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Default Ancient Ties (re-worked)

Ancient Ties

He stirred, and as he woke he realised that he was hungry. Pratis Majoris was a world of ice and snow and was not only a cold world to live on, but also its harshness and its unpredictable elements caused it to be classed as a Death World by the Imperium and as such went largely unnoticed by the great machine that was the Imperium of Man. Deep under the mountain peaks that had been his prison for over eight thousand years, he began to stir. He did not know where he was, who he was, or indeed, how he even had here all he knew was he needed to feed.

The B’arlar had traversed the Ice roads of Pratis Majoris for centuries. The hunt for food would always bring them along the migration routes where the Great Snow Bears and Ice Whales met at the channel of Souls that would lead out into the Frozen Ocean. The fur of the Bears would keep many warm in the long cold winter nights and the Blubber and meat of the Ice Whales would keep many a tribe’s people’s bellies warm. The winter of this world was an unforgiving mistress and this time of year only the strong ever survived. Manan’tha, the lead hunter and chief of his tribe caught the scent of the Great Snow Bear they had been hunting for over three weeks. The Snow Wolves had led them to the Valley of The White Peaks. They were mountains that jutted into the skies like great kings of old, the snows here were so deep that they were virtually unassailable and the Chieftain knew better then to trespass on the mountains of the gods.

Superstitions have surrounded this valley for generations. Legend had it that a great dark god fell from the sky and landed with such force on the valley floor that he drove the rock surrounding him upwards and created the White Peaks, disaster and bad luck always seemed followed those that had entered this accursed place, and no tribe in their right mind came this far off the hunting trails. There had been poor hunting and fishing in recent months and it called for desperate measures and Manan’tha was painfully aware that he had to feed his people. As that was his duty and he knew that a trip through the valley would bring his hunting party to the bears migration grounds a lot quicker than if they went around. He had to make a decision and he made it. He spoke in the harsh language of his tribe and let the Snow Wolves lead them on and through to the valley pass. His hunters exchanged nervous glances with each other but their chiefs’ temper was just as fearful as any bad spirits and so, making ancient symbols of warding with their hands they followed him into the valley.


He watched the group enter this domain. There was enough food there to slate his hunger and thirst. He had forgotten how long he had been asleep but the need to feed overpowered all other logical reasoning that he might otherwise have had. Carefully despite his sheer gigantic bulk, he stalked his prey watching them and determining the weakest and strongest members, his brain was already beginning to work out suitable attack points and when best to strike. He flexed giant hands that ended in mighty talons and as he carried on stalking his prey, a feral grin crossed his face. He wanted to taste their blood.


The first Manan’tha knew that anything was wrong was when his Snow Wolves started whining and pulling away from their leash. Something had spooked them and the hair on the snow-white fur stood up on end. Snow Wolves famed for their fearlessness and their savagery on the hunt was legendary but right now, they were acting as if young cubs presented with the Alpha of their pack and told to submit to his rule.

Manan’tha was beginning to rue his choice of action and realized that perhaps taking the long route round would not have been such a bad idea after all. The first scream came from the back and the second came from the middle mere moments after the first. Manan’tha felt something warm and wet hit the back of his neck. He pressed his fingers to the spot and then looked at them, his eyes widening as he saw the blood that was there spreading on his fingers.

He raised his axe and roared at his hunters to stand ready, it was a beast of the legends of that much he was certain. The foul creatures that stalked these lands looking for a nice morsel of man to feed on were legendary and tales told to the young to keep them in line. His Snow Wolves pulled so hard that they broke their Leash and ran. Manan’tha cursed loudly at the unusual cowardice of his prized Wolves and turned to face their attacker only to see a blur of red and grey flying amongst his hunters.

No one had the chance to react quick enough against their supernatural attacker, heads and limbs landed in a gory mess that turned the virgin snow red with their landing and mere feet from where Manan’tha stood, paralyzed with fear. It seemed to him that the attack lasted for long minutes but in reality, it was seconds and as he watched, he saw headless bodies fall to the snow, their life flowing in the white and the stench of death was really quite overpowering and that galvanized his terrified limbs into action. His fear giving way to anger and grief and one almighty warrior rage, he uttered a war cry and ran at the beast. Praying to the gods he swung his axe at the beast feeling the satisfying thud as his axe connected with the armour. His father had given his axe to him when he had claimed his first snow bears hide and he always kept its edge clean.

It had cleaved many an enemy’s head from shoulders in his day but now the ancient weapon merely shattered into shards of metal. He got his first look at the beast. It was a man but not a man. He must have been at least 10 feet tall, his dark hair stood out the more because it was blood coated and his pale face was not out of place in a place such as this. His armour was a brutal red with grey trim and his hands, oh, his hands were monstrous. This giant uttered a laugh that seemed to come from deep within another part of him and grabbed Manan’tha by his arms. He was still laughing when he pulled Manan’thas arms from their sockets. Raising the severed limbs to the heaven a name entered his fog-clouded mind and he shouted it to the heavens.

“LORGAR”
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2.

The Diablos Infernos sailed the stormy seas of the Eye without a care in the world. Its ancient hull rang with the cries of the enslaved and the tortured working in its lower decks. Once she had been known by another name The Emperor’s Fire but that was long gone now. Now she truly was vessel of war and a war that would last forever or until the Corpse Emperor was finally defeated whichever came first. Her crew had been with her since she cast herself into the Warp but only those of strong enough faith had survived the transition from real space to warp space. Her battle marked Hull was host to little flying daemons like small fish that fed off the titbits left on a shark when it had finished feeding. The prow lance had long ago been changed into a snarling living demons head that spat demon fire at the enemy. As she made her way through the Warp chattering entities went to attack the vessel then moved back as they recognized the souls within and let her go on her way.

