be proved as such and, and, their Father had decreed.
Gulliman sat hunched at the inglorious nature of this hearing, no precedent to guide him, no rules to frame his reaction.
So it was with these fellows that he was judged wrong, most knew it but they were loyal to their Father and when their judgement was read it Konrad laughed, the Red Angel yawned and Magnus sighed in relief.
When Morning Star walked into the court, unarmed though unbroken, all eyes were down cast. He took hold his gene-sire's arm and led him away, his head held high.
As he passed Horus he looked him direct in the eye, an act that had cost many their sanity, shook his head in disappointment and walked on.
Arm in arm they reached the halls doors and from behind them came a lamentor's howl, joined by a roar of rage and a cackle of vindication.
Dark Sun turned his head and for the first time spoke in his defence "I am but my Fathers Son".

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/07/31 00:26:36


 
   
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Mor,lo,Shablak flew above this last millennia's work and saw that it was ash and it was good. He could feel the essence of the planet come under attack, tetonic plates folded and volcanic flows were disrupted from their eon long tides.
He had been viewing this world in such small terms - his vision blinded if he were honest by his own ties to sanity and earthly pride.
From the south he sensed a threat, three Sky Lances tore through the cloud cover. These ancient relics of a bye gone era were enough to bring a warp born tear to his eye.
Even he with his long life had never seen such ancient glories fly, he raised his clawed hand in salute, this was a page of history come to life before him and he would not desecrate this moment with callous obliteration.
From within he heard the vox transmissions within the ancient gunships, calling him xenos and primus target. The fact that he was a primus target was only to be expected but this was not the first time in this battle that he had been referred to as a foul xenos. Such an accusation could only be answered in blood.
From the nose cones of the gunshups protuded large bore las cannons, on each wing a set of twin linked heavy bolters were encased. With a roar they matched their thoughts with action and launched their ordance straight at him.
The first sun bright burst tore past him, the second and third struck true only to be swallowed by the warp shields he instinctively threw up.
The same happened with the tornado of shells from the heavy bolters, all either detonated wide or were swallowed by his superbably crafted warp shields.
None reached his glorious being enough to test his twisted and ancient armour.
He watched as the three gunships flew in a wide arc, each covering the other, the piloting was perfect, the tactic explict to his down fall.
They had no answer when he called down warp born lightening from the clear sky, each bolt tore through the cockpit of each gunship killing the pilot and crew with contemptous ease.
Even as the ships corkscrewed to their ordained though reluctant elimination Mor,lo,Shablak turned his attention back to his Bascilla of Bone.
The ebb and flow of battle meant that there would be a reckoning at it's gates and he would not be found wanting.
With a flap of his pinions he launched himself back to where it had all begun, to battle with his fate once more.

Ja'Henr'Phalx swatted away the powerful blow of another silver armoured warrior's chain axe. It turned the deflect into an artful spin and chop. The first warrior he had faced several hours ago had done the same and he was then untutored in the fluid style of these dogs warring. That first encounter had cost him a painful tutorial through the thigh and near deadly lesson to the throat. Now though he was learned and as the warrior spun he countered with a less than graceful dive backwards. The warriors attack found only air and Ja'Henr'Phalx countered with a barrage from his bolt pistol. It's detonations were mostly deflected from the warriors armour but two tore through it's gorget, the resulting explosions tore the helm free.
No longer to his surprise Ja'Henr'Phalx saw that the warrior within was not dead, life clung tenaciously to these warriors, and he swept his powered blade down to finish the task.
Even as the warriors head toppled free Ja'Henr'Phalx was looking past his foe, there were ever more approaching the Basicalla's gates.
These were warriors supreme and by the markings and armour he had yet to face their elite, more vexing to his choler was that he knew that amongst this host was a being of true antiquity, a being of power that he knew he was no match, this foe held a remnant of the Horus Rebelion Age, a Primarch.
Ja'Henr'Phalx had never heard his gene-Sire preach, he was not blessed to have ever been to the Citadal of Truth, to see with his own eyes the perfection that was the Golden Aurelian.
He stood at the Basicalla's gates, he stood where he had been commanded and he knew that it was foolish. His own Chapters nobility stood ready, they had defended against several probing attacks, the last had cost him his Champion, his Ancient and his Bannerman. Gal'Val'Poras, the Chapters most learned Dark Apostle was sucking air through a perferated lung but still spouting the doctrine of hate that inspired the remainder of his force.
Arrayed against him he saw a spear head of such over agression that he could not but admire it. Such a focus of militaristic purpose combined with a discipline to it's execution fired his warriors heart. He was honest enough to note that his own warriors could never have emulated their opposition, their own priorities were schewed, they had forgotten their prime tennant of being, to make war. They were crusaders, zealots and preachers. They had transcended their primary purpose as guardians of the flock to become the shepherd them selves. This was a noble and honourable path they trod, they led humanity away from the darkness of the carrion-king and into the light fo the Pantheon.
Yet this path had led them away from what they now faced, they were now ten thousand years down this path, ten thousand years evolved from their foe.
What they now faced was a purity that he despised, it was a limted, infantile purity, a dedication to a road travelled no more in this Galaxy. These silver warriors were simply that, warriors. They had no other purpose or calling but to fulfill their warlords will. They were without purpose beyond the execution of orders - they did their bidding till the rivers run red.

The heavy mist of cordite and other more exotic ordance spread before the gate, ever present in humanity's wars for as long man fired his anger at his enemies.
From within a figure emerged, a heavy power sword trailing in one yellow and black gauntled hand, it's chain mail cloak spread wide on aether born winds. It was clad in ancient silver embossed armour. A helm bearing a captains crest proclaimed his rank, his multitude of oath papers his divinity and the covering of gore his leathality.
Ja'Henr'Phalx knew that this was his test, his lord and master would face this one's own master but here and now he was ordained to be tested. A smile tore his features afresh, he lowered his own blade in imitation of his foes and strode forth, the Gods were known to have a mocking sense of humour and he would endulge it.

The blades flickered faster than mortal eye could see, Ja'Henr'Phalx was freely sweating. It was taking every ounce of his not inconsiderable skill to hold his own. Within seconds of their blades clashing he realised that for the first time in centuries he was out classed. Yet his faith was strong and he knew that victory would be his, he had fought and slain many of the Carrion-Gods blind champions, he knew that the Pantheon would prevail.
What was disconcerting as he strained his sinew was that he could see that his opponent was not totally focused on this fight, with a twitch of head, a flick of his neck, a shrug of his shoulder he could tell that his foe was engaged in several vox contacts. He had blinked his own feeds queit when the fight had started, he realised that the distraction would have been foolish.
A crashing back hand sweep nearly sent him flying and he berated himself for his own distraction, this was but one warrior of the Dead Empire and he was a Lord of the Word. He bore the blow on his blade and ingnored the pain feed back from his gauntlets as the sparks burnt new scores afresh in them.

