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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-12, 02:44 AM Thread Starter
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In the Blink of an Eye

(???M31)

Velius Animus stood in the large assembly hall where he and the eight Centurions of the Shadow Wraith Legion had gathered. By the order of their Emperor the II Legion had been recalled to their home planet, designated Utopia Mechanis by the Imperial Scribes after it had come under Imperial Compliance. The purpose of their recall had been kept a secret that only their Primarch had been privy to. Many of the men gathered were far from happy at the development, a vast majority of them had been in the midst of campaigns, and had been forced to abandoned both their brother Legions and other forces of the Imperium.

“My Lord, why have we been pulled from the battlefield?” Praetorian Calistarius Admantis asked, the gathered Astartes growing restless and eager for explanations. Admantis was wearing his battlefield Terminator armor; the majority of it was plated in gold save for the joints and other soft point, which were tinted in a deep crimson. His Brother-Centurions all wore similarly plated and colored armor, though most had donned their regular Power armor after returning to their Citadel.

Velius folded his arms across his massive chest, the effect of which made him look more far more intimidating that usual. Unlike the Astartes that were gathered around him, Velius wore an ornate suit of Artificer armor that had been plated almost entirely of gold. Even the soft points on his armor were similarly plated, though they were cast in bronze rather than gold. Intricate carvings of ancient armies locked in glorious battle adorned his armor, each of them said to be a victory won in ancient times that shaped the course of humanity.

“The Emperor demanded we should return home, my Centurions. His wisdom is not something to question,” Velius responded to the impatience of his First Century commander.

“I mean no disrespect,” Admantis backtracked slightly, “I simply do not understand the purpose behind abandoning so many of our brethren during such a critical time.”

The Primarch sighed heavily. He was of like mind when it came to abandoning the Imperium forces. He felt somewhat like a coward ordering his men off the front lines. He had been able to reconcile the Emperor’s will in his head just fine, but his heart had yet to follow suit. Velius walked toward the back of the assembly hall and sank down in the large throne that only he and the Legate, when there was one, sat. He sat in silence for a while before finally leaning forward to address the matter in full.

“The Emperor is concerned about our loyalty…” Velius said at length, “He feels that because of our unique abilities, we would pose a danger should we waver in our dedication to the Imperium.”

The gathered Centurions began to protest rather loudly, something that their Primarch had counted on. He knew that his troops were loyal, and it seemed almost an affront to everything they had been through in the Emperor’s name. They did not, however, have the benefit of hearing the reasons why the Emperor was worried.

Velius held up a silencing hand and waited for the group to fall silent before speaking, “I understand your feelings, my Centurions. The issue at hand is not one of actual transgressions but of the implications of our defecting to the side of the Traitors. As you all know, the psykers among the other Legions cannot stand to be around us. Our power makes us as ghosts to their wide reaching sight. Even the Emperor himself cannot discern us. It is feared that should we deign to side with Horus and his ilk that we would be the instruments of the Imperium’s destruction.”

The murmurs of displeasure continued to emerge, prompting Velius to divulge an even less palatable piece of news, “It was the Emperor’s initial wish that each man down to our newest recruit be slaughtered in the name of the security of the Imperium. He bade me kill you all, raze our home and destroy the Legion utterly.”

A heavy, somber silence fell on the room. The gravity of the Emperor’s fears finally sank in. Though they had been loyal servants of the Imperium, had battled countless enemies along side the forces of the Emperor and even the Emperor himself, the threat of their defection shook their Emperor so deeply that he was willing to obliterate them simply to avoid something that might come to pass.

“Then it is our fate to die?” Centurion Antonio Pontus, Commander of the Second Century, asked his Primarch.

“No, Centurion Pontus, the Emperor was swayed to spare the Legion after much deliberation. He has seen fit to remove us from the battlefields and spirit us away for the time being until the traitors can be put down and the threat has passed,” Velius explained.

“How will He accomplish that?” Praetorian Admantis asked skeptically.

“With a little help from science,” Primus Mechanicus Ixion Cassius called out from behind the group. The Adeptus Fabrum strolled into the large chamber, clad in the rust painted Power armor that was favored by those who had been sent to Mars. The group parted to allow the Primus Mechanicus through, and waited for him to explain himself.

“Is the device prepared?” Velius asked of the man as he came to a halt a few feet away.

“Yes, my Lord. It took some… conversions… to adapt the device to our power grid. It is, however, ready to activate on your orders.” Ixion replied with confidence.

