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post #1 of 44 (permalink) Old 11-04-12, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Default Renegades 7: When Death Calls.

Renegades 7:
When Death Calls.

It is the 31st Millennium, man has reached the stars and the glory of the Imperium of Man is at its height. The Emperor and his sons bring the worlds of man into the Imperium but, its gone wrong. The Emperor met with the beings in the warp and emerged a different man. Gone is the Imperial Truth, the Emperor believes he is now a god, vindicating all that Lorgar had preached for centuries. He has gathered those sons around him who would not betray him, Rogal Dorn who has allowed his Legion to have a successor chapter under his former First Captain Sigismund and christened them the Black Templars, a fanatical branch of the Imperial Fists who crusade in the Emperors name.

Lorgar Aurelian, the man who proclaimed the Emperors divinity long before
the Emperor accepted such a roll is known by many names, The Urizen, the Prophet of Colchis, The Word are but many of the names his people have given him but, none is more prouder then the title given him by his father. The Black Pope, the head of the Imperial Faith and the right hand of the Emperor. His sons of the Gal Vorbrek not only act as his bodyguard but a special guard to the Emperor. Sacrifices had to be made and from somewhere Lorgar got the strength to finally stamp his authority upon the Legion that he fathered and killed Kor Phaeron, the words unspoken the indication clear, Lorgar was the master of the Word Bearers.

Ferrus Manus took the red Planet Mars and ensured that his father’s rule was absolute but in the course of victory he was forced to execute his own son Gabriel Santor, one of the first of the Emperors Astartes to question the orders and course of action his Legion was taking in the name of a god, who in his opinion, had gone mad.

The Lion has yet to play his hand, although it is believed that he is still smarting over his failure to recruit Perturabo to their fathers’ side.
Konrad Curze and his Night lords have brought a planet into forced compliance with his unbreakable and unbendable doctrine.

Fulgrim and his sons are currently spreading the word of the Emperor and yet some strange changes are taking place within the Emperors Children as Slannesh takes her hold upon the sons of Fulgrim. (Perfections Cry)

But perhaps the most viscous of the Emperors’ chosen is Angron, he alone destroyed the World of Prospero and not only that but he broke the back of its master and father of the Thousand Sons Magnus.

Vulkan is currently receiving medical aid from his father deep within the Himalayas, however his actions have had far reaching consequences and at his own hands the death of his brother The Great Khan.

Now all that stands between the Emperor and his plans are the sons he thought would be the first to stand alongside him. Horus has been proclaimed the Emperor ascendant by his brothers and the First amongst Primarchs is starting to feel the weight of the universe on his shoulders.

Magnus crippled in Body but not mind along with Horus has contacted the Eldar (see Bright Swords) also his brothers have sent those of their neophytes who have showed psychic abilities but not yet implanted with their respective fathers gene seed to help start the rebuild of the Thousand Sons

Gulliman is ensuring his own empire is safe even if he is arguing with Horus about it. He also faced off against the Night Haunter who taunted him about the future.

Sanguinius has worked alongside Omeagon of the Alpha Legion when the rot started to set in and tried to save the father of the Steppes.

Mortarion discovered the dead amongst a Salamander vessel and a pict film that showed the culling of the Salamanders and the World Eaters. He has agreed to Horus’s plans but is unaware that he has a traitor in his own ranks.
Corax is finding it hard to accept the world has gone mad and his father is now everything that he did not want to be.

Perturabo, angered at the Lions actions has pledged his support to Horus, who not only utilises the skills of the Comrade and his sons but gives them all that the Emperor did not, knowing that the only way to beat Rogal Dorn if it came down to it was with Perturabo at his back.

Alpharius and Omeagon, still secret keeping from their brothers have yet to play their hands but Omeagon is smarting at the beating three of his best operatives by Fulgrims civilian military force.

Russ, having fought alongside Magnus has settled his dispute with the Crimson King and yearns for revenge for the senseless deaths of a world’s populace.

Jugathi Khan, The Great Khan, the father of the Steppes is dead, laid low by some form of poison wielded by Vulkans demonic hammer, Jubal Khan must now rebuild and lead the White Scars in a hunt against the Salamanders for the death of their beloved father.

Perturabo is preparing for war and is currently studying all that he can about the new Imperial Fists tactics.

The time for enlightenment is gone. The Chaos Gods have got their hands into the most powerful Psyker the universe has ever known. He has killed his oldest friend in Constantin Valdor and his own brother Malcador the Siglite. Only Amon with two survivors of the Alyce Springs Massacre escaped. The Universe is full of evil and doubt and only Horus and his armies can hope to save the humans from the laughter of thirsting gods.


Coming soon.
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you do have a keen mind.

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.
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Chapter 1.

He sat behind his desk, tapping his fingers to an unheard beat in his head. The private quarters were silent except for the slight hiss from his gorget every now and then as he breathed in the air of his home world.

His mind was still reeling from the events of the last few weeks. Prospero gone, he could not believe it, he had no love for Psykers but even so, genocide on that scale and against a Primarchs home world was unheard of. As much as he distrusted Psykers and, if truth be told there had been no love lost between himself and Magnus, even he would not have wished that.

When Horus had sent out a missive to his brothers, that if they had any novitiates’ that had not yet been implanted with the Gene seed of their fathers and showed Psyker promise, then they should be sent to Kegara, to aid in the rebuild of the Thousand Sons. He had done more than that, those that had been implanted and yet showed signs of the Psyker he had immediately sent along with the Novitiates’.

In a way it felt good that he was helping rebuild his brothers decimated Legion, in another it was a weight off his mind that he did not have to deal with witch sons on his own doorstep. Now having recovered from that, the death of the Great Khan was a blow that none of them had foreseen.

It would have been laughable in a sense if it was not so chilling. Primarchs were the pinnacle of gene technology, they were considered to be immortal, to less enlightened minds they were Demi-Gods of war that strode the field of battle with their immortal sons bringing the Imperium of Man to heel. Now they were vulnerable to something that they did not understand.