Dark Apostle Felan smiled to himself as he watched his vessel through the viewing window in his quarters. He felt the fury of the Ships Spirit, ever hungry to attack more of her sister vessels no matter to whom they belonged. He could feel the palatable fear of every slave on the ship and it tasted divine. He ran his hand along her metal skin and could feel her react to his touch. She had looked after him for centuries and he had looked after her. Whenever they had were badly attacked and she had been hurt he had executed the bridge crew and got more. All who guided this mighty carrier of the Urizens warriors knew better then to let her get in any harm through negligence or stupidity. On this mighty vessel, he and his brothers had conquered worlds in the name of the Great Crusade now they conquered those same worlds in the name of gods more worthy of his respect.

For Ten Thousand years, they had brought terror and fear to the realms of man. He cast his mind back to the days when things had seemed so much simpler. He had been ready to become a full Chaplin when Blessed Lorgar had steered his sons in the new direction and brought his holy book for them all to read. When the attack on the Carrion Crow had failed, he was named Dark Acolyte to the Dark Apostle Bar Kran. He had worshipped the man like a living god and had studied so much under him that the man had become like a father to him. When his Anointed had failed to save his life against the depraved Emperors Children, he killed every single one of them and their Coryphaeus for failing in their duty to protect the Dark Apostle. That action alone has stopped his host being dissolved into other Hosts. He had been elevated to become the Dark Apostle of the 47th Host. He had held that post for five centuries now and he knew that his host would never question him and would follow him no matter where he ordered them to go.

Their loyalty to him was sacrament. He was the chosen of Lorgar; he spoke with the authority of the Dark Council. The only others to deserve more loyalty then him was The honoured Master of the Dark Faith, Blessed Erebus the first of them all and Holy Lorgar that went without question. He glanced at his reflection in the mirror. His dark hair, eyes and pale patrician feature the image of Blessed Holy Lorgar. His entire face was covered in scripture from the mighty Book of Lorgar in fact his entire body was covered in the holy scriptures of the favoured son of chaos that is all except his right arm. His arm covered in deep knife cuts that had scared every warrior that he had lost and had died in honour to their Primarch he made a cut in his arm to remind himself of how they had died for the Word and he remembered their names.

He had acquired some new warriors from the Master of the Faith when he had aided blessed Kor Phaeron against the accursed Ultramarines. Six of his Anointed had died saving the Master of the Faith and he had rewarded Felan with six of his own Anointed, a rare gift but Mar Felan was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth. He could feel his vessel move with the grace of a Queen through the seas that she was so much part off he just hoped that something would happen soon to quell the blood lust in her heart. The priests of the Dark Mechanicum could not always pacify his vessels hungry spirit no matter what they said. He pulled his robe around him and continued to gaze out the window, comforted by the myriad of differences in the Warp. That was the thing about this place. You might see a planet of blue one minute and the next it might be purple with a leering face in it such was the way of the warp. He heard his door chime and without breaking his gaze ordered whomever it was to come in. The Warrior came in and immediately fell to one knee, his head bowed. The ancient Power Armour once gunmetal grey was now brazen red with grey trim and one of the pauldrons was the face of a snarling dragon.

His armour like all other Word Bearer armour was ensconced with the scriptures of Lorgar and like all true sons of Colchis his features were a likeness of their lord and spiritual father. He rested a hand on the kneeling warriors shoulder

“Rise Tor Panarl, what brings you here?” His tone was warm and genuine.

The Coryphaeus like his master was a native of Colchis but his hair whilst most of it had been shaved a single stripe remained flowed across his scalp and to the back of his head like some old plume of antiquities armies. His eyes swirled with the barely contained zealotry of a devout follower and his battle prowess left none in any doubt why he was the War Commander and Mar Felan had every faith in the man that had been his battle brother at the siege of Terra. After he had executed the former Coryphaeus, he had elevated Tor Panarl without hesitation. He trusted his judgment and he knew how deep his loyalty lay.

“Our Astropathic choir received a message from the Warp My Dark Apostle” Tor Panarl growled but whilst his voice seemed to be a perpetual growl the subtle pitch showed that he was being respectful to his master “It was so powerful Lord that it killed the master of Astropaths and six of his choir”

“Indeed?” The Dark Apostle arched a surprised eyebrow “That powerful, from where did it originate?”

“We believe a world of the corpse god My Lord, a world by the name of Pratis Majoris”

Mar Felan tapped his jaw a little bit. The name of that world seemed strangely familiar to him. “Was there anything else?” He asked still trying to remember where he has heard the name before.

“Apparently it was just the mention of our Holiest father My Dark Apostle”

“Have the Captain take us to this world my Coryphaeus by the time we get there I might have worked out why that world is familiar to me.”

The war commander bowed his head low and left to complete his master wish. In the meantime, his master prepared himself and hoped the gods would answer his questions; it was going to be a long meditation.

++++

The warrior made his way through the great corridors of the vessel, its vaulted walls covered in scripture from Lorgars Books and the arched ceilings made from the bones of the sacrificed so that whilst their souls served the masters of the warp for all eternity their earthly remains would continue to serve their masters. Chapter Serfs and lower ratings fell to their knees, kept their heads bowed, eyes cast down as a blessed warrior of Lorgar strode passed them, not worthy of his gaze and their eyes not worthy to look upon such a blessed son, the punishment which would have been to have their eyes cut out so that they would not commit the same act again. He entered the Chapel and his breath was stolen away.

