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post #31 of 39 (permalink) Old 06-19-14, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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CHAPTER FIFTEEN

“Very well,” Raldoron said. “So. What is the Second Order?”

He was sitting opposite Sanguinius, in one of the Primarch’s many sanctums scattered across the Red Tear. The First Captain suspected that the Angel had one of those for every high-ranking member of the Legion to meet one-on-one in, plus several that were truly private. This specific room, which Raldoron had visited several times before, was cone-shaped, pointing upwards into a dazzling mirage of the Baalite night sky. The bottom of the cone was gilded, with images of battle between sand creatures, mutants, and Baal’s humans. It was among these frescoes that Raldoron sat opposite Sanguinius, in two identical chairs that slowly rotated around the center of the room. Even the wing-slots on their back were copies of each other, though of course Raldoron wasn’t using them.

Sanguinius had invited him here to discuss, as promised, his semi-cryptic remarks on the Accursed Eternity. Raldoron had decided to start with the obvious question.

“The realm that is to the Warp as the Warp is to our world,” Sanguinius said. “It really is as simple as that. In illogical terms – it is eternity.”

“So – is it evil, like the Warp? Does it contain xenos? Is it timeless?”

“The Warp is no more evil than the Materium,” Sanguinius said with a frown. “There are merely monsters that live within it. I do not know what lives within the Second Order, not profoundly. Yet given that Warp ‘daemons’ are effectively evil incarnate, I doubt the life of the Second Order is more twisted. Though that, too, is a real chance.” The Primarch paused. “As for timelessness, no. Its time is different from ours, but it is neither timeless nor entropic.”

“But time is defined by entropy! Or – is that only in the Materium?”

“The logic of the Second Order makes as little sense to the creatures of the Warp as the Warp makes to our humanoid minds,” Sanguinius answered. “It does only have one dimension of time. I envision – though I have no bind to it whatsoever – that the Third Level has four.”

“How?”

“Do not ask questions whose answers even I obviously cannot comprehend,” Sanguinius said with a grin. “Sufficiently distant destinies qualify as such, also.”

Do you see how the war will end?”

“I couldn’t even see Guilliman’s decision; the Emperor, I believe, couldn’t either. Long-range foresight is loopwise blind. The future is too irregular at the moment, too… chaotic. There is no probability-dominant path. Guilliman…. You sympathize with him, do you not?”

That question rather shocked Raldoron. “Yes,” he said after a moment of gathering his wits. “I realize the Legion has sided with Horus, and I am vastly more loyal to it and to you, but the new future he is forging, the lack of continued sympathy for a Master of Mankind gone mad… these are appealing. And the Ultramarines have always been close to the Blood Angels.”

“We will help them when the time comes,” Sanguinius answered. “Do not be ashamed of these beliefs; remember that there are only two sides in this war. Guilliman is, at the moment, an ally of the Coalition. Later we could slosh into the same singularity. These are fluid boundaries, between friend and ally. We have but one enemy, and it is the Chaos Imperium. But I suspect you have more to ask about the Second Order?”

“Yes – what, specifically, is your connection to it? Are you just a psyker, but with the Second Order replacing the Warp?”

“Ah, that,” Sanguinius said, and Raldoron felt his gut spin. “That is an interesting question. To begin with, if one believes Magnus, we Primarchs are all latent psykers in some way or another. That is part of our fabric. I do not know if he is correct, but I am absolutely psychic in nature – only my specific connection to the Warp has woven a second, stronger connection to the faintest of dreams, the most infinite of dusts. I am not as close to the Second Order as even a weak psyker is to the Warp, but I can sense it – one of a very few beings in this galaxy that can.”

“As for the nature of this connection,” he continued, “most of my prophetic powers are of the Warp, not the Second Order. And yet I am of the Second Order in a way I am not of the Warp. I doubt it can be explained to one who is not bound to these whorls. Still, they – you – can feel that in my ethereal soar.”