Something had been coated on that cursed hammer that Vulkan had wielded, and whatever it was, was an anathema to the Primarchs. Prevented their own unique healing from doing its job, the stress and strains of battle with the – and this time he uttered a disbelieving laugh – undead warriors of Nocturne and Chogoris, proved to be too much.

He doubted any of them would be complacent in their longevity now. He had never been close to his father, he had never forgiven him for the killing of his adoptive father when it had been his battle to win and yet, even he did not believe that his father would willingly accept the death of a Legions Home world, the crippling of a Primarch and now the death of a Primarch so off handily.

What troubled him just as much was that Horus had had a big argument with the Primarch of the Ultramarines, what caused the argument he did not know as neither Primarch was forthcoming as to what had caused the argument. He had no real love for Gulliman; he found their method of battle restricting and, in truth, to one who prided himself on letting his captains and his sons think on their feet, he could not see how the Ultramarines had survived so long with their military doctrine.

Then a secret voice at the back of his head answered his own thought for him, but of course we all know why the Ultramarines are one of if not the largest legion. He dismissed the voice angrily; it was not to be spoken off, even now.

He got up and looked out of his window. Space filed by lazily and for a brief moment he felt like he was on one of those ancient sailing ships that used to cruise the oceans of ancient Terra. He should have been content but he was not, he was troubled. For weeks now the Traitors had got a jump on the Imperial saviours.

Somehow they had information as to where the Legions’ of Horus would strike next in the battles to keep Imperial worlds Imperial or destroy those that were venerating the Emperor as a god. They had a leak within their Legions’ and whilst they did not know who or where, every Primarch was fearfully hoping that it was not one of their own sons.

Just last week, his sixteenth Captain Mishoga Ostana had died on the planet of Jesarus IX against a force of Imperial Fists. The mission was supposed to have been secret and the 16th Company had been all but decimated. Even now some of those sons were in serious conditions on the Death Guard vessel Reapers Shroud. He just could not understand how the mission had leaked out.

Only he and Perturabo had known about it, and Perturabo had lost two Companies. The Comrade was bellowing at the Imperial Fists who had hold up in a bastion giving the ancient Rivals more to work with and reducing them to their natural roles in siege warfare. The only regret that had been mentioned was that Dorn had not been there, and despite the losses the mission Intel had made him almost weep with joy for the Comrade.

He almost wished he had been there to see the master of Olympia take on the old rivals. He had told Ostana to do as Perturabo ordered that he was to follow the Olympian as he would his own sire. Perturabo had been most gracious in his words of honour following the death of the Captain and most of his company, and that in any roll of valour was enough to be proud off. Perturabo did not give out praise to other Legions very often.

He was waiting now for the arrival of his brother. Together they would figure out if they had the leak within their own warriors or if it was one of the traitors posing as a member of Death Guard or Iron Warrior.

“My Lord, I apologise for the intrusion upon your privacy but you may wish to hear this message we have just received” The voice of the watch officer came over his vox.

“Relay it to me here Watch Officer Jarfara”

“Yes My Lord, sending now”

He waited then listened.

“This is the Demeter, I am Custode Amon Tetromach, the last true Custode, I am asking for any of the true Imperial Legions to give me and my two companions’ safe harbour”

“Where is that coming from?” He demanded of the Watch Officer.

There was silence for a moment and then “Fifty degrees spin ward My Lord, we are within range to intercept”

“Do so, if a brother Custode has survived, then I want to see this for myself”

“By your will Lord”

Mortarion sat down and rested his thin fingers together. Something had happened for one such as Amon to be a fugitive from the man whose side he had never truly left. If Amon needed sanctuary then he would find it aboard the Indomitable Will. If he was a spy then he would not be so merciful.
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Garvial Loken stood, staring out the window of the gigantic observation deck aboard The Vengeful Spirit. He sported a black armband, all the Mournival did, and it was their way of showing respect to a fallen Primarch. He did not want to believe what he knew now to be true, a Primarch had fallen, but it had taken his mind several days to process the knowledge, and then several days more to accept it as fact and not some fallacy made up an enemy’s propaganda.

Gone were the days that he knew who the enemy was, it was no longer just the worlds that rebelled against the idea of Illumination, and although they still continued the Great Crusade, it was now bringing worlds into his Lords and his lords brothers banners, no, now the enemy was also those he once called Brothers-in-arms, cousins that he had fought alongside with pride and honour. He rested his head against the coolness of the glass, as if that action alone, could take away the horror of the last few weeks.

He still could not believe that one Primarch lay crippled, Magnus of all the Primarchs to be laid so low had disturbed him greatly, but now the great Kharn. He wondered what would happen if the same occurred to his beloved father, the great Horus Lupercal, would Abaddon be able to fill the void that would be left in such a wake, as Jubal Khan must now do for the Sons of Chogoris.

“Penny for them Garvi?”

He turned and straightened as Little Horus Aximand came into the bay. His Mournival brother joined his side and looked out the window with him. Since the coming to light of the treacherous behaviour of the fallen Legions and their own grandfather, the Mournival seemed to have become closer. He loved his Mournival brothers, but in the beginning he was closer to Tarik, now since Venus IX he had forged a bond with Abaddon and Little Horus.

“I am just thinking that is all Horus”

Aximand nodded and clasped his hands behind his back. He too looked like he had the weight of the Primarch on his shoulders. Which indeed he did, like his other Mournival brothers and Malgohurst, the Equerry, they were doing all they could to lighten the Primarchs load, in light of recent events.

There was a companionable silence for several long moments then slowly, Loken broke the silence.

“I was wondering if we would know an enemy from a former friend, brother or cousin if the time came”

“How do you mean brother?” Aximand asked.

“I mean, when light of the Emperors new edict came out, some off our own brothers have renounced their vow to Horus and returned to Terra, the same with the Ultramarines and whomever else. Why would they do that after all that has happened?”

Aximand was silent for a moment or two longer, considering his brothers’ question and framing his answer in his mind. Of all the Mournival, Little Horus never did anything without thought or consideration, and that included discussions on more, sensitive issues.