The Warriors of the Chapter, initiates and fully-fledged sons had painstakingly with wondrous detail adorned the walls with the history of their father from his discovery on long dead Colchis to his discovery of the powers that truly deserved his worship. He took a deep breath, with a hiss removed his demonic shaped helm, and tucked it under his arm. Then with purpose strode to the great alter of Chaos Undivided behind which stood a gold effigy of their spiritual father in all his glory as the Demonic Prince of their Legion. In his left hand, the eternal flame that was always kept alight no matter where they were and in his right hand was the sacred Book of Lorgar, his arms wide to encompass his sons. He fell to his knee and bowing his head began to whisper the entries that he had been taught since his induction into this great legion before he fell silent and closed his eyes in prayer. It had been four centuries since he had become a son of Lorgar and he had never regretted a day of it.

Jubal Sunscreamer opened his soul to the gods who had taken him to the service of one who had moulded him and made him so much more than the fate that would have befallen him the carrion lord had his hands on him. Blessed Erebus in the use of his powers tutored him, he had endured all the pain, and the soul rebuilding that had been required of him to become a warrior of Lorgar. He had welcomed his indoctrination into the Word, there were others who had not been strong enough and in fact, of his group only five made it. The Holy Dark Apostle had taken his gift and turned it into a weapon of pure hate for the Emperors forces and he relished every chance he had of using it. When and only when he had been ready was he then transferred into the host of the Master of the Dark Faith himself and there he had carved a name for himself.

It had not been easy, Kor Phaeron was a notoriously hard master to please but he had proved himself with honour repeatedly and now for the last twenty years he had been serving a new master. He recalled the day with clarity that he had been told of his new appointment. He had not been with the Masters Host and the Host of the 47th Coterie when they had made planet fall on Dearness Prime. A Hive world that was ripe for the picking and to gain access to a dark prize of the Pleasure God himself. The souls of the Sororities themselves and it had been successful turning the sisterhood into a sisterhood for the dark prince. They were attacked by the hated Ultramarines and the Dark Apostle had lost six of his anointed as they protected the Master of the Faith. He had been summoned to the Dark Lords chamber and told that he was to transfer to the Diablos Infernos he was to understand that this was not a punishment, just a change in duty.

He was also told that he had served the Dark Lord with honour and distinction and it was time that he carved a name for himself within another host. He had not questioned the order; it was not his place to question the order just do as he was commanded. He replaced the Sergeant that had died on Dearness Prime and as such, his reputation preceded him. Everyone it seemed knew who he was and there were whispers that one day he would command his own vessel and that he was a favoured son of Kor Phaeron himself. Jubal was happy where he was and paid no heed to whispers and rumours they were not part of his understanding. He had no desire for command just to be a warrior that his master could count on. Yes, he had come a long way since Torsons reach He was a powerhouse of a warrior. His muscle even after the changes wrought on him by the blessed Primarchs gene seed had been implanted were greater than the average battle brother and he had to have a specially made suit of Terminator Armour made just for his bulk and size.

Right now he prayed that his battle prowess was enough to keep his Lord Dark Apostle in favour and that he and all his battle brothers continued to serve their dark master with fervour, devotion and honour. He opened his eyes as he became aware of another presence and turned to see the Coryphaeus kneel beside him and mutter a prayer to the Holy Primarch and the gods. The War Commander looked at the helmet that belonged to his sergeant. It was different to the standard helmet of a warrior. The eyes were joined making it look like a visor of some description. Tor Panarl knew that this would allow the Gods blessed power of his sergeant to be unleashed against the heathens of the Corpse Gods and he had seen it at work often enough to know how deadly and brutal such a power was and not for the first time was glad that their Legion had found him first. He set it down and waited for Jubal to finish his prayers then rose with him. Once again, the Sergeant took in the frescos around him and Tor Panarl allowed himself a rare smile.

“Did the Dark Master not have the same frescos Jubal?”

“They were different in some ways my Coryphaeus” Jubal respectfully answered “Battles alongside our blessed father and the war against the accursed inhabitants of Ultramar”

Tor Panarl nodded a little and the two men, bowing again to the icon of their father walked away, Ignoring the serfs and slaves abasing themselves once more as they walked past.

“I wish my lord that I had known the days when our father walked amongst us” Jubal sighed.

The Coryphaeus slapped his hand on his sergeants’ pauldron “Your name is known to him Jubal as are we all. Learn from me brother and our master and you will feel as if you have walked with him all your life.”

Jubal inclined his head a little, pride flowing through him; it was a known fact that Tor Panarl rarely had time for the brothers that had not been part of the ancient brotherhood that had laid siege to the Emperor’s palace Nevertheless, he had proved himself, saved the Coryphaeus’s life on more than one occasion, and had earnt his respect.

“Have the Anointed prepared Jubal I want them all ready when we are called to war they are to be at their fittest I will not have it said that my Anointed are lacking in their duties to our master”

“Yes my lord” Jubal bowed his head and went to see to his War Commanders orders. Tor Panarl nodded to himself as he watched the sergeant stride away and continued on his way.