“Very well, Primus Mechanicus… activate the device,” Velius said after a short pause.

“As you wish,” Cassius bowed slightly and retreated back the way he had come. The Centurions gathered in the assembly hall watched him depart before returning their eyes to their Primarch. The questioning looks in each of their faces went ignored as Velius stood and started walking toward a large balcony at the far side of the room.

“Forgive me for asking, my Lord, but what is this device the Primus Mechanicus spoke of?” the Centurion of the Exploratores Tirones, Horatius Divinicus, asked.

Velius leaned against the onyx hued balcony and looked upward toward the sky, which was slowly starting to dim as their world’s sun began to slowly retreat from the heavens, “It is something the Emperor found that will cast a veil around our world and hide us from the galaxy. It should only last a few years at most before it ceases to function and we return. By then, the Emperor hopes the traitors will be put down and we will be welcomed back without question.”

“Do you believe that to be true?” Horatius dared to ask.

Velius regarded the Centurion with an even gaze, “What I believe does not matter. It is enough that I was able to spare you all from deaths you did not deserve. Even if my father never welcomes us back, at least you were not sacrifices to paranoia.”

The gathered Centurions fell silent in respect for their Primarch’s efforts. They had already pushed well beyond the point that was normally tolerable, and Velius had shown them more than enough lenience already. The gathered men lifted their gazes toward the heavens to watch for whatever even the Primarch seemed to be expecting to occur in that place, and were not disappointed when they did.

A huge burst of dark purple erupted above the Citadel, at first only a sliver in the sky. As the seconds passed, the sliver expanded with such speed that it covered the entire sky in less than a minute. Down below their vantage point, the population were milling about in a mixture of awe and panic. They had not been given the benefit of advanced warning, nor the comfort of hearing Velius explain what was happening to their world and why.

“Is it supposed to do that?” Centurion Domiano Celsus of the Primus Equites asked as he beheld the otherworldly spectacle.

“I have no idea…” Velius muttered, almost as stunned at the occurrence as his Centurions were.

“Primarch Animus!” the voice of one of many tech-priests who aided the Adeptus Fabrum in their work called out in an urgent manner, “Master Cassius asks that you meet him in the artifice chambers! Something has gone wrong!”

Velius broke out into a dead run, followed closely by his Centurions. As the Primarch hurried through the corridors, his mind struggled to make sense of what was happening and what might have gone wrong. Having never seen a device such as the one he’d been given to use by the Emperor, he wasn’t entirely sure how the thing was supposed to behave or how it might malfunction. His time spent in the Manufactorum with his foster parents had given him ample experience with items of technology, but even that knowledge failed to yield any real tangible answers.

As Velius continued to penetrate deeper into the complex, the sight of their Primarch rushing by began to inspire a healthy unease among the servants and Astartes who witnessed it. Anyone in Velius’ path was swift to get out of it as he showed no signs whatsoever of stopping to allow anyone to pass. By the time the Primarch burst into the sanctum that had been set up for the strange device, word of something being amiss had already begun to circulate.

“What is wrong, Ixion?” Velius demanded as he charged into the room with a stern expression on his face.

“This infernal machine is emitting energies the likes of which I have not encountered anywhere except upon the field of battle with the traitor Legions. I have tried to use the gifts you have imparted to us all but I have not been able to render it inert. Whatever this device is, it is not what we were told it was…” the Primus Mechanicus explained with an equally hard expression on his face.

Velius growled low in his throat. It seemed all too clear that he had been tricked into dooming his Legion under the guise of salvation. The fury that welled up inside of him drove him to approach the device, his mind reaching for the innate powers that he had been born with. By the time he laid his hands upon the device, even the gathered Centurions could feel the nauseating wave of suppressive energy flowing from the Primarch’s body. The machine protested the interference with loud hisses and creaks. The longer Velius pressed his suppressive will against the thing, the louder the objections became. Minutes slipped by as each of the gathered Astartes watched their Primarch hammer the device in an effort to stop whatever dark emanations it had been throwing out with impunity.

With a violent scream, Velius drew upon every drop of disruptive energy he had within himself, the force of it crushing against the device to the point that it almost began to crumple under the weight of it. The device gave one final groan of protest before the thing finally shut down, the ruinous energies wafting off the foul machine dissipating slowly until the thing fell silent. For his effort, Velius dropped to his knees, the world around him spinning rather unsettlingly. Praetorian Admantis was the first to his aid, followed quickly by several of the other Centurions.