Leaping back he kicked a stray helm at the warrior who had paused like a statue, it's head cocked to one side.
"Cease your useless chattering Imperial dog, come fight me, test your paltry faith against mine", he whirled his sword back round to the en-garde poise.
With his other hand he flicked several frag grenades in front of his foe, the resulting explosion sent a wave of shrapnel in a tsunami at the silver clad warrior.
The metal shards tore through it's silver chain cloak but the brusied flare of a power shield showed where the vast majoruty were absorbed. One piece though, one among the thousands, had the guiding of the higher powers, it tore a holy trajectory right into the left eye lens of the Champions helm. It stuck in their, an ingnoble obstrusion to it's fair frame.
With a shrug of it's shoulders, followed by a definate flick of the head to one side Ja'Henr'Phalx knew he had gained the full attention of his foe.

Spinning his own blade before him into a two handed grip he edged away to the warriors left, hoping to use the now literal blind side to his advantage.

For the first time the silver warrior spoke "Fine, bastard scion of Colchis you have yelped and whined for my attention like a pathetic runt of Russ, well you have it." It's voice was cold, hard and pure though more surprising it was it flawless ancient Colchisan.
With a disdaining flick of his wrist the warrior plucked the offending shrapnel from it's eye piece, the tip raw with blood.
"How would your Father feel knowing that his brood had fallen so far from his path, I mean you are here consorting with foul xenos, how far could you fall?" There was such genuine revulsion in that noble voice and from what Ja'Henr'Phalx could detect, such innocence.

"Warrior I know not your heraldry, though your loyalty to that False God is clear. Before I flay the very soul from you tell me who you are and what..Legion you serve?" Ja'Henr'Phalx remained crouched and backing away to the left, he was willing to once more indulge, the words of his own master still seared his own soul - to claim the heart of Legion for the Pantheon. Perhaps he could begin with superb bladesmaster.
"We consort with no xenos, we have mastered the very gods of the universe" he teased out with a flick of his blade, that was contempously battered to one side by his foe with a one handed riposte.
"You have not an accent of Colchis on your tongue, nor do you have their blade work in your hand. You speak as a slave, a slave in darkness to the Imperial Truth..." The silver warriors voice was born to orate, yet it never patronised.
Ja'Henr'Phalx sent a two handed sweep at the champions legs, only to cut air as with a delicate step the foe avoided the attack.
One of Ja'Henr'Phalx's few surviving coven had been battered to one side by a massive creature dressed in bastardised tatical dreadnought armour, his flying corpse swept between him and his foe. Ja'Henr'Phalx ducked and drove forward, only to find air.
In his foulest dreams he had never faced a warrior so skilled, so honest in his intention and so pure of purpose. With a curse that would have defiled many a chamber of the Last Born.
In a clear condemenation of his life his chosen foe lambasted him again from behind, "You have failed the teachings of your own father, you have danced to the shadow realm's tune and that can only lead to madness".
A sensation that he was born too, lived with, and knew all to well burst afresh across his back, pain. This was pure pain, no learning was to be gained from it, no power, no insight, only the knowledge that he had been cut, deep and probably fatally. Ja'Henr'Phalx spun with his guard up, grunting with the effort. Before him stood a glowing figure, power sword swept up in grace, judging him and finding him wanton and degraded.
Through that bleeding, one eyed gaze revelation was born, he was doomed.
He tried to lunge forward, the prayers of redemption and revenge were hot on his chapped lips. He knew now that he would never defeat this warrior nor would he ever teach him to walk the truth pathway...
The warrior parried the lunge, turning the desperate power behind it to one side and dropping to one knee slipped his own blade through the recividist's neck. With a practised twist he beheaded the foe and stood looking once more to the wider battle.
A stern voice in his vox alerted him to his Lords presence and he went to acknowledge this when he noticed that he had lost an eye.
With a growl he spun his blade and himself and went down one one knee, his blade held before him, point down.
He throat activated his vox "My Lord Morningstar"
   
