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Purity, it is something we want. Something we crave for. Something we would die for, but it always escapes our cold and merciless hands.
Why didn't we see it?
Why were we so blind?
We thought that we could do it. We thought we could end everything.
Vanquish the darkness by killing its root but it was not so, for the root wasn't in the twisting nether of the Immaterium, it was inside every sentient being.
It was always there, from the beginning of time.
Cradled by their insignificant minds. The very source that gave birth to the decadence that is the daemon and the Dark Gods themselves!
We must eradicate it.
We must annihilate it.
And, if it takes a million universes to accomplish our tasks, we will do so.
For there is nothing more pleasing in our apathetic eyes than the serene and pure tendrils of the Empyrean or the gaze and favor by He who knows all!
It is the year 60,000 A.D., the universe is being torn asunder and its galaxies are being shackled by two relentless titanic empires: the Tau Empire and the Imperium of Man.
On the Western quadrant of the universal plane, the crusades of Humanity steamrolled unopposed as the might of its military war machines give no quarter, to any who would deny the Emperor's guiding light. To the east, the hunter cadres of the Tau offer the irrefutable Greater Good, and annihilate those that would refuse it.
Two races, two universal powers and two kingdoms that are utterly opposed with each others' way of life. But an alliance once existed between them long ago and that alliance crushed their enemies without warning.
It was substantially unusual and horrifying for the other galactic powers, when they saw Astartes, super-human soldiers, leading a squad of Fire Warriors across the battlefield or even seeing devoted Inquisitors side by side with Ethereals, shouting litanies of inspiration to their respective hosts, but the alliance was true and devastating to all who opposed them.
When the war was over, the empires parted ways, seeing that neither can gain anything from another war that would decide the sole dominion of the galaxy. The Tau promptly declared their desire to leave the Milky Way when the last of the enemy bastions were leveled. The Imperium gladly accepted and respected their decision, and allowed the Tau Empire to leave the galaxy in search of their own.
And so in the 500th year of the 55th millennium, the Imperium of Man was the sole galactic power in the Milky way and Humanity has achieved its manifest destiny and made their immortal ruler proud.
But it wasn't enough. Before long, massive crusades were launched and now the Imperium of Man wants to conquer the universe itself..
In the midst of this impossible endeavor, the High Lords, the most powerful men in the Imperium, proposed and accepted to abolish the old Codex Astartes. It was a rulebook that was published by Roboute Guilliman, the Ultramarines’ Primarch. In it were rules and regulations that made sure that no man or organization for that matter, could control an army that could topple the Imperium; the very act his brother, Horus, succeeded in doing whilst under the influence of Chaos.
Their reason for the abolishment was the fact that Chaos, has been “tamed”after the War of the Damned, and rebellions caused by heretical cults and daemonic incursions have decreased to almost nil in the last two centuries. All the Imperium's war machines must swell in number in order to achieve their goals and the Adeptus Astartes were not exempted.
The move angered the entire order of the Emperor's chosen.
A semi-autonomous entity in their own right, the Adeptus Astartes or the Angels of Death have stood guard against the heretic, the mutant, and the xeno since time immemorial, and the action of invalidating one of the most significant tomes that has aided them in their endeavors, was tantamount to betrayal.
The doors of the Senatorum Imperialis or the chamber of the High Lords, never stood a chance when the Chapter Masters destroyed them in their anger. Entering the chamber, they demanded the reinstatement of the Codex Astartes to which the High Lords flatly refused. A two day argument ensued thereafter and only ended when Marneus Calgar, then Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, stormed out of the Senatorum with a rage that could quell a rebellion. The rest of the Chapter Masters followed suit and left Terra, disheartened and dishonored.
The day after, the High Lords realized they had made a mistake. Atop of their headquarters, they stared with horrified eyes as the remains of the Orbital Defenses surrounding Terra plummeted towards the surface, heralding the rain of metal that carried legions of immortals.
Imperial Guard regiments that number to trillions swarmed immediately around the outskirts of the Imperial Palace, while armoured columns and venerable Titans brought their intimidating presence and destructive weapons to bare, daring the Astartes to challenge their might as the first of the drop pods hurtled from the sky.
But for all their power, number and preparedness, they were fooled. The Chapter Masters were grand strategists of thousands of frontiers and fooling a defense force of innumerable strength, was not a daunting task. With limited but lethal warriors at their disposal, they cut off the head of the Imperium's forces in one daring move.
