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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-30-12, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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Default Renegades 6: Bright Swords

The Emperor has betrayed Mankind. He has sold his loving populace out to the Dark Gods of the Warp for unimaginable reasons. Whether he did it for his own personal gain or under some misguided idea that it was for the best of humanity. Either way, nothing good can come of it. He has swayed a full 8 of his sons to his side and many more worlds are sure to join him simple because of his title.

However, some have taken a stand against this madness. Horus has gathered his loyal brothers to him and plans to fight his father to reclaim the Imperium for the original ideal for which it was formed. After the massacre of Prospero, Horus has just over nine legions at his command. They are the Blood Angels, the Alpha Leigon, Thousand Sons although they only number 1000 now, the Space Wolves, the Ultramarines, the Raven Guard, the White Scars, the Iron Warriors, the Death Guard and of course his own legion. There are also several eyes watching on the peripheries, ready to intervene, knowing that the fate of the galaxy, not just the human race, will be decided by the outcome of this civil war.

Despite the formidable numbers at his disposal and the many worlds also flocking to his banner, there are fears that this will not be enough. Reports from some loyalist outposts have reported creatures of an unknown nature appearing and massacring whole populaces. The Warmaster is not taking this threat lightly, and so has resolved to form a new force to combat this threat most dire. But, some battles are best fought in quiet. Lights shinning in the darkest night.

Hello fellow heretics and welcome to my contribution to the Renegades epic.

The previous/ongoing threads are here:

Renegades is at https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...ad.php?t=90862

Renegades 2: The Flames of Belief is at https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...ad.php?t=98148

Renegades 3: The Fate of Prospero is at https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=106279

Renegades 4: The Emperor's Will is at https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=110117

Renegades 5: Perfection's Cry: https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=116059

Renegades 7: When Death Calls: https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=117991

Renegades 8: Foundations in Scarlet: https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=122265

Renegades 9: Flesh is Weak https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=122389

Renegades 10: Long Forgotten Sons: https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=122548

So, on with my contribution. I appreciate any comments on my writing style and how I can improve. My only other experience of writing is in the RP's so that might show. A thanks to gothik for allowing my to participate in this. Anyways, onwards...

Edit: I'll edit this as I go along.

Dramatis Personae


Primarchs

Horus – Primarch of the Luna Wolves

Magnus – Primarch of the Thousand Sons

Astartes

Ahzek Ahriman – Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons

Marcus Umojen - Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines

Tylos Rubio - Epilstory of the Ultramarines

Targuta Tarugati - Stormseer of the White Scars

Ort Kastix - Epilstory of the Raven Guard

Serapis Guryoi - Epilstory of the Luna Wolves

Ceris Balsar - Chief Librarian of the Blood Angels

Idriss Felix - Master of the Forge of the Iron Warriors

XV Legion: Thousand Sons

Amon - Captain of the 9th Fellowship and Equerry to Magnus

Ptah - Veteran Sergeant of the 9th Fellowship

Eldar

Eldrad Ulthran – Farseer ofUlthwé

Inwé – Senior Black Guardian of Ulthwé

The Brotherhood

Master Khyron - First of the Eight Swords and Master of the Sharpest Sword Blade

Master Valdar - Second of the Eight Swords and Master of the Watcher Blade

Master Pelenas - Third of the Eight Swords and Master of the Long Sword Blade

Master Dhask - Fourth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Banisher Blade

Master Geronitan - Fifth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Hidden Sword Blade

Master Arno - Sixth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Healers Blade

Master Drystann - Seventh of the Eight Swords and Master of the Purifying Flame Blade

Master Ordan - Eighth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Shield Blade

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-30-12, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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I: Inceptum

Ahriman drew his robe closer around his body. His hood feel over his eyes, and shadowed his identity. The bowels of The Vengeful Spirit were quiet on this evening, just as Horus had promised. Ahriman had been winding deeper and deeper into the bowels of the ship for at least an hour now, and had yet to encounter any mortals. He had yet to see anyone. Ahriman fought back the instinct to question whether he was going the right way. He knew he was.

He walked a little faster as he thought of the events of the last twelve hours. Since Prospero, he had been at his father’s side. He had talked at length about the duration of the campaign, and what lay ahead for the Thousand Sons. They would fight, that much was certain. The fires of war still burnt bright in them, but they were all sceptical how much help would be. They all knew that if they didn’t fight now, then there would likely never be an Imperium to fight for again.