++++
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The killer made his way through the mountain pass, the snow wolves trotted along by his side. It had been easy to bend their loyalty to him and they had feasted on the steaming carcass’s that had been their former masters. Now they were truly his to command, he stopped as he exited the valley and surveyed the area around him with eyesight that was far more acute then any normal human but then he was far from human. He perched on a rock ledge and slowly his mind cleared of the fog that had shielded it for so long. The last thing he remembered was falling through the air and landing on this rock.

His enhanced genealogy had sent his body into the healing sleep but he supposed with the cold it had merely frozen him into full sleep and now he had come to awakened state with a hunger that he had not felt since his battle with his enemies. He patted the head of the largest of the wolves and the creature seemed to be pleased with the attention of its new master. He would need to hunt again soon not just him but the beast that he shared his body with, that was a hunger that was never sated and when he could find a way off this forsaken rock then he would finally have his revenge, against the one who had left him to die. He got to his feet and letting the snow wolves lead the way he made his way back along the migration trail with murder in his heart.

The Village was nothing special. A few huts scattered around a big hall. The Killer knew what this was, just like the ancient halls on Terra of the Nordfrick peoples lands of ancient times the hall of the Chieftain and his family and his warriors. Set around the river that flowed through it the villagers had a clean and ample water supply. There were the children of the populace playing without a care in the world and like there was time for nothing else except play and fun. How typical of these humans, had they grown up on holy Colchis they would have known a different life, a life of piety and prayer and a life of devotion to the gods. He allowed his memories to rush up and envelope him, trying to find comfort in them. He had been a young boy when Lorgar had shown them the true ways of Colchis, he had fought alongside him and Erebus and Kor Phaeron when the Urizen had stormed the Covenant and killed all the monks within ending the Holy War that had enveloped their world for six long years.

When the Emperor came he had embraced the vision after all this was the god that Lorgar had spoken off. His arrival had vindicated the Urizens words and that was good enough for the inner circle. No what did these young know of hardships and duty. His actions would be a blessing to them to end their lives so that they go to a place where the true gods exist and not the god that they would be forced to follow if they allowed their pathetic beliefs to come to fruition. He was aware that the warriors halls would be where the populace would sit with their chief and discuss the coming day only this day their chief would not be coming back he had killed him. He scanned the area for any threats but what warriors they had would not be able to defeat one such as him.

He saw the warriors milling around the village, arms round women, drinking from their flagons and armed with bows, swords and axes. He supposed they would be effective against rival tribes but they would not be any use against him. Nothing would and he almost felt sorry for them, almost but not quite. The beast within began to raise its ugly head but he quelled it with a vicious command. He would decide when to let the demon rise and not before. He commanded it not the other way round. He would wait for nightfall and then he would lay waste to all that was within that human infested fleapit. He would need the sustenance and the strength if he were to find his long lost brothers. He settled down to watch the village and await the setting sun. It was going to be the last time any of them saw the sun and he was gracious enough to allow them that luxury.

3

The warriors of the Host waited as they had been doing for the last two days. They would be in Imperial space in a few more days but they were not waiting for that, they were waiting for their leader and they did so without making a sound. Tor Panarl stayed at the front but one-step lower than the top. His face handsome and cold was set in stone and woe betide any who moved. If it was going to be a few more hours or a few more days then so be it no one would move from their place or step out of line, to do so invited a punishment that they would not like very much. His Anointed ringed the raised dais, as their standing dictated, the best warriors of the Host and the personal guard of the Dark Apostle. He was lost in his own thoughts, his master had been perplexed when he had brought the message from the Choir and for the briefest of moments, and he thought he saw true fear in the eyes of the Dark Apostle at the mention of that planet but he had dispelled that thought. The only thing that his master feared was a bad judgment from the dark council that would condemn his soul to an eternity of torment at the hands of the dark gods and that was enough to unnerve even the most stoic of warriors.

Eventually the doors opened and the Icon Bearer Andarl entered leading the honour guard who surrounded the black armoured master of the 47th Host. Every warrior moved to one knee and bowed their heads. Mar Felan looked resplendent in his black armour with his Accursed Crozius beside in his right hand. At his left side sat the demon sword Ar’can’tha a prize that he had taken when he had killed a warrior of the Alpha Legion and the demon within had acquiesced to his will. His holy Bolter was carried by a young novitiate his eyes cast down. The Bolter was a work of art the muzzle a serpent’s head that writhed with arcane power of its own. Its holy blessed ammunition immolating all who felt its touch and had been a gift from the former Dark Apostle. Mar Felan was indeed a blessed individual for there had been many a time that Dark Acolytes had designs of grandeurs of their own against their masters but Mar Felan was a loyal Acolyte and he had learnt much from his blessed master. Tor Panarl followed suit and waited as his master ascended to his proper place. Mar Felan nodded once to his Coryphaeus and the war commander barked an order that had the Host standing to attention once more. He turned to face his men as the Icon Bearer took his place to the left of the War Commander and one-step lower. To stand on the same level, as the Coryphaeus would instigate they were equals, whilst the Icon Bearer held a position of authority they most certainly were not equals.

“My Sons” the Dark Apostle laid the book of Lorgar on his podium and moved round “Stand easy” The host moved as one “Now, we are to travel to the world of Pratis Majoris and there we are to recover a brother who was lost to us. Do not be fooled into thinking that he will be an easy quarry to catch for he will not and once we have him here we are to transport him to Sicarus itself where he will be – looked after by the Dark Council and our blessed Primarch, in his name be”

“In his name be” The Host murmured.