“Has the sky returned to normal?” Velius asked of his Praetorian.

“I will have a servant check on it,” Calistarius responded as he struggled to lift the Primarch from the floor, “We need to get you to Medici Rosarion. Whatever that foul machine was doing has ceased. We will figure out what damage has been done, you just need to rest, my Lord.”

“Ixion,” the Primarch called out.

“Yes, Primarch?” the Primus Mechanicus responded to the summons.

“Discover the extent of the damage personally,” Velius ordered.

“It shall be done…”


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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-12, 03:12 AM
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Very engaging and interesting. The description of Velius' Artificer armor was very descriptive. This will probably be answered later, but I have to ask: Are they Untouchables or psykers? Certain parts seemed to point to both but I'm not sure.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-12, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VixusKragov View Post
Very engaging and interesting. The description of Velius' Artificer armor was very descriptive. This will probably be answered later, but I have to ask: Are they Untouchables or psykers? Certain parts seemed to point to both but I'm not sure.
The II Legion is a Legion made entirely of Pariahs. The Primarch passes to every Space Marine that trait. Velius just happens to be the most powerful Pariah of them all.


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-14-12, 03:27 AM
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That's a really cool idea- certainly sets them apart from the other Legions. Can't wait to read more about them.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-15-12, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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An Age Gone By…

(???M41)

Primus Mechanicus Ixion Cassius had toiled well into the early hours of the morning following his Primarch’s collapse. The device he’d battled had remained dead, and Ixion had taken the extra precaution of ensuring that no power cables or other sources of energy were connected to the thing in case it was more tenacious than it had appeared. His exhaustive study of the machine had yielded little in the way of results. Whatever it had been designed to do, the suppressive energies that Primarch Animus had levied against it had destroyed much of the working parts inside, which made discerning the things true function little more than an exercise in guess work.

The Primus Mechanicus finally emerged from his laboratory, weary from his research and the weight of the futility of his efforts. The various servants who attended the corridors and halls glanced his way expectantly, only to see the dower look on his face. It was far worse for those who had not been given even the slightest indication that something was supposed to transpire. Even though the strange mass of purple that had stolen the sky has abated, the panic it had instilled in the populous was readily visible on each and every face that Ixion passed by. He had been ordered to get answers; it had been the Primarch’s last command before he’d been taken to the Medici for treatment. To think that he had failed his Lord was unbearable.

As the Primus Mechanicus traversed the ornate corridors of his Legion’s Citadel home, he wondered idly what the purple haze had even been. He’d never seen such a thing before, knew nothing about it, and could not begin to guess at how such a harmless seeming machine had been able to conjure such a wide sweeping phenomenon. With answer anything but forthcoming, speculation seemed the only recourse and even it wasn’t much of a comfort.

“Primus Mechanicus,” a nervous voice called out from behind Ixion, which forced the Adeptus Fabrum to turn almost fully about to catch a glimpse at the speaker. The man he beheld was a member of the Citadel’s scientific community. The name escaped Ixion, but he knew the diminutive man’s face well enough and wondered why a man who spent his life gazing at local star clusters would want anything to do with him.

“What can I do for you, my friend?” Ixion asked.

“My Lord Cassius, I have some disturbing news that I thought best to approach you with first. It may very well be that the recent events have simply disrupted the calibration of our equipment…” the man stammered, rubbing his hands together nervously.

The Primus Mechanicus straightened a bit at the way he worded his response. It was obvious something was utterly wrong, but for him to make such a comment as his equipment might be faulty… Ixion turned and made for the Observatorium, the astronomer following quickly after him.

“I hate to bother you with such trivial things, my Lord…” the man began to apologize.

“If there is something amiss, I wish to know of it. I would be remiss in my duties if I did not ensure that our equipment fell into disrepair, even in these uncertain hours. What was your name, my friend? I fear with everything going on, I have no recollection of it,” Ixion stopped the man from getting too far into an apology.

“Julius, my Lord,” the astronomer answered.

“What is your equipment doing that has you so concerned?” the Adeptus Fabrum inquired as the rounded a corner.

“It is not so much what the equipment is doing as it is what it is telling us…” the man said, hesitating for a moment as if to find the words, “You had best see it with your own eyes. I fear my explanations will be lacking.”

“Very well,” Ixion remarked as he quickened his pace. It was becoming more and more obvious that if the astronomers were seeing something odd, it might be an after effect of what had happened. He hadn’t actually considered consulting with them, something that he was now chastising himself for not doing as he stormed into the massive Observatorium in which Julius and his brethren worked.