Beaming one thousand seven hundred terminators within the Senatorum's walls, they killed all who denied them the High Lords and kidnapped them at gunpoint. The PDF only realized their folly when they found the drop pods empty and when the Senatorum ignited before their eyes.
The most powerful men in the Imperium were now at the mercy of the Chapter Masters aboard the Octavius, save for the Captain General of the Adeptus Custodes, as the former left immediately when he saw the hulks of the destroyed orbital platforms. Talks of punishment soon began and the fate of the High Lords seemed inevitable. But as the final verdict was yet to be decided, the other war machines of the Imperium made their presence known. Appearing in the same fashion as the fleet of the Astartes, the Imperial Navy, the Inquisition and the Adepta Sororitas converged on the fleet of the Space Marines with their batteries armed and ready, demanding the release of the High Lords and their immediate surrender.
The armies of the Imperium knew the outcome of this stand-off and both knew that the Imperium could not survive another civil war. But just when either fleets could decide on what to do, two companies of the ancient custodian guards of the Emperor, beamed themselves on each of the two factions' flagships, forcing a cease fire.
It is, as usual, unknown as to what prompted the Custodes to take action but after their sudden appearance, the Astartes surrendered, the High Lords were released and the Imperium was spared from the impending war.
After the events, the Adeptus Astartes were pardoned and were allowed to leave Terra unharmed, under an authority that surpassed the ones bestowed upon every High Lord and the Inquisition. The Chapter Master's were then ordered by the same authority to make another codex, one that can handle and organize an army the size of the Imperial Guard. The Chapter Masters, Marneus Calgar in particular, obeyed without the slightest hint of mutinous intent and with that, the Codex Exercitus came to be.
The Codex Exercitus centered on teachings and organizations befitting colossal armies; it even contained the one guideline that the chapters must strive to achieve in the next ten centuries: “All Space Marine Chapters must have no less than one billion battle brothers.”
And so for a time, the Chapter Masters trained the initiates that numbered to a tenth of a hive spire's population. Prominent heroes and individuals within each chapter were also doing their part, one particular was an ancient known throughout the galaxy as Bjorn the Fell Handed. The other war machines of the Imperium temporarily replaced the roles of the Astartes, so that they can focus all their energy and time in accomplishing this difficult task set upon them by the Emperor.
It was during the year 576 of the 56th millennium that finally, the eighteen chapters emerged with the size that could rival several regiments of the Imperial Guard. With their goals reached, the Chapter Masters visited Terra and informed the High Lords of their success. The Chapters were then christened and were never called chapters again because of their colossal sizes. Thus they were now called as they were before the great civil war- legions and as a whole, the Adeptus Exercitus.
M59 Year 990
A monumental door of silver and twenty kilotons of iron ore, stood in the semi darkness, flanked by mountain walls of the Maccragean peaks. It was intimidating and awe inspiring to any who would lay their eyes upon it, its smooth and impeccable quality was a testament to that. Gold, diamonds, amber, rubies, gems and many other priceless materials anyone would kill for, were welded on its surface and arranged meticulously to form an image of the Primarchs in their peaks of majesty: standing proud and victorious over their lost brothers' corpses.
The epitome of fidelity. This is what the image showed. That even in the midst and in the face of Chaos, the loyal Primarchs persevered to show their love for their Father and his Imperium. An image of pure inspiration that is sought widely by converts, initiates and pilgrims alike, next of course to the Imperial Palace and the shrines of the Primarchs themselves.
Legion serfs would prowl its surface everyday, administering gallons of polishing solutions to make it glimmer like a star and blinding some of the pilgrims who ambled to close. But, as it is revered by many devout followers of the Emperor, it is also desired by thieves who are brave enough to risk the legion's wrath. So it comes to no surprise to any citizen when they see two colossal dreadnoughts of the Ultramarines Legion guard it ceaselessly.
But tonight though, sixty eight hulking warriors joined them in their vigil. Warriors who stood side-by-side in front of the two automatons, never moving a muscle, save for the steady rise and fall of their massive chests where golden two headed eagles glistened in the semi darkness. From these Aquilas, a network of eye catching luminescence sprouted from each of their wings, dividing further throughout their armours like miniature highways that revealed rows of tiny metallic plates that composed the entirety of the nigh indestructible suit.