“Nothing is to stand in the way of the safe recovery of the lost brother and if the accursed lackeys of the false god come to stop us then we will deal with them as must always be done, in his name be it”

“In his name be it”

Jubal raised his eyes upwards to see a swirling mass of Cherubim flying round the hall. It struck him that if he had seen them in his human life then he would have thought they were small cute angels of the gods, in reality though they were far from cute. They moved out the room and returned as his master concluded his talk with a couple of screaming women between them taken from the slave holds and brought here especially for this moment.

“Let the gods dictate to us how this will be” Mar Felan raised his accursed Crozius in the direction of the Cherubim and lowered it.

The Women stopped their screaming, as the cute little childlike faces seemed to hypnotize them. They swayed a little in a certain rhythm and the women began to sway at the same time. When they were certain their spell was working their faces altered and gone was the angelic faces in their places were faces of such horror that it would have plagued children’s nightmares for all eternity. Razor sharp teeth emitted from their mouths, delicate fingers turned into razor sharp claws they tore the faces off the women and then all of them set about the bodies showering blood and guts onto the assembled warriors.

“The Gods will bless this holy mission brothers, let’s not disappoint them”

The roar of affirmation from the host was loud enough to drown out the sucking of bone marrow from the demonic cherubim. The war commander dismissed the host save his four captains and their sergeants when the door was closed the Dark Apostle bid them all to follow him. Jubal fell into line behind the Icon Bearer and wondered why his master wanted him and the other sergeants as well as his captains. Silence sat around the Dark Apostles stratagem as they waited for their master to speak. He sat himself in his throne of skull, made from the remains of a Tyranid that he had personally killed on Dagmar Six four centuries ago.

He set his Crozius on his knee and looked at his Captains. Aside from Tor Panarl, there was Garakan the captain of the Possessed. He had been with the Host since its inception and when it came to infiltration there was none better. His features like all Word Bearers pale and noble but a criss cross of scars that lined his face showed his centuries of warfare and he wore his marks like badges of honour. He was not as heavily built as his brother captains were but his strength was his spirit and there was none more devout to the teachings of Lorgar within his inner circle.

Beside him stood Captain Rar Kane captain of the assault squad, his face set in stone and he never smiled not even in the camaraderie of his squad. He was a well-built man that had the utter devotion his assault squad and who’s cries to the great gods always brought him great victories and honour to not only his squad but to the Dark Apostle himself.

Then there was Captain Sadrocos, a giant of a man with hands like shovels and who took the lives of his foes with his bare hands. The Commander of the Berserkers he had the utmost loyalty of his squad and those that failed him were more than happy to send their skull to the skull throne. His dark eyes were always brimming with self-restrained fury and his body seemed to quiver with it two giant tusks came from either side of his jaw and Mar Felan was in no doubt how much blood he had shed in the name of the dark gods.

Finally, there was Elarka Marchan the Captain of the Tactical Squad, a noble handsome man who was not as big as Sadrocos but bigger than Garakan. He had been at the Siege of Terra, he had witnessed the Warmonger, and his cadres assault the walls with honour. His left hand ended in a large lobster claw a gift from the gods when his own hand was lost to a Thousand Sons automaton son.

He cast his eyes over his sergeants, all standing just to the left of their Captains. Sergeant Harkan was Marchans trusted right hand man and the two shared a fellowship that went back to the training halls of Colchis. He was a giant of a man and a single horn sprouted from the middle of his forehead like the unicorns of myth.

Sergeant Jassia was Sadrocos’s right hand man and like his master, his sheer force of will tempered his self-contained fury. When the time was right, he would unleash the berserker in him and lay waste to all his enemies. He had come from the demon world Galtos and had beaten all his rivals to become a Word Bearer, that had been some thousand years ago and he had been Sadrocos’s favoured warrior since the battle of Henthax where they fought the Angels Sanguine and had taken the head of their captain as a prize, the skull of which he had personally gifted to the Blood God.

Then there was Sergeant Jarka recently elevated to the spot of favoured by Garakan when he took the head of the Ultramarines Chaplin Arcaseus in a battle on Fords Creek. His demon was happy to share the body of the sergeant as long as he was given plenty of blood in the battles that they encountered.

Finally, there was Jubal. He was relatively young in the service next to these men but he had risen to prominence in the Anointed and Tor Panarl trusted his sergeant. He was a favoured of the highest echelons in the Word Bearers, the Primarch himself knew him, and that in itself was an honour. His battle strategy was similar to that of Kor Phaerons Coryphaeus but then again that was to be expected and he had a knack of seeing things that occasionally Tor Panarl missed and whilst he never embarrassed his captain, he would discreetly point it out in private. He believed that when the time came for his Coryphaeus joined the Gods and their blessed Primarch then Jubal would be the next one in line.

Next to Jubal were the Icon Bearer and Commander of the Honour Guard. Andarl had been the Icon Bearer for over six thousand years when the previous Icon Bearer tried to usurp the power of Mar Felans master. A tall proud well-built man who’s eyes sparkled with the knowledge of the Epistles of Lorgar it was known that he was ambitious but not to the point of recklessness and besides Mar Felan did not mind competition in the ranks, it kept the strong and weeded the weak.

“We are to get Balthazar,” He announced quite suddenly and all his captains and two of his sergeants’ faces darkened at the mention of the name.

Jubal looked around him taking in the darkened expressions and bowed his head respectfully “Forgive me Lord, who is Balthazar?”

Andarl’s lip curled in a sneer at the unprecedented break in protocol but a sharp look from the War Commander made his face straighten once more. It was obvious that Jubal was in favour and he stored that nugget of information.