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Morning Star looked down at the corpse of the warrior his adjutant had despatched. It was dressed in obscene finery, far too garish to be practical.
With a nod and click of his internal coms, “Your eye Lord Captain?”
Lord Captain Axrail could not help but smile, “I have another My Lord”.
He knew that such bravado served the Army well, even his own Chapter used it well enough, they had even taken to calling him the Lord of Roses. A moniker derived from his ability it seemed to gain bloody wounds and still find victory, one he wished personally not to have gained.
Morning Star had given Axrail the job of gaining the gates to the bone, one he had accomplished with his usual efficiency – apart from his eye.
Lord Captain Axrail stood and slammed his fist to his chest and raised his fist in salute to his lord commander.
“Next?” meaning a new order.
However Morning Star was staring deep inside the gaping entrance way, the fleeing scraps of disloyal scions of the Auralian beyond his care, though not his note.
A fresh darkness swelled inside, one that was wrought with the colours of the shadow realm. Often had he ventured in that realm and knew the dangers within, familiarity bred only contempt for their petty singings and whining pleadings. The foul xenos that lived in that dead realm were as ghosts to him, his belief in the Truth as a shield before their blades of lies.
Yet for all of his skill with blade, gun, tank and Legion he knew that it was the True Son’s who were the real threat to this particular stain of xenos.
With a salute to Lord Captain Axrail, Lord of Roses, he commanded a perimeter of three meters set up round the entrance way.
This was followed by a simple vox pulse on a channel he had rarely used – “Father, it is time”.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Mor,lo,Shablak felt the death of his protégé as a blade to his heart, yet the pain passed, a whisper in the storm. The truth had revealed a path to him that had been closed to all his kin for ten millenia, the loss of a single note in this glorious psalm would be of no account.
Like a comet from the fabled heavens he launched himself downwards. Like the ancient prophet Exeruis he fell from the skies down into the fell of the maelstrom of war. With the roar of the Pantheon’s voice he declared his defiance.
Landing with the metric tonnage of two dozen Earth shaker Cannon’s he landed amid the silver cordon around his Basilica, bodies flew in the air to crumple and disintegrate as only chaff.
With a sweep of his mighty wings he instantly regained the air, his mighty Blade roared to life, sweeping wide, though none living were within it’s greed.
All three of his heads turned upwards knowing that the only true threat came star borne. A great wave of the aether rose through him, it’s warping effluence splining into being and tearing foul the fabric of reality. From these wounds poured forth a host of the never borne, minor in being but large in malice and mischief, they leapt and gibbered to fill the breach his dire landing had created.
Tearing at the silver armoured warriors the never born found little give in the ring of steel they cordoned the Basilica with. Their existence in this material realm was weak at best and the steady roar of bolter and slice of blade made it less so.
Still they were but a diversion, a chance for Mor,lo,Shablak to send his call further into the aether, not a prayer of summoning this time, no psalm of beseachment, this was the clarion call of command, the cloister cry of obedience.
From deep within the nether realm this call was answered, no earthly throat could contain the roar that poured forth, an answer of bottomless rage and timeless anger. Tattered wings of shadow, scarred and beaten bore the hurricane of hate into the material realm. Reality it’s self screamed a the mere temerity of this things existence. This was not a being of physics and lore, it was pure emotion made manifest, of hate, loathing and blood given life.
Even Mor,lo,Shablak, thrice blessed and thrice cursed, Prince of the Word, Bearer of Understanding and Apostle of the Pantheon most high could perceive in a single vision the being before him. Shadow and smoke like a swirling cloak hid and confused the roaring abomination from mortal sight. Glimpses of a towering, hulking behemoth, heavily muscled, bull headed, cloven hooved, dog faced, claw footed clad in bronze and steel, chain and iron, naked and raw. In clawed hands a hint of a blackened shaft, a flash cutting the smoke revealed for a second a massive axe head.
From two his heads Mor,lo,Shablak cried forth this insensate incarnation of rage, “Bear ye witness to your deaths, advertise your souls to the Pantheon now wormlings, Ko’Ro’Bajh The Slayer of Stars walks amongst you”.
His third head, possibly his original head, he had long forgotten, refused to announce this destruction on the world, some ancient primordial sense told it to remain silent and small in the presence of this alpha killer.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Morning Star had picked himself up off the floor after the monsters first landing with a grunt, his amour had taken minimal damage, the shock wave though had blown out his power field. His other officers reported serious casualties among the front line though.
Then a wave of xenos, small and pathetic, each unique in their spite and physicality had spilled forth from transporter hubs that the grossly winged beast had borne with him. These had been an irritant at best and had given him time to get the cordon back in place. However the original blast had left him short of concentrated fire power, his vox requests showed that the nearest heavy armour was some 8 minutes away. For now he had a portion of Axrail’s devastator’s still standing and of course, Davidius and his assault cadre.
Just as he was organising for a counter thrust his ancient priority vox override pinged in.
“You have need of me my son?” A gentle voice, coached in the subtleties of a priest’s chastisement, over laid with the keenest intellect’s inquisition.
With no more than a grunt, disrespectful no doubt but all he really could spare the time for, Morning Star’s left eye voxed the over command channel.
“We have incoming, prepare for Black Rain”.
The many hundreds of junior officers and sergeants had never heard such a warning. Through thorough Legion indoctrination they knew what it meant and reacted, many had moved before the full import of the order had reached them.
For a dozen or so heroes of the Legion that knew the call they braced themselves, for three they roared their welcome at such news, for the noblest soul only sadness came from such instruction.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mor,lo,Shablak laughed as he saw the fruits of his commandments spread death and destruction. The pacts and compromises his soul had been sacrificed and scarified for to obtain such a blessing had been titanic, their true worth a hidden coin that he had in truth feared spending. Now though, looking at the Slayer of Stars in all it’s unholy glory he knew the full cost was cheap, a mewling world of pain to obtain the blessing of the Blood God’s finest.
His faces were pained by the order in which these ancient silver clad warriors seemed to back away, no futile howling last charge, no full fledge surrender, but an ordered retreat, keeping their fire power pouring onto his mighty minion. As the Word is true so it was true, they died by the score, the axe the Slayer tore through ancient ceramite as it would the wind, it ploughed a red wind and the slaughter was great, yet there was no panic. The warriors before it laid on their fire power as if into a maelstrom of blood and gore and thought no more of it, they did not feel the pull of the blood path and descent into any orgy of self-sacrifice.
For the first time in many an age he felt the worm of self-doubt once more chew on his twisted hearts. On only three occasions had he felt the need to call the Slayer, and on each the enemy had imploded in an orgy of self-blooding and destruction, the tally of the Slayer less than the beat of a heart beat compare to the mighty armies ripping themselves apart at it’s presence.
Now though war, war as humanity had perfected it, war had come and the beast was already seemingly loose. It beat in the hearts of these warriors and they had defeated it, how was no import. They were not immune to the calling, he could see the warrior’s response to the presence of the Slayer even as it smote them down. They were control beyond mere stone or iron…then he recalled, a flash of memory, the last smoke of a burnt of village drifting on the wind of his memory….
   
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Glad to see the return of this, Rika. Though the lay out of the paragraphs got some getting used too, on the whole, I enjoyed your descriptions. Like; "As the Word is true so it was true, they died by the score, the axe the Slayer tore through ancient ceramite as it would the wind, it ploughed a red wind and the slaughter was great, yet there was no panic." I particularly enjoyed about the blade cutting through as if it cut the wind .

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/01/20 09:05:46


Come into my web, said the spider to the fly.
Come rest your wings, and let us talk eye to eye.
For I am a spider, and you are the fly. Now that you are here, let us sit, and say hi.
But I have have no morsel to share, nor anything to eat. But wait, what is that stickiness upon your feet.
Ah now I have you, now I can eat. Now I can enjoy you, or store you as meat.
For I am the spider, and you are the fly. How else could it have gone, between one such as you, and one such as I.
 
   
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A different age, an aeon of pain and misery was being purged by the Lords of Terra in their brutal eloquence. He was no more than a Legionary scout, young, naive and untutored in the ways of the word. He was however keen of eye and fine of hand, fierce of heart and proud of spirit.
This was the first of thousand lifetimes of deployments, the spring from which, eventually a tsunami of blood would flow. It was on Brundix Prime, close to Holy Terra his home. Their father had not yet been blessed to them, they were still the Imperial Heralds.
Lord Foralon had marched to the capital city dressed in the black armour of the Redeemer. His skull-faced helm bore the mark of judgment, his winged mace bore the weight of the entire legion. His was the solemn duty to issue the Pax Ultima – surrender or face annihilation.
The Brundixian’s chose defiance, they chose death.
Young Karl was not for such honour or duty, he was commissioned to pacify a back-water mining station-village. He was part of three scout squads under the command of embittered Senior Sergeant Koping-Van de Mert. They raced to their target on an ancient Hunter model war hawk gunship, no swift Mark VI storm bird for this incursion. Still, Karl’s hearts were pounding with excitement. The stench of adrenaline was ripe in the tight enclosed quarters of the old transport. The Senior Sergeant stood mag locked to the floor, his steel grey Crusader Armour hummed noisily, as faced the exit doors. He had pulse voxed the attack commandments to his Sergeants and then remained like a statue. The belittling nature of this deployment bit deep into his soul, he was worthy of more.
The Hunter landed three klicks from the station-village.
The stench of smoke and spent shell rode the winds, a swift encircling deployment proved functional, efficient and totally unnecessary. Death and retribution for the station-villages crimes had already been visited upon it. Imperial vox chatter could be picked up, the Imperial army was already preparing to leave the area. Indeed whatever foul deed had cursed this place and brought just retribution had been cleansed with Imperial efficiency.

