Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: In a cell for revealing sensitive information regarding the Inquisition
Tiberius didn't know if he should be pleased that he had worked out Akkad's reasoning or repulsed by the fact that he was trying to deceive and goad them into following him. Even after all that had happened, such guile was a bitter taste to Tiberius. Although Akkad was right. What Horus and the rest of the betrayers had done was monumental. Such a violent shattering of the oaths that Tiberius had thought immutable and unbreakable was not an isolated moment of madness. This was part of some greater plan. *But whose plan?* was a thought that Tiberius briefly considered while he listened to Akkad speak. Was this just Horus's own machinations. Was he jealous and sought command over all Legionnes Astartes and was even now moving to eliminate his brothers and seize greater power for himself. Was there some rational failing they had all committed, some sin that demanded that they die? A darker thought still crept into Tiberius mind. Horus was still under authority. What if he was only acting on orders and this was a punishment of the four legions gathered, like Monarchia had been for the Word Bearers. He dismissed the last thought as impossible. The Master of Mankind could never have sanctioned this.
Tiberius stepped back as he registered Sebastian and Darius move further away, the need to whisper disappearing. Akkad was brazen about his intentions to avoid the fight they both knew was coming. Horus and the other traitors could not let their work go unfinished. They would come and they would kill them all. And that was the problem. It meant Akkad was right. If they could move now, they might yet survive such a reckoning. Tiberius bit his bottom lip in frustration. He wanted to dismiss such thoughts, but he could not. They had merit and there was temptation there. There was hope there, a resource Tiberius was sorely lacking. Yet there was something that sat ill with Tiberius. He struggled to find the words for several long moments before finally they came to him. "Survival for survival's sake is worthless."
Tiberius' intonation was halting, as if he were trying to recall a quote from a book he read a lifetime ago. But there was more to it than just the words. Tiberius summoned his strength and spoke it again, this time with conviction. "Survival for survival's sake is worthless." His mind committed to such a thought, Tiberius continued. "If we survive, it must be for a purpose. To regain strength and strike again, or to take word of what happened here to the wider Imperium. Do you imagine we can hide out in the wastes and eek an existence for ourselves? War calls us, and we are destined to die in its embrace. We cannot run from that Akkad." Tiberius paused, taking a moment to gather his thoughts before they flew apart. The only accompaniment to their discussion was the slow crackling of the dwindling fires and the cries of betrayal from dead men's throats carried on the wind.
"I don't know if I can kill a man I called brother, but I know this; I didn't know I could kill an ork until I did. I didn't know I could kill a Megarachnid until I did. Think of the Isstvanians. They were once members of the Imperium, men like we used to be. But I held no sorrow in my heart at their passing. I did not mourn them. They forsook the Emperor and the Imperium and who they once were is irrelevant in the face of that. The men I called brothers died in the virus bombings, their memory swept away by the firestorm. Whoever comes down for us from orbit is not my brother, and I will show them no mercy and expect none in return." Now both of them looked to the sky, imagining their erstwhile brothers coming for them with bolter and blade. Either now or in the time to come, this world would be the end of them all.
Tiberius' gaze settled back on Akkad as the ashen wind howled around them and the buildings groaned under their own weight. "Here our death's could mean something. If they do come, we can make them bleed. They sought to end us without their own blood being shed or their own strength being spent. We can deny them that. We buy those who might learn of this time to prepare a counter-attack and cost our betrayers more than they thought they'd have to pay. And when we die, we will have accomplished something." Tiberius found his voice steadily rising with zeal, and forced it back to it's neutral, regal tones. He was trying to be pragmatic, not be swept away by his emotions. "If we might accomplish something by survival then we must survive. But if we cannot, we must make our deaths meaningful. We could cut south, try to survive, but answer me truthfully..." Tiberius knew his petition was no guarantee that Akkad wouldn't try manipulation as he had earlier, but it also didn't hurt. "...what might we accomplish by surviving?"