“And that distance,” Sanguinius went on, “is present in Baal as well. I have only recently come into the wideness of such truths; only when I unburdened myself as to the secret of the Flaw. But it was no accident that I landed on the homeworld. Not the forces of the Warp at work there – I hope – but simply non-linear time. We were what we had to be.”

“And when the Emperor turned to the antistars of Chaos, what we had to be changed. We have looked within ourselves, seeking out some solution to the Emperor’s power. For me, that solution was in a connection I have long left quiescent except for prophecy. For my brothers, other things. When faced with a sufficiently towering edifice, risk becomes much more palatable. I feared – yes, feared – that the Second Order would overtake me. And yet,” Sanguinius concluded, “I embraced it anyway. Embraced time, embraced distance. Embraced the afterglow of origin’s dawn and the singularities that defy dimension. Because if we lose, this is assuredly the last war that will change eternity; and it may be the last even if we win.”

The chairs continued to rotate, Sanguinius’ words echoing in Raldoron’s mind. He found the scale hard to comprehend. The Blood Angels were fighting not only for unity and truth now; they were crusaders for everything. Still, he was truly proud for the first time that he was a warrior in this brothers’ conflict. When one put it as Sanguinius had, it was hard not to be proud.

“The Warp affects the Second Order,” he said eventually, “does it not? Like realspace affects the Warp.”

“And that is the true danger of this war. Loss will not lead to salvation from beyond the beyond.” Sanguinius paused. “It has been lightening to explain this to you, Ral. You may feel my words have largely charged past you; but there are very few others who could understand this at all. I have not shared this with a soul before, except for you; who else should I open the gates to, do you think?”

“Horus,” Raldoron said without thinking. “And Azkaellon. Beyond that, I’m not sure anyone needs to know – maybe Berus?”

“We Primarchs have kept our final powergrabs to ourselves,” Sanguinius noted. “But Azkaellon and Berus – aye, I will tell them, in slivers at least. The latter might even lose some skepticism.”

“I find that hard to believe,” Raldoron said with a chuckle. “I think he still only half-believes in the darkness of the Warp.”

“Not darkness,” Sanguinius answered. His perfect face was once more turned to dissonance. “The Warp is not evil. Aphgori said, some time ago, that we are walking into the shadows, which we are. But imagine a world without the Warp. Where the ideals of the Imperial Truth are not just valid, but true in the trivial sense. Where there are no xenos except the mundane, no psykers, no Primarchs or Emperor. That world is capable of forging a utopia for a million years. And yet it is still darker than the universe we live in, because that utopia is ultimately doomed. Because heat death, from which the Warp spares us (at a terrible price), will claim its head; and even before that, the loss of wonder, the loss of interest, will degenerate perfection – because perfection is possible. A finite utopia is nothing compared to infinity. And infinity is what Chaos threatens; if they win what the Eldar call the Rhana Dandra, there will be an infinity, but one of evil.”

“And therefore,” Raldoron replied, “we-”

And then something changed.

Raldoron felt alone in a way he had not in a long time. As if his brothers were not there, as if his gene-father was not sitting right in front of him.

“Psychic short,” Sanguinius said.

“What?”

The Primarch was already springing from his chair. “All foresight countered; all psychic powers briefly delayed. The Warp has been locked off. It all ends suddenly. It all ends suddenly.”

“And the Second Order?”

Sanguinius strained. “I see… Horus. They’re attacking Lupercal.”

By the time he had finished that sentence, Sanguinius was shooting upwards, towards the room’s conical ceiling. Then he pierced the night sky of Baal, and Raldoron could hear the Primarch open a door above; then he was completely gone.

Raldoron sat in silence for half a moment. Then, jumping out of his chair and exiting the sanctum in a more conventional fashion, he thumbed his vox. This was too sensitive to tell the entire Legion, but that was no reason to leave the Warmaster in danger.