This was why Horus tearing him away from his father puzzled Ahriman. Not that Magnus seemed to have minded. Horus had simply taken him after he had spoken at length with Magnus, neither of them saying a word. He was then marched through the corridors, Horus still not speaking a word to him. Horus had then put him in the thunderhawk he had arrived in, hurried him into the storage bay and told him not to leave until instructed. Ahriman had stayed there for hours before he heard voices. Still, no one beckoned him out. He felt the air-craft take off, and still did not make a sound. Even once he felt the metal bird land, no one told him to move. It was silent for a long period after that.

Finally, a metal tap had resonated through the compartment he was holed up in. He opened the door to be greeted only be a servitor carrying a folded robe and a data-slate. “Exchange your armour for the robe. Horus expects you” came the metal chime. “Why?” Ahriman had asked. . “Exchange your armour for the robe. Horus expects you” was the only response he got. Ahriman had growled quietly to himself. He had done as he was told and handed the servitor his armour and donned the robe and glanced at the data sheet for where he was to go.

Finally he reached the chamber in the bottom-most reaches of the ship. He tapped twice on the bare metal with his bare hand. The door slid open just a crack and Ahriman opened it the rest of the way, stepping inside. To a mere-human, there would appear to be no one there, but Ahriman could see a fellow seven figures at the peripheries of the room. He took a few steps forward. Everyone else here seemed equally as confused as him as to their purpose here, but none left. They just stood there waiting for whoever had told them to be here to appear.

A few moments passed in silence before the ninth person appeared. The stature of the man testified to who he was. He pulled hood down to reveal his face. “Sons. Surrogates. These are dark times.” Horus began with none of his usual charisma. His voice was deep and sombre, a testament to how desperate their situation was. “Our father has fallen to the Dark Gods. He had warned us not to dabble to deeply in the things of the Warp…” Horus continued, and Ahriman was surprised not to feel every eye instantly converge on him, as was usually the custom. But, so far the only identities he knew where his own and Horus’. The rest were still veiled by their hoods, similar to his own. “…least we fall prey to the evil he himself has. The Imperium readies for war with itself and all we have striven to build seems to be on the edge of ruin. Our strength of arms can match our brothers, and worlds loyal to the original ideals on which this Imperium was built join with us.”

Here Horus paused, very deliberately as always, but Ahriman could not guess why. They all knew the situation they faced, so why was he reminding them again. “Our father had made pacts with powers beyond his control and we are at a disadvantage. We need a weapon to combat this threat. Remove your hoods and let your brothers see your faces.” There was a moment of hesitancy, no one yet comprehending what their purpose here was. Tylos Rubio pulled back his hood first. A split second later, Ahriman removed his. Then Umojen. Then Targutai. Then several others whom Ahriman did not know removed theirs until they all stood with unveiled faces. “Tylos. Ahriman. Kastix. Targutai. Valleus. Balsar. Guryoi. Felix. You are to be our first weapons. Our bright true swords.”

“That still doesn’t explain why we are here, sir.” Ahriman said, only a fraction of a second later realising he had said what the whole company of warriors was thinking. A tenth figure stepped out of the shadows. “You are all here because you possess a measure of psychic talent, active or latent, and that it the only thing which can harm the denizens of the warp.” His lithe form and pointed helm marked him out as inhuman. “Brothers this is Eldrad of Craftworld…”
“Xenos witch!” Came the spat remark from Felix. His hard-set jawline and grim stance made Ahriman guess that he was an Iron Warrior. And a techmarine, judging by the mechanicum brand on his forehead. The Iron Warriors had never been comfortable with psykers. “Sir, with all due respect, I will not consort which this xenos monstrosity or be accused of witch-craft!”
“No one accuses you of that Felix. But you are gifted. We have all seen you work with machines.” Felix seemed to look noticeably uncomfortable at this point.
“I’m just…well trained sir.” Horus smiled. Not out of humour but out of pity that the man in front of him was having to face something he had always avoided.
“You know that’s not true. You have surpassed veterans’ knowledge without much effort at all. How many times have you achieved impossible repairs or found your opponents weapons jamming or failing simply because you wished they would.” The light of realisation was slowly dawning in Felix’s eyes.
“I’m not a witch.” He said out of blind defiance, unwilling to become what he had always hated. Horus laid a fatherly hand on his shoulder and with one sentence washed away any doubt, as only a Primarch could.
“No, but you are a psyker, and that is what we need you to be.”