“Show me what you have seen,” the Primus Mechanicus demanded in an authoritative manner. He didn’t really need to use such a tone, but with all the stress he had shouldered during the ordeal, any hints of an answer couldn’t be forthcoming fast enough.

Julius nodded to another one of the astronomers who manned the Observatorium. The woman was old, just about as old as Julius, her long gray robes hanging off her loosely and obscuring whatever figure she might have had. The woman slowly approached one of many control effigies and activated the massive holographic imager that hung from the ceiling of the massive chamber. The crystal orb flared to life and began projecting their home world as well as all of the visible stars that appeared in the sky above them.

Julius walked into the center of the star field and beckoned the Primus Mechanicus to do the same. Ixion took a few steps forward and looked around himself, not immediately aware of what the issue was.

“It seems as if the device is working properly…” he ventured to say.

“This is the view from yesterday morning when we performed the recording rituals and mapped the movements of the heavens. Everything is as it should have been,” Julius said before nodding to the woman again. The image shifted radically, with nearly every star in the sky changing position so drastically as to make it obvious that something was amiss. Even without having much in the way of cardinal knowledge of the stars above him, even Ixion knew that something drastic has occurred.

“What in the name of the Primarch happened?” the Primus Mechanicus voiced his astonishment.

“That is why I asked you to come here and observe this. I fear the truth behind this image, and I had hoped you would perform the analytical rites to ensure that we are not being fooled somehow by mischievous machine spirits,” Julius said, giving the Adeptus Fabrum a pleading glance.

With such a massive shift, it wasn’t hard to imagine why he expected something to be wrong. Deep down, Ixion hoped he was right, that the machine spirit was simply being impish and he could debunk their findings. The Adeptus Fabrum began the rites, going over the litanies of repair and of examination that were required to coax answers from the machines. The astronomers watched eagerly, hoping that he would give them the answers they were praying for.

The longer Ixion worked, the more disturbed he became. The machine spirit seemed to be in compliance, the equipment showed no sign of flaws that he could discern. After nearly a half an hour of chanting, the Primus Mechanicus stopped and stepped back away from the device to behold the astronomers. He felt almost guilty for what he was about to say to them.

“The machine spirit is fine, the device works as it was constructed to. The information is correct and in accordance with the true conditions around us,” Ixion declared.

“My Lord Cassius… that can not be!” Julius said desperately, “Do you realize what that would me?”

“No, Julius, but I bid you explain to me what this drastic shift in alignment means,” Ixion ordered.

Julius hung his head slightly as he came to terms with the information. Drawing a breath, he lifted his eyes toward the Adeptus Fabrum and tried his best not to appear too shaken by the information.

“According to the litanies we have collected on the travel of the heavenly bodies, such a shift would have required a full ten thousand years to accomplish. If the instruments are not faulty, then somehow we have jumped forward in time. How this is possible is beyond my limited understanding, but that is what this means…” Julius explained.

“I thank you for your honesty. I believe it is something we must inform the Primarch about,” Ixion said, making for the corridors once more.

“Please tell the Lord Primarch that we apologize for bringing such ill tidings…” Julius called after the Primus Mechanicus.

Ixion wondered whether such news truly would be hailed as ill tidings, but said nothing and merely waved a hand in response as he headed for the Recovery Chambers and most likely a meeting with the Centurions afterward…


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-19-12, 11:08 PM
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A Shadow Wraiths story.

The training hall rang with the sounds of one man punching and kicking the training bags and shortly after the same man picked up a bo-staff, weighted it in his hands then moved into the training cage. He ordered the Servitors to go to the highest level and when he was ready he ordered them to begin.

Each swipe was a release of what he had been told several hours earlier, he could barely believe what they had all been told. It seemed almost impossible, even with the technology available to his beloved Legion; could they really and truly be not a couple of hundred years but ten thousand years?

He ducked under las burst from one of the servitors and spinning his bo-staff he cracked it against the side of the servitors head and caved it in, the second servitor began to track him as he moved across the ring then moved down and slid into it and rammed his staff dead centre.

“Training stop”

He turned at the familiar voice and glaring got to his feet as the Centurion of the Primus Equites slowly came into the room.

“What did you do that for” He snarled breathing a little harshly.