“Perhaps the thought of renouncing their vows to their Primarchs was a lot easier than renouncing their vows to the Emperor, it is just a shame that it appears to be the Terran born Astartes that are returning to the side of the Emperor”

Loken had noticed that, when news had broken, the Terran Lunar Wolves had left the Vengeful Spirit and soon word returned to Horus that others had returned to Terra to be beside the Emperor. Horus had accepted it, after all the Lunar Wolves were Terran before Cthonia produced the Lunar Wolves.

Abaddon had been almost incandescent with rage; he just did not want to believe that any of Horus’s sons could turn their backs on the Warmaster, regardless of where they were born.

Loken did not blame him; he has seen some brothers leave his company, brothers that had fought alongside him for decades.

“Maybe, because they were beside the Emperor when he found Lupercal they believed their loyalties lay with him first” Loken surmised “Maybe Ezekiel has a point on that”

Aximand cast Loken an amused look “You know Garvi, there was a time when you would never have said anything like that”

Loken frowned a little, unsure of what his brother was saying, and then broke into a mild chuckle and nodded in agreement. Aximand chuckled with him, but the sound was harsh, like flint, such was the sound of the men of Cthonia.

“Come brother, the Warmaster wishes the Mournival to attend him; there is something he wishes to speak to us about before he tells the rest of the Legion”

Now intrigued Loken began to walk with Aximand “Are you going to tell me? I am assuming you know”

“Once I might have done, but not this time” Aximand admitted “This time Lupercal has kept this one to himself”

“Wonders never cease” Loken murmured and with his brother walked along the corridor talking quietly with him and wondering what news the Warmaster had.

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Louise stared at the vessel that came into view and almost had a heart attack at the sheer size of it. She had seen some pics of Astartes vessels, most notably before the current climate when the artists on all the fleets had sent home images of the Vengeful Spirit, the Phalanx and others too numerous to mention.

This one was not as ostentatious as other vessels, like the Pride of the Emperor or the Red Tear; she was trembling as she saw the massive array of weaponry that jutted from every pore. It was almost brass in colour except for the massive prow, which was green with a great skull at its maiden head. She muttered something under her breath until she felt a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

“Relax good lady” Amon gently said “That is salvation; it is the Endurance, the ship of the Death Guard and of Mortarion himself.”

Louise said nothing but just stared, her eyes almost bulging out of their sockets, and, as reassuring as Amons words were meant to be, the very thought of coming aboard a ship full of Astartes and not just any Astartes but the capital ship of the Death Lord himself, that was enough to have her almost loosen her bowels in sheer terror. Tommy was not faring much better.

Amon took the vox bead and listened, his human friends’, and they had become his friends there was no question of that, but the sheer magnitude of what was approaching them had rendered them unable to speak and so he took over the communications.

He listened as the Docking Supervisor told him to slow his engines and be prepared to be brought aboard. He acknowledged the order and picked up his helm, he did not know if he should ever wear it again, for it symbolised a dead order, the original order he knew was gone.

Still he was about to face a Primarch, and one did not dress down when receiving a Prince. He watched as the gap between them and the Endurance closed and finally they came into the landing bay. Louise almost squealed in terror as she saw the Astartes that had arrived in the hanger bay, but it was when she saw the giant that stood before them she wet herself.

He was not the biggest built Primarch she had ever seen, in fact from images she had seen as a child, he was not as big as the Wolf King, or The Red Angel, but even if he was not as big as them, it did not take away his sheer presence, white and gold armour with red cape that flowed behind him, in his hand was a large scythe that she had read somewhere was called Silence, and a strange sidearm that was known as the Lantern. Amon encouraged both her and Tommy to join him and together they all walked down the ramp and, following Amons Lead, moved to one knee before the giant.

There was silence for a moment and then the giant stepped forward, the sound of a hiss escaping his gorget. He cocked his head for a moment, his pale visage letting nothing slip.

“Welcome Amon of the Custodes” Mortarion finally spoke.

Amon got to his feet and introduced the still abasing humans. Mortarion heard the weeping coming from the woman and did something that was totally unheard of. He crouched down and held his hands out.

“Come my dear; let my human serfs see to your comfort and your needs. You and your companion are safe now”

Finally Louise raised her dirty tear streaked face and smiled with relief, she was safe. She took Mortarions outstretched hand, although his hand engulfed hers and let him draw her to stand. He placed a fatherly arm round her shoulders and nodded at a female human officer and a male human who both stepped forward and took both Tommy and Louise away leaving Amon alone with the Death Lord.

Mortarion was silent once more and Amon made no comment that registered his own surprise. Mortarion was not known for his compassion, there were some that believed he never had any of it. If Amon had not seen it with his own eyes, he might never have believed it himself.

With a motion of his head indicating that the Last Lion should follow the Death Lord, Mortarion dismissed his honour guard, and with only the Deathshroud, led Amon to his private stratagem. Amon knew what was coming and steeled himself for the Death Lords questions. He passed Calas Typhon on route and stopped for a moment; he held the First Captain of the Death Guards gaze for several long moments and then continued with his direction. Calas smiled to himself and headed away towards the Hanger bay where a Stormbird waited to take him back to his vessel the Terminus Est.

Amon was not unnerved by the First Captain, it was rare that he was unnerved by Astartes or Primarch, however, he had a feeling that there was something wrong with the First Captain, and an echo of Malcadors words ghosted into his mind.

They have eyes and ears everywhere

Amon wondered just how prophetic Malcadors words were and once more girded himself for whatever the Death Lord had in store for him.
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Mortarion stood by his window and waited until he and the Custode were alone. He turned to face Amon and for the first time, Amon realised how pale the Death Lord looked. How, of all his brothers he felt the need to constantly breathe the poisonous air of Barbarus. He also wondered how Mortarion was dealing with the loss of his brother, The Night Haunter, the two were close, and mayhaps he believed he could change Konrads mind. Amon did not know and in effect did not want to know, it was bad enough that one Primarch lay crippled and another was dead he did not want to think what might happen if the two of them got together.