Such addition in detail gave the armours an interesting appearance that came close to a work of art, something no doubt, the Mechanicum would agree upon. Heavily ornamented daemonhammers were cradled by their monstrous crackling gauntlets, as they meditated over and over, one of the simple litanies of the Terminatus Brigadium:
“Duty is a blessing bestowed upon thee by the Emperor. Cherish it well, for every one that is accomplished, is an act of complete obedience to him who is Master of Mankind.”
On the other side of the doors, eighteen individuals are discussing the same thing, albeit on a universal scale.
“With the last Legio Bellus Praeterium, our numbers within the Imperius Primaris have decreased to below eighty percent. Are the High Lord's even aware of this?” a booming voice echoed across a large expansive domed chamber. Eighteen giants sat around a magnificent oak table located in the middle of it, where a holomap of the entire Milky Way was hovering. Brass chairs supported the commander-in-chief of each legion and provided them with arm rests enveloped in high quality animal fur for comfort, though quite unnecessary because their arms were covered in adamantium.
“Expansion brother, is all that fills the recesses of their pitiful minds. The day they start caring for the Exercitus is the day Chaos itself kneels before the Emperor.” a cool and melancholic voice answered him. The owner had a pallid complexion which was paradoxical to his eyes that were shrouded in shadow and was wearing a white robe the size of five men and his power armour underneath was dark green. He was peeking underneath the table when he was accosting his fellow commander, finding the quality of the carpet that draped the floor more interesting than the heated discussion. A portion of the insignia of his legion was peeking at the edge of his right sleeve, a sword with angelic wings for its hilt.
“Surely they have come to notice it? The commander hammered his gauntlet in anger and his patrician face, riddled with battle scars, contorted in annoyance. A fist emblem on his right shoulder pad stood prominently under the holo light. “The Galacticus Capitae is not the only source of expedition fleets. There are also warriors in the other four, unless they allow us to go beyond the limit like before.”
“There will be no more changes Warmund. The Emperor's word is law and absolute. You know that as well as I do.” the voice silenced Warmund Gallus of the Imperial Fists and made him face the owner. All of them, save for the leader of the Dark Angels, mimic his action and looked at the Legion Commander Militant who was sitting in the far corner of the table. He a had the Maccragean quality in regards to his appearance and his blond hair was strikingly well treated. His armour was electric blue and his insignia had a a skull and an ornate upturned omega beneath it.
“But Sigismund, if the High Lords don't stop, our forces will continue to shrink and the perils of intergalactic travel, are also a considerable factor that we should take into account.” the Imperial Fist commander reached out in front of him where a trapdoor on the table opened and offered him a set of buttons and switches. They tweaked and beeped at his touch and immediately the holomap of the Milk Way shrank and the entire Imperium was displayed in front of them. Five galaxies all in all, and the Imperial Aquila glowed brightly on top of them.
Between the galaxies were scarlet dots, emerald rods and irregular shapes that give off a purplish hue.
“The remnants of Hivefleet Tyranus Sigismund” Warmund pointed at the dots. “are still prowling the expanses between the galaxies and have done so ever since the thirteenth dealt them a crippling blow. The Vos Natals and the Kyrintors.” he pointed at the rods and irregular shapes. “Are attacking the west and south quadrants of the capitae with surprising tactics that we've never seen before, claiming dozens of ships and millions of personnel in the past three months. This just proves that we cannot allow our forces to dwindle any further.”
“I agree and what if one them, though unlikely but still possible, could breach the Adeptus Aegis's fleet? said another legion commander, with a face much like that of a statue and had a set of penetrating auburn eyes as he gestured his hands animatedly; a white raven was painted on his shoulder pad. “I doubt the Imperium could stand firm against enemies like the life sucking xenos and the mother of all swarms. The crusades are just pointless. ”
“Do you honestly believe that the fleets of the Aegis to be that weak?” a legion commander, encased in emerald power armour, retorted with annoyance in every word.
“Atellus, do not think that Flavion is underestimating the guard's or the navy's capabilities in defending the Imperium. He is merely being realistic.” another legion commander raised his crimson fist and calmed the legion commander of the Salamanders with the pat of his hand.
“And base on that presumption, the Exercitus must not permit itself to be spread thinly across the universe. It is simply too big, even for us.” the white armoured legion commander beside Atellus spoke, a bolt of red lightning was painted on his shoulder pad.
“All the same Regis. That is why I have called upon this conclave to discuss these matters. But whatever we decide on must not contradict the words of the Emperor.” said Sigismund.
“Here here.” said a black armoured legion commander beside Warmund. He had a black ancient Greek cross across a pallid background for his insignia.
