Here's my entry, for this month, something a bit different. I haven't really dabbled much into first-person or present tense, but, I think it reads well enough! It weighs in at 1039 words.
It was upon Xusa, a world of tundras and plateaus, that I lost my taste for war. The local populace, primitive humans, had refused to acknowledge my authority. My Legion, the Second, had fallen upon them. Genocide, a night of bloodshed, where continents burned, cities became necropolises, a people ceased to exist. During the slaughter, I wandered the largest city, alone, pondering the tragedy. Through the streets, strewn with debris and dead, down into the harbour district, where sea-ships lay shattered in their berths, the surf swollen with corpses. Here, the city collapsing behind me, I found her. She was a child, streaked in ash, blood and shit. Her eyes were wide, not with fear, but anger. She shook, hissed, bunched her fists.
I approached her, a giant, a pinnacle of genetic experimentation. This firebrand, standing over the torn body of her father, sneered at me.
'Murderer,' The girl said, pointing a finger, accusingly, at me. She was crying, I realised. 'You killed them all. And, why? Because we would not bend the knee? How can you say, monster, that your truth is better than ours?'
I looked at her. Such a curious, fierce girl. Maddened by the loss of her father, the tumbling and crumbling of her civilisation, I decided.
'My father was a fisherman,' She called. A Stormbird rocketed overhead, kicking up spray as it banked over the bay, and disappeared behind the headland. 'He never hurt nobody. He was a good man, you hear me, you bastard?' She tossed a rock, which struck my chest and fell away. 'You fired first,' The girl continued, stumbling towards me. 'You did this, destroyer of cities, killer of men, you-'
There was a crack. The girl, her head obliterated by a bolt round, fell over. A figure, in the gold and grey of my Legion, approached, a smoking bolt-pistol in one bloody gauntlet. 'Sire,' He said, bowing, and I recognised Karez, my Third Captain. 'The Xusans are broken. Those that live are running, eastwards, Teleph and Ptelarch are pursuing, with the First and Fifth.'
I reacted without thinking. I roared, enraged, swung my guisarme. It crunched through the Captain's helmet, continued onwards, lodging deep in reinforced ribcage. Rich, sparkling blood, blood which carried my genetic lineage, spurted.
I looked at him, twitching on my blade, and then at the girl. It was then, in that moment, that I realised what I had become. She was right, that child, I remember thinking. I was a monster.
And so it was, in the hundredth and third year of the Great Crusade, that I, Kollarch, Primarch of the Second Legion, withdrew my forces and headed home. I was done. My Legion was done. Damn the Emperor, damn his Imperium. I had a vision, upon Xusa, of something greater, of something grander. Peace and prosperity, an empire that preached friendship rather than xenophobia.
In doing so, I damned myself. He came, at the head of a thousand ships, demanding answers. I, in my ignorance, resisted. I struck first, once again, and began something terrible. Numberless drop-pods, countless transporters, the might of my Father's fledgling empire, fell upon my world.
My people were slaughtered, not unlike the Xusans. I led the defence, guisarme in hand, hacking and slashing through Space Wolves and World Eaters, crossing blades with the Legio Custodes and the Silent Sisters. Fires rage in my city, once beautiful, now a funeral pyre. We have collapsed streets, onto the heads of armoured columns, destroyed museums and art galleries, denying them the pleasure. Now, the end has come. My Legion has scattered, some with me, into the ornamental gardens, others into the flatlands and mountains beyond. I watch the skies, wishing that I could see the stars, for one last time. I know that my wishes fall upon deaf ears. The Fates have no time for oathbreakers and kinslayers. A ship, one of mine, has fallen in the distance, setting the horizon aglow with nuclear flames.
'Sire, you must flee,' Teleph, my oldest and truest friend, pleads. His Company, battered and bloodied, stands at fifty-seven Marines. At dawn, there had been nearly a thousand. I grit my teeth, feel the blood running from my gashed head.
'I cannot,' I say, solidly. I must not show weakness. 'I will
not. I will not slink away, like a whipped cur, on my
world. My fleets are shattered, my Legion decimated, my home torched. No, Teleph, I will not flee.'
Over the burning trees, I glimpse God-Machines, a dozen or more, marching towards my lonely hillock. Down below, through the trees and the bushes, I see the lake ripple. I look down at Teleph, his armour cracked, his skin scorched, his ammunition spent. Someone has sheared away an hand, speared a lung. He is dying, and he knows as much.
must go, brother of mine,' I say, after a moment. The Golden One is coming, bringing a wolf and a warhound, and above all of that, death and destruction. I unlimber my guisarme, drenched in transhuman blood, and loosen my muscles. 'This is my
reckoning, not yours. Your oath is fulfilled, Teleph of Corine, you have served me, faithfully, for too long. Gather what remains of the Legion, run and hide. Remember this day, remember my sacrifice.'
Teleph weeps. I clasp his remaining hand, squeeze it. 'Goodbye, old friend,' I say, and descend the hill. The Titans draw nearer, their warhorns echoing through the smoke-choked night. I throw down my cloak, a blackened rag, and toss my helmet. I unhook my gauntlets, detach my chest-plate. By the time I wade into the lake, bleeding from a dozen wounds, I wear but my robes, tattered and fluttering.
On the opposite bank, a hundred thousand Legionaries, bolters and chainswords held tight. At their centre, sunlight-given-life, the Emperor of Mankind, my creator.
I raise my guisarme, high above my head, and bellow. I find myself remembering Xusa, remembering the girl. She was right, I have become a monster, an instrument of destruction. I lock eyes with my father, spit into the water, and thrown down my guisarme. The Master of Mankind, a single tear rolling down his cheek, utters something and turns away.
A hundred thousand bolters fire.