By the Blood of the Wronged
By C'tan Chimera
I am brother Lykas of the Salamanders and I have been betrayed.
My squadron and I were sent to quell a cultist uprising on our very home world of Nocturne. The town was ironically called Faith’s Homestead, but they simply called it Faith. I knew this because I had grown up there. I remembered little, but you could feel it deep down in you when you walk upon familiar grounds.
We traveled on foot for days, not out of necessity, but because we were new. We…I was young in comparison to my superiors. We wanted to prove to them our hardiness, our determination. We would come to this troubled village and we would prove that we could stop this uprising without a single drop of blood being shed.
We did just that. When we came into town, many of them praised me and my four other brothers as heroes. The hearts beating within my chest swelled with such a feeling. To come back to the home that bore you, to see the faces of adoration and joy on faces that knew and loved you while you could no longer know for certain… It is a bittersweet thing, but I am a Marine. Bitterness is nothing, and despite Nocturne’s immense heat there is never too much warmth to be had.
Despite ghostly sensations of nostalgia teasing at me, we had a job to do, and we would do it. Much of the youth had turned to childish rebellion as was in the nature of the young and hot blooded that had not qualified to walk the path I do now.
The elderly had no trouble telling us where they had gone. Those that had still the self control of the well disciplined had stayed back at the village to repent upon our arrival as we had forewarned them. We could sympathize with their feelings, and they were forgiven without trouble. Yet the more stubborn had abandoned the village, holing up in a nearby mine that had once served the people. That is where we went next.
A week had past and the skies grew darker, heavier. The ground was frequented by tremors and the sound of raging tides was never too far away. When we finally reached the rugged, crudely fortified entrance of the mine, we were fired upon by the heretics. The firefight was brief, but harsh. It didn’t take long for the others to surrender. As we approached the mouth of the cave to meet them, the skies darkened totally, and disaster struck without announcement or mercy.
The Time of Trials had arrived.
The cave collapsed in on itself as the mountains ignited in cascades of magma, their thick plumes of smoke constricting and blackening what little was left of the sky. Within a day, the world was coated in darkness, save for the illumination of blazing fire.
At first, we were content to leave the heretics to their fate, sealed within the cave they chose to stage their defiance in. But after a day of walking, the creeping feeling of guilt in the back of our minds turned us back to the site, and we soon unearthed the group. They had abandoned their ghoulish masks and handed their weapons over to us, one display of might having been all it took to cease their foolish behavior. We stayed within the cave to endure the Time of Trial until we could safely return to Faith’s Homestead. As time went on, we came to know them all the better and before long, we were learning a little from each other. We took their childish, rebellious nature and filled it with faith and nobility. They taught us of life amongst the village and reminded us of who we had been. Before long, I considered them part of my own.
Weeks passed and gave way to the equally unforgiving winter, but we could no longer wait. We took the walk back, all five battle brothers and 20 young men, given a chance to seek redemption. Along the way back, they made time to show us how to mine the ore and plunder from the Trial’s unearthed bounty so we could bring it back with us to ensure prosperity in the coming hard times. Yet despite this, the winter proved cruel to them and we lost many to hunger and the cold’s lash.
We returned to Faith’s Homestead to find it burned to the ground. Snow mixed with ash. Withered timber jutted from the mix, bent and twisted under the weight of the earth. When we had left, it had been a place of life, promise and the Emperor’s hope.
Now it was a silent wasteland, yet no amount of silence could hide the barbarism that still lingered in the air. We all were overwhelmed with grief. It is true there is no such thing as true innocence, but this…
We thought it couldn’t get any worse, but then they attacked. Fellow Astartes Salamanders struck from the hazed horizon. They fired upon us first, taking two of my brothers with sniper fire from the rear and putting several of the surviving young ones through the torture of the promethean flamer. We burned as well, but with the rage of all the unjust death and our wrath was true. My fellow battle brothers and I lead our weary friends into the fray, our anger and ferocity quickly overpowering their own as we dug into them with bolter and chainsword. The gray ash ran red with the blood of the savages.
Why they attacked us, I cannot say. Perhaps the Chapter was corrupt and the whole mission had been a trap all along. Maybe they were simply arrogant and impatient enough to label us as deserters who had joined the rebels to make a profit off the mines.
No matter their reasoning, they had become mere animals in our eyes, and so we treated them as such. We mounted their heads upon the gnarled, agonized bones of scorched buildings and my brothers were buried along the other dead, adorned with the raw beauty of the jewels we had brought back. It had meant to serve them and bring happiness in life…But perhaps it might bring them some tranquility now still…
The people I grew up with and left were killed by those I had abandoned them for.
I have been betrayed not only by my Chapter, but by the Emperor himself. The proverbs say “Give the traitor what he deserves”, and by the blood of all those wrongly spilled, I will see to it!
Last edited by C'Tan Chimera; 03-15-11 at 04:48 AM.