“Azkaellon,” Raldoron said, “tell the Sanguiniary Guard to find Horus. All of them. Assassination attempt.”

“Let the Sixteenth deal with that for once,” Azkaellon grumbled. Then, without pause, “Understood. I’ll order the Guard to the Vengeful Spirit, and tell those already there to converge on Horus’ position. Out.”

As he stood in the hallways of the high Red Tear, silent with the vox disabled (the channels of the Sanguiniary Guard being private), Raldoron hoped it would be enough.

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

“I guess the assassins messed up somehow,” Loken said. “The Mechanicum models say we’ve caught almost all of them.”

Abaddon shrugged. “They bit off more than they could chew.”

“You say that metaphorically,” Torgaddon observed, “but my power armor still has scratches from when one of them tried it for real.”

“That was an Ork,” Loken interjected.

“I’m almost certain it was, in fact, an assassin disguised as an Ork.”

Loken threw up his hands in frustration as Abaddon laughed. Aximand only slightly smiled; the levity was getting to him, but he still worried that it was misplaced. The Callidus assassins had more or less rolled over; clearly the Emperor hadn’t sent his best into this mission. Why was a completely different question.

He’d let the Warmaster worry about that, though.

The Mournival was meeting in one of the vast hallways of the Vengeful Spirit, walking through the less grandiose parts of the Sons of Horus’ flagship. The meeting had somewhat degenerated, however, because it was too late for the Council of Catachan to achieve anything truly new, but too early to discuss future assignments. The next two weeks would be filled with bureaucracy, and then it would be back to a war of annihilation.

Aximand suspected the Sixteenth Legion had been sent to Catachan so that Horus could teach his sons some level of politics. It hadn’t worked very well. True, Abaddon had become somewhat less blunt , and Loken more open; but it wasn’t as if either of them were actually trying to act rather than react. Aximand himself was more interested in the Eldar, and the possibility of finally earning diplomatic relations with a major xeno race. Of course, that did rather destabilize the very concept of the Great Crusade….

Torgaddon, by contrast, had recovered well from his earlier disorientation to become an actual political force. The Second Captain’s nature suited it, perhaps, but Aximand could swear Torgaddon had never been quite so manipulative with his jokes before. But even that melted away among brothers; the Sons of Horus emphatically avoided scheming against each other. Then again, Horus would have to be mad to try and change that.

“Little Horus?” Abaddon asked, and Aximand realized he had been distracted for the conversation.

“What?”

“What do you think about the – wait. Vox from Maloghurst.”

There was a burst of static, and then the voice of the Primarch’s equerry – the man known as the Twisted, who took the title as a compliment. “Lupercal in danger,” Maloghurst said. “Get to him – Owebor Statuary, near your position. Assassination attempt.”

The Mournival began their sprint immediately. “Is this from the Librarius?” Loken asked.

“I’m unable to contact them. This is from a convergence in threat lines. The Mechanicum refuse to see it because it doesn’t match their models, but Horus’ life is threatened.”

For a moment Horus Aximand had doubts; but then the Mournival burst into the Owebor halls, and it became obvious Maloghurst was right.

There were no statues in the statuary. Instead, men and women in black bodysuits, polymorphine obviously coursing in their veins, mobbed the Warmaster, doing their best to drag him down. Horus fought without a weapon, throwing the assassins into the bulkheads with his bare hands.

The Mournival were not unarmed; there was a reason Maloghurst had contacted them, after all. Not their battle weapons, ceremonial arms, but perfectly functional nonetheless. Abaddon carved into assassins with crackling lightning claws. Torgaddon and Loken wielded powerswords, glimmering with silver light in the darkened room. And Aximand’s chainmace, a unique combination of criss-crossing spinning rings, sprung into fury.