Felix’s stance slackened, but his eyes still glared at the elder psyker before him.
“I understand your mistrust. Truth be told, I have no more pleasure in dealing with your race than you do with mine. But, as your…” Eldrad seemed to almost gag at the word, as if it were unpalatable or unnatural to him. “…Warmaster said, these are dark times, and we must ally ourselves with one another if we are to survive the coming storm.” Horus resumed his mantle of spokesman once again.
“The Eldar have a suppository of knowledge which they have gathered on the powers of the warp. You have all proven yourself as able warriors and, as psykers, resistant to the temptations of the warp. But I must ask more of you. You must be more than resistant, you must be incorruptible. You will be tested as never before. Your legions will mourn you, for you must die to them so you may live for our cause. Your old lives are gone, all that remains is to begin your new ones. You will go with Eldrad to hangar Gamma-6 and take the Stormraven. In it you will find new suits of armour, bare of all iconography or legion allegiance, for you are all one brotherhood now. You will join the Craftworld and they will take you on from there. You will likely not see these forces for at least a year, and when you return you will be changed. Then, your task will begin in ernest. Now go my sons and surrogates.”

They all saluted Horus and left being led by the Eldar Farseer, as Ahriman believed they were called. They were being forged into a new weapon against the powers of the warp. Ahriman could see the benefits of having psykers in such a brotherhood, but why did they need the Eldar? Where were they going? What awaited them? So many unanswered questions echoed around in Ahriman’s mind as he walked in silence with cousins from different legions. They were supposed to become a brotherhood, but the Thousand Sons were the only brothers he had known and leaving them pained him. Leaving his primarch pained him. Still their hard footsteps resonated through the barren corridors though which they walked just as the unanswerable questions resonated through all the psykers minds. They boarded the light transport Horus had instructed them to, still all to absorbed in their private thoughts to communicate with one another. As they lifted off, the only sound that could be heard in the confines of the hull was the dull rumble of the engines.

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very good, the contrats of the Iron Warrior were all too true and more so since he did not want to believe he was a Psyker and Ahriman who had always known and been comfortable with such a part of his life was well written. look forward to reading more of this especially as the Eldar are involved one of my favourite xenos
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II : Socialis


Jar-Lai stood guard in front of the Banshee temple. Eldrad had left over a week ago in order to make contact with Horus. They had communicated via psychic message for over a month. The mon-keigh were a barbaric race and first communications had not been easy. There was much distrust from the mon-keigh, their blind ideas of superiority and several conflicts with their kin had brokered no greater levels of trust.

But Eldrad had changed that. He had shown Horus the dangers of the warp, and what they could do. Horus had conferred with one he called Magnus, the Cyclops to those who saw him in the warp, and found that all he had been told was true. Many on Ulthwe had been apprehensive about sending Eldrad with no bodyguard to a species which was renowned for their violence. Eldrad had, however, expressed faith in Horus that he would be true to his word, and so they had let him go.

Now he was returning, and he bore humans with him. Eldrad had informed them that they were to be treated as guests and allies and afforded every privilege. However, violence was not to be tolerated, and thus Jar-Lai stood outside her aspect temple, ready to receive the Astartes. The transport Ulthwe had sent to collect Eldrad and his companions would be returning within a day or so and they were ready for them.

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


“And what of our brothers? Is not our place with them?” Kastix almost shouted at Rubio. A large portion of their transition was spent in debate. They had been thrown together too fast to form any real bonds with one another, and so there was obvious friction between them.
“Do you not think Horus knows our aversion to leaving our brothers? Do you believe that he would tear us away from our brothers, our primarchs unless it was absolutely necessary? None of us feel comfortable leaving the fight cousin, but we must trust in the necessity of our charge.”
“You aren’t leaving the fight Son of the Cyclops.” Eldrad spoke. He had spoken very rarely during their transit, but when he had he spoke in riddles such as these. His voice was ghostly and ancient. Each syllable seemed to exist for but a moment, and then it was carried away by the wind. “You are simply fighting from a different angle. You Astartes must understand this.”

Ahriman could not tell whether Eldrad meant his comment as a simple statement or as a more malicious barb, although he suspected the second option more. Ahriman knew that the eldar thought of them as primitive. Eldrad motioned for them to stand and so they did. They had arrived. Felix glanced out the portside windows and saw just open space. The cold vacuum.
“Eldar trickery, there is nothing here!” Felix let out an exasperated cry.
“Quiet, Man of Iron. My kin will be here soon, and they will not appreciate you xenophobia” Eldrad said sternly. But his words were not hissed or spat, but said only with a slight edge of hostility which brokered no argument.

Ahriman looked out of the other windows, and saw nothing. If they were to go one, he had no idea how. Suddenly, the vacuum vomited for the sleekest ship Ahriman, or indeed any of them, had ever seen. It was easily the size of an Astartes battle cruiser. The whole cabin was held silent in awe. “Our passage to my people, Astartes” Eldrad said, making no attempt to hide the pride that the Eight battle-plated Astartes were held silent by the sight before them.