“So Amon, from the beginning, I want to know everything that happened on Terra”

Mortarion sat down and listened as Amon told him everything. He pulled a disgusted face when he was informed that Lorgar was now called the Black Pope and that name itself made the Lord of Barbarus cringe.

He closed his eyes at the news of Constantin Valdors death and the changes that had happened within the higher echelons of the Imperial Creed, including the death of Malcador. Amon told him that Malcador had put some message in his head but he was unable to retrieve it and he suspected that a Psyker might be needed to pull the information from his mind.

Mortarion cursed his luck, the very thought of dealing with Psykers was abhorrent to him, still whatever Malcador had put in Amons head had to come out. He rose to his feet as Amon described the flight from Alyce Springs, including the arrival of the Black Templars.

“The what, is this a new Chapter we do not know about?”

“Sort of my Lord,” Amon kept his gaze straight ahead “The Emperor asked Dorn to form a new chapter from some of his own company; they are let by Sigismund and are just as fanatical as the Word Bearers, although they are of Imperial Fist gene stock”

Mortarion remained silent and Amon shuddered as the Death Lords face became hard as stone. If the Emperor was allowing successor chapters to be created from his loyal sons, then that would bode ill for those that sided with Horus.

Before he could ask any more of the Custode he looked up as another giant in bronze came into the Stratagem. His face as hard as Iron and his dark eyes giving nothing away about what he might have thought or felt about anything,

In his hands was a giant hammer that had shattered many an enemy’s walls and armaments, for the second time in the last two hours Amon moved to one knee, glad that his two human companions were not here, if their reaction to Mortarion was anything to go by then seeing this man would have rendered them in a state of near catatonia.

“My Lord Perturabo” he respectfully spoke.

“Rise Custode” Perturabo commanded and Amon did as he was told.

Mortarion cast an apologetic look at Amon and told him to start his tale again; it did not matter how many times Amon told of his escape from Terra, and the details left an unreadable expression on both Primarchs faces.

“We need a Psyker here” Perturabo stated flatly “One that can unlock whatever message Malcador left in Amons mind”

“The only one that can do that is Magnus” Mortarion paced the length of his room and stopped as a thought struck him “Amon, I am going to arrange for you to go to Kegara, but until then, perhaps you can aid me and Perturabo”

Amon straightened, to feel useful again was what he wanted, to do something that felt normal for him was what he wanted and it seemed that both Primarchs sensed that within the last true Custode.

“However I can help My Lords”

“Come now Amon” Perturabo rumbled “We are aware of who your Primarch is, that makes us brothers of a fashion”

“Not quite Lord” Amon gently corrected “But I see your point”

Perturabo handed him some wine “Now as I understand it, you were one of the best at what the Custodes called the Blood Games? Explain that to me…and sit yourself down”

He waited for the two giants to sit down and then sat before them. He explained the rules of the Blood Games. How they were told to go out into Terra as far away as they were told, and then they had to make their way back to the Imperial Palace, using whatever means that they had at their disposal.

“And the goal?” Mortarion asked.

“The goal was to get as close to the Emperor as possible, as if we were going to assassinate him.”

“If I recall you were the one that had got closest to the Emperor” Perturabo had a genuine ring of awe in his voice.

No one could have blamed him for that, it was not easy to get close to the Emperor in times before this madness and the Custodes were charged with his protection. For one of them to beat the odds and get close to the Emperor, even if it was a test of the security surrounding the master of mankind was a feat in itself.

“I was finally caught by Con himself” Amon quietly spoke.

“Leng” Perturabo nodded “I know it well”

Mortarion nodded a little and sat forward, his hands steeping “Amon, both Perturabo and I believe that the Emperors Legions have a spy or spies within our Legions. Now I am aware that we could use our own Astartes for this, but, as much as we love our sons, we know that a Custodes mind-set is, completely different to that of an Astartes, that you are able to operate alone as well as in groups.”

“Yes Lord” Amon nodded “When we work in groups our individuality works as well as when we are lone warriors, we may see things that an Astartes cannot or will not, as an Astartes believes in the sanctity of brotherhood and loyalty to all. No disrespect intended”

“None taken” Both Primarchs spoke as one.

Mortarion sat back in his seat and nodded a little, more to himself than anything else “Help us last true Lion of the Custodes, use your skills to unearth the men or women responsible for whatever information is getting back to Terra”

Amon bowed his head and got up “I will be at your disposals Lords, may I see my human friends?”

Mortarion nodded and moments later the door opened to reveal Captain Nathanial Garro, his Equerry, and Captain of the vaunted Seventh Company answering his father’s summons.

“Ah Nathanial, would you show Custode Amon to his quarters and then escort him to where his friends have been rested”

“Yes My Lord”

Amon bowed his head again and walked out with Garro. Perturabo faced his brother with an arched eyebrow.

“Garro stayed and did not resend his vows?”

“You sound surprised brother” Mortarion got to his feet and returned to staring out the window “None of my Terran born sons returned to the side of the Emperor…and you?”

“Some did, but those that had both Iron Warrior and Imperial Fist Gene-Seed. Not all of them but enough. I think we should let Horus know what is going on”

“Not yet”

“Huh?” Perturabo rose to join his brother “Why not?”

“Because I am not sure if it will even get there, even if I use the astropaths or the secure transmissions. No brother, we will deal with this without Horus’s help. When I am certain we have come to a conclusion satisfactory to us both, then I will tell Horus that we have Amon, for now,” Mortarion paused and rubbed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger “for now we play it by ear.”

“You realise brother, that if there are traitors within our legions then their paymasters will know already of Amons arrival” Perturabo warned.

“They cannot strike him under our protection” Mortarion insisted then uttered a dark chuckle “Who would have thought that a Custode would be under a Primarchs protection, two as well, and us”

Perturabo smiled a rueful smile and nodded a little, he did find it absurd, there was no real love lost between the Astartes and the Custodes, their methodology differed, before they were seen as the Emperors watch dogs, his eyes and ears on the Great Crusade, now though it was different, and even the mighty Comrade had to admit Amon needed to feel useful and to have him on side was something that could be a learning curve.