He smashed aside the assassins, but the Warmaster was far away, and being backed towards a corner. From the corner of his eye, Aximand noticed that Abaddon was making good headway towards the Primarch; and then one who could actually fight came up before Aximand, and with that long-term delay.

Aximand aimed his weapon at the assassin’s head, but of course he/she (it was impossible to tell even which the Callidus was at the moment, much less what was the assassin’s original state) transmuted that head, flowing out of the way. Aximand continued the swing downwards, but before he could finish it a stray air current warned him of enemies behind. The Space Marine spun while wrenching the chainmace in an arc, almost accidentally knocking away another assailant’s sword. The enemy he’d felt earlier, surprised, was simultaneously crushed and torn apart, becoming paste; but by this point Assassin One had fully recovered, and plunged a probably-poisoned dagger into Aximand’s knee.

The centrifugal force of his spin threw the dagger, and the assassin, off a moment later, with the dagger having penetrated only about halfway through the armor. Looking around, Aximand noted between moments that Loken and Torgaddon were fighting back-to-back, exchanging quips as they did; but there was no chance of Aximand doing likewise with Abaddon, because the First Captain had advanced so fast in his desperation to reach the Primarch, who himself fought on.

They were winning. These assassins were infiltrators, not warriors; they had failed to kill Horus Lupercal immediately upon revealing themselves, even en masse, and they were unlikely to do so now. But if they had so successfully escaped detection, more easily could.

From now on, Aximand suspected, the Imperium of Man would have excellent information on the actions of the Coalition. Psykers existed, of course, but their attempts to pry into the Callidus riddle had always been frustrated, for unknown reasons. Did polymorphine interfere with the Warp in some unfortunate way?

He walked toward Lupercal, well-aware of how welcome this moment of respite was; and then Assassin One was on him again, extending a tendril into Aximand’s boot. The Son of Horus smashed his mace down, grinding off the limb. It stayed there –

And then it flew from Aximand’s hands, as Assassin One’s arm retracted to its original position with the weapon. A blow from behind; he kicked that assailant off, running towards A-One. He/she dropped the stolen weapon (his/her right hand a mess of scars from that grab, which really shouldn’t have been able to work) and gasped, eyes widening in alarm. With an Astarte barreling at them, even Assassin One froze up.

Only an instant of hesitation; but long enough for Aximand to jump at him/her, grapple him/her to the floor, and simultaneously squeeze his/her head off his/her body. He picked up the chainmace in one further motion, sweeping it to crush another one’s legs, and then took off towards Lupercal.

He wasn’t fast enough.

From the many-folded walls, a monster leapt into the center of the melee. A human monster, not severely misshapen; a photograph of this moment would barely even notice him. But his very presence caused pain to flare in Aximand’s forehead.

Culexus. Pariah.

He held a golden sword that shone with runes of power. His left hand was outstretched, a shining ultraviolet skull held aloft; the significance of that, Aximand did not know. He wore a black bodyglove, and his long hair, striped black and white, swept behind him.

Even the Callidus assassins recoiled, the utter anti-psychic field a terrible assault on their minds. Torgaddon and Loken sagged to their knees, whereas Aximand himself felt the cold floor on his face. (When had he fallen? Did it matter?) Yet he still saw, barely, that Horus was toppling backward, eyes closed, before a single blow had been struck. Ezekyle Abaddon, despite all odds, remained standing, though evidently not with ease.

The pain grew, but Aximand managed to crawl onto all fours. Loken was even more severely affected. Torgaddon stood over his unconscious body, prepared to fend off the assassins that did not come. The battle had stopped. The only one that was truly unaffected by the Culexus was the Culexus himself.

That monster flew toward Horus, and Aximand’s eyes widened as he felt the aura of that weapon. (He was no psyker, he knew, but somehow the sword – the anatheme – got through even to him.) It was a fragment of the time of ending, a position where the eternal died and the ephemereal stretched into eonal tones. A nightmare of collapsing towers.