“Well aside from the fact that I would like some Servitors that have not been bashed to shit, I am concerned for you Antonio” Dominanco Celsus handed his friend and the Centurion of the First File Antonio Pontus a towel.

Celsus was a huge man even by Astartes standards, his dark eyes right now held concern for his friends’ reaction to the news that the Primus Mechanicus had brought to them. Everyone was shocked to the core but Pontus had seemed totally dumbfounded by it all.

“The Primarch is concerned too.” He added and perched himself on the edge of the training ring. “Speak to me old friend, there has to be a purely rational explanation for this, mayhap old Julius got it wrong”

“Do you really believe that Dom?” Pontus wiped his face and jumped down from the cage and sat beside his friend. Both men had dark hair and olive complexions, they were the same height but although Pontus was well built, compared to Celsus he was tiny.

Celsus scratched his eyebrow, an oddly human gesture for one that was now so beyond humanity when they did a victory honour parade through the streets of their home world his sister and mother did not recognise him, the memory had remained with him and yet he had coped with that, he knew what would happen to him once he became an Astartes, all he wished for was that they had been proud of him.

“We coped, you and I when we became sons of Velius, we have coped with the distrust and scorn of other Legions because they are nervous around us. Remember Magnus and his sons?”

Pontus nodded ruefully “If I remember rightly bang near Velius was unbearable for the Crimson King, he did try but – “Pontus shrugged.

“Well we learnt to cope with that and we will learn to cope with this. Ixion is even now attempting to explain what has occurred to the Primarch and if anyone can come up with an explanation it will be the Primus Mechanicus”
Pontus had to admit, Celsus had a valid point “I just – felt like I needed to work some things out Brother, that is all”

Celsus slapped his hand on his fellow Centurion and member of the Inner Circles shoulder “Get into your robes Brother, The Primarch has called his Inner Circle to a conference this evening, he will not be kept waiting”

Pontus nodded in agreement and walked with his Brother Centurion leaving the training hall in darkness.


++++


Velius Animas sat at the head of the long table that dominated his hall. Around him sat his Inner Circle, the most senior of Centurions, First Centurion Calistarius Admanti, The Praetorian himself, beside him sat Second Centurion Antonio Pontus and beside him sat Third Centurion Domiano Celsus Also present were Primus Mechanicum Ixion Cassius and Primus Medici Janario Sextus. The Primarch waited until they were left alone and spread his arms

“Tuck in my sons, we can eat and drink at the same time as talk”

They filled their tankards and raised them to the fallen, the Emperor and their Primarch. There was a little banter that flew around the table but, try as he might Cassius could not get into the mood of things. Pontus noticed Cassius’ distant look and set his tankard down.

“Something vexing you Ixion?” He asked.

Cassius met the gaze of the Second Centurion and noticed all eyes were on him, including the Primarch who was waiting to see if his Primus Mechanicus would indeed share whatever was on his mind.

“I was just thinking about how much the Imperium will have changed and, well would there even be a place for us, after all the Emperor wanted us out of the way because of our – unique ability”

Velius set his tankard down “Explain”

But it was Pontus and not Cassius who answered “You mean, if what you have learnt to be true what changes have occurred if any, did the Heresy truly take root, how many of the Primarchs still live, how many Leigons are there, and did Horus or the Emperor win?”

“Exactly” Cassius agreed “How do we know what has happened, for all we know the Emperor is dead and Horus is now the master of mankind” He picked his tankard up and put it towards his lips “That is not a prospect I would like to see” and he swallowed a healthy measure of ale.

Velius was silent for a moment and then rose from his seat and went to his window that overlooked his world and its inhabitants. He clasped his hands behind his back and turned his head a little.

“This is I know frustrating and I am also aware that some of you have had difficulty assimilating the news as has the rest of the Legion. When and only when we are all ready then we will find out just how much the universe has changed. If Horus is Emperor then we will fight him with all we are and those that followed him, if my father is still on the throne then we will fight harder to have him accept us.

This is no going to be easy my sons, but then life with such a gift as ours is never easy to live with, either for Psykers, Primarchs or ordinary citizens. But, we are the II Legion Astartes, we are the Shadow Wraiths and we will take this head on, no matter what the changes and adapt accordingly.”

Pontus felt his reservations drain away at his fathers’ words and raised his tankard with his brothers as they chanted his name, banged their fists on the table and drank in his honour. Velius turned and met his Second Centurions gaze and tipped him a slight wink, but inside he too had no idea what he was going to do if the universe had as Horus had promised, burnt.
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