Loken stood with his brothers as he watched the impossibly slow opening of the Serpent Lodge’s gates. His eyes were, along with the rest of his Legion’s, transfixed on the ever increasing sliver of darkness.
Nothing moved; the entire world of Davin stood in perfect silence, the galaxy took its breath.
The doors opened fully. Loken’s heart sank. He is dead. Horus is dead.
A single, massive figure lay immobile in the grim greyness of the temple. Loken fell to his knees. Tarik dropped his bolter, its clang heavy and deafening against the backdrop of silence. Aximand let out a cry of disbelief as the Sons of Horus scrambled towards their fallen commander. Abbadon stood still, his feet firmly rooted to the ground, unable to convey in words his crushing desperation.
Loken’s brain could not contemplate the enormity of this tragedy. How could this happen? He looked at his hands, searching for signs and answers. Nothing could have prepared him for this. The crushing weight of his father’s death threatened to rip away his battered sanity. He looked at Tarik, feeling his brother’s similar anguish emanating in waves.
Anger built within him. It rose like the crescendo of a burning inferno. The hot fire of Cthonia rippled throughout his Astartes-built body as he fought to control himself. He looked at the corpse of his Commander and felt a single tear drop to the dusty steps of the temple. Horus was dead, forever.
One thought found its way into Loken’s broken, desperate mind: Erebus.
Erebus had caused this. The Anathame. Davin’s moon. The lodges. His brothers.
Loken spun to his feet, pointing an accusatory finger at his brothers, ‘You allowed this to happen! You brought the Warmaster here! Where is Erebus?! Where is that traitor!’ Loken’s bellows filled the air, echoing across the valley.
Tarik put a hand on Loken’s shoulder, ‘Loken… ‘
‘No Tarik! Our brothers allowed this to happen. Nero! Arrest these men!’
Nero Vipus froze, as did his warriors. Abbadon turned, bringing up his bolter, visibly shaking. No one moved. Aximand held out his hands.
‘Loken, we did what we could,’ he pleaded in a quiet voice.
‘You brought him here to die, Aximand. We could have saved him! I gave Vaddon the sword, we could have saved his life!’ Loken could not breathe; the weight of this horror too much. He drew his blade.
‘You would attempt to chastise us?! We who acted to save him while you and Tarik squandered time on a fool’s quest!?’ Abbadon screamed at him, spittle flying from his enraged mouth, but Loken could sense the guilt on every word. The entire steps of the Temple were now divided between the two factions. Bolters painted in the new, sea green livery of the Sons of Horus were aimed at one another.
Loken could not listen to any more. His body literally erupted with rage. He felt it empower him. With one last look at the limp corpse of his beloved Lupercal he threw himself at his former brothers.
Power sword clashed with energised claws as the two erstwhile brothers hacked at each other. Bolts flew from Abaddon’s side, and Loken grimaced as he saw one of Nero’s men clatter to the ground. Tarik screamed his fury and fired back. Within moments, the duel of Loken and Abbadon was surrounded by the shrieking horror of bolters tearing at former brothers.
Loken fought with Abbadon over and down the steps, both of them scoring dents and ripping out chunks of ceramite. Loken fought with the heavy weight of betrayal and revenge, its cold energy filling his very limbs. They killed him
Abbadon fought with his legendary ferocity, but Loken could feel the hesitation in his blows. He knew the actions he had taken to attempt to save the Warmaster’s life were wrong, no matter how desperate they were. The Legion was no more. Lupercal was dead. Brother had fought brother.
Loken sheared the First Captain’s power claws off, tearing through his arm in the process. Abaddon slumped, defeated and his eyes lost in the distance.
‘End this, Loken,’ Abbadon hissed.
‘You deserve to stand trial for what you have done. This is over.’ Loken kicked the First Captain onto his back, drawing his sword down the Astartes face. Loken looked back, his face contorted in nothing but hatred and spite as the warriors under Abaddon’s command lay slain at the entrance of the Temple. Astartes blood ran in small rivers down the steps, pooling in cracks and carrying spent bolter shells with it.
Tarik and Nero’s men stood over Sedirae, Targhost and their few warriors who had survived. Loken could see Aximand crouched in the darkness of the Temple by the Warmaster’s body, cradling his Commander's expressionless head. Little Horus held a bolt pistol to his skull, tears filling his eyes as he stared at Loken with guilt and hopelessness.
Bang. The shot cracked throughout the valley. Tarik screamed, racing at his Mournival brother. Loken ran beside him, crouching beside the ruined face of ‘Little’ Horus Aximand. The Warmaster’s closed eyes stared at Loken, and he felt crushing despair fill his soul. What have we done?
Garviel Loken threw his gaze across the gathering of lost, broken men. Tarik did not look at him, and Nero was crouched down, staring into the dirt. Crimson blood stained his hands; Astartes blood.
Somewhere far off, impossibly, a lone wolf howled into the night. Garviel Loken, Son of Horus, bellowed his own tragic cry.