Note: This is my first work in the 40k universe. I will do my best to keep things correct fluffwise. As such, any constructive criticism will be appreciated in regards to fluff. I won't take offense to any mistakes being pointed out that I make. The intro at first is vague by design, made to seem like a well told legend in the Imperium, but all details will be revealed as the story moves on. This will end up being a very long story, but it should be updated regularly.
I do not apologize if the beginning seems a bit bland. Understand this is necessary for establishing events down the road. There will be plenty of carnage. That I will promise you. I'm trying to leave it in 'bite size' segments that are easy for the casual reader to digest, yet still contain some gravity. More importantly, this is a way for me to experiment with my writing to assist me in my professional endeavors. It explains the fluff of my chapter while simultaneous delivering a stand alone story that you will hopefully enjoy.
M001: Introduction: Legend of The Lost Knights Adamant.
Long ago, a ferocious battle had been fought on a since forgotten world. A mighty chapter of the God Emperors Adeptus Astartes had just begun breathing the air of victory over a campaign against encroaching Eldar. Where the righteous fire of bolters echoed through now barren canyons, where silent marches of wraithguard once tracked through now serene forests and the anguish of the wounded cried to the unresponsive heavens.
It was a time of modest celebration for this chapter of marines. It was a time to honor the fallen. Hundreds of names were to be added to their fortress monasteries deepened crypts. Added amongst the thousands more that had previously made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of the chapter throughout its history.
But with this triumph over the foul xeno invader, a more subtle threat had arisen. One more sickening in its endeavor then a rival species simply attempting to destroy humanity. For even the Eldar, as any potent enemy should, had achieved respect within this chapter of honor. It was the threat of betrayal.
For this chapter had an ally. Committed to this campaign stood a second chapter of marines. One more younger and dangerously ambitious. It had been revealed late in the war that the Eldar had not simply intended to expand their territory, but that an ancient fortress had been hidden deep below the very world they fought upon. One of unimaginable power. A wealth of vaulted technology the Adeptus Mechanacus could digest for untold years for ways to better mankind.
Yet this young chapter had other goals in mind. Goals beyond the rightful deliverance of the bastion to the Imperium. This chapter had goals of selfish power. They intended to use it not only as a weapon against the enemies of mankind, but as a tool to assert dominance over their fellow man. War was inevitable.
The two chapters clashed where they stood. Massive warships orbiting above spat fire across the stars. Thunderhawks swarmed the smoke ridden skies. Marines engaged in terrible combat against their brothers on the ravaged surface below amongst the freshly lain dead of the Eldar. In just a single night, the battle that which had raged with legendary ferocity had culminated to the greatest single loss of Astartes life in the entire campaign. Both chapters were shattered, leaving only a handful of survivors under each banner by the time the two masters finally engaged each other. A duel to end the conflict once and for all.
This was the final fight of the Knights Adamant, virtuous chapter of Humanity, lead by Master Valfar of Olmgarde, against the traitorous Obsidian Rangers lead by a Master Mikael Rieger. The exact outcome of the battle is unknown, but when the Imperium lost contact with the two an Inquisitor was immediately sent since they had been notified of the alien technology hidden away. There, they found only a world marked by craters and glass. Other than the skeletal remains of starships and the occasional tank husk, the only sign of any human presence on the newly christened dead world was a single Knights Adamant chapter banner discovered erect within the largest of bombardment craters.
To this day it remains. Torn and ridden with bolter holes while the winds gently lap against its rugged fabric. Many chapters who had fought alongside the Knights Adamant in centuries past have come to to see the site as a holy relic in itself. A testament to the virtues of loyalty in the name of mankind that many journey to in order to pay respects to their fallen brethren. A small outpost orbits the planet to fend off those who would seek to disturb it, consisting of a modest marine honor guard on rotation from allies of old.
Many wonder what had happened to both chapters, but what was understood by transmission intercepts was that the Obsidian Rangers had indeed betrayed them. Some are so bold as to assert that the Knights of Adamant had fled Imperial space with their plundered technology, but these claims are readily dismissed. It is generally accepted that they ordered the world bombarded to prevent the technology from falling in to the wrong hands at all costs, even if it meant their destruction. Many still search for their hidden fortress monastery with little result, yet even with such vigor on the topic the passages of time have all but assured that these warriors will fade in to legend.
M002: Desolles of Atripus.
