While watching 300 last night my mind dwelled upon my ill fated Serpent Guard. I had always promised that I would give them a fiction, but could never be bothered to get around too it. Now I have decided to reboot the Second Legion, with a new set of characters and themes. Here is the first of (Hopefully
) many stories around them!
Aselaric marched briskly along the assembled line of Second Legionnaires. Their emerald armour was polished and draped over by cream togas and embroiled with jewelry or art decorations, yet each betrayed their artistic appearance. Each held a crackling sabre in their outstretched hands and pointed them towards the arched ceiling of the chambers, illuminating scarred visages with vibrant oranges and greens. Most sported high plumes upon their heads, of blonde and black mostly although there was the odd red headed Astartes who scowled menacingly.
Unlike his Brothers, Aselaric bore a deep crimson set of artifice armour. Born from the forges of Mars herself, it was a work of only the best artisans and rumour had it that Kelbor-Hal himself had overseen the construction. He also went unarmed, save a single curved combat blade fastened to his hip like a coiled serpent. It was not meant for slashing however but rather hacking, making full use from the gold plated “beak”.
Upon his wide chest rested in curved scripture the word Captain. For that is what he was. While the Emperor was traveling with them he was his equerry and acting commander of the Second Legion. That was a tough burden upon him however, and his once beautiful features had corroded into a ever-present snarl. His left cheek was obscured beneath a silver plate, taken by a Ork during a unfortunate boarding action that left him near death.
Currently the Second Legion stood at eight thousand Astartes. Certainly one of the smallest, it could not rival that of the Luna Wolves or even the Imperial Fists. But that did not matter. Each Astartes were as capable as any other that marched under the banner of the Emperor, and in the ten years with their liege, they had became hardened veterans. Terran born and bred, only a small percentage originated from a variety of outer fringe worlds that had been colonized early during the Crusade.
These tended to be the less sociable of the Second. They kept too their own kind, idolizing their ancient deities in secretive lodges. While Aselaric did not like this, there was little he could do to halt their practices. Now his Primarch would be returned. The Emperor had led a small contingent onto a backwater world, scouring the brutal civilizations for his son. He had found him eventually, brewing a revolution deep within the wilds.
The Second had not deployed in force, with only three hundred Astartes accompanying the Emperor onto the planet. Aselaric was nervous for the first time that he could remember. His father was returning. Aselaric took his place amongst the ranks, standing within the centre of the cohort but upon the first row. Almost instantly the giant atrium doors swung towards the Astartes, the brass hinges shaking and squealing.
First came the two Custodians. Both carried their spear like weapons across their chests, and their crimson cloaks billowed behind their golden forms as a unnatural wind wrapped around them. Next came Captain Pythus and his trio of elite officers, each holding their plumed helms in the crook of their arms. Pythus was an arrogant bastard; jealous of Aselaric but yet a brilliant tactician and leader. He was well respected within the Second, although those dog-loyal too Aselaric tended to take a great disliking towards him.
A series of Legion menials came next, each baring silver palettes filled to spilling point with lush looking food. After them came Lord Cobrika. Unlike most Astartes he took no role in the campaigns but rather tended towards the fleet, and this was shown by the white sash that bisected his emerald armour. Tall and gaunt, he stalked after the others who were now spilling out towards either side of the doors.
There was a tense atmosphere as the Emperor himself entered. Clad in a set of immense golden armour, he held a mighty claw in one hand and a diamond tipped sceptre in the other. Lank dark hair framed his noble features and his olive skin furrowed into a smile at the sight of the now kneeling Astartes. But they were not doing so for the benefit of the Emperor. Behind him the Primarch came, overpowering the aura of the Emperor with a strange ease.
And Aselaric was shocked by what he saw. He was kneeling for a mere boy! He wore nothing more than a green splashed set of overalls and looked rather unintelligent as he scanned the giants before him. How unimpressive
thought Aselaric to himself as the boy came into full view for the first time. But in all reality that was a lie, a ploy for which he found a dark sense of anger. While he was clearly a youth, his muscles were bounded and bulging and his features looked surprisingly deadly.
