Foreword: I am not the author of this story only the distributer. This is a short story from a project that has been running now for 2 years. This is one of our earliest shorts and part of the build up of our alternate heresy.
The Sanguinian Schism "Something troubling you my Lord?" Santar asked, his Lord stood before, facing out into the desert and the shifting dunes before them.
"If it's the cohorts, we can leave them behind? The Clans should be enough to deal with the Xenos" Ferrus growled, then rolled his neck. His silvered gauntlets flexed and curled his fists. "No, the cohorts are not the problem, though perhaps leaving them is a sound suggestion. We can handle anything that awaits us." He turned to face his favoured son. "It was something Fulgrim said when last we spoke."
Santar's interest was piqued, Manus very rarely spoke of anything that didn't involve military actions these days. Then again his moods often were mercurial.
"He claimed that our demented brother Konrad had foreseen the Legion's at war." Santar nodded. "Are we not always at war? Was that not our sole reason for existing my Lord?"
"Careful Santar, that was dangerously close to being a joke. We wouldn't want anyone believing you were more flesh than machine. No, he said it would be civil war, that one of us would turn and others would follow." He could not keep the tone of mockery from his voice.
"Witchery my Lord, his mind is broken by Witchery" Santar replied.
"Indeed." He turned away from his son as something caught his attention. "Tell the men to prepare. There is something ahead. Something that will test us."
Santar saluted by punching his fist to his chest before marching back towards his brothers of the Morlocks.
"Why do these words from a broken mind shake you so my Brother? Surely you see no truth in them?"
He shook the thought from his mind and focused on the strange structure in the valley below.
"Tell the Cohorts to catch up when they can, the true warriors will form a vanguard and we will smash this Xenos hub. Iron on me!" He rushed forward eager to find a foe, eager for the joy of battle to dilute the questions and doubts forming in his mind.
Santar rushed forward with his men but struggled to keep up with his Lord, the Gorgon. The massive warrior swept into the valley even as his men reached the lip, hundreds of the finest warriors the X legion could bring to the fore were put to shame as their Lord sped ahead.
Then as he reached the massive crystalline structure he was gone, enveloped by a mist the likes of which Santar had never seen.
He slowed up as he and his men plunged in behind the Primarch. Immediately he felt isolated, the human part of him, the weak part of him felt isolated. The machine warrior part of him simply scanned the area around him. He was completely enveloped in this mist more bothersome was the fact the his helm could not find his brothers and none of their markers appeared on his display.
Something was very, very wrong.
Manus smashed his fist through the wall of mist in front of him.
"My Brother...." The voice made him spin, even though his preternatural senses could not place where the voice originated.
"Get out of my head!" He roared.
"Manussssss" he spun and punched the air behind him, he stopped his fist inches from a face before him. A face he recognised.
"Fulgrim? Impossible! How can you be here!?"
He reached out and touched the Phoenician expecting him not to be real.
"I know not my Brother, I'm not even sure where here is?" He replied. "One moment I was in transit aboard my flagship the next I was, well here." He smirked. Perfect teeth flashing between a lipless smile.
Something about the Phoenician wasn't right, their was a taint there a wrongness.
"One-five-four four, an inhospitable little dirt ball that I must cleanse of Xenos." He growled through clenched teeth.
"Something is bothering you Ferrus, was it my words when last we spoke? You believe me didn't you? You knew that I believed Konrad."
"Curze is a fool, I do not believe you would be so stupid."
Fulgrim shrugged. "Something is happening. A war is coming, you mist choose the right si-"
Suddenly a massive wall of silver scales smashed between them. Fulgrim was lost from his site as he was thrown to the floor.
He threw himself back to his feet and roared. "Asirnoth!?"
The great wyrm rose before him, like it had in his past. Before he had killed it.
It struck biting at him but his rage was too much his silver fist too quick he tore massive chunks from its side.
Manus stumbled forward, the great wyrm had disappeared and now this door way barred his way, fit into a wall of stone, it had reared up out the fog as he approached.
He cared not for subtlety any more his blood was up and his mind was spinning. He simply smashed it down with his silver fists. It crumbled to reveal a vast cavern.
In the centre was a throne, raised high. Upon it was perched a golden cadaver it's face fixed in anguish.
"My sonnnnn." The whisper seemed to resonate from everywhere and it felt like a last breath tinged with sadness.
Something rose at the base. It was the Wyrm, its features began to twist as it resolved into the facade of a face. A face he had already seen that day. He had had enough of these games though. Running forward he smashed both his fists through its skull crushing it utterly. His rage would not be sated and in his madness he toppled the throne and its contents. He roared and reality dissolved around him.