"...and so, Sire, we've completed the revisions to the lower hive quarter as per your specifications with 113% efficiency." The scribe shuffled closer to his master with a scroll case presented in his grip. Its polished ivory surface and golden trim gleamed under the evening sun bathing the terrace. "Here is a detailed report that requires your attention."
For a moment, the scribe remained still for the governor to relinquish the document from his hands. Yet the older man hardly seemed to even acknowledge his presence. Standing a bit taller, his master leaned on his ornamental staff of office while surveying the vast city surrounding the planetary palace. The light breezes brushed along his simple gray long coat which flowed dimly in stark contrast from the heavily jeweled staff in his grip.
"Sire?" He reminded his liege.
The governors chest slowly expanded before contracting inward to release a somewhat blissful exhalation before he finally turned to accept the item. "Very good, Aldo. I shall see to it as soon as I finish my evening walk. It is good to see such improvement on our world of Atripus, is it not?"
"Yes, Governor Desolles." A smile cracked over the scribes face while Desolles slid the scroll in to a satchel. "With the annexing of Idermire for use by the Adeptus Mechanicus last month it seems our system will soon be ranked as one of the finest in the Imperium."
"Indeed." The governor gestured a hand along the thin expanse of the terrace which circled the midsection of the governmental palace. "Come, let us walk. I think you could use the fresh air for a change instead of being cooped up in the administrative levels in the foundation. Enjoy the sunlight."
"Very gracious of you, Sire." Aldo leaped closer as Desolles started walking forward.
Unlike many worlds the scribe had heard of within the Imperium, Atripus was quite beautiful. Though on the verge of entering hive world status, the governors had done their best to make the world as appealing as possible to its citizens. Even if the effect was in truth only skin deep. Aldo had never ventured outside of the palace in his entire life aside from rare occasions to accompany the governor to ceremonies or whatnot. Sure, his life was easy enough. But every now and then he couldn't help but wonder what the outside world was really all about beyond the knot of budget forecasts, construction orders and district reports that made up his daily life.
Hundreds of spires rose upward from the planets surface well below the fortified palace. Many housed shrines, living quarters or factories that made life on Atripus possible. Dark rivers zig-zagged between them and twinkled under the sunny sky where shadows or bridges didn't block out the light as microscopic commuters flowed through the city streets like blood cells in a massive creature.
Yet no structure rose as high as the palace. It reigned as a cylindrical pyramid of a fortress over the region. From this level it was possible to see for a hundred kilometers in to the distance where the treacherous Harperius mountain ranges began to the North and the vast Eleventh Sea of the Emperor began to the East. Even the angelical statues gracing the facade held upon high by tremendous stone pillars built upon the palace walls amongst the thick stone pillars rose in awe of the symbol of the Emperors wisdom. Beyond this lavish artwork was a cleverly hidden fortress of unparalleled might in the entire Atripus system.
The terrace of elegent marbles and patches of green shrubs eventually wrapped around to a series of anti-aircraft batteries manned by members of the Atripus Imperial Guard. Each gilded cluster of cannons and missile ports stood ready to strike down a threat within a moments notice. Their crews surrounded by soldiers just as prepared to defend them from would be infiltrators.
"Sire!" One of the guardsmen instantly stood to attention to present a textbook salute to the governor.
"At ease, Lieutenant Calvin." Governor Desolles rested his cane over his shoulder in a lax gesture. Many of his political rivals on the world often attacked him for being too laid back and unprofessional in his attitude. Perhaps they were right to claim such things, but Desolles was nevertheless popular with his people. He got the job done and that was that. "How have you been? I understand your wife is expecting."
Lieutenant Calvin, as Aldo understood, was in charge of the North-Western defense batteries of this level. He was forbidden to speak with anyone but those the governor himself had authorized by law, so for the duration of this discussion he simple lowered his head under robe out of obligated anonymity.
The Lieutenants armor was rather elaborate. Much like the scroll case before his armor had been draped in a spotless ivory with gold trimming edging his armor plating and officers cap to differentiate him from the regular forces of the guard. Only the best of the best earn a position at the governors palace. Many members had never seen combat in their lives aside from a few transferred veterans. Though their service record in the name of the Emperor was flawless.
Lieutenant Calvin flashed his teeth to the governor for taking such an interest in his comparatively mundane life. They glinted as keenly as his armor did in the waning sunlight. "Yes, my lord. We're rather excited. Though I must admit that we've been having a few battles over which name to give him."
