translated into the Ultramar system but stayed out of the reach of sensors. In his stratagem, alongside his beloved First Captain and other members of his inner circle, his favoured Sergeant Mikhail Trueze with them as tactical advisor, he looked at the destruction that had been wrought across the cluster of worlds known as the outer sphere.
“Reports we have intercepted have marked a change in the Emperors Children” Sheng cleared his throat “They are also calling for the head of the First Captain himself”
Sevatar glanced up “You think the Lion has defected?”
“From what we intercepted, he has done that with five other companies, although I doubt they are full companies” Sheng replied.
“Mikhail” Curze turned to his Sargent, a man he had almost raised as his son when he was still hunting the crime lords and politicians back on Nostramo “Take your squad down to Carenn and investigate for me, if there are any survivors ask for details. If there are any Emperors Children, bring them here for.....questioning.”
“By your command father” Trueze bowed his head.
“Permission to accompany Squad Trueze” Captain Uvensa, newly promoted to 3rd Company's Captaincy at the recommendation of the Prince of Crows himself.
“I worked with the Emperors Children several decades ago My Liege, I know how they work and I might be of some aid to the Veteran Sergeant.”
Curze thought for a moment, Uvensa was a Nostraman, pale skinned, dark haired and albino eyed. He had a good battle record, but he was also a thinker, and Sevatarion liked the way the Captain thought things through, almost as if he could envision what was happening and work it out like he was a Nostraman Justicar working a crime scene. He looked for the evidence to coincide with his conclusions and he never stopped until he found what he was looking for, then and only then did he act.
So when Jago had come to him with his recommendation to replace Acerbus, Curze had agreed completely. For what he had planned, he needed those of his sons who could think like warriors as well as act like warriors and not just random violence. The Night Lords were all about fear but sometimes, one needed to use fear only in emergencies, sometimes they had to survey their hunting ground before they brought the justice of the Night Haunter to worlds that had none.
The Primarch dismissed the Kryoptera and the First Captain trotted up to where Mikhail was about to head to his squad.
“Mikhail, a moment”
“My Lord?” The Veteran Sergeant turned and bowed his head at the First Captains approach.
“Mikhail, you and I both hold an intimate knowledge of the Primarch.” Sevatar moved Mikhail into another room and shut the door “Speak plain my friend, how do you see him?”
Mikhail was silent for what seemed like ages, gathering his thoughts. His Squad had been part of 5th Company, but some time ago Curze had ordered that Squad Trueze be his and Sevatars own squad, command changed and Squad Trueze answered only to the Prince of Crows and the Dark King. In effect making them the most powerful six man squad in the Legion.
Over time a deep friendship had developed between the First Captain and the sombre dark haired Sergeant. So when Trueze spoke, Jago listened as he knew it was truth and not just what he wanted to hear.
“He is angry, more angry than I remember ever seeing him. He thought the Emperor curse his name had finally accepted him for what he was. Giving him position of authority as creator of the Arbites. But now...now he wants more than revenge; my fear Jago, is that the Night Haunter is the one in command now.”
Sevatar nodded and rubbed his jaw “I was thinking the same.” he rested a hand on the Sergeants shoulder “Look after the 3rd Captain and take care of yourselves down there, we have suffered enough grief the last few weeks, if the Primarch was to loose one he sees as his own son, then I dare not want to think what madness would be unleashed.”
“Same goes to you Jago, we are both close to the Primarch, for he knows we will never lead him false, but there are those, like Sahaal, who covert the First Captaincy.”
Sevatar let a dry smile cross his face “I know, as does the Primarch. Ave Dominous Nox”
“The Emperors Children will know, that we have come for them” Trueze bowed his head and left the First Captain to his thoughts.
Carenn was no longer the beautiful world it had been. As the Night Lords made their way through the war damaged streets, they saw bodies left in the streets where they fell, Ultramarine dead lay with Emperors Children dead as well as civilians. Battle Brother Senyena knelt beside a dead Emperors Child, his helm told him that this was Battle Brother Escanas, 19th Company.
It didn't bother him that the Astartes was dead, what bothered him was what had been done to him. Calling over the Squads Apothecary Resik he waited until the Astarte had finished analysing the body, then called the Captain and Sergeant over. He pointed at the bodies, drawing attention to the Emperors Child.