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The Iron Warriors of the 123rd Company under Serex Jasiera moved slowly across the plains. They had already sighted their target, a fortress built between the valley pass. There had been skirmishes when they arrived to bring the world to compliance, nothing that they and the Baranian 23rd could not handle. Now the prize lay before them and Jasiera stood atop a cliff ridge to get a better view of the terrain. His senior Sergeant Korna Unseles stood beside him with Colonel Jochim Strandton of the 23rd.

Jasiera glanced at the map that the human was holding he did no need such reminders, in the few moments after he had reached the ridge, and he had already taken in what surrounded him. Whoever had built the fortress, marked on the map that Strandton had acquired as Castello quae, bello Deorum “Redoubt of the war gods.” Jasiera could understand that, by the looks of the walls it would take gods to beat them down.

“Or a Titan” He mused to himself. His Sergeant and the Colonel glanced questionably at him but he did not elaborate.

There was a line of trees to the left, behind which was a larger canopy of trees that designated a dense forest, where he now stood with his companions was a high ridge that rose about ten feet into the air. Between the Forest and the rock face was a treacherous swamp; Jasiera had to admire their defence and the positioning of the fortress.

It stretched between the two cliff faces of the valley entrance, and by his estimation it was at least ten miles across. He allowed his vision to enlarge the sight and, like all Iron Warriors, he almost fell in love with the craftsmanship that had gone into its construction. The walls rose fifty feet into the air, four towers, and each housing massive guns pointed outwards ready to gun down any invader. There was a large gate carved into the stone, above which were smaller guns, positioned in such a way that they had a wide 360o view of what was before them. This was the front, ariel recon had been shot down before they got near enough to get any clean visuals, and high in the heavens, the Iron Heart could not penetrate the clouds that seemed to localise around the fortress and block any other view of it apart from the front.

Castelios Alpha was beginning to provide the Iron Warriors with a challenge. Since news of the Emperors ruling broke and the events that followed they had been nothing more than trenched warriors, now that was all changed, they were Astartes and mixed their skills with what Astartes did best. Horus knew that and he no longer allowed the sons of Olympia to become trench line warriors.

“That swamp is going to be a problem sir” Unseles mused, “Not for us but for the army and the tanks”

“There must be another way around” Strandton shook his head, “How else do they get supplies in?”

Jasiera was silent for a moment then turned to the two officers beside him,
“Unseles, I want Scout Sergeant Saman and his squad to go with the Baranian Rangers; they are to scout the forest region and look for anything that would give explanation to the Colonels valid question.

Then I want five brothers, with a tech Marine to prop the trajectory of those guns and their distance. Kalos, Deresen, Touchou Ingis, Fenos and Tech Marine Zelon should suffice, with Kalos being recently promoted to Sergeant, this should test his mettle”

“Yes Sir”

“In the meantime, Colonel, I want your men and the brothers of Squads’ Heros, Justinian, Lorax and Hephastus to mark our trench lines as soon as the data comes in from Kalos and Squad Richeria”

“Yes My Lord, I have a suggestion lord” Strandton ventured.

“Let’s hear it” Jasiera told him.

“We could send an unmanned ship over the top, maybe find out what is blocking the ariel reconnaissance”

Both Iron Warriors glanced at each other and the Colonel believed that his suggestion was going to be laughed at. Instead the opposite happened, Jasiera nodded more to himself.

“Not a bad idea Colonel, even if it gets shot down then we will have some idea of the air trajectory. Sergeant, have Adept Bisos ready a drone of some kind, I would rather a servitor be shot down then a battle brother or member of the guard”

“Yes Sir” Strandons chest puffed with pride at his lords praise.

Both men saluted and moved down to join their respective camps. Jasiera folded his arms across his powerful chest, he had not met a fortress yet that he had not brought down, this would be a great battle, and this would be the fortress that would challenge him, of that he was certain.

++++

Loken stood in the private stratagem alongside his Mournival brothers, Horus had not yet arrived, he had been in semi-seclusion since the death of the Khan, and his argument with the Ultimate Warrior had played on his mind, none of them knew what had occurred but Gulliman had been the last of the Primarchs to leave and something had occurred between them to have Horus fuming for days on end.

Abaddon had privately expressed his opinion to his brothers and Malgohurst the Equerry, which perhaps the father of the Ultramarines was preparing to make his empire a second one to rival the Grand Crusades empire building, in case it all went the way of the Emperor. None of them hoped that would occur, with half the Primarchs defecting to the Emperors new stance and the majority of the Terran born sons of the Legions behind Horus returning to their grandfathers’ side, this was turning into an uneven war. The last thing Horus wanted was to have a second empire, with a Primarch as its head, all sorts of things could happen. He wanted them to concentrate on the matter at hand, saving the Great Crusade and saving mankind from an Emperor gone mad.

Right now there was a vast programme of indoctrination into the full ranks with all the scouts across the board, and with the realisation that Psykers might be used again in the legions of the Emperor, many of the brothers who had returned to the ranks, were now being asked to don their old Librarian uniforms once more. Even Torgaddon was not his usual jokey self and Loken found that he actually missed his friends’ jovial banter, even if at times it seemed inappropriate.

Before he could ask if anyone knew what was going on the doors opened and the Warmaster swept into the room. The Mournival were about to go down to one knee when Horus waved it aside, his favoured sons need not show such abasement to him, anyone else he supposed, but not them, never them and his deep scowl prevented them from going against his wishes. He needed no show of respect from them, he already had that.

Loken noticed that his father’s armour held a large black band around the forearm and inside; in delicate Chogoris script was the name of the Great Khan.

“Do you remember what the Emperor said to me at my investiture as Warmaster?” Horus asked suddenly asked.

They all nodded, they knew it well as did the entire Legion. To recognise his authority as the supreme commander of the Emperors forces, the Emperor felt that it was necessary for the other legions to recognise the position Horus and his sons held.