Koping-Van De Mert fumed, this was to be his honour, paltry, withered on the vine of necessity but still his to pluck and another had deemed it their fruit to pick.
With the arrogant strut bred into his birth gene-stock, enhanced by his rise to the Astrates and then twisted by the capricious fates his every step bled disdain and the cry for his honour to be avenged.

Young, pure, soulful Karl kept a stalkers watch on his leader, the raw violence from which he had been forged was tested but not yet tempered. From the steps of his commander, he knew blood was to flow and was keen to assist, the pride of the Legion was at risk and he would not be found wanting.

Two hundred meters from the station-village perimeter the smoke was at its stygian core, as they approached the vox chatter stopped, the prey silencing at the approach of a predator.
Koping-Van de Mert stood, legs as stride, the wind billowing his xenos hide cloak wide. With a single sweep, he drove his power blade into the ground before him. His very being the image of an Imperial Herald.
He needed no vox amplifier to spread his voice, his sermon was clear and powered by a truth that many had lacked. He believed in his cause as only an Imperial Herald could decree.
His clarion call for justification was as gospel to the Imperial truth, a cry not just for fact but more important insight.
To such an inspired psalm even the darkest smoke withered away, young Karl would not keep the tears from his eyes, though they never stopped seeking targets.

From within that dark smoke, a single figure strode forward, clad though not in armour his enhanced physique could not be denied. A simple pair of cloth trews clad his body, an easy smile on a butchered face swore testament to a warrior.

“Hail cousin, your presence here is as a gift of water to a parched man.” The warrior’s openness took the Senior-sergeant back, it spoke of openness and honesty that besmirched his suspicions.

Retreating to all that he knew Koping-Van de Mert relied on rank and structure like a petty functionary, “I am Senior-Sergeant Koping-Van de Mert of the Imperial Heralds, twice honoured by Chapter Master Pointilios. Tell me Legionary why are you here in this theatre of war, this station-village was ordained by the Lord Farolan himself to be cleansed.”

A second warrior clad again in mere cloth trews but so powerfully built that he was near a head taller that Koping-Van de Mert fully armoured, strode from the smoking ruins. His face was graced as the anvils of the armour smiths, it carried none of the easy charm of his compatriots. A twisting tattoo of a mythical beast swept from his scalp to his right cheek seemed to growl with the hidden aggression of its bearer.
With a comradely slap of the back, he looked at Koping-Van de Mert and spat acidic phlegm onto the floor.
“Brother-Captain there are Kegs …. you have guests?”
His voice was as brutal as the face that grated the words, it was imperial gothic but chewed and spat out by one whose first choice of communication was the bolter. There was no grace, no communion of the higher imperial ideals only the conclusion of their baser requirements.

The first warrior, seemingly slight compared to the armoured Sergeant and brute of a physique next to him just laughed. No concern at the presence of such violence, barely restrained or otherwise.

“Senior-Sergeant welcome to….a burnt out grox dump of a place whose name I have never even bothered learning. Cousin if you wish to claim this hole for the glory of imperium then crack on son, it’s all bloody yours”.

His smile was meant to rob the words of any harm, indeed Karl and the other Imperial Heralds in earshot caught themselves smiling, such was the warrior's charming manner.
Yet it was lost on Koping-Van de Mert, indeed instead of honest speech he heard only mocking whispers against his own honour.

“You have failed to declaim your name, rank or Legion. Else while you have failed to decree your purpose here. Your demeanour here is disrespectful to our cause and hence so the Imperial Creed. Such disrespect cannot be answered.”

For the first time since his ascension, Karl felt the truth in the mantra “and they shall know no fear”. It was not fear he felt, yet his warrior’s senses were heightened, it felt as if he was in the heart of combat yet there was no violence for him to face. If he were still mortal he would have known fear, instead, he felt only…ready, almost at peace with his knowledge of his purpose.

The giant growled, his fists curled into balls of flesh and gene-hanced bone.

With a shrug the other warrior stepped back, his hands half raised in resignation.
“Cousin Sergeant my friend here has not spilt blood this day and his humours are at odds. I would offer platitude and explanation but fear they would be as whispers in the wind to your hurricane of indignation. Till third blood then, no blades…”

Koping-Van de Mert whipped his blade out of the ground and spun in a perfect figure of eight.
“Third blood – but with blade or weapon of honour your man chooses. I am no barbaric Thunder Warrior bludgeoning my way through life. This is a duel of honour and will be treated as such.”

The giant growled “Your no Thunder Warrior that is for all to see. Stop your yakking and let’s finish this.”

The one who had been called Brother-Captain put a cautionary hand on his angry compatriot’s shoulder.
“Easy Dav, that is a big knife he has, let me get Mono for you, or your gauntlets at least.”

Dav just shrugged off the hand and smiled, his eyes hard.
“Pah, for this? Not needed”.

He stalked forward, an avalanche of a man, stopping just out of the reach of Koping-Van de Mert blade.

Dav looked at the Senior-Sergeant and pointed at his head.

When Koping-Van de Mert failed to move he pointed again at his head.

Koping-Van de Mert issued forth a most uneducated curse and lowered his guard slightly.

“What?”

“Your fuggin’ helm, take it off, don’t want to damage it too badly and this is to Third blood after all.”

“Since you ask so nicely…” As moved one hand off the hilt of his sword he lashed out, spinning to cover the distance in a heart beat, the blade lanced down, not a killing sweep but a wounding one.

It sliced the air, the giant legionary had dropped to the floor so the blade whistled above him.

Koping-Van de Mert corrected in another breath, driving his armoured foot down to pin the warrior who lay on the floor. His full weight crashed into the alien dirt as his foe rolled desperately away.
He cursed again at being foiled and reset himself, blade unpowered but en-garde.

The big warrior stood up, wiping the dirt from his face.
He cracked his neck to one side and Karl realised that his Senior Sergeant had made a mistake, he proclaimed this a duel of honour and then taken a lesser path. In the eyes of these warrior’s, even his own men there was no way that he could win now. Even if he fought and won he had besmirched the sacred cause with unwholesome practicality.

Dav growled almost to himself, though the gene-hanced warriors all could hear “So it’s like that is it?”

He leapt like a salmon, nothing that big should move with such grace, no warning, no muscle tension just motion. He leapt with both feet out to kick the Imperial Herald direct in the chest, an unarmoured man would have been felled but it just rocked the ceramite clad warrior back a step.
Even as he landed, he spun on his back and wrapped both his legs around one of Koping-Van de Mert arms.