His mane of golden hair was tied into a tight topknot that reached up before dangling back downwards and spilling over his right shoulder. Both eyes were brooding crimson orbs, the whites having long disappeared beneath the red. Aselaric suspected blindness, but was it possibly for such a being to suffer from ailments as such? No; that could not be true. A blind Primarch would be of no use, would the Emperor have not killed him on sight out of shame?
Aselaric felt his fingers clench into a fist at his side. He could not adhere to a damaged being. He bit down upon his lip and it became prominent as his teeth caught it in a tight vice. The coppery stench of the rich sanguine which pumped through his veins suddenly struck him. As did the vision of the Primarch. He turned his head suddenly, snapping it around as his nostrils flared. He had caught the scent of the blood, and was no steadily advancing towards him.
The Captain felt a sudden sense of apprehension as he got within arms length. Even though he was without armour, the Primarch still managed to form a immense stature. A hand was placed on his large pauldron, and Aselaric caught fingers tracing the winged serpent symbol upon his shoulder from the corners of his eyes. The Primarch went down onto his haunches, removing his hand from Aselaric.
What he did next shocked the Marine. With one finger he smudged away the blood from the gushing wound on his lip and brought it to his face, inspecting it with a tilt of his head. So he was not blind
. That was certainly a excellent revelation. Aselaric watched the Primarch with half closed eyes, and he felt acidic tears rise up. This was the rebirthing of a Legion. The cohort behind and off towards either side of Aselaric bustled, letting their blades clatter onto the ground as they watched in awe.
The boy stood, motioning his son to follow and Aselaric found himself complying even though he did not wish to do such a thing. He looked down on the unarmoured form of his newfound lord. He smiled. The Primarch detached from Aselaric, marching back towards the side of the Emperor. Left standing; Aselaric found himself grinning boorishly towards Pythus and his followers. Was Aselaric favoured? Would he become the true Brother of the Primarch?
With a nudge, the Primarch caught the full attention of his father. The Emperor looked down upon him with a simple twist of his muscle bound neck and his lips lifted into a smile. The Primarch returned no such gesture however and simply asked ‘What may I call them, lord?’.
It was clear that the Emperor was cast into deep thought at that, as his brow arched downwards and his eyes became narrow. His lips pursed for a moment and he scanned the ranks of Astartes, knowing many of the more esteemed Marines by name; but others simply by repetition.
With a voice as tranquil as the sound of the sloshing sea he returned ‘That is your decision alone. I will not take such a burden from your shoulders. They are yours to mold as I have done so with you. They have cast their lives away for the chance of service within the Legions and now they are reunited with their father. What will you call them; young Septimus?’.
So that was his name, Septimus. Certainly a tongue twister for the diminutive elements of the Legion but the educated Terran elements could say that with out a major hassle. The Primarch crossed his arms across his barrel like chest, fingers locking together tightly as he did so. His father, the grandfather of all Astartes, placed his clawed hand upon his shoulder and each Marine within the chamber knew that if it was not for his enhanced body the boy would certainly have fallen beneath the weight.
‘They will be my Serpent Guard. For that is the symbol which they bare upon their shoulders and chests’ he indicated the winged serpent upon each Marines armour with one gnarled finger before continuing ‘Tell my fellows that the Serpent Guard march, Father. They march under your banner! We will became adept warriors, that I promise’.
He suddenly trailed off. Errantly he turned and marched back into the atrium, the Emperor chasing after him upon the tips of his toes. As they doors were closed by the pair of Custodians a immense cry erupted from the assembled Second Legionnaires. What a fitting name
, intoned Aselaric within the depths of his mind. The Serpent Guard would march under Septimus. And Aselaric would make sure that his Primarch did not falter while he was under his command.
All comments are welcome! The more the better, as that is what will give me the boost to continue