“As I recall father,” Aximand said “You turned him down on the grounds that it would sew resentment within the other legions”

Horus nodded and handed the four brothers a goblet of wine, knowing full well that Abaddon and Torgaddon were drinkers of the harsh Chthonian ale that, to others outside the Legion, even the sons of Russ, was like paint stripper to the back of their throats.

“With recent events and some of my sons returning to the side of the Emperor,”

None of them failed to notice that since Prospero and the death of the Khan, Horus had stopped calling him father

“I feel that the Lunar Wolves will now be fighting beside the Emperor, so I am going to rename my Legion. I have already informed our allies of the fact and now I am telling you my Mournival so that you can inform the Legion”

“You are really going to do it?” Torgaddon frowned a little.

“Hubris be damned Tarik from this day forth the Lunar Wolves will be those companies that left for the mad god, we will be the Sons of Horus” His eyes burned bright with the knowledge that he was right in what he had decided

“I am the Warmaster and I am going to continue the Great Crusade and take back the Imperium of man and my brave sons and daughters, let us not forget the thousands of Imperial army that fight beside us, will war in my name and the name of the true Legions.”

Malgohurst cleared his throat and all looked at the Equerry “I have already informed the Legion sire, or should I say you have”

Horus frowned a little then heard the roar of those aboard the Vengeful Spirit, from the mighty Astartes to the below decks crew.

“Lupercal, Lupercal, Lupercal”


Horus wiped his eyes a little “White armour, green trim that will be our new colours and its time we took back the Imperium”

The Mournival realised that with the events of Prospero and the death of the father of the Steppes of Chogoris, Horus had begun to see that this was not a flash in the pan, if it was a war their Emperor wanted, then a war it would be.

“I need to make sure that our Legions are loyal to the cause” Horus moved to sit behind his desk and motioned his sons to sit down “I have received word from Mortarion that Amon Tetromach, the last Lion as they are calling him, not only escaped Terra with word that the world is well and truly in the throes of this blasted cult of the Emperor, but that Constantin Valdor and Malcador are dead”

Horus paused for a moment, his grief at the loss of Constantin obvious; Valdor was a companion to the young Horus when he was on Terra with his father, a second father figure. Malcador held the Warmasters respect and the loss of the Regent was equally damning.

“What did Amon say?” Abaddon asked quietly.

All the Mournival had a deep respect for the Captain-General of the Custodian Guard. The news of his demise and that of the Regent meant that there was now no one who would oppose the Emperor and his Legions on Terra.

“Lorgar is now the Black Pope” Horus saw the disgusted looks that crossed his sons’ faces and had to agree with them. “At the moment Amon believes he is acting Regent but Amon suspects that will go to Dorn when the time comes. The Imperial Fists have a second chapter. Sigismund is the Chapter master of a Chapter of fanatics who call themselves The Black Templars.
Amon and two Terrans were the only survivors’ from a town called Alyce Springs, the rest of its inhabitants were killed but the children were taken. He heard that the boys would be given to the Legions or turned into Custodes and the girls would be trained as a sisterhood devoted to the Emperor”

“This just gets worse” Torgaddon ran a hand down his face.

Horus made his hands into a steeple and his eyes darkened “Mortarion and Perturabo also believe that there is someone within their Legions who is reporting back to Terra, the last few worlds they fought on ended with casualties to companies they had sent there. From my understanding Amon is going to help with that, however, I have spoken to my brothers and we are going to ensure the same thing does not happen to us.”

“What about the Alpha Legion?” Loken asked “They work on secrecy and infiltration”

“Garvi is right” Abaddon agreed “What if they are the spies? They never answer anything without riddles, and you never know when one of them or several of them are within your brothers.”

“Easy enough to solve” Aximand swept his gaze across the room “We know that the Alpha Legion are with us but, as you so rightly say Ezekiel, we cannot know if they have another agenda, so, we get the company Captains across the fleets to order their companies for genetic testing. They can infiltrate and do a good job but they cannot fool a genetic scan. It would show up”

Horus nodded in agreement, “Have all Legionnaires report to the Apothecaries’ but I want them to think it is for a fitness test, I do not need them to start thinking they are mistrusted, we will keep this between us. Should anything turn up then we will deal with it accordingly.”

“What about Mortarion and Perturabo?” Loken asked.

“They will conduct their affairs as they see fit, however they will keep me informed. For now we are cleaning house and I hope by the hand of the ship that we have no spies within.”

The Mournival rose to their feet and bowed their heads “Is there anything else Lord?” Abaddon asked.

“Find me a world that needs our help Ezekiel, a world that we can bring to our banner, I need to feel like I am doing something useful.”

“Yes Lord”

The Mournival left their father to his thoughts. Malgohurst was about to leave when Horus suddenly asked.

“Tell me Mal; have you ever seen Alpharius and Omeagon in the same room as each other?”

“Yes lord, Omeagon is the commander of the Effrite Squad and the First Captain”

“That’s not what I meant. All the Alpha Legion are alike, sometimes you do not really know if you are talking to Alpharius, what I meant was have you noticed how similar Alpharius and Omeagon are, more than any other of the Alpha warriors.”

Malgohurst cocked his head a little “What are you saying lord?”

“I am saying that perhaps there are some secrets about the Alpha Legion that even the Emperor does not know. I think I will arrange to meet them both, and then I will know for certain.”

Horus fell silent and the Equerry left his father too it, perplexed by his father’s words.
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Chapter Two.

Amon brushed a strand of hair from Louise’s brow, it was an oddly human thing for him to do, and he had given up much of his humanity to become a Custode so many decades ago. There had been someone once, back when he was human, he could not recall her name, so many memories of being a Custode had overtaken what little memories he had as a human. All he could remember was, that he did care about this memory, she had been his first and in effect his last. His duty to the Emperor had come first.

Still, he felt that he had become close to the two surviving members of his little band of rebels. Tommy had been checked over and had been released from the care of the Imperial Army Infirmary. Amon had seen him earlier and had been relieved to discover that, whilst the sight of so many Astartes had sent the hackles on his neck standing up, the young man did not hold a grudge against these Astartes. Amon suspected that the unusually empathy shown by Mortarion, and the fact the human had been in the presence of a Primarch, had soothed the man’s fears that perhaps all the sons of the Emperor had become the killers of the innocent.