Koping-Van de Mert roared, the weight of the huge man compensated by the power of his armour but still heavy enough to cause him to be off balance.
This grappling was unseemly in such a duel, though the irony of such a thought was lost on him.
Even as again went to wield his blade one handed he knew had made an error.
As he let go of the hilt he felt the warrior spin that giant body if his, with legs wrapped tight around his arm he left the momentum grind the servo motors as they battled against the added weight. The ground and failed and his arm went dead. The servo’s locking in position and freezing his arm in place.
He drove the pommel of his blade straight down on to the knee of the warrior and was rewarded with a sickening crunch, though no blood.
It forced the warrior to release his hold though and now slowed with a knee injury he could not evade the blow of Koping-Van de Mert boot into the ribs, bone broke and internal organs instantly bruised.
Dav again rolled clear and flipped back to his feet, his hand checking his bruised side and came away clean.
He could already feel his body heat rise as it began to reknit bone and flush toxins into this system and he smiled.

Koping-Van de Mert moved forward again, he turned his body to one side to keep his locked arm away from the giant warrior. His blade was designed to be used two-handed, he could wield it one-handed, though it lacked the purity and grace of before.
Even as he came forward he saw the other warrior crouch in a combat stance, then step back and laugh, arms spread wide.
Koping-Van de Mert saw yet more disdain being poured on his frayed honour, he lunged forward, a strike that bore little grace but all the weight of years of bitterness and self-pity he had jealously accrued.
The giant spun, though his knee meant he was slow, the blade that should have scored him through his primary heart instead tore a ragged mark along his ribs. Crimson splashed along the dirt and Koping-Van de Mert patrol let out a roar of approval.

Yet even as he smiled at his victory he saw the rage fill his opponent's eyes and he knew he had made an error.
This was a duel of honour, a duel to satisfy a warrior’s ire, equals matched in a display of skill and courage. This was no place for a killing blow, no place for unbalanced humour.

With a frantic twist of his wrist, he tried to bring his blade back to the engarde, his opponent gave him no opportunity.

Rolling along the thrust the giant grabbed Koping-Van de Mert out thrust straight arm, pinning at the elbow against his body. With his free hand, he grabbed the Imperial Herald by the throat and slammed his hand against it with three quick thrust. On an unarmoured throat, this would have crushed trachea and bone in even an augmented throat. Instead, it drove Koping-Van de Mert’s head back and allowed Dav to quickly spin on his heel, released the trapped arm and drive an elbow under the Senior-Sergeant’s helm.

The momentum and power of the blow with the precise accuracy of the strike drove the helm from it’s seals though again not enough to dislodge it complete it caused a storm of static and feedback to flood the sensory receptors.

Koping-Van de Mert cursed in High Gothic, he stepped back, blind and deaf for only a second he knew he would be dead in mortal combat. Instead, he swept his blade in a crude figure of eight weave defence. His system was already trying to repair the damage to his arm servo and with pain filled success he left his arm move. In a desperate gambit, he forced the damaged arm up to rip the helm from his head, all the while moving back and weaving a blocking pattern.
Once the helm was removed he felt the winds kiss and the caress of smoke on his pale skin. He blinked twice to readjust from his retinal display to the reality of his own eyes.

The giant stood some five meters away, he could not believe he had backed away so fast, the blood from his last attack already clotting.

“Going somewhere Herald? Now I can see you I see why you would want to hide that ugly face of yours”.

The other warrior had sat upon a slight rocky outcrop, arms folded he seemed almost bored, though he smiled at the crude jape.

Kurt got the distinct impression though that in that cultured façade of relaxed idleness a coiled spring of violence wound tight lurked ready to explode.

In nigh perfect High Gothic the warrior drawled “Dav ol’ boy you do know we have to be away from here soon. The Ancient has already been on the vox”.

The giant grunted, his eyes never leaving Koping-Van de Mert, “Permission to end this then?”
It was clear that he was merely stating a fact phrased as a request.

A single raised eyebrow from the other warrior followed by a theatrical sigh “Fine Dav, no killing”.

With that, he stood and brushed himself off and began to walk back to the village.

Koping-Van de Mert called out in his own sonorous high Gothic “You would turn your back on an honour duel, is this matter not worthy of a Captains time?” The disdain dripped poison in his words.

The giant moved, it was fluidity and power, the thundering of storms with the rage of hurricanes.
Koping-Van de Mert countered with a classic chop defence, now he had two arms again, albeit one slowed he knew he would win in seconds. Instead, he watched in horror as he saw his saw the blade split only air. The giant weaved his arms around the blade, parrying with his forearms, though deep red crimson flew in the air, there was no cheer from the Heralds. The blade was forced wide from its mark and the giant moved in close.

Though young in service they were all trained warriors and they knew they bore witness to something special.

The like the lightening the storm broke, forcing the blade wide Dav was inside its mark and his target lay open. With a bestial roar he threw punches, no finesse, no guile, this was the raw application of overwhelming force focused down to a single fist.
His first smashed Koping-Van de Mert’s nosed wide, the second crushed a cheekbone and eye socket the third connected straight on to his jaw. No matter the augmentation, the enhancement, the improvement. When a straight right connected with force with a jaw it drove the bone’s apart, fracturing both of them. These then drove back into the skull, forcing the brain to swing rapidly against the reinforced bone. Such was the power that the brain stem, though laced with ceramite and other blessings of the transformation to Astartes, misfired. This misfiring caused total loss of control of all body functions and for a second Koping-Van de Mert was a mere mortal, knocked unconscious. He did not fall, his suit of armour was not compromised to any degree it was the flesh and bone inside that failed.

The warrior, Dav, lifted his bloodied knuckles and laughed.
“You’re victorious Herald, well done. When he wakes up tell him will you lads”.

Kurt was hammering his fist to his chest before he realised it, as was the rest of his team. Such a fine martial display and the true meaning of honour was lauded. The senior sergeant would be sore tested to brag of this duel, that he had won by being knocked out by a half-naked warrior.

As the giant turned and began to walk off into the smoke Kurt called out.
“Sir, from what Legion do you hale? So better than the Senior Sergeant’s honour be chronicled!”

Still walking away a voice of gravel and storm whispered so that all could hear “We are the…..”