“Have you already found the solution then Sigismund?” a heavily armoured and ornamented legion commander asked, his eyebrows raised in doubt. “You indeed have called upon this conclave but said nothing up til now.”
“Victus. Sigismund was already planning on telling us. Why did you have to ruin his moment?” a sly sneer broke across the face of the legion commander on the other far corner of the table. His insignia was that of a drop of blood with angelic wings that shone brightly underneath the glow of the holomap.
Like the Dark Angels commander, the leader of the Blood Angels have long since diverted his attention away from Sigismund the moment he read his mind, and immersed himself instead, on the decor of the chamber. Apparently the painting of the Ultramarines' Primarch on the wall opposite him, gave him all the distraction he needed.
“As always Lucius, and Victus, your intuitiveness astounds me.”
“What is it then? What's the solution?” another commander, opposite Sigismund leaned closer, clearly intrigued. A pair of scythes on his shoulder pad glowed under the hololight too.
Sigismund didn't reply but instead turned slowly to his left and addressed the legion commander sitting beside him. He was clad in deep red power armour and a black raven was painted on his light colored shoulder pad.
“Lanfreid, can I request for the presence of one of your librarians?”
“Of course.” the legion commander's voice echoed loudly despite his gentle response. “But don't keep us from the dark any further Sigismund, we have more important matters to attend to.” the Blood Raven commander accessed his microbead and subconsciously ordered one of his Librarians to teleport on the planet.
“Trust me brother. This, display will eventually bring our problems to an end.”
World: Holy Terra
M59 Year 990
“A shadow lurks towards the capital”
The distant glow of a star went through a ship's hull, floating in the middle of the suffocating vacuum. It's dimensions were similar to that of an insectoid's pincers and its whole frame was utterly smooth and transparent. It was a very strange ship, for there were no signs of it being propelled by any engine as it literally moved of its own accord across the vacuum.
Its path and destination, were taking it far too close to the collection of gargantuan battleships that seemed to span an entire quadrant and beyond. Every ship had an Aquila engraved on their prow, their batteries on the broadside and starboard were opened and their colossal Nova cannons glowed ominously, ever ready to release their volley that could obliterate millions in a blink of an eye.
The ship has wandered foolishly into the outskirts of the most well-protected planetary system within the Imperium, the Solaris System; where a bulwark is always stationed to repel any upcoming invaders. It is in this system that the two of the most important planets in the empire are located: Mars, the bright red planet of the Adeptus Mechanicus and Holy Terra, now the shadow of its former beauty, the capital of the human empire and the home of its immortal ruler.
A xeno would think that this amount of security is incredulous but how could a xeno understand? This the Imperium of Man, and the center of it all is the Emperor, beloved by all.
But whoever was piloting the invisible ship, didn't care and it made its intentions clear when it slipped through the fleet like a small animal through a fence, without so much as a lasgun stopping it.
By the time the ship hovered above Luna, it has avoided the detection of the second bulwark, stationed near Jupiter and the thousands of defensive platforms that enveloped Mars, not to mention the squadrons of Fury Interceptors that patrolled every quadrant between the orbiting planets.
It jettisoned four unseen pods unto Terra before a rift in reality opened and swallowed the whole ship.
Entering the atmosphere, the pods descended towards Terra with the speed that could match an asteroid. They were mysteriously never engulfed by flames despite their acceleration and suddenly changed their trajectory towards the continent where the Imperial Palace was located.
The pods passed garrisons, factories of war, some of the Ecclesiarchy’s cathedrals and even massive planetary batteries along the way. But none could detect them. Not even when they pierced the perimeters of the Outer and Inner Palace.
Then they stopped; barely inches away from the roof of the Sanctum Imperialis, despite the fact that they were hurtling close to the speed of sound. The pods lightly settled themselves on the roof and moved no more.
A wisp of smoke slowly slithered its way out of one the invisible pods. Their hatches opened abruptly and more smoke came out. A pair of heavy footsteps suddenly broke the silence on the roof and three more followed. A low whisper then came in its wake.
Though security was heavy layered, especially if it concerns the Sanctum Imperialis, not one alarm has alerted the sentinels to the four intruders that were now walking casually across the roof.
One of them stopped and slowly raised one of his unseen arms. A holographic map with a reddish hue of the Sanctum Imperialis instantly appeared on his wrist. He motioned the three to come closer and they did so. When they were huddled around him, he raised one of his fingers and pointed it at the Golden Throne…