“You are young Jubal and you will not know the name.” Mar Felan rose from his seat “Balthazar was once a great warrior, one of the first to be Possessed and one of the favoured of our blessed Primarch.”

“Glory to his name” The warriors murmured.

“Indeed.” The Dark Apostle moved round to the front of the table and stood before his warriors. “He had been amongst the chosen men who had accompanied our beloved father when he broke the heretics on Colchis and had served as one of his inner circle although he was not as favoured as the Black Cardinal himself or Holy Erebus but he was still one of the best of the Legion and had command of the 8th Company. He would also follow Lorgars word to the letter and never doubt his master. When the Lodges came, into our Legion, he was the first to sign up and became our Lodge master and during the siege of Terra, his devout piety brought him the greatest reward. He became one of the first possessed.”

The Dark Apostle drew in a heavy breath for a moment almost as if he were dealing with a personal slight against his honour and then he continued

“After Angle-Tal that is, and when we were driven from Terra and into the Warp he started mutterings that perhaps our Lord was weak and was not as he thought the favoured son of Chaos, talk which was deemed heretic and blasphemous but he had the blessings of the gods so many could not move against him without fear of reprisals from the gods plus his host was one of the most feared, made up entirely of possessed warriors including their Dark Apostle. He was sent further afield where it was deemed that his ravings could not harm our Lord but that was not far enough and shortly before Lorgars Ascension he tried to move against our father and usurp his power. He failed but I was sent along with our host to teach him a lesson and we hounded them to the world of Pratis Majoris where we battled them in space. His vessel Demonicus Ascendant was destroyed and all among them and we believed that he had died with it but it seems that he has survived and if this is the case then we are ordered to bring him back to Sicarus dead or alive.”

“Surely Lord,” Garakan spoke “It would be better to kill him, such a man would not have lost his thirst for power and if he is still alive then he would be attempting to do what he failed to do and that would make him more dangerous”

“That is true Kalneth” Mar Felan nodded in agreement “but I know him, I know him better than any man here and he needs to accumulate his power before he will attack and that is why I want 6 men of each of your companies only. The strongest in faith and devotion only that that cannot be corrupted by such power and who’s loyalty to our father is not in doubt.”

“As you will it My Lord” Garakan bowed his head

“Chose your men and have them ready for when we reach this world. I want this dealt with before the dead Emperors Lap dogs get to hear about it.” His captains left except his Coryphaeus and Jubal who remained at the request of the Dark Apostle. “Jubal I have seen your power many times I want you to spend your time in prayer and pray to the gods that they will make it strong enough to defeat this heretic”

“As you wish my lord”

The Dark Apostle turned to his Coryphaeus and told him to have a battle plan drawn up and ready and to use the old texts on the world as reference. When they left him, he turned to the window and watched the warp rush by. He closed his eyes and steadied his beating hearts. It had been a long time since he last heard the name of Balthazar and he had hoped never to hear it again.

++++
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The Demonicus Infernos entered the warp with a roar and a scream, the rip in real space shuddering as the great strike cruiser made its entrance once more into the realms of men. Her bow seemed to stretch forever until real space settled around her and she began to adjust to the difference between the Imperium and Empyrean. Mar Felan stared at the world before him. It was beautiful in its own way and it had changed since he last saw it. When he had seen it, last, there were patches of green to show landmasses but all he saw were white land and he assumed that something had happened to the world in the last eight thousand years to turn it from what he had known to what he saw now.

Still that was the way of worlds, not every planet ended up how it started when it had been given life and he was not to wonder why. He had received a transmission from Sicarus before they had entered the Imperium and the message had been quite clear. Deal with this heretic or suffer the fate that would have been his.

He had spent the last few days in his rooms reading the portents, the sacrifices and the musings of the gods and so far they seemed to be saying victory but they were not telling him who to. Some parts of him supposed that the gods in their wisdom would sit this one out and watch the outcome with the glee and expectations of men at a gladiatorial fight. Whoever won this fight would have the favour of the gods and he was determined that it would be him. Not as long as he was able to fight with the fervour of an orator of Lorgar, he would not allow this heretic to win.

Jubal cast his eye over his squad. Six of the finest men in the Anointed and Tor Panarl had been pleased with the choice his sergeant had made. Six men, staunch of faith and never wavering in their duties to the Creed of the Holy Father and the Gods. The Coryphaeus had taken Jubal to one side and told him to watch the Icon Bearer, he was ambitious and it was no secret that Jubal was a favoured of Sicarus. He warned him to keep to his duty and that duty was to keep the Dark Apostle alive, everyone knew the penalty for those who failed to keep the spirit of the host from harm.

The War Commander had chosen the place to land, a large valley that gave access to all areas of the planet and he had briefed them on what he knew. The world was populated by humans who had long since reverted to the old ways, forgotten by the Imperium many records keepers he was almost certain that none of the Carrion Lords lap dogs had been alerted to such a presence as the one that Balthazar had given off and if they were to arrive then they would be dealt with. Their duties were two fold. One to obviously deal with the heretic and the most important one keep the Dark Apostle safe, follow his guidance and his rules but allow no harm to befall him. It was not just the War Commanders neck on the line and that of his warriors but each Captain such was the way that failure of that magnitude was repaid.
They would work together until such a time that the War Commander deemed it nessercary for them to go the way of his attack preference.