Letting his free hand stroke the whitening beard under his chin, the governor chuckled. His eyes gradually settled over the large quad cannon situated behind the Lieutenant and the guardsmen flanking an ammunition chute. "That's why I never married. Running Altripus is time consuming as it is. I'd imagine by the time I had a chance to name a child he'd be as old as I stand now with children of his own."
The conversation continued for several more minutes. All the while, Aldo kept silent beneath his white robes with his senses devoted elsewhere. It would have been an irritating situation for some to find themselves in, but the scribe truly did appreciate the time spent outside. He hadn't felt the warmth of sunlight in many weeks or heard the singing of birds which perched themselves upon the elaborate sculptures lining the palace walls. For once he could forget about the hundreds of documents he had to manage every day deep within the earth.
But new sounds approached. A mob of footprints drew louder and louder with each step. In the blink of an eye, Aldo procured a laspistol from beneath his robe to present to those who dared sprint towards the governor. As the scribe sighted in on his guests, he came to the realization that it was merely a retinue of palace guards wishing to report to the governor. Aldo still wouldn't lower the weapon until they explained themselves. It was his duty. For his service extended above simple clerical work.
"Whoa!" The officer leading the squad of guardsmen raised his hands in a defensive posture to show he had meant no harm. It quickly shifted to a salute while he attempted to catch his breath. "My lord! Urgent news!"
"Yes, Captain?" A nod from the governor signaled Aldo to put the pistol away. "What's this about?" His cane still hung nonchalantly over his shoulder but it didn't belay the serious expression evident on Desolles' rugged face. His beady brown eyes squinted intently at the officer.
"We've lost contact with Zemir."
"Zemir?" The governor repeated to be sure he had heard right. Zemir was a dwarf planet at the edge of the system that functioned as an early warning outpost for hostile threats and as a way-station for naval fleets in the sector. Between it and Atripus stood Idermire. For it to have lost all communications with the planet was dangerous. "What details have you? Tell me everything."
"Um...yes, Lord." The Captain squeezed the back of his neck to channel his anxiety. "Well, Sire, we don't know. Sometimes solar flares disrupt our network for an hour or two. But Zemir hasn't fed any reports for twelve hours. We're conducting an investigation as we speak." Fear radiated from the Captain whose brow slouched down apologetically. Perhaps worried of any retaliatory measures the governor might inflict upon him.
Aldo shook his head ever so slightly. It was not his place to express his opinion on military matters, but the scribe thought an officer like him would have approached the situation with a more controlled attitude.
With a twirl of his cane, the governor firmly planted the tip of the metal shaft against the marbled terrace floor. "Twelve hours? Why was this not relayed to me sooner?" Thunder filled the elderly mans voice at the revelation. "What if a band of vile Orks is about to raid our fair world? What if a warband wants to deny the Adeptus Mechanicus the wealth of Idermire?"
Each of the four soldiers beside the Captain took tiny paces away as to differentiate themselves from his presence while the governor boomed. He hung his head low out of shame. "We have our protocols, Sire. It wasn't-"
"No." Governor Desolles interrupted to dismiss the arguement and peered down to the large ruby globe topping the handle of his cane. "Return to your post immediately and get to work, Captain. We shan't afford any more wasted time with protocol or pointless bickering. Alert all commands and get moving!"
"Yes, my Lord!" The Captain and his men backed away before sprinting off to whatever pit of the government palace they had come from. Already sirens began wailing in the distant city to warn the people of possible danger. Lieutenant Calvin had since vanished to see to the palaces defenses.
"Sire?" Aldo lifted his head out from beneath his hood so that the governor may speak directly to him. Two amber eyes blinked with unyielding loyalty in preparation to whatever orders he would be charged to relay.
"Summon the Lord Marshal and the inner council to the assembly hall at once. We must do everything within our power to bring an end to this. Whatever the case may be."
The scribe lowered his head and turned to pace back in to the palace. "Yes, Governor Desolles."
It had felt like something had ripped in to the governors abdomen to squeeze his guts. It was the fear that war might just be looming on the horizon to terrorize Atripus. He could only hope that this was all simply a glitch in the system and that contact with Zemir would be reestablished any moment. Yet he knew it would be foolish to think it was anything less than the prelude to an invasion.