The ship docked onto eldar cruiser, but next to the smooth alabaster sloops of this eldar ship, it seemed boxy and ugly. Everything here was utterly alien to the trans-humans gathered here. “Farseer Eldrad” Another eldar, male judging by his voice, met them at a host of eldar. “And welcome to your companions.” The eight of them stood there for a moment, unsure of how to act. Ahriman took the first step forward.
“I am Ahriman, Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons and gene-son of Magnus, the one your Farseer called the Cyclops.”
“I am Rubio, Epilstory of the Ultramarines and gene-son of Guilliman.”
“I am Tarugati, Stormseer of the White Scars and gene-son of the Great Khan.”
“I am Umojen, Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines and gene-son of Guilliman.”
“I am Kastix, Epilstory of the Raven Guard and gene-son of Corax.”
“I am Guryoi, Epilstory of the Luna Wolves and gene-son of Horus.”
“I am Balsar, Chief Librarian of the Blood Angels and gene-son of Sanguinius.” There was a pause as everyone waited for Felix. He grunted and released his name.
“I am Felix, Master of the Forge of the Iron Warriors and gene-son of Perturabo.”

The head of the host of black eldar before them looked across each of them in turn.
“Welcome, Astartes and Seers, to the company of Ulthwé.” He bowed a knee to them, but it was clearly a formality as much as their speech was. Whatever these alien’s relationship was with Horus, there was still animosity between the warriors here.
“I will not bow to a xeno freak.” Felix hissed across the private vox.
“There are over a hundred of them Felix. You would do well to remember we are allies here, not enemies.” Tarugati spat back, as a brief moment of awkwardness passed as the Astartes stayed standing. Balsar was the first to bend his knee. Ever the diplomatic blood of Sanguinius prevailed. The rest followed in turn, and the tension relaxed.

Only Felix remained standing, even until everyone else had stood back up.
“Will you not kneel?” Eldrad asked, neither his anger or curiosity apparent through his voice.
“No, seer. I will not.” Felix said as he moved toward the leader of the host. “I would ask this one’s name.” He towered over the black armoured figure, and the men behind him bristled with the thought of impending threat.
“Felix, for Thrones sake!” Ahriman hiss, seething at his cousin’s rash action. Felix did not move, but continued to stand over the eldar male.
“I am called Inwé Shallowstar, in your tongue.” Felix’s hand came abruptly from his side up in front. The first few eldar draw blades or made guns ready to fire, but the blow they expected never came. The hand simply hovered between the two figures. Inwé looked at it slightly confused.
“I cannot bow to anyone but my Primarch and gene-sire. But I offer you a warrior’s hand-shake. As an ally.” Felix said, unphased by the weapons levelled against him. Inwé looked for a moment longer, before gripping it at the wrist.
“It appears there is still mistrust in both of our companies.” Inwé said, almost humoured by his own assumption of the warrior’s violent intentions.

The hand-shake ended and the company of warriors moved into the belly of the ship to be shown their quarters. As they walked Ahriman opened up a private vox to Felix.
“That was a bloody dangerous move there cousin.”
“But it did prove two points.”
“And what would those be?” Under his helm, Felix smiled.
“One, that the Eldar consider us a violent people. And two, that they need to trust us as much as we trust them.”
*It was still bloody risky* Ahriman thought to himself. They entered into a large chamber with eight doors leading out of it. The whole ship seemed to be formed out of this strange alabaster material which sung a gentle note, audible to only those with a 6th sense such as those gathered here. Inwé turned to them. Even as he started speaking, the Astartes group split off to claim a room and spend some time alone.
“These will serve as your chambers until we reach Ulthwé. We are sure you would appreciate some time to rest and refresh yourselves. Food and drink will be brought to you. Farseer Eldrad will expect you to be ready to begin training in six hours.” They all turned back to face the eldar.
“What manner of training?” Ahriman asked.
“Training for your new task as guardians of your Imperium.” Inwé said as he left the group to separate and ponder what manner of trials these xenos had prepared for them.

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(Double post I know, but I like to keep story and comments separate.)

Thanks gothik, glad you liked it. I realise at the moment Felix and Ahriman have gotten the most 'screen time', but I hope to cycle through all the perspectives as the story develops.

Anyways, here is my next installment and I hope you all enjoy it Once again, and comments are very welcome!
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It's looking very interesting so far. I like your portrayal of the Eldar- not yet as mysterious, confident, or jaded as in 40K, but already cautious and proud.

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The Emperor has turned to Chaos. The dream of the Imperium has become a nightmare. But Horus and his Coalition stand against the dark, here at the end of time.

