He paced his stratagem restless and out of balance with his humours. He could not believe, did not want to believe that his father, the master of mankind himself, the mightiest being to have ever lived had suddenly turned everything upside down, thrown all he had taught his sons to believe away to not only validate the bloody Prophets absurd claims, but to give himself the power of long forgotten gods.
He had been a loyal son, followed the course of history that his father had set out for him, and been good on his word, for when he took over as Primarch of the Raven Guard, his father had helped bring peace to his moon and his world, and he thought they were equal in their honour. But it seemed that honour could be traded when needs be.
To think that he now had to accept that what Horus and Magnus had said was true gnawed at him, he wanted to prove them wrong, go to his father and see for himself what had happened, but all that had changed. The death of an entire company of Raven Guard at the hands of the Night Lords, all of them brought back to the Ravenspire by the Alpha Legion. Prospero gone, wiped from the star charts like she had never existed, Magnus crippled and now the Great Khan dead at the hands of his brother Vulkan. Vulkan of all people…it beggared belief; the bloody universe had gone mad.
He heaved a heavy sigh, not just that but Malcador was dead as was the greatest of the Custodes. He had just been informed that Amon Tetromach Leng had been given safe haven aboard the Indomitable Will. At least with Mortarion watching over him the Last Lion as he was being tagged had found safe harbour.
He stopped by his window and gazed out at the star screen beyond. For countless generations mankind had believed there were other forces in the universe, be they alien or deity, well they were right about the aliens but now it seemed after a war that almost destroyed Terra to rid it of religion and superstition, now it was back again with a vengeance. Not only that, but vengeance burnt at his heart, vengeance for his lost sons and
vengeance for the disgrace of believing a lie. Corvus Corax felt the dishonour of having a father and brothers gone mad keenly. The Raven Guard would side with his brothers, but they would do things their way.
“My lord, there is a message from Lord Gulliman for you, private”
Corax acknowledged the Vox operators message and read what had been put through to his office. He ran a hand down his face as he read the contents. Once again trouble rested on the Raven Lords shoulders and he did not know, for the first time in his long years, what to do. He needed a battle, something to take his mind off this bizarre point in history.
He got his wish. Twelve days later the Raven Guard came down on Planet 1427.
The inhabitants of 1427 were not expecting anything like the Raven Guard; in fact they were not expecting anything like the Astartes. They were brutal and violent and, no matter how many battles the inhabitants fought, they were onto a losing battle from the moment the wrathful Primarch and his sons touched down.
As he looked over the bloody field of battle Corax began to wonder on who he was taking his frustrations out on. Was it the Emperor and his brothers who had turned their back on all that had been gene written into them? Was it Gulliman for asking him to aid him in building a second Imperium? Or was it the old rivalry with Horus? Things had never been easy between him and the Lunar…no not the Lunar Wolves, the Sons of Horus that was what they were calling themselves now. He had always believed that Horus had used him and his sons to further his own glories, so much so that the two Primarchs had almost come to blows.
Corax did not want to be under Horus’s leadership again, however he had closed the rift between them and he was not about to open that wound again over ego. Then again Horus had been the natural choice for Warmaster, he was the Emperors chosen heir and Magnus had asked everyone’s opinion on the matter in hand. He had agreed that Horus was the natural choice for dare he say it Emperor.
But what of their own home worlds, if the Emperor was going to send Angron to do the job that the Space Wolves had done in times before, how long before Cthonia, Baal or even Deliverance fell to the same fate as Prospero?
He accepted the surrender with a nod of the head and let the Imperial Guard take over and was about to return to his vessel when one of his sons, a young Astartes by the name of Halan Gre knelt before him.
“My apologies my Lord but both Captain Nevs require your presence in the hall of wonders”
Corax caught himself before he could laugh at the way young Gre had relayed his message, his mood lifted and clapping his hand on his sons shoulder walked with him towards the Hall of Wonders.
He found the brothers in the darkened hall, the hall had been spared most of the damage of the Titans and Astartes firepower, but there were areas that would need to be rebuilt. Walking through it Corax had been amazed at the amount of history that was here. The Rememberancers that had accompanied him would find this place a fountain of knowledge, one for the future generations of the Imperium of man to appreciate.
If there is a future Imperium of man
that melancholic voice spoke to him, he dismissed it angrily such thoughts belonged to the likes of Little Horus Aximand and others of a melancholic outlook, not him. He joined them and looked around wondering what had caught their attention with such a mix of sorrow, horror and a little intrigue.
“Well?” He asked them.
It was Branne Nev who pointed; Agapito was too stunned to even make any gesture. Corax followed his son’s gazes and the colour drained from his already pale features. Primarchs were not meant to feel such emotions as sorrow or shock, not in the way that Humans did but he did a good approximation of it now.
Encased in a stasis chamber was a suit of power armour. It was a dull red but had once been a brilliant sheen, silver edging and black trim. On the left pauldron Corax could make out a faded animal, a three headed dog by the looks of it but that was not all, on the battered Helm he saw the numerals II and he almost fell over in Shock at the sight.
“Corax” Agapito finally found his voice “The human here said this was found three years ago, right here”
“The Sons of Hades” Branne finally whispered then made a sign of warding.