“What in the name of night happened to him?” Uvensa wondered, his voice sounding harsher than it was through his helm grill.
“I would have to conduct a full autopsy Brother Captain” Resik got to his feet “But from what I have seen, he has had alterations done to his gene seed that have resulted in the spinal growths from his mouth and the lizard like neck sheath.”
“Who would do such a thing?” Uvensa scowled, sickened by the abomination before him.
Of course he had heard rumours that some of the other Emperors Legions had gravitated towards various aspects of the warp beings. But this....this was something else entirely, this was breaking even the betrayer Emperors laws.
“I had heard that Fabius Bile was trying to unlock the secrets to the gene coding of the Primarch” Resik shook his head and stepped away from the body “I met him a few times, he was obsessed with unlocking the Emperors secrets and the secrets of a Primarchs creation”
“Do you think he has found it?” Trueze asked staring in disgust at the dead Escanas.
He did have spines coming from his mouth, and his neck was indeed like a lizards sheath, there were scales alongside his neck and throat. As the Sergeants gaze moved over the dead, stinking corpse, he saw that the hands were changing too, or had been changing into lizard hands. It looked like he had ripped out the throat of the Ultramarine who was identified as Battle Brother Instansius of the 21st Company. That might not have killed him but the tearing at the chest and what remained of his hearts certainly did.
“I will not know unless I have your permission to take the body back to the Nightfall and run tests.”
Uvensa glanced at the Sergeant, “I think that would be a good idea Trueze, the Primarch will want to know what has been going on.”
“Yes Captain, he will. Very well Jastan, arrange for the body to be taken back to the Nightfall, but give us your opinion, even if it is a guess.”
“Then yes, I think Bile has found a way to subvert the Astarte gene-seed.”
“Are you sure that it was him? Could it not have been meddling with the creatures of the warp?” The Captain asked.
“I am certain Brother Captain, every Apothecary in the Legions Astartes all know what drives Fabius Bile and how he subverts medical science to get what he want. Yes we are warriors and fight alongside our brothers on the field, but we are also medics and such things as trying to unlock the gene-coded secrets of the Primarchs, or changing how the Astartes gene-seed works is against all we have avowed.”
Uvensa nodded and motioned with his head “Move on”
The Squad moved past the bodies, Resik arranging a pick up of the Emperors Childs body. He ignored the dead Ultramarine, let the sons of Gulliman collect their own dead. They headed towards the main centre of the city and it was here that the destruction was truly noticeable. A dog barked in the distance, followed by a whining bark, looking for a master or mistress that would never answer, it would either starve or go feral.
It surprised Trueze, Gulliman never liked hive worlds. They were ugly he had said, a breeding centre for all manners of criminals and under-hive vermin, like he would know, he should have spent his childhood on Nostramo, he would have known then what under-hive vermin and criminals were like.
Thinking of his dead home world made his heart ache, like all his brothers, the death of Nostramo had cut a piece away from themselves. Something that could never be retrieved. He, like his father and his brothers no longer cared what the Emperor wanted, this was revenge and it would be done the way that the Night Lords always did. With great pain and trauma to those concerned.
He cared little for the dead Ultramarines, they had always been held up as a Legion to be lauded, so perfect in their construction and doctrine. Everything was strict on how they did things and they had been one of the Emperors favourite Legions. As much as he disliked the sons of Gulliman, he detested the Emperors Children more.
More so when Fulgrim tricked their father into revealing his then secret, about his debilitating precognition, Curze had trusted Fulgrim at that point, but when the Phoenician then went and told the other Primarchs it all changed. Trueze had seen the hurt his father felt, even if he did not show it. Those belladonnas thought they were something special as they and they were alone were allowed to bear the Imperial Eagle on their chests.
Trueze stopped as something dropped onto his boots. Then again, looking closer he realised it was blood and looking up even he stepped back. Hanging above him, three spikes of a ruined buildings flooring erupting through his chest, neck and groin was the dead body of Erikon Gaius 21st Company Captain of the Second Chapter of the XIII Legion Astartes.
For the moment words failed him, the expression on the dead Captains face would remain with him for the rest of his life.
++Take him down++
He ordered and for the first time, he began to wonder just what the Emperors Children were becoming