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III: Judicium

Umojen lay cross legged on the floor of his chamber. He had spent the first four hours asleep in the bunk the elder had provided for him. He had been slightly confused by the slab of what had appeared to be marble in the corner of the room. However, once he had laid down on it, the material had bent and shifted under his weight to fit him like a glove. Once he had gotten up, he had seen the clear contours of his body melt and reform back into a solid block once again. After that, he had walked out into the main junction where Inwé had left them. Sure enough, there were large bowls of fruit, or at least he assumed they were fruit as they were sweet and juicy to his bite. They didn’t, however, look like any fruit he had ever seen. He had then washed and was now in his robe from The Vengeful Spirit, cross legged.

He had been flexing his mental muscles, reaching out into the void around where they were. He could feel the psychic radiation from most of his brothers. They were like light bulbs in a room already faintly lit by psychic light, bright pockets of psychic power amongst a sea of latent elder psychic talent. Ahriman’s seemed to be the brightest, like a supernova in the warp. As much as Umojen was hesitant about Ahriman and his Thousand Son brethren, they did eclipse almost any Astartes he knew in psychic might. Turagati’s light was like the eye of a storm, always swirling and shifting, but ready to unleash its power at any moment. Kastix’s psychic signature was faint, but almost deliberately. If Umojen tried to peer too deep into the signature, he was aware of both the fact that the weaker observable power was deceptive and that the man behind the psychic presence knew he was being watched. Balsar’s signature in the warp was bright, but not through power, but just radiant splendour, clearly a lesser version of his primarch’s own psychic presence. Guryoi’s was like a jet-engine on a low power. It seemed ready to roar into life at any moment, but less potent at them very moment. Felix’s was the most difficult to discern. His presence in the warp was like a shackled beast, powerful but constrained. Umojen wondered by what. Was it his Primarch who had imposed such limitations, or another?

Rubio’s signature was almost melded with his own, and so Umojen opened his eyes. “How long have you stood there Tylos?”
“7 minutes, 36 seconds sir.” Came Rubio’s curt response. Umojen grunted and nodded in acceptance. He rose to his feet, and turned to face the Epilstory. “We still have 20 minutes before the Farseer expects us.”
“You wish to speak Tylos?”
“Plainly sir.” Umojen knew Rubio was abiding by legion etiquette, but given their situation, it hardly seemed necessary.
“Speak as plainly as you see fit.” Umojen said with a smile.
“We are consorting with xenos. This goes against everything which the Great Crusade stood and still stands for. We are supposed to be fighting for the return of the Imperium, not steeping ourselves in elder witchcraft!” Rubio blurted out, as if Umojen’s command to speak had opened the flood-gates.
“Given any day, any hour, I would agree with you Tylos.” Rubio waited at the door, knowing there was more to come. “But today is not any day, and the hour is not any hour. This could be the closing days of humanity, of the Imperium. The Emperor banned the use of psychic powers, but before this day is out we will be called to use them once again, I believe. Should we not, even if it were to win us the war, simply because the Nikean edict commands it?” The cogs were clearly turning in Rubio’s head as he processed such rationale. He was an honourable marine, dependable. But sometimes his adherence made him to brittle.
“I understand sir.” Was all he could think to say. Rubio could understand the logic, but something about it still felt intrinsically wrong to him.
“At this instance, I would advise you to recall Remark 101 .x “What wins the fight wins the fight…”
…Ultimately, nothing should be excluded if that exclusion leads to defeat.” Rubio repeated their primarch’s words of wisdom with his senior officer.

The issue resolved, at least logically, the two Ultramarines left the room and made their way to the chambers where Eldrad would expect them. They were precisely 2 minutes and 37 seconds early by the time they arrived, but were not the first. Balsar and Guryoi were already there, stripped to the waist and sparing with xenos longswords. Neither had a scratch, but both were drenched in sweat. Umojen and Rubio guessed that it was a contest of first-blood, and stood at the side of the arena to watch.

For a few more moments, the two simply traded blows. Suddenly, Balsar quickened his pace, striking Guryoi with a flurry of blows that forced him back. Each one was blocked by the Luna Wolf, but at some considerable effort. Two successive blows forced Guryoi onto his back foot. After three more he seemed to lose his balance. Guryoi fell back, but quicker that he should have done so that Balsar’s slash with the sword missed him entirely. Having chosen to fall and so pushed himself over, Guryoi was already braced to hit the ground, and a split-second later had rolled to the side and slipped his sword under Balsar’s guard so that is pierced his right breast. A drop of blood welled up as the Blood Angel realised he had been fooled into letting his opponent fall. “Dirty trick” Balsar said with a mixture of amusement and disappointment at his loss. Guryoi opened his mouth to speak when someone else spoke up.
“Needs must when the Devil drives, Son of Sanguinius” Eldrad spoke in his cryptic voice as he entered the rooms flanked by Inwé and a second elder they had not seen before. His face was a mirror and a bright cowl hung over his head. His clothes were a multitude of unrelated and clashing colours.