Figures in lithe armour, surrounded him. They were stumbled by the force of his roar. He smashed the first of them to the floor and stamped it's head into the ground.
He punched a second and crushed a third with his bare hands.
Soon they were fleeing the mist dissolved around him as he pursued him and he realised he was in the midst of a massive battle.
All around him the cohorts fought with the xenos, they were not faring well.
He looked on bewildered as he saw his sons laid low, few of them were fighting.
"My lord!" It was Bion, "we thought we had lost you! The Xenos! The iron fails around them. It's Witchery!"
Manus was at breaking point. Then he felt a prickling sensation at the back of his skull.
He turned as he felt the full force of a Xenos mind press against his, willing him to kneel. Despite his will, he felt himself kneel.
He reached for the weapon at his side, the one Fulgrim had made him. It felt good in his hand it felt real. He hefted it and threw it with all his strength.
It struck the witch hard in the face, crushing it's helm and killing it outright.
He rose to his feet. "This ends now, kill them all."
His sons rose behind him almost as one, to execute his command.
He stared at the chrystalled dome above him, a thousand gems glistened there, light pulsates in waves as each connected with the next. He heard their voices then, they called to him. The joy of the unity in their voice brought a tear to his eye as it always did. Such beauty.
It was then that he felt the sourness, it was a slight discordant noise in the choir song, it was faint almost unnoticeable but it was deep. Like an undercurrent to waves above.
He knew what it was he'd felt it before, fear.
He turned from his council as a group of bedraggled figures entered the hall, there was a commotion as the others already residing in the hall reacted. Behind him he felt the dischord rise.
"It failed then?" He asked as he reached the first of those who had waited with him.
"We chose wrong." The other replied.
"And Bel' Arclas?" He asked.
"Joined with our brethren above." He replied coldly.
He looked at the survivors before them. They were blooded. Badly. So few. Truly this had been a fool's errand.
"So few." He whispered.
"They were the lucky ones, the humans eliminated nearly all of them. Bel' Arclas, he was crushed. We were barely able to recover his essence." The other replied. "We should have listened to Slau Dha."
He shook his head sadly. The other grimaced, "We must try with the other."
He nodded in agreement but knew that they were running out of options. He viewed the council around him. Almost a hundred of us, he thought, and we cannot find the best course to steer.
Perhaps the children of mirth would know the way.
He gripped his staff and stood wearily, the wait of the coming war felt heavy upon his shoulders.
There must be another way. Behind him, the essence of his forebears shrunk back, hiding their crystalline light.
His men were gathered around him. Behind them the cohorts smashed the last of the resistance.
"Frater Thramatica?" An Iron Hand stepped forward, his powerful frame enhanced by bionics to the point that there was little flesh left.
"Yes Iron Father?"
"Santar tells me you are as close to the mastery of machine working as myself?"
"Perhaps my Lord." There was no pride in his voice, the Frater had long ago given up such human notions. Ferrus grinned. "Good. I have a task for you, you will make me a helm, one that will prevent the touch of Witchery caressing my mind ever again."
"As you wish my Lord. So shall it be done."
'My Lord, they are here.'
Manus did not turn round, he continued to observe the Mechanicum force that sprawled in the valley below him.
Beos knew the Iron Father's hearing was perfect and was likely choosing to ignore him however the matter was much more pressing than he had the experience to deal with.
'My Lord?' Beos stepped forward, a single raised hand stopped him in his tracks.
'I know they are Beos, I heard their howls begin several minutes ago. They are such noisy creatures are they not my son?' Ferrus turned finally and faced him.
Beos did not like the mein he saw there. Manus' mighty fists were clenched and his jaw was hardened.
Manus only ever looked like that when he was angry, or worse, going to war.
'Come, let us see about these Wolves at our door.'
Russ stepped down from his gunship's landing ramp. The cold, brittle frost beneath his feet cracked and collapsed beneath his tread, revealing the hard ground beneath.
He smiled, a little like my homeworld, this pleased him immensely. It was a good omen.
His sons were already fanning out along the hillside, their howls and cat calls rung out along the valley, deliberate in their menace. The Iron Hands were all around them, Russ could smell their industry, he could taste their displeasure.
He heard twin heart beats behind him, he stopped and raised his fist to stop the wolf from following in his path.
'I do this alone.' He whispered, there was a growled response and the wolf simply melted away to stalk in the dead scrub that covered the hinterland.