Tommy had joined the 231st Expeditionary Fleet and the Imperial Army of Kalous under the command of General Isaiah Keogh, who ultimately answered to Mortarion. Amon had the feeling that the young Private would go far. Louise, well she had collapsed in the Infirmary and the Nurse had told the hovering Custode it was exhaustion mixed with shock.

He had remained beside Louise ever since, his presence had un-nerved some of the Humans there, finding it hard to reconcile that this giant was the last true Custode of the old Imperial Truth. He did not care; all he cared about was letting Louise know that he was there for her, as she had been there for him, her and her friends who had all risked their lives to ensure he had got off Terra and to the loyalist forces. He did not want to think what would have happened if it had been Dorn or Urillean that had picked them up.

++Captain Tauromachian Leng, we are ready for you, Battle Captain Garro will join you in the Primarchs sanctum++

Amon started at the use of his name, it had been so long since he had heard it put like that he had almost forgotten what it sounded like. Most people just called him Amon. Leng was a relatively new addition to his already extensive name roll. He wished now he had completed his mission, brought it to an end and maybe, just maybe this madness would not have been born.

++Who is this?++ He asked, he was not familiar with all the names of the Astartes here, it would not take him long to memorise them, but still it was unnerving to think that his reputation proceeded him.

++I am Sergeant Kellion Sir, the Primarch sends his respects and wishes you to forgive his intrusion upon your private contemplations, but he requests your presence++

Amon sighed a little. Once upon a time it was unheard of for a Custode and a Primarch to speak of respect. If he was honest the only one he seemed to have respect from was Rogal Dorn, but then he was the Primarch who spent much of his time on Terra, even before the madness that was taking place.

How things have changed, once I would have been seen as the Emperors spy, now I am a warrior without a home and a Primarch trusts me….how Ironic he thought to himself.

++Tell Lord Mortarion I will be with him and Battle Captain Garro shortly++

++Yes Sir++


Amon gazed once more at the sleeping woman, and leaning over he kissed her forehead and walked away, leaving the nurse in attendance with a shocked expression on her face.

++++

From the walls of the Castello quae, Bello Deorum other eyes watched the Iron Warriors begin that which they were famous throughout the Imperium for. There were no better Siege warriors then the sons of Perturabo, everyone knew that, even Dorn and his sons. It was often wondered if Perturabo and Dorn were not so dissimilar, one the master of fortress building, the other the master of fortress breaking. Then again, a fortress built by the Comrade and his sons was truly an art of work itself.

The humans that stood along the walls with their weapons resting on the battlements had no true idea what they were up against, if this was a normal battle then they would either surrender or die within a week or two. The Iron Warriors only ever gave one chance to surrender and sometimes, it was better to do that then be besieged by the children of Olympia.

How fortunate then, that he had been given the task of sending a message to Perturabo, that he had chosen the wrong side, had it not been for the information received from the Popes informant within the forces of the Renegades, then he might not have had this opportunity to test his mettle against a cousin Legion. The human dressed in the uniform of a Captain looked nervously up at the black clad warrior beside him.

“My Lord what are your orders?” He asked, barely keeping the tremor from his voice.

“Wait” The Astartes commanded, “When I give the signal they will have the surprise of their lives. Do not worry Captain Hungstrad, your men and women fight for the glory of the Emperor, my men and I shall deal with the Iron Warriors, you just make sure your guns keep their Imperial Army at bay”

“Yes my Lord, for the Emperor”

“Indeed” The Astartes closed his eyes “and for the Primarch”

“The Mighty Lion is with us this day, I can feel it my lord”

“My father is here through me, be grateful that the First Legion is with you”

Captain Alejandro Ismailia of the Dark Angels 93rd Company smiled to himself, he would help redeem the honour of the First Legion in the eyes of the almighty Emperor. What Perturabo had done to his father, so let the son do to his cousins.
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++++

The bridge of the mighty vessel was shrouded in a single eerie red glow. The human crew of this feared vessel of the Emperors forces said little, unless it was in the course of their duties. The true Commander of this ship stood behind the Admiral, his hulking terminator armour doing little to hide his true bulk, the servos whined a little as he moved, and a slight hiss from his vox grill showed his irritation at the length of time he had been kept waiting.

It had been hours, he would have thought that with the news he had, and despite the communication lapses, he would have got an answer, he was after all not just any spy, but the First Captain. That demanded respect, the more he waited, the more irritated he got. That bastard Erebus had better be doing really important to warrant this behaviour. He may have held the position of First Chaplain of the Word Bearers, but he was not a First Captain.

Calas Typhon was about to return to his stratagem when, with a nervous voice the vox officer informed him that there was a face to face message coming through for him and motioned to the holo-stand. With a grunt Typhon acknowledged his Vox officer and moved to stand before the imager. It really was a remarkable piece of technology; one could talk to another Astarte or Primarch as if they were in the room with them, and not on another vessel.

He removed his helm and clipped it to his belt, a handsome man with the blood of the Warlords that once ruled Barbarus in his veins, before the coming of Mortarion, he would tell this upstart Chaplain exactly what he thought of him. He had done everything that was expected of him, and ordered of him.

The image shimmered at first and the other person was not all that clear, Typhon was about to start his admonishment when suddenly all his wind was taken from his sails, he swallowed several times and adjusted his stance to one of respect, unlike the one of annoyance he had been conveying.

“Hello Calas, I believe you have some very interesting news for me, let me first say that your work keeping us informed of the Renegades and heretics is greatly appreciated, I know that your own patron is very pleased with your actions thus far, now my brave and beloved nephew, tell me all you have to tell me, and leave nothing out”

Lorgar Aurelian, the Lord of the Word Bearers and the Black Pope himself sat back in his command throne. The smile was warm and genuine as he awaited Typhon’s report. He listened as The Death Guards first Captain told him about the death of the Khan and the arrival of Amon Tetromach. A slight fumble of his brow revealed the Primarchs sight annoyance at this news but still he listened.