“The battlefield recedes,” Loken muttered, “you blink: What happened here? What happened was, on this pink day, a sample mere.”

The assassin thrust his sword forwards, aiming for Horus’ heart. And then Ezekyle Abaddon was there, screaming in pain from the proximity to the Culexus. (The Callidus were already starting to recover; why such an end?) The anatheme hit Abaddon’s right shoulder, sinking slightly into it, and then the Culexus landed, slamming the First Captain of the Sons of Horus into the ground. The hall rang in mourning.

The Culexus pressed, and Ezekyle Abaddon’s right hand skid across the floor, the first casualty of a blade that could fell a Primarch.

Abaddon slumped, his breath spent, destroyed by a blow meant to kill Lupercal himself. Horus Aximand stood up, only barely in time to elbow away a Callidus; but there were too many others. The Warmaster, meanwhile, raised himself once more, but his eyes were still closed, and though his face was contorted in fury, it was also contorted in pain.

Loken rattled on, speech rushing faster and faster but remaining perfectly coherent and even comprehensible. Nonsensical, of course, but still. “A monstrous, evolving, consuming and alien sentience; still coexistence. The presence of sapience, maybe, and also the goal of corruption? Regret is the water; the plant is redemption. Monstrosity is independent of time and morality’s mantle. The pure incarnation of entropy’s promise, though forged in defiance. And yet if we cannot communicate, enemies horrid. A wormhole, a planet of cities but only a single such world in a giant republic. And heroes, they come to the time of their essence. Collision. But never. I won’t say the future. I’ll never explain it. For foresight is evil – he said that himself, the ideal of humanity, fallen, unfallen, are they not the same in the wake of apocalypse?”

Loken spoke on, but by that point the words were too fast even for Aximand’s hearing. So he looked, instead, to the Culexus, who was raising the anatheme for a final stab –

A whirlwind of garnet and gold smashed through the wall, and a spinning Sanguinius slammed a speartip into the assassin’s back.

The Blood Angels’ Primarch landed, raising his spear, on which the Imperium’s finest was impaled.

The black skull and anatheme dropped out of his hands, falling, unbroken, onto the floor.

And the world was covered in platinum light.

Moonlight, stardust. The lamps above twinkled. A wall of white fire, searing the Callidus’ flesh from their bones; Aximand barely noticed it rush past. Calm compassion, combined with spiritual fury. Unity. More than that – humanity.

In the center of it all, Horus Lupercal, Warmaster of the Coalition, stood, eyes frozen fire. Next to him was Sanguinius, an angel at the side of a god.

Aximand did not understand, and he knew that, if anyone asked him the next day, he would at best describe these moments in incoherent mumbling. But he knew he felt at peace, not simply with the universe, but with truth. The snow-like flames reached the room’s walls and faded into the greater brilliance.

And then a tendril of molten sky swept from Horus’ hands at the black skull and punched into it. For a moment, there was nothing, and then the skull was gone, as was the platinum glow and the rest of the power-figment. There was only the Owebor statuary (bereft of its statues), two conscious Sons of Horus, one unconscious, one possibly dead, and two Primarchs in the center of it all.

“You could’ve kept the skull,” Sanguinius observed. “Battle.”

“Corruption,” Horus answered. “Probably. And more certainly, I am not divine.”

“What was that?” Aximand inquired.

“A psychic amplifier,” Lupercal said. “The Culexus are mighty weapons against those with psychic potential; but the potential of most humans is weak. The skull increased the psychic abilities of its surroundings – abilities which could not be used, because the pariah’s anti-psychic powers were also vastly inflated. Until, of course, Sanguinius speared him.”

“So that power is gone,” Aximand said. “Dependent on a destroyed artifact.”

“No,” Sanguinius answered. “That power is part of Horus, but indirectly.”

“Primarch metaphysics,” Horus said. “Even I don’t get it.”

Sanguinius grinned. “If you think I do….”