Russ raised his head, his cold eyes seeking and finding his target. There on the hillside ahead of him, two figures, one he could sense the tenseness from from here, a hundred metres away. The other, the other was like the seething hot fury of magma, now turned to cool, hard rock. 'Hello brother, it has been a long time.'
His face loosened and his grimace became a cool smile. He strode forward.
'What are you doing here Leman?' Asked Manus, as the other figure, the Astartes known as Beos backed away unsure of his place among these two mighty warlords.
Russ eyed him coldly, making sure the departing marine was out of earshot before he spoke.
'Is that anyway to greet a brother who has not spoken to you in many, many months?' Russ answered as he finally turned to face the other Primarch.
Ferrus simply grunted, he was in little mood for Russ' games.
'I will not be policed.' He answered finally. His considerable bulk straightening as the other Primarch came towards him, like a wolf sizing up a bear.
'Always to point,' Russ sighed. 'Good, because I have no desire to 'Police' you. I am here because our Father asked me to bring you a message.'
'And that message is?'
'Rendezvous with Sanguinius.' Russ replied as he slowly circled his brother.
'I already received that message.' Manus said turning back to his watch.
'Please cease your prowling, it is affecting my concentration.'
'Then, why do you tarry? If you know where you are supposed to be?' Leman steeped forward to stand to the right of his brother, leaning over to look into the valley, before spitting out over the cliff's edge. 'Long drop' he announced then turned to his brother. 'What is it about these metallic men that so fascinates you?'
'They began this dig days ago. They would not tell us why. I believe the Mechanicum have uncovered something that interests them.' He stated simply.
'And that in turn interests you?'
'Do not mock me Russ.'
'I would never dare to wound you so. I am in favour of more direct action.' Russ said, unconsciously running his hand along the hilt of his sword. 'You are a Primarch, they dare not deny you. Simply Demand that they allow you access.' He stared out at the dig site.
Manus nodded as though he'd reached a decision, 'We are alike you and I, both strong headed and impetuous.' Russ grinned at that, 'but in this we differ, I am prepared to wait.'
The change in Russ' stance said it all, he was suddenly like a coiled spring, the grin dropping from his face. 'And the Emperor's request?'
Manus turned away once more placing his hands behind his back, indifferent to the threat of violence that now hung in the air.
'My men are preparing to disembark from this system, they will rendezvous with Sanguinius in due course.'
'In time I will join them.' He said nothing for several seconds, then, 'You have dispatched your message and I have given you my answer, now you will leave.' He said cooly.
Russ clenched his teeth, anger suddenly coursing through his body like an errant current, threatening to overwhelm him. He gripped his sword pommel so tightly, the polished metal strained under the contact. His breath struggled to push past his clenched teeth.
'How dare he dismiss me like some messenger boy.' Something snapped inside him and he growled and reached forward grabbing Manus by the arm, aiming to swing him round to strike him. Ferrus roared and spun throwing his hand off.
'You go too far Brother!' He snarled.
They faced each other and for a split second it seemed that they would come to blows Russ was shocked to realise this is what he desired, however as soon as the anger had come it was gone, the controlled warrior returning once more. Russ' grimace slackened to a cruel grin. Though he was physically shaken by his lack of control, he maintained a level posture.
He began to back away, raising his hands before him. Manus' face was a picture of fury.
'You are right,' he said, 'I overstepped the mark. I warn you though, be wary of pushing our Father too far.' He spoke cooly but the well of anger in him was threatening to spill over once more, he had to get away from his brother before this escalated. He did not like this feeling of losing control. Something was not right.
Manus' blood was up though, 'Lest he slips your leash, hound? You strain too much at it, perhaps it will be you who will be sanctioned.' He smirked and Russ nearly lost it once more, he felt the arrival of his Wolves at his back. He turned away to face them. The look in his eyes said it all.
They melted away once more as he strode between them, sensing their master's displeasure.
Behind him, Russ could feel him his Brother's eyes upon him. Calculating and cold, studying him as he had done the Mechanicum not moments before.
THE GORGON AND THE WOLF
It is an age of blood and glory.
Though the Emperor has retired to Terra, the Great Crusade continues apace. Led by the Primarchs, the Space Marine Legions are mankind's champions- conquering the galaxy in the name of Imperial Truth.
Greatest amongst these immortal demi-gods is Sanguinius, named Warmaster not by the Emperor's will but by Horus Lupercal's refusal of the role.
As war engulfs the galaxy and mankind faces down alien hordes and rebellious human civilisations, Sanguinius must contend with the unruly squabbles of his brothers.
Yet even these internecine rifts will pale in comparison to the shattered future that awaits them all.
Worlds shall burn and the galaxy shall bleed.