The others had entered the room without Umojen even noticing. They were all now gathered and Balsar and Guryoi were just about finished donning their armour. Umojen noticed that none of them, not even the elder, were without their armour. A few, such a Ahriman and himself did not wear their helmets, but that was all. As far as diplomacy went, the message was clear; we don’t trust you. Yet. “Noble Astartes, this is the Shadowseer of the Harlequin troupe currently assisting Ulthwé. They have agreed to grant you access to their Black Library…” A juvenile grin of glee played across Ahriman’s features as Eldrad spoke to them. Clearly, this ‘Black Library’ was something the Thousand Sons were fascinated or interest in. Already, Umojen could guess what it might contain. “…it contains all the universe’s knowledge concerning Chaos. In the right hands, it would be a potent and deadly weapon.”

Eldrad paused for a moment, and Umojen noticed that the Shadowseer was rolling on the balls of his feet, yet none of the rest of his body moved. He wondered if it was nerves or impatience, but it was hard to tell when the xeno’s face was hid beneath a mask. “However, such tomes contain sorceries and tainted knowledge far beyond your reckoning. Before they will allow you to even glimpse the corner of a single page, you must prove yourselves as not only capable warriors and sorcerers, worthy of wielding such knowledge, but also immune to the temptations of the Enemy…”
“…Which is why we are here.” Kastix finished for him.
“Correct, Son of the Raven.” Eldrad said, inclining his head.
“How are we to be tested?” Tarugati asked.
“You will face me in combat.” The Shadowseer spoke for the first time. His voice was surprisingly jovial. He sounded happy, almost on the edge of laugher. Quite why Umojen couldn’t fathom. But something about him was apart from the rest of the Eldar he had seen or met.

“I volunteer to challenge you first.” Tarugati spoke with confidence which was far more apparent than his nervousness at facing an enemy he knew almost nothing about. The blank mask snapped to him and remained fixed for a moment. He stared into the mirror image for a second and saw himself. Except he was older, with scars he knew he didn’t have. As he blinked in confusion, the image broke and he only saw himself again. Then the mask nodded and the marines and elder moved to the side of the arena in the centre. Tarugati went to remove his helmet but the Shadowseer stopped him.
“Keep your armour on. You won’t be fighting without it against any other foe”

There was a range of human-esque weapons to choose from. Most were swords of varying length and weights. There were also halberds, maces, axes and hammers. Tarugati held one of the halberds in his hands. It felt comfortingly like his force staff, which was good. He knew what he could and could not do with his staff. Plus it gave him additional reach, which was always a good thing. He turned to face his opponent who appeared to be trying to remember a dance. The Shadowseer took slight steps and hops, occasionally twirling. Once he, well Tarugati assumed it was male under the mask, noticed the Astartes was ready to face him, the ‘dance’ became more extravagant. Tarugati readied his halberd and came at him. Then his head violently throbbed with pain, only his latent training as an Stormseer causing it to subside a measure. He should have anticipated a psychic attack, but the magnitude was what had caught him off guard. He missed a step, as he brought his full powers the bear. Even as he swung at the Shadowseer, which nimble danced out of the way, it spoke to him. “You should always utilise every weapon at your command. Never forget that.”
“I haven’t” Tarugati snarled under his helm. He swung again with his halberd, and when the Shadowseer moved he hurled an invisible wall of energy at it. It rode the wall like a wave, landing gracefully on its feet and retaliated with its own psychic attack.