Aximand nodded, but it still felt, to him, improper to laugh when the assassination attempt had in fact, claimed one casualty with that Primarch-slaying sword. Torgaddon evidently felt the same. “And Ezekyle?” he asked, having finally shaken Loken half-awake.

“Almost conscious,” Lupercal said, and the knot in Aximand’s soul dissolved. They had made it. Somehow, they had all made it, and the Mournival remained unaltered.

Only a few seconds later, as the Sanguiniary Guard ran into the hall, Abaddon’s eyes opened.

“So,” he asked, blinking. “What happened here?”

“What happened was,” Sanguinius said, “on this pink day, a sample mere.”

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post #33 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-11-14, 08:47 PM
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fantastic, brilliant.....this is one of the best. Sang and Horus together as they should be, and i like the use of the callidus, they are ones to be watched.
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Good god, I need to get back to writing mine! Excellent work Vulkan!

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My growing IIIrd legion stuff:

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EPILOGUE: HORUS

The Council of Catachan was, for all intents and purposes, complete. Horus Lupercal, Warmaster of the Coalition, moved his fingers across the eldar organ and mused on eternity.

The organ had been a gift from the Eldar Craftworld Alaitoc’s delegation, part of an exchange to commemorate the alliance. Horus had known that humanity had little in the way of ingenuity to offer the Eldar, so he had instead given away a large archival spaceship. Its delegation of remembrancers were to stay with the Eldar for some time, learning about the alien species; an official delegation of eldar Artists would also be present aboard the Vengeful Spirit.

None of them were here now; only Horus, Sanguinius contributing to the melody (the organ was possible to play for only one Primarch, but more complex music could be produced by two if they worked in harmony), and Ethyn Tandrith, the leader of the Eldar delegation, observing.

The song drifted out, rebounding through the acoustic funnels of the organ, both physical and psychic, to produce a melody of reflection.

“Abaddon,” Sanguinius observed, “appears quite taken with his new arm.”

“It’s the best one in the Imperium,” Horus said. “Unless you count Ferrus…. How is Raldoron?”

“Still upset about not being useful in the assassination attempt,” Sanguinius answered, “but not overly so.” Pause. “You still have that moonlit power, you know. It is useful to know oneself.”

Sanguinius was not wrong; Horus had awakened his psychic potential in that battle against the assassins. It had not been necessary thus far – without a powerful Culexus, there had been little trouble in rooting out most of the Callidus infiltrators. Still, he was now not just a passive psychic being – that, all the Primarchs were – but a potentially active mage.

He was not happy about that. “Such power holds extreme danger,” he said. “And I have no desire to lose my connection with mankind, either. I am still nowhere near the level of Magnus, or even your level, without the amplification of that skull; so this is not a key strategic weakness. And if I embrace this light, it is all too likely to destroy me.”

“The Eldar unite in psychic powers, our dark kin abandon them, the Warp is not evil,” Tandrith put in.

“But the Eldar are still greatly distinct from mankind,” Horus replied. “Your moral system is tilted, and that with a biology designed to compensate for it. We Primarchs can fall. And that, now….” His power was in politics, in the realm of the physical mind. Guilliman had emphasized that Primarchs were more than warriors. Well, he needed to demonstrate that they were more than psykers.

“I understand,” Sanguinius said.

Tandrith did, too. “Your path is not of the Seer, human analogue despised, no reason to reveal oneself. But remember – we fell not because of psychic powers, the Warp was only a mechanism, the reason was in our physical hearts.”

Horus remembered the tales of the Fall of the Eldar. The xenos never spoke of the event in great detail, but the essence of it was that the pursuit of pleasure over millions of years, even by a fairly small empire, was sufficient to spawn an unintentional Warp God from nothing. Slaanesh had then devoured the gods of the Eldar – all, Tandrith said, but four: Khaine, god of war, Cegorach, god of trickery, Isha, god of healing, and Qah, god of night – and the entire Eldar empire, leaving only a few escapees.