   
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Mor,lo,Shablak shook the memory from his mind, gossamer thin threads of thoughts were shaken unto the to the wind, another fragment of his past lost to the passing of time. Yet he had recalled enough, he had gained knowledge and understanding and an appreciation for the danger he now faced. Did he feel fear? No longer, he had faced the blessings of the Pantheon, the trials of the gods themselves, fear was something that he knew about but it was beyond his understanding, as was love and other petty human emotion.
He knew though he faced the Anathema’s True Son and this was a force that this galaxy had not felt in then thousand years.
As the realisation dawned upon him he felt a growing weight press down on his being, no physical wind or force could compel him after his apotheosis but his bloated, blessed being was forced to the ground. For the first time in millennia he felt the weight of his own mortality, his own corrupted, abused, rotting physicality pressed down within and upon him.
His heads looked up, each a mockery of the piety he felt for the Pantheon, one born true, two grown pious, all glorious in their corruption.
He could “see” the rain fall, a psychic deadening of his world sense, a true end to his dreams cascading down. More mundane eyes and sensors would have seen several thousand assault Astartes dropping through the atmosphere, a few drop pods but mainly individual silver tear drops forming a deluge of death.
He though did not lay at the epicentre of their assault, it was focused around Ko’Ro’Bajh, The Slayer of Stars. With every passing second, the weight of that dread being pressed into the silver lines, whole squads were felled in brutal swipes of its dread axe. Despite all they manoeuvred, how they sacrificed themselves this true Lord of Slaughter was turning the tide of battle.
As the assault cadre landed they did not join the fray, each instead drove their weapon of choice deep in the earth and bent their head in focus. A wall was built, null brick by null brick, blunting the rampaging Slayer of Stars from it’s birthing pool of the warp. As each landed the effect was exponentially greater till they were a fortress of negativity. The effect on the Dread slayer was emphatic, it’s blows slowed though there lethality was not compromised. Wounds that re-knit were now left gaping, it’s thunderous charges were slowed to a mere plodding promise of carnage.
As the first of the drop pods landed in a near suicidal proximity to the Slayer of Stars, Mor,lo,Shablak felt their true purpose released. Stepping from each pod was a relic of the Old War, rare even during the False Crusade Mor,lo,Shablak had nare seen such a congregation of destruction. Twenty giants of the ancient ages strode forth, clad in silver embossed armour the Brotherhood of Jedza rode the lightening once more. Each monstrous walker had a massive siege claw crawling with pent power, the other arm varied from each noble warrior, some bore lethal plasma others heavy las. No matter the combination, death was their legacy.
As one they roared their ancient anger at the Slayer, caught in the eye of this storm of las and plasma, robbed of the power of the aether, its brutal physical form was torn asunder. This was no honour duel, no execution or battlefield death. This was anhelation in all of humanities glory, brutal, efficient and delivered with impassioned hate. Even as the twisted dead meat of it’s form was burnt Ko’Ro’Bajh The Slayer of Stars roared in exaltation to its master, fore Khorne did not care from whence the blood flows only that it does.
Mor,lo,Shablak felt the physical passing of his summoned servant as a physical mawl, the roar of its passing in the great song tore into his soul and left scars that could never heal.
Yet even this great blow to his plans was nothing to dawning of understanding that spread within him. He knew, he felt and he believed a first honest truth for an eon of lies. He faced not the past, nor ancient historical ideal borne anew, he faced the wrath of a Legion. As a fact it was an impossibility – as an idea it was, even too one such as he who had expanded and ascended himself to the very apotheosis of faith, beyond comprehension. Yet, they were here. As he stared across the battle zone, to the loss of this field, this planet, he gained the acceptance that only the truly faithful could ever attain.
Like the coming of a comet The Silver Lord landed directly in front of Mor,lo,Shablak. It’s presence drove the praise of the Pantheon far from his thoughts. Like the heart of a black hole the being’s presence sucked on all life, all light, all connection to the warp. Mor,lo,Shablak gargantuan form was forced for the first time in a age to the grubby soil. The winds of the aether were robbed from beneath his wings, his piety was cast to the flames of cold null.
Through repudiated eyes he saw his doom, through ancient veins he felt the turgid pulse of his own blood turn in horror at the shining presence before him. Clad in a burnished suit of Onyx burnished with silver and gold, a Legend stood tall, taller than his Pantheon blessed self, though not as of a bulk he was by no means thin. A massive silver kite shield protected the majority of the beings physicality, a deep black stylised sun seemed to glow with hidden power. A massive spear, nearly twice the length of one of his warriors spun to point direct at him, a large bore las cannon of truly ancient bearing sat gaping beneath the spear point. Yet this was peripheral finery, the addons to the true glory. A massive eagle shaped helm stared back at him, even as the being landed and the earth shook a feeling of ice cold pain began to spread through out his ungainly bulk.
In a voice of perfect certainty, pitched so all could hear but no battle roar, in fact it was as twin to his own gene sire though lacking the pious bearing.
“I would know of your fall into this betrayal nephew? Speak your last homily so that understanding may temper thy judgement”.
Mor,lo,Shablak felt the sudden urge to kneel before this being, the command to speak reached deep into him, past the defilements and blessings, to a core he thought that was long broken and remade. With a summoning of will he refused to genuflect to this…this… mortal, only the Pantheon were worthy of such homage. He fired his mighty chain sword to life, his third arm weighed down by the heavy claw that even now was rotting at its heart. His vision blurred, briefly all six eyes gave him different perspectives of time and space till with a snap he was reduced to a binary visage.
With a gargling roar he spun the massive chain glaive in an arc at the being before him, a blow that would have sundered tanks and torn flesh sacks to bloody offering. Instead it was side stepped with contemptuous ease.
“Make me not ask again boy. You have strayed far from the Path of the Herald, further than even my spiritually humoured Brother would condone I no doubt. Tell me why you have engaged the beasts of the Deep in this petty scheme? Is their loaning of corrosive power worth the finality it will surely bring?”
Mor,lo,Shablak tried to roar his defiance once more, but the simple, directness of the questioning stunned him. All the other Astartes that he had slain who bore this one’s sigil had thought them Xenos lovers – only this one, their one true master – seemed to know the truth.
“I am blessed by the Pantheon, made a-new, stronger in my Faith and Belief. I follow the teachings of my True Father, I embody those teachings, I am those teachings made manifest. I am truth.”
Bringing his formidable will into focus, though it hurt with such ferocity he genuinely thought he would fail, he launched a final assault. This time he used the warp gate knowledge, brought with the souls of a system…it failed to even substantiate, a flame quenched by the ice-cold wind of the true void emanating from the one in front of him.
In a voice, more suited to the salons of legal enquiry that the clash of arms, the onyx clad being enquired once more “Your association with beasts beyond your understanding is obvious to me child, yet you announce with no small pride, an irony The iconoclasts were always prone to exhibit, that my Brother not only condone such folly but has encouraged his sons in its indulgence.”
Then in a fastidious correction, punctuated by the raising of that great spear tip, like a finger in admonishment, “Nay, apologises for my misunderstanding, my Brother does not condone but actively guided your actions.”
Mor,lo,Shablak saw a chance, small but with faith exploitable, “The Lord Aurelian, octadic blessings upon his Divinity, he had guided the path of our Orders for the last ten millennia. He stands as the right hand of the Pantheon, their anointed guide unto the mortal world. The Golden One is my Father, Teacher, Guide and Inspiration, from his light I have walked the eightfold path.”