It was called the Trident. A variation of the spear tips but with the powers at their control then they were more formidable then any spear tip. Get in there and do not give the enemy time to regroup it had worked for him countless times and it would work again. Jubal was confident in his Captains prowess but something inside told him that this would be a test for him too, a test to see if his loyalty to the 47th Host was complete. He had seen the envious looks the other Anointed had given the men he had chosen. A mix of Envy and pride, pride that their brothers were chosen to do this and envy that it was not they. It had been the same across the Host and as such it would make the un-chosen even more determined to be chosen next time this sort of battle was persecuted. Jubal had the feeling that he was going to meet his destiny here. For five hundred years, he had proved his loyalty to the Word of Lorgar but this would be the ultimate test, where he made his name in this Host and where he would learn his fate, to be the second to the Coryphaeus and his favoured Sergeant or if he would fall to nothing. He had harboured some doubts over the centuries the events on Torsons Reach still fresh in his mind as if it were only yesterday. He almost wished he had managed to save his brother and his sister for they would be worthy warriors in the ranks of the true Astarte’s but it had been the Gods that had decided and they had chosen him.

He had been paying their generosity and patronage back ever since and as grateful and proud as he was to the true gods he was well aware of how fickle they could be. They would sometimes show their hands and stick by it and other times they would show a hand raise the ante and then change their hands when they felt like it. It was a fool who ever underestimated the Dark Gods and as pious a Word Bearer as he was he was no fool. He had been raised in a pious home, albeit to a god that would have destroyed his soul to feed his own fading powers or a slave to an Inquisitor. He was well aware of the duties of those bound to the priesthood he had seen his father do it all his life. Since his glorious awakening to the true gods, he had seen how wrong his father had been. How deluded all sheep of the corpse god were but his father had told him once after attending some accident at one of the fishing towns that even the Emperor was fickle with his affections. That was the way of Gods, they choose their rising stars and they put the lights out of those who they no longer wanted. They chose the strongest over the weakest and Jubal was certain that no matter what his blood-strewn fortunes would be he would never be weak. He would rather die than ever come under that banner.

He knew what the Icon Bearers feelings were towards him. He considered him a whelp unsuitable to wear the armour of a Warrior of Lorgar let alone stand in the same presence as the inner circle of the Host. He was not one of the Ancient brotherhoods and he was not a native or bloodline of Colchis. The Blood Angels had founded his home world and to the Icon Bearer that was as much a blasphemy as his own existence. Jubal was well aware that the politics of Chaos went that way and the Dark Apostle encouraged the rivalry as long as it did not usurp his power. This sort of thing gave him the chance to see whom he could trust and who would turn against their brothers if the move was right and the rewards great enough. He had seen it done many a time and assassination of a Captain was not unheard off if his Coterie believed him lacking in faith. Jubal did not want to be the Icon Bearer but he knew he had as much right to wear the armour of Lorgar as much as the Icon Bearer and he was not about to allow the sneering and mutterings of an ambitious warrior put him off. His duty was clear and to his mind that was all that concerned him, anything else he would deal with when it was required. The chosen men snapped to attention as the Dark Apostle came in with the Coryphaeus and Icon Bearer and fell to one knee before him.

“Let us Pray Brothers” The Dark Apostle nodded at the Novitiate who handed him an ebony bowl filled with blood. “To our Primarch the favoured son of the Gods and our mighty father in spirit an blood we swear this oath on the blood of those honoured to die in his name to grant us the courage, honour and skill to defeat the foe that would dare to challenge the authority of the one true son of chaos. In his name be it”

“In his name be it” They intoned

“We ask the powers of the gods of chaos undivided to ensure that we are victorious and we are the rightful victors of this battle and bring more souls to the true gods of the universe in their names be it”

“In their names be it”

He walked along each of the Warriors dipping his fingers in the blood of the sacrifices made that morning and drew the mark of Chaos amongst each of them, intoning words from the epistles of Lorgar as he did so. When he was finished, he handed the bowl back to the novitiate and offered the youth a meaningful look. “Look upon these warriors Novitiate for one day if found worthy you will be amongst them”

He did not require an answer and the youth bowed his head, spared a brief look at the warriors then took his leave, his head still bowed until he was out of sight.

“The gods know your names let us bring this wayward son back to the fold” The Dark Apostle boarded his Stormbird and the warriors filled to their transports, within a few moments they were once again in the space of the enemy.
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Wow, what a story! I look forward to the next installment.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
Other stories from Adrian.
Look up Adrian in the "Compendium" to find them. Thanks
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many thanks Adrian :D
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4.

One by one the surrounding tribes fell to the monster and his wolves. In a few days Balthazar had managed to bring the tribes under his control and they worshipped him as the principle deity of this world. He had initiated training protocols, not that he thought he would ever be under threat from the people of this god’s forsaken land; no it was outside this sphere that concerned him. He sat on his throne, remade in the bones of the dead and for his sheer size and bulk. His snow wolves a whole pack of them now stood guard either side of the doors and his thrones. They were quite intelligent creatures and they were far more loyal to him then humans ever would be, he was in no doubt that if the need arose the humans would flee but these creatures would remain by his side till the end, a beast recognised a bigger and more powerful alpha. He closed his eyes and let his memories travel back….

The Demonicas Ascendant fired upon the Diablos Infernos but was taking more damage then she was dealing. Eventually the claxons warned of a boarding party and the fighting took to the corridors of the Word Bearer renegades’ vessel. Every single battle brother aboard Balthazar’s vessel knew this was going to end one way and one way only. Sicarus would not accept them back into the fold, they had spoken against the mighty Lorgar, so recently ascended to deamonhood and his reach was far and wide.