“I do not want you to fall,” Tandrith said, “because you are our last hope, so do not imagine yourself ever truly safe. What could have been, what could yet be, all has been thrust into uncertainty.”

Horus smiled. “You’re used to certainty. Humanity is not. We have ourselves, and thus we have all mankind.”

Sanguinius slowly nodded as the melody began to crest. It flowed in ways quite unlike human music, but its beauty was undeniable. “And, Autarch Tandrith, before the Warmaster makes his pronouncement, I feel you are evolving one as well.”

“Fluidly and fracturedly yes,” Tandrith said, “though some of us will vehemently deny me on this, Comorragh and Biel-Tan alike. Before the subject of our mythology, the Eldar were created by the Old Ones, one of several species to fight a war against metallic monsters. The realspace component of the War in Heaven, a time before the gods were awake, believed to be the war to end all wars and decide the inheritor of the galaxy. The Old Ones were ceratopsid, their homeworld’s civilization was destroyed at war’s end, tectonic weapons and an asteroid thrown into the surface. The councils have discussed this, sixty-five million Terran years ago is within the accepted time frame, the original home of the Old Ones was at the galactic rim. This is why we contemplated helping humanity, because you are the heirs of the Old Ones, through a more circuitous path. The details are debatable, but Alaitoc has accepted from discussion with your fleet, humanity is the second spawn of Terra.”

There was silence for a time. A prior galactic power from Terra – no, not just a galactic power, the greatest galactic power in history, the creator of the Eldar and – according to other legends Horus had heard – also the Orks and the Hrud. The ceratopsids, sapient, even technological; ended by an asteroid and volcanoes that were far from accidental. And this last alliance foretold by history, though indirectly. Miniscule odds, of course – although with the Warp, mere chance could not be relied on. And perhaps unengineered ecosystems were more creative.

“The depth…” Sanguinius marveled.

A beautiful idea. But it was time. “I have a speech to give,” Horus said as the melody faded. “I do not know if I believe it myself, Autarch; yet I am honored that you would even consider the theory.”

A few minor niceties, and then Horus and Sanguinius were walking through the hallways of the Vengeful Spirit, Tandrith departing in the other direction to his warriors.

“I must learn to guard myself psychically,” Lupercal said. “That, at least, is true.”

“We guard ourselves – and our sons guard us – rather well physically,” Sanguinius remarked. “The ethereal was always an easier method of attack. Nearly half of us fell to it. I will – must – make a sterner effort against that myself.”

Some other things were said, but their relevance was faint, and some of them burned too brightly to overcontemplate. They wished each other luck in their upcoming campaigns, at least. Then Horus rose to the podium, Sanguinius stepping to the side, the Council of Catachan revealing itself before him. Only the most important dignitaries, admirals and administrators and Astartes, were present; yet they still stretched deep. This had been a massive endeavor, and it had succeeded, despite numerous challenges – succeeded in yielding a foundation, albeit tinted scarlet from the blood the wars of the Council had spilled, on which the Imperium would be reformed.

Now he drove the final stake into that foundation.

“My friends,” Warmaster Horus Lupercal of the Coalition said, “of late we have reinvigorated an ancient custom – the farewell ‘may you stay free’. The reason is simple; we are fighting against tyranny, and so an explicitly rebellious slogan fits well. But we stand for continuity nevertheless, thus the ‘stay’; we do not deny the worth of an Imperium, and we recognize that there was a time – though it seems an eternity ago – when the Emperor was not yet mad. But even then, he could make mistakes.”