Horrors and fears assailed Tarugati’s mental walls even as the Shadowseer moved with incredible speed to attack him. Every blow was barely met with a parry from Tarugati. Each time the mirrored face drew near, a leering monster stared out at the Stormseer. It had razor fangs which dripped venom and intense, inherently evil, burning yellow eyes. Tarugati lashed out with a jab at where the Shadowseer was. The Eldar flipped over the blade and punched Tarugati’s helm with enough force to flick his head back. Tarugati answered with a psychic attack in tandem with his physical one. His halberd sliced up and down, forcing the Shadowseer to perform more elaborate manoeuvres to avoid its cutting blade. Even as this was occurring, Tarugati began to expand his mental walls, forcing the elder seer back. Faint arcs of lightning sparked between to two as their powers fought for supremacy, just at sparks flew from colliding weapons. With every blow, Tarugati seemed to be tiring. He could not keep up his onslaught forever, and yet the Shadowseer seemed no less tired than when they had begun. His moves did not falter, and each twist was as graceful as the last. After a few long moments, the Shadowseer assaulted him with another brutal flurry of strikes. Tarugati was forced to concentrate more on his physical defence. Even as he started to force the Shadowseer back, a lance of psychic force struck him and knocked him flat on his back. The Shadowseer ceased his dance, and it was clear that the challenge was over. Tarugati stepped up and placed his weapon back. If it was only physical combat, he might have stood a fair chance. But a blend of psychic and physical combat who was at least equal, if not greater, at both was a battle he could not win. As if reading his thoughts the Shadowseer spoke. “You must achieve a balance between physical and mental attack and defence. The foes you face have done so since their inception, and you must learn to do likewise, or die.” The light tone of the Shadowseer only dropped for the last two words. Rubio stood to face the eldar next, and the dance started up again.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 09-07-12, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Cheers Vulkan. I don't think in gothik's version Eldrad met Fulgrim, so I reasoned he might be more trusting. Hopefully you enjoy this one.
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no hadnt done that but kudos for you on that one its excellent
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 10-24-12, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Apparently this was lost with the recent fix:

VI: Eruditio

Eldrad stood on the surface of Ulthwé, gazing into the cold heart of the stars. He was scrying the the strands of fate, watching them twist and intertwine like the web of some transcendent spider. He tried to plot the path of Ulthwé, of the Mon-keigh they had taken with them. Would their mission end in success? Would it make a difference to the coming war?
“You seek the fate of our people, exhaled seer.” A jovial voice chimed in, breaking Eldrad’s concentration. The shadowseer glided in line with Eldrad and they both stared into space. For a long while, the silence of the void was their only companion other than each other. The Shadowseer knew that Eldrad would speak if he wished, but he could not force him too if he didn’t want to. After several moments of quiet, Eldrad broke the calm with a sigh.
“I don’t want this to be in vain. We risk so much of our people and our secrets we have guarded since the fall of the Eldar Empire. I would not squander it unnecessarily.”

The shadowseer listened intently but said nothing. All of Ulthwé, indeed all of the eldar, knew of this fear. This Emperor could plunge the galaxy into darkness and chaos with his worship to the Pantheon. And the turning of this war could well rest on the shoulders of the eight mon-keigh that were now aboard the craftworld.
“They will rise to the challenge, Farseer. They are young, but we will age them and train them. They will understand. Then more will follow them.” The shadowseer noted with a surreal air of confidence. He had seen glimpses of their souls in their battles. He suspected that they were the best choices, and that had not been by chance. They had potential to be everything that the eldar and humanity needed. If they could survive the coming trials.

Eldrad nodded, mulling over the words of the harlequin. Again, the silence enveloped the duo. Eldrad turned back too trying to divine the strands of fate. Suddenly, one of the threads quivered and snapped. A powerful psyker, one of the most powerful to have ever existed, had just died. More than that, his soul had exploded, sending ripples of psychic energies out from his point of death. Eldrad knew of only a few psykers of that magnitude. One was the Cyclops, but Eldrad knew it was not him. His flame still burnt brightly on his new homeworld. This ‘Emperor’ was another, but it could not be him either. But the energy was similar. It was a relation, a similar being. The death throe came from the cradle of humanity. It was the lesser Emperor, the one called Malcador. Eldrad had met him when he was young, and he doubted the mon-keigh remembered. Now he felt him die, his soul obliterated into a thousand shards by one close to him. The ‘Emperor’ was purging Terra, Eldrad made at assumption. Only someone of a similar psychic magnitude would be able to do that. Things were getting darker quicker than Eldrad had hoped.

“You had better be right Shadowseer. If you have felt what I just felt, you know we must test them. They will either be ready now, or they will never be ready in time.” Eldrad said morbidly. He turned to enter the craftworld. He wished they had more time. He wished that he could be certain that they would succeed, that they could hold back the denizens of hell which they had helped created. But the dice were already cast, and for better or worse, he had placed his lot with the eight Astartes on his home. The needed to head to a training ground.