Bar Kran smote the renegades down quoting verses from the book of Lorgar as he brought his Accursed Crozius down upon heads and unleashing its dark energies into the bodies of the unbelieving. Beside him his Dark Acolyte Mar Felan fired his bolter into the bodies of the crew and Astartes alike, his battle brothers ensuring they were both protected.

“Get us to the bridge Coryphaeus” Bar Kran spoke, his voice ever fevered when he was in pitch battle in the name of their most holy father.

Gal Moran had been the Coryphaeus back then and he led his men to the bridge of the Demonicas Ascendant. All along the way they encountered heavy resistance from Battle-Brothers who had nothing to live for; to surrender would mean death and to fight meant death, better a death in a warrior’s way then death at the hands of the Dark Council.

Felan was first onto the bridge with the Coryphaeus and executed the bridge crew in quick succession. The Anointed of the 47th Host formed a semi-circle around the edge of the bridge raising Bolters and other heavy weapons.
Balthazar snarled in frustration as he watched the Dark Apostle come onto his bridge.

The Dark Apostle removed his helm to reveal a face that reflected their fathers’ image but was covered in sacred symbols of ancient Colchis. He moved to the centre of the bridge and sat on the command throne resting his Crozius across his lap and drummed his fingers on the arm rest, his Dark Acolyte came to stand beside him, his bolter raised.

“Remove your helm my Acolyte, let the traitor know who it is that has defeated him” Bar Kran softly spoke. Mar Felan did as his master instructed and removed his helm with a hiss. Balthazar’s eyes narrowed to an infinite length.

“You think you can stop me Apostle” He sneered, never taking his gaze from the Acolyte “I am a warrior of Colchis”

“We are all warriors of that lamented world Balthazar” Bar Kran corrected.
“I fought in the holy wars of Colchis and this is how you treat me! I was a warrior close to Lorgar”

“Many of us fought against the Covenant Balthazar” Bar Kran reminded him “YOU betrayed Lorgar by your attempts to usurp him”

“Our father is not the son of chaos that he would have us believe, we lost because he lost face on Istvaan against the Raven and Night Haunter, if he was so powerful then how is it the half Astartes managed to manipulate him? I am the son of chaos; you are a son of a pathetic monk, a nay smith who lets others do his dirty work for him”

“ENOUGH”
Mar Felan roared “YOUR LIES HAVE THREATENED TO DO MORE TO THE SONS OF THE WORD THEN THE IMPERIALS COULD”

Bar Kran got up and rested a hand on his Acolytes arm; he motioned to his Coryphaeus and turned to Balthazar “May the gods feast on your soul for all eternity and may you never have peace.”

Balthazar watched as they transported off his bridge and word came through that the 47th host had departed, it was only then he realised what they had done and as his vessel began to self destruct he roared eternal vengeance against them all.



Balthazar opened his eyes and pushed the memory aside. They had left him to die in the flames of his vessel; they would regret that, as soon as he was able to get off this world.

++++

The chosen warriors stood around the Dark Apostle as they disembarked from their craft, they had landed on the dark side of the planet so that their approach would be mistaken as falling stars by any of the populace. It was not as Mar Felan remembered it, when he had last seen this world it had been a tropical world. There must have been a great disaster to turn it into an ice world. The scans from the Demonicas Infernos had sighted a place where there were settlements and it would mean trekking through each one.

The Dark Apostle led them in prayer once more for the success of their mission and an honourable return to Sicarus. Jubal felt uncomfortable, he began to itch, his whole head felt like it was on fire and eventually it got too much for him to bear that he ripped his helm off and fell to his knees. The Icon Bearer stepped back as the Coryphaeus and Dark Apostle approached the roaring Sergeant, thinking that this time he had earnt his death. Instead the Dark Apostle held the Sergeants head whilst Tor Panarl gripped his hands.

“Calm yourself my son” Mar Felan whispered “Let who ever is using you talk, do not fight it my warrior”

The voice that came from the Sergeants lips was not from some demonic being in the warp, but one they had not heard since his ascendance and all the warriors gathered fell to one knee, some with tears coming from their eyes unbidden.

“Balthazar is to be brought to the council alive my sons, let not the heretic speak or escape, the damage he could do to my holy Legion is infinite, let him face me and accuse me these lies that have lived in his heart. Make me proud my sons and prove to those who doubt your Dark Apostle they are wrong”

Jubal began coughing and shaking as the presence left his body. Mar Felan swallowed a little and stroked Jubal’s face “Rest for a moment Jubal, know that you are indeed honoured” He nodded at Tor Panarl who helped his Sergeant sit up and walked away.

“What – who – why is everyone looking at me like that Lord?” Jubal asked noticing the reverent looks he was getting for the first time.

“Can you stand?” Jubal nodded and both Sadrocos and Tor Panarl helped him to his feet “When one speaks with the voice of our father then it will give them a new standing brother” The Coryphaeus enlightened.

Jubal scowled a little and found the new found devotion in the eyes of his warriors a little unsettling but the expression upon the Icon Bearers face said it all…he hated the young Sergeant, more now then ever.

Beware of him Jubal, I saved you from a fate worse then death on Torsons Reach, I gave you brothers and a home, protect the Dark Apostle that is your task

The voice entered unbidden into his mind once more then vanished. Jubal ran a hand through his hair but his gaze never left the Icon Bearer.

++++
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