“The Dark Angels are ready to bombard the Iron Legion” He finally spoke when Typhon had finished. “How many of your brothers stand ready to join the Emperor Calas?”

“Just my company and the Second Company My Lord” Typhus replied.

Lorgar nodded, he knew it would be a matter of time before Mortarion and indeed Perturabo would discover the traitor in the ranks, it was time for Calas to bring himself to the seat of power.

“Then speak to your brother Captain and make your way to Terra, you will be Dusk Raiders once more.”

“Your will be done My Lord”

The image faded and Lorgar turned to Erebus who emerged from the shadows. He arched an eyebrow and cocked his head as Bal Sangos and Argal-Tal stepped with him.

“You do not trust him Erebus” Lorgar did not ask.

“He is of the old Warlord clans that were decimated after Mort – I mean Lord Mortarion rose to power” Erebus corrected quickly, despite the factions, Lorgar was still a stickler for protocol regarding his brothers. "I suspect he will have his own agenda Father”

Lorgar nodded, “As ever my dark Bishop your insight serves you well, still he is marked for another, and that is the grandfathers business, not ours. I am however concerned at Amon reaching Mortarion and Perturabo.”

“What are your orders Father?” Sangos asked.

“The Emperor….”

“Beloved by all” His sons intoned.

“Indeed, he will say let it fall as it will, at the moment he is tending to Vulkan and I do not wish to disturb him whilst my brother lays gravely wounded.”

None of them failed to notice the grief laced within their Primarchs words, he had felt responsible as he had suggested Vulkan going to broke terms with the Khan, not even Lorgar knew the events that would lead to the death of a Primarch. He had mourned the death of the Khan, he was after all his brother, as he had grieved for the Crimson King, whom even now, despite their differing sides, Lorgar still thought fondly about.

“Let Grandfather Nurgle have Typhus and his allies, but ensure that Mortarion and Perturabo believe that it was all his doing, let nothing be found that will lead back to the Emperor.”

Sangos chuckled a little “Anyone would think we were Alpha Legion”

“Sometimes Brother,” Argal-Tal, and Lorgars most favoured son spoke “We have to act like others to get our job done”

Lorgar let them have their banter “As long as it is done my sons, I want none to believe that Typhus and his allies acted under our orders.”

“It shall be done Father” Erebus bowed his head, Sangos and Argal-Tal likewise offered their respects and all three left their father to his thoughts.
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++++

The scouts of the Iron Warriors moved silently, they were hoping that not only would they make their Sergeant proud in the eyes of the Lord of Iron, but also that this would be the one where they would gain their black carapaces, the last step to becoming a fully-fledged battle brother.

For them it had been a long hard road, before it had been confined to scouting out terrain and bastions for weakness then returning to aid the battle brothers in the building of the siege works, under the watchful eyes of the more experienced Warsmiths, two of the scouts had already been earmarked for First Captain Fornix’s company and they were the two who now moved silently forward. Scout-Brother Jeranu and Scout-Brother Yves were a little ahead of their squad, but with them were two humans, a woman by the name of Coronus and a man, well barely a man, probably 19 at a push, called Terax.

It had grated the two Scout-Brothers that they had to have two humans with them, as they thought it would slow them down, however it did nothing of the sort. Both Coronus and Terax showed their abilities and why it was their Sergeant had chosen them to join the Iron Warrior Scouts. Had circumstances been different than Terax would have made an excellent addition to the Iron Warriors brotherhood, as it was he seemed to compliment the dour faced Coronus, Yves and Jeranu both had a fleeting thought that she had Olympian blood in her veins.

When they rested within view of the Bastion, but still some distance from it, Jeranu took the bull by the horns and asked Coronus where she hailed from. The woman, her face painted – no not painted, permanently tattooed with camouflage markings that seemed to change with the environment she was in, Terax was the same and yet his were not as pronounced as Coronus, so maybe she was higher ranked.

“I come from Barania sir” She replied, she did not call him Lord, but then he was not yet a full Battle Brother so she really did not need to, although she did not look him in the eyes, she as watching the Bastion.

“All your family?” He persisted.

“No Sir, my Grandsire was from Olympia; he was a trader and came to stay on Barania”

Jeranu shot his brother a triumphant look and folded his arms across his chest.

“So,” Yves sat beside them “What is with the face markings?”

Terax turned to face the scout, “When we are young, we are told that we will be taken from our families and trained in the martial elements, those of us that show an aptitude for hunting, which includes scouting the terrain for the seasonal migrations, knowing the passage of the winds so that we are not caught in the scent of the Xeriag we hunt, we are taken to a
scoutmaster and there we are trained.” He motioned to the silent Coronus

“Freada there is the youngest senior scout of her intake, she has a natural ability and therefore her tattoos are more intricate than mine.”

“So why is it they change to match the territory?” Yves asked, putting the knowledge into the back of his head for later recall, should he ever need it.

“I do not know Sir, it is a process with special inks that go back thousands of cycles” Terax shrugged and then fell silent as Coronus raised her hand a little. Immediately the two Scouts followed where Coronus pointed.

A small party were patrolling the edges of the Bastion but it was not the humans that concerned the party, in particular the two Iron Warrior Scout Brothers, it was the two scouts that moved with them.

Yves narrowed his eyes a little, ever since the slaughter of the Iron Warriors 54th at the Elysian Bastion the truth from the mighty Wolf King and the mourned Great Khan that the Dark Angels had sided with the accursed Dark Eldar scum had made anything to do with the sons of Caliban was to be taken as personal.

He motioned to his companions and they moved away from the line of sight of the enemy to slightly higher and yet camouflaged ground, they had their stealth cloaks but he need not have worried about the humans, they were already invisible to the naked eye. His respect for them went up a notch or two more. They watched and observed the patrol route, as soon as the enemy moved away.

Yves nodded at Jeranu who immediately contacted the Sergeant, after a moment he joined them

“We wait here, until we are given further instructions. The Warsmith will want to know how many we see, where and what the patrol routes are”

The four scouts settled in for the duration. It was going to be a long night.
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