The dread cold that bathed seemed to deepen, robbing him of thought momentarily, he sank deeper into his corrupted body, his massive weight now only supported by broken wings and his third arm driven deep into the soil. He could feel the gifts of the Pantheon draining from him, sloughing off his skin and weeping into his armour. At least one of his heads now lay drooling, lolling against another, insensible and heavy, its bone cage brittle and broken.
In a voice, that once had preached to the very heavens, now broken with fast blossoming tumours Mor,lo,Shablak dredged a sermon from his thrice damned soul. “The Carrion-Lord of the masses has failed, his armies are withered, their faith broken, his Astartes a feeble reflection of their former glories. Humanity has been twisted and beguiled, led blind down a path of thorns, assailed on all sides by the Alien, the Reaver , the Mutant. The Lord of Colchis saw this decent into madness and tried to lead the true believer to a better future, in service to the Pantheon, in understanding of the Primordial Truth, he saw that humanity would once again be prominent in the galaxy. Through his teachings he guided other believers to this future, led by your brother Horus,” For Mor,lo,Shablak knew that he spoke to one of the most reverential brotherhood ever to walk these stars, “They tried to guide humanity to this dawning, to bring the masses to the Pantheon and into the bosom of their sanctuary. It was the foul machinations for the Carrion-Lord and his still deluded children that foiled this worthy goal, mean plotting and stubborn refusal to accept the Glory of the Gods denied humanities opportunity to ascend.
The eagle headed demi-god before him let the spear point dip a fraction, with a nod “Continue, if you would please”.
The void cold was killing him, Mor,lo,Shablak felt more of his physicality betray him, bones ossified and the turgid morass of his muscles melted like wax beneath the blackest of suns. Yet his purpose was clear, his death hear was to herald in a new age, he would kindle a flame of the true faith in this returned demi-god and be rewarded a-new.
“My Father, your Brother, the Lord Auerlian, prayed for humanities survival, such was the awe and respect the Pantheon felt for their Golden Son, they granted a reprieve, though at a cost. For the death of the Carrion-Lord was beyond his granting they demanded a worthy sacrifice and so mighty Horus was laid upon the sacrificial altar and with his passing the unbreakable oath was sworn. The Fell Angel of the Blood cursed, who should have seen the true calling but that is a sermon for another time,” a time Mor,lo,Shablak knew he would not have but once a preacher always a preacher, always leave them wanting more, “The Fell Angel was led by his blind hubris and arrogance to confront Lord Aurelian’s chosen Champion and though bested with the aid of the Pantheon, it was in his blood that the pact was sealed.”
“Sanguinius…you speak of Sanguinius. He fell?” A tilt of the eagle helm and further lowering of the spear point, their was pain in that cultured voice, real, raw emotional pain and Mor,lo,Shablak could use that. Even as his mortal body failed him, rotting from an epoch of consorting with powers beyond his ken, he saw an opportunity to serve those powers one final time.
“As you say sire, The Fell Angel, The Lord Sanguinius failed to see his path as lit by the illumination of my Lord Aurelian but even in his blindness he served the Golden Ones prescriptives. Guided not through the love of the Pantheon but through the harsh whips of the Carrion-Lord he served through blood and pain, where if he had but submitted he would have ruled in their name “.
“Horus, you testify that Horus also fell?” Now, grief mixed with disbelief.
For Mor,lo,Shablak this was a conversation guided by the texts of his Holy Order, none before had ever had to explain the Great Rebellion to one of the brotherhood, and now he traversed their complexity while his organs ground themselves against the wheel of time and his very being failed about his faith. This was not pain, this not agony, this transcended such petty terms, it was as if every particle of his being was being frozen in the void, coldness turned to fire, turned to the purest anguish.
In now a single voice, a whisper but strong on its bedrock of faith Mor,lo,Shablak brought forth his ancient malice in sonorous glory “My Lord Aurelian’s chosen Champion, the Lord Horus Lupercal, was given a sacred duty, one to which he was uniquely gifted, and one in which he uniquely failed. His leadership of the moral forces led to the re-conquest of the galaxy in the name of the Pantheon, he conquered both the Winter Wolf and the Fell Angel in single combat and yet in his arrogance he ignored the sermons of the Aurelian and tried to walk a path unbidden and thus righteously and pre-ordained failed. It is only in the service of the Pantheon, service prescribed by the Golden One, that one can truly attain the apex of our species, even one of your most exalted brotherhood must accept that to rule you have to submit. If the chosen Champion had but accepted his role then he would have defeated the Carrion-Lord as he had defeated all before.”
With a swirl the but of the spear was grounded, the massive shield lowered to one side, “Speak true Scion of Lorgar, as best your corrupted tongue can fashion itself around such noble concept. You testify that my noble brother Horus did bring arms to bear against both Sanguinius and Leman of the Russ, he did champion over the pair and then did find his match against this Carrion-lord. Name now this Carrion-Lord and speak true.”
Mor,lo,Shablak knew his long, long life now counted in mere mortal heartbeats, his works here, though mighty were as sand motes to the storms of the passing of times. This ancient presence here, whose mere being here had broken him, when he guided him to the Primordial Truth then he would live for ever in the great song.
“The Carrion-lord was known for a time, a short time till the honesty of the stars shone its veracity beams upon the lies, as Emperor of Man Kind. He lied to his sons, to our brother, to his peoples…”
Even as the flame of honest sermon burned the last of his being upon the pyre of his faith Mor,lo,Shablak saw he spoke to a blind apostate.
The onyx dark eagle helm, with golden beak and silver eyes changed form even as he preached. It was a subtle change, in the passing of a few words there was a crested eagle helm, noble and comprehending. There was then a skull of an eagle, judging, condemning, obliterating. A subtle shift of that enormous shift poised Mor,lo,Shablak in the full gaze of that Black Sun.
Gone was the cultured voice of the legal adept, the diplomat, the facilitator, now in its stead rang the cold tones of the executioner. “You have courted the attention of the beings we as a Legion were built to destroy, the truth of this was hidden not only from my sons but also my Brothers. I alone knew the dangers of the Deep. When I tried to warn the Red King of delving too deep I was castigated by a cheap council of the ignorant and banished with no recourse to appeal. My sons have borne shame they never deserved, they never could understand, they could never banish. As the second Son I was cursed with this knowledge, a single curse and single honour. Only one other of the Emperors Court was graced with this understanding, though how advanced his intelligence was I do not know for the lack-spittle could not bear a minute of my company. Despite my calling, my being, I caused my father primus servant agony by presenting myself to his court. And so was the seed of my undoing sowed. It mattered not that my Legion Master, the ever-faithful Morning Star was not even of my blood. His bloodline was so cherished by my Father that he created a Legio from it, no good deed would remain unpunished under the stewardship of the Last Sigilite. Enough though of history made myth in this realm, I perceive I have much to learn, knowledge has always been power, the conduits of such power have ever been jealously guarded but I will prevail. I have the Morning Star and his Hammer no less. I thank you for your words, for your guile, for your faith. They have welcomed me back to a new age, perhaps, even MY age.”.
With a shift in the flow of the cold Mor,lo,Shablak was obliterated, a presence of 10,000 years flayed apart at the molecular level. A being who had the command of the Pantheon’s greatest arsenal, who had wielded the warp at its fundamental core, who had orchestrated it’s greatest glories and bequeathed its horror on a thousand worlds.
As Mor,lo,Shablak was burnt within with a void cold flame, such was his presence he could last a fraction of a second, his will power enough to hold to his true self within the turmoil of his own destruction. His connection the Great song was raped from him, his very being turned against him in his last thoughts, his last prayers “Great Pantheon forgive me, the Anathema True Son has returned”
   