“One of these,” Horus continued, “was the Edict of Nikaea. Psychic powers are dangerous, it is true; but shackling them weakens us in offense, and offers us no benefits in defense, for an untrained psyker is even more dangerous than a trained one. It is no secret that many among the Adeptus Astartes have been openly disobeying this edict for some time, for it was clear the day of its abolishment was soon. But we must have more than the Astartes realize their full potential. The Imperium at large, in civilian and military life, must integrate psychic powers into life as we know it – as we have already done with Astropaths and Navigators. Humanity’s psychic potential is, I have been assured, increasing. We must be prepared, rather than blindly denying the obvious.”

“And for this reason,” Lupercal concluded, “by the powers invested in me as Warmaster, I hereby repeal the Edict of Nikaea.”

Renegades Saga contributions
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...tions-cry.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...s-scarlet.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...lesh-weak.html)
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.

Lorgar's Betrayal
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...te-heresy.html)
What was broken has been mended. And what was burned away can never be reforged.
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post #36 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-20-14, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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To be continued in

Renegades 9: Flesh is Weak

Renegades 10: Long Forgotten Sons

and

Renegades 11: The Fall of a Legion

Renegades Saga contributions
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...tions-cry.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...s-scarlet.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...lesh-weak.html)
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.

Lorgar's Betrayal
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...te-heresy.html)
What was broken has been mended. And what was burned away can never be reforged.
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post #37 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-20-14, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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That's all!

Thanks to everyone who read this, and especially to gothik for starting the Renegades universe. It's been great writing this - but I think I'm slightly burned out on 40K at the moment. I will return to Renegades, but I don't know when. Maybe when/if Flesh is Weak is finished; I'd be interested in an Death Guard and Iron Hands story....

Good luck, and DEATH TO THE FALSE EMPEROR!

Renegades Saga contributions
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...tions-cry.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...s-scarlet.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...lesh-weak.html)
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.

Lorgar's Betrayal
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...te-heresy.html)
What was broken has been mended. And what was burned away can never be reforged.
VulkansNodosaurus is offline  
post #38 of 39 (permalink) Old 07-29-14, 05:02 PM
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Oh yes Vulkan. This is the perfection. Pure, undiluted perfection. Indeed, I almost wept after finishing this epic. I cannot find any other worlds to describe this immaculate wors. When I was reading, and finally completed this work, I almost felt like receiving a blessed gift. Thank you to write this excellent masterwork..

p.s Of course this is not your series. And I always well know that fact. But I consider both you and Gothik have disintegrated and newly constructed 40k metaphysics, and even invented some aspects. Ingenuity and reinterpretation is one of many reasons why I really like this heraclean project.
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post #39 of 39 (permalink) Old 08-07-14, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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Ecumene - Thank you! Yeah, metaphysics was a major theme here.

Oh, and as a bonus feature, here's the full Trihexad:

DARK TRIAD
Legio V "White Scars" - Simplicity
Legio XII "World Eaters" - Destruction
Legio XVII "Word Bearers" - Religion

CHEMICAL TRIAD
Legio I "Dark Angels" - Organic
Legio XIV "Death Guard" - Inorganic
Legio XX "Alpha Legion" - Biochemistry

BIOLOGICAL TRIAD
Legio VIII "Night Lords" - Neuro
Legio X "Iron Hands" - Techno
Legio XIX "Raven Guard" - Geno

PLANETARY TRIAD
Legio IV "Iron Warriors" - Dynamo
Legio VI "Space Wolves" - Climate
Legio XVIII "Salamanders" - Tectonics

COSMIC TRIAD
Legio III "Emperor's Children" - Space
Legio IX "Blood Angels" - Time
Legio XV "Thousand Sons" - Warp

BRIGHT TRIAD
Legio VII "Imperial Fists" - Drive
Legio XIII "Ultramarines" - Logic
Legio XVI "Luna Wolves" - Ethics

Renegades Saga contributions
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...tions-cry.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...s-scarlet.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...lesh-weak.html)
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.

Lorgar's Betrayal
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...te-heresy.html)
What was broken has been mended. And what was burned away can never be reforged.
VulkansNodosaurus is offline  
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