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

Felix hit the floor hard. Ahriman’s bolt of psychic power had knocked him off his feet again. He skidded for a couple of seconds before friction brought him to a halt. “You aren’t trying” Ahriman’s voice was harsh with annoyance as Felix brought himself back to his feet.
“I am” He grunted, annoyed at the sorcerer for punishing him so.
“No, you aren’t” Ahriman seemed quite certain of this fact. They had been at this for hours over the past days, and still Felix refused to use his blatant psychic powers. Nothing. Not even the slightest release and Ahriman was beginning to get frustrated. “You will cause us all to fail.”Ahriman near spat. Felix’s gaze snapped up to the Thousand Son, whose helm glared steadily back at him.
“What was that, sorcerer?” Felix growled, clearly offended, taking a few threatening steps closer. Ahriman didn’t back down. Felix had to learn to use his powers, and Ahriman had to force him to unlock them. Clearly orthodox methods weren’t going to work. Some psykers released their powers properly under emotional stimulus, and after the time Ahriman had wasted so far, he was willing to try that.

Ahriman turned his full body to face the Iron Warrior.
“You will fail us all. Everyone else has risen to the challenge set, except you. Everyone else is of use in this endeavour, except you. You just came here to fail your primarch and your legion.”
“Silence witch!” Felix roared, lashing out with a powerful fist. Ahriman waited until the last minute to dodge the blow he had already seen coming. Felix was in a blind rage, his honour impugned. Another blow missed, and another one. Ahriman dodged a dozen blows before he threw him back with a single bolt of psychic energy. He was no member of the Raptora, but his telekine powers were still potent. Felix was up on his feet quickly this time, and charged at Ahriman. He let him get within striking distance, before he hurled him back with another bolt.

“You are a failure. You being here brings shame on your legion and your Primarch. You can’t beat me, and you will die and help this new order. You…” Ahriman was about to continue with more insults when a bolt of electricity hit him square in the chest. Ahriman managed to remain standing, only because his innate training warded off some of the power of the attack. When the electric discharge, Ahriman saw his brother’s eyes blazing a pale blue. The air in the chamber was quickly growing cold. Ahriman smiled under his helm. He lashed out with a strike of his own. Felix was just beginning to tap into the full scope of his powers, and Ahriman was a master psyker. This was always going to be a one-sided battle.

Felix threw up a wall of telekine energy in front of him. The sparks splashed off and scarred the beautiful wraithbone walls. Ahriman went to raise his hand to cast another spell, his arm froze. It became an exertion to simply move his neck. Felix’s fist was clenched, sealing Ahriman’s armour in place. The electric blue eyes sparked with triumph.
“Not so powerful are you?” Felix said condescendingly, cocking his head like a bird watching its prey. Ahriman smiled. He couldn’t move inside his armour, but his lips still could. Felix hurled another bolt of electricity, but Ahriman spoke a ward around himself. Ahriman became clothed in light at the electricity washed over his circular shield of protection. Felix grated his teeth, pouring more and more energy into his bolt. He was unable to cast two spell simultaneously, and Ahriman felt his arms become free to move again.

Even as he held up his barrier with considerable effort, Ahriman realised Felix was going to fry himself just to try and beat him. He needed to end this conflict. Ahriman strained as he bent his shimmering ward from a convex shape to a concave one and forced it closer to Felix. It advanced, step by step, until it met Felix’s outstretched hand from whence power poured. Power and ward met in a violent explosion, and both flashed out of existence. Both were breathing heavily, and Ahriman was drenched in sweat. Felix swayed slightly, then dropped to his hands and knees, panting from exhaustion.
“Now, you are trying” Ahriman said with an edge of glee and a smirk on his lips, before lying on his back and gulping in great breaths of air. “We break for an hour and then return to practice.” Ahriman said with an air of finality. He sat up and looked at his cousin. “You have power, now you need to know how to control it.”

Felix looked up for the floor and said with an air of sadness
“I’ve become everything I hated.” Ahriman had no words of comfort for him. It would not be easy, this journey. Suddenly, and ethereal voice broke in.
“It is a necessary evil, Son of Iron. You must embrace everything you ever hated to save all you ever loved.” Eldrad spoke and Ahriman could not help but feel that the farseer was both correct and speaking from experience. He looked at them both, and the damage they had wrought on the room they were in, for a moment before he spoke again. “The strands of fate dictate we accelerate our plans. We leave in four hours.”
“For where?” Felix asked, still breathing heavily.
“A planet that orders the great eye that the one called Lorgar left as a playground dedicated to the Ruinous Powers. I think you call it Cadia. You are to be baptised in fire and either become what we need you to be or die. There is no other path left to us.” And with that, Eldrad left, presumably to inform the others. Felix and Ahriman looked at each other for a moment before mutually acknowledging that their time or rest was abruptly at an end. Ahriman sighed. “Time is short. I will teach you the Enumerations.” Felix looked sceptical, unwilling to be taught any sorcerous incantations but also realising he had since given up the opportunity to object. Both Astartes sat cross-legged opposite each other, the master ready to instruct the pupil for his own safely.
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