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The battle was won, the enemy was defeated. It had bled the Legion, bled them deep, though this was not the deepest cut they had borne and so they survived. The deployment of the Brotherhood of Jedza in its entirety was unique yet so was its foe.
This was an enemy that the vast majority of the Legion had never faced before, a twin nightmare of warp bred Xenos and Astartes, what adjective to describe their cousins here?
Fallen? Lost? Traitor?
Answers were needed, the questions merely multiplying as the battlefield was cleansed with flame and Phosphex. There was clearly a genetic link between the Xenos and the Astartes, they were often so intertwined that where one began the other ended was impossible, even for the advanced Majoris Apothecaries who were recovering the more abhorrent as samples to learn from.
Morningstar allowed the flow of the communication from his senior officers to flow through him, they knew what they were doing and the reports from the other battlefronts progressed as planned. The butcher's bill would be a grotesquely stellar tally, but they had victory, they would rebuild, stronger with the knowledge that would be wrung from the dead and from the experiences of the living.
Morningstar walked towards his Gene-Sire, the only being he had ever called Father, and felt the cold edge of his Lords presence cut him like a Frensian Frost Blade. He pushed on through the pain, though it felt like a storm of such blades now engulfed him, though no blood was drawn, no injury inflicted, this was a battle all of its own. As he approached the eye of the storm, he could see that the fabled Eagle Helm was in nexus and the Sun of the Night was open wide. He tried calling on all vox channels, even the most private and secure but they could not penetrate the gales of his Father being. Finally, some ten meters away he sank to one knee, the crushing presence beating down upon his nobility. Dark thoughts began to raid his mind, vision of failures past and future, true and false assailed his sense of worth. Acid built in his mouth, burning his tongue and he was forced to rip his helm free and vomit it out.
They eye of this storm turned to face him, and for second Morning Star saw his Gene-sire in all his True Glory and it was terrible to behold.
Every Primarch was a being of perfection and awe, to their own sons they were the pinnacle of their kind, something for ever beyond reaching but worthy to pursue. Some were terrible to behold when at peace, the barely constrained wrath of the Winter Wolf, the unbridled hated and contempt of the Night Haunter, the sheer presence of the Red King. In war they were all engines of destruction, rampaging like the Red Angle or the lightening strike of the Khan or the unstoppable thunder of Vulkan.
Yet here and now, having faced all his Gene-Sire’s brothers, but one, at the foot of the Great Stairs and tested their blade work and mettle he faced one of the brotherhood he genuinely feared. Fear, they were beyond such emotions his kind, him above all, psycho-hypno and physical conditioning had burnt part of that humanity from them. As one apex predator faces another he had faced the worst this mortal galaxy had to launch at him and more and he had never taken a backwards step. Now though, faced with his own Father showing his True Self, he was unmade, millennia old fears poured into him, he felt dislocated from himself and all around him, alone and terribly vulnerable.
The Eagle Helm was an avian skull made nightmare, one glowing black eye larger than the other, the onyx armour smoked with shadows of null vapour, mechadendrites the thickness of his arm snaked from the back of the power pack to the mighty Shield of Prime, the embossed granite sun enlarged and pulsating like the eye of beast, black null lightening crawling beneath the gloss veneer. All light, all life, all matter, even time its self was drained and beaten flat beneath that mighty presence. Like the Black Sun he was named after, the great celestial bodies that sucked in all light, all life he was death eternal, he was his Father.
With a single step the Sun closed on the Night, the Eagle helm soared to golden light and the air was back, life once more flowed.
Sucking in deep lungful’s of stench ridden, decay soiled air Morningstar forced himself to his feet, as the bitter cold of his Fathers void presence left him he felt the comforting ache of battle weary muscles and honest drain of honest combat.
Behind his Gene-Sire he could see a mountainous mound of flesh, decaying rapidly to black sludge and slick oily smoke. A figure, barely humanoid, broken and slopping flesh from it’s anthropoid limbs, a strange mewling noise came from its fast decomposing throat, it sounded not like man but a broken beast of burden. With barely a flick of his eye Morningstar drew and fired his bolt pistol, exploding the rotten things skull and ending the unedifying wailing that spewed from it.
“Neatly done my son, see that all my sons are removed from the surface, take nothing, leave behind only flame and ruin. Once we are all star borne then we will remove this profanity to the Truth from the cartographer’s art.”
“Sire we are collecting samples for study, it has become our way, to learn from the dead as well as the living.” Morningstar was sure his Lord would see the sense of this, it had served the Legion well for these past eons. They learnt much of a ten dozen, now extinct, xenos types and expanded their sphere of technical knowledge tenfold. They would not have lasted in the cold dark for as long as they did without this knowledge, here was another chance to learn about what must be enemies of the Throne. Knowledge was power after all.
A gentle, giant hand on his paludron silenced him.
In his quiet voice, calm and considered his Gene-Sire educated him once more, “Not with these foes, their very existence is a threat, dead, live, rotting or otherwise. No, we have nothing to learn here, this is a dead world filled with dead ideals and we will leave it all to burn. Anything that has been taken will be returned, all of it.” Leaning in close the gentle hand curled to a fist, crushing armour and causing servos to whine and protest “All of it my Morningstar, every scrap of flesh is to be cleansed from chain sword tooth and milligram of blood to be wiped off honest armour. Nothing of this place is to leave.”
Gritting against the pain he nodded “Your will my Sire”.
Holding Morningstar an agonising moment longer he stared deep into his eyes, “Yes my Will. I will not make the error of my brothers or Father. Once we are cleansed of this place, report to me”.
With that he released his hold and stood straight, with a flick of a thumb he activated the teleportation rune build into his spear and Morningstar withdrew. In a bubble of the Aether the Dark Son slipped between realities and for a single moment Morningstar felt a moment of regret at his departure. Then he was onto the vox, recalling the samples and fulfilling his Primarch’s commands.
   
 
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