The Second Legion were all believed wiped out, or assimilated into another Legion. Corax did not say anything for a long time and when he did he ordered the armour taken down and brought with them to the Shadow of the Raven…Corax had renamed it, unable to bear it being called the Shadow of the Emperor for much longer.
“I want to see the man or woman that runs this place and I want to see them now!” he ordered and the brothers knew that he was not to be kept waiting.
Curze shifted uncomfortably as he waited to board the War Hound, the vessel that belonged to Angron, he had been summoned by Lorgar and Dorn to attend a council of the chosen. His Stormbird touched down in the giant hanger bay and as he descended with Captain Sheng, his Equerry and his First Captain Sevatar on either side of him, the crews in the hanger abased themselves before the master of the night.
He was met by Kharn; the Equerry of the Red Angel himself and Curze could not help but notice the checked violent emotions that surrounded the vaunted 8th Captain. Kharn bowed his head and led them to where the others had already arrived and were seated.
At the head of the table sat Angron, and something was happening to him, not just the scars across his face given to him by the Emperor for failure to bring Magnus and his inner circle to Terra but he appeared more, animalistic, his breathing was harsh, harsher than the Night Haunter had ever heard it before, he was like a barely restrained killer, held on a leash that could break at any time and allow the full unrestrained violence that was Angron of D’eshara loose on an unsuspecting world.
Beside him sat the Regent of Terra, his gold armour and red cloak fitting him like a glove. Upon his forehead sat a gold Diadem that signified his new position but as ever, Dorn remained the Praetorian, the Emperors Champion and his stone features betrayed nothing of what he thought or indeed felt at what was going on around him.
Opposite him sat Lorgar, resplendent in his armour with a cloak of the finest ermine dyed black around his shoulders, his golden skin with eyes lined with kohl and tattooed with the scriptures from his own written works made Curze sneer inside. Upon his bare head sat the Papal crown but, for the sake of equality he removed it and set it before him. Curze looked around him.
“Where are Manus, Jonson and Fulgrim?” He asked, he did not mention Vulkan knowing that at the moment the Salamander Primarch was unable to travel too far, and aware that his father wanted to ensure that Vulkans recovery progressed at a suitable rate.
“Ferrus is dealing with things on Mars” Dorn quietly said “Fulgrim is currently waging war against the Ultramar worlds and Jonson….well I am not sure what the Lion is doing,”
“Consolidating his system I expect” Angron snarled, his voice always held a hint of threat but now it was almost a permanent snarl “Or waiting to see how else he can piss off Perturabo”
“Someone needs to remind him that playing games with the Lord of Iron are not how to unman Perturabo” Lorgar sighed.
“He is acting like a petulant child” Angron snorted “Ferrus is starting to ensure our sons have their armour and weapons, denying Horus and his warriors theirs. The Pansy and his cross-dressing sons are at least doing something worthwhile, and the Lion is smarting over his personal honour because Perturabo kicked him off his LZ” Angron shook his head “The more things change, the more they stay the same”
He raised his head and arched an eyebrow at the shocked expressions on his three brothers faces, he allowed himself a smug smile, always thought he was the animal, the one that was worse than Russ and his Rout, they forget he had an educated mind too, although it was getting harder and harder to resist the voice that was baying for blood every day. It took all his will to suppress it and keep it in check and the pain eternal from the butchers nails did not make it any easier.
“And we are convened here because?” Curze asked, anxious to get on with what his father wanted of him, and aware that he was to keep it to himself.
“We need to act against the renegades” Lorgar sat forward, “They are making great gains as well as losses and half the surviving Mechanicum from Ferrus’s cull have ended up alongside Horus and our misguided brothers.”
“Then they will not be without their armour and arms for long” Dorn mused.
“No, I have recently heard of strange events going on around Cadia, although I cannot be specific as I do not have the information to depart, Typhon did inform us that Horus and Magnus asked for six sons from the Renegades, one each, of a Psyker nature but other than that I have no idea what he wants with them”
“I expect we will find out when Horus and Magnus are ready to tell us” Angron snarled.
No one disagreed with that, at the end of the day Horus was still the Warmaster, still the one that was deemed to be the perfect Primarch. The first amongst them all and that made him more dangerous than any thought possible.
“Way I hear it, Gulliman wants to make an Imperium Secondus” Angron yawned, a sign he was getting bored “and already the renegades are split, there are those that will follow Gulliman, like Russ and Corax, and those that will follow Horus like Sanguinius, although the Angel would find it hard to reconcile any issue against Gulliman”
“So let them have their civil war they’ll destroy each other” Curze sat back “Either they will see sense and join father in the spreading of his word or they won’t but, should the unimaginable happen and Horus win I cannot see them accepting him as Emperor, so a second Imperium with Gulliman as its warrior lord will be formed.” Curze narrowed his eyes “I am more concerned with the Alpha Legion, we do not know what they are doing and that worries me greatly”
“No need brother” Dorn motioned towards the door and as it opened a figure in white power armour with green trim walked in through the door.
They all stood as the Figure removed his helm to show a bald copper coloured warrior with a horrific scar down the left side of his face, one that even his healing could heal completely.
“I am Alpharius” He spoke “and I have come to pledge my allegiance to the Emperor”