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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-16-10, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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AN:

This should end up as a collection of short stories, by me, set before or during the Great Crusade. If I don't get piled up with work, I've already started another one shot, this time focusing on Rogal Dorn and Perturabo.


The idea for this little bit is pretty simple. Some Primarchs, like Lion lived in societies where a real man was not a virgin (and was probably expected to father at least some kids).

I'll be grateful for feedback and any comments or observations you might have.

On a final note, I'm looking for a beta: preferably one with whom I can discuss the plot too, but just helping me with grammar and style will be welcome.

Disclaimer: Warhammer 40 000 and all the characters belong to Games Workshop.

The Talk


Sometimes Luther has to wonder just why everybody looks up to Lion so much. It doesn't happen very often, but has those moments. He sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose.

"I am not suggesting anything like that," he replies as patiently as he can. He loves Lion like a brother, but right now he feels brotherly exasperation towards him in large quantities. "What I'm telling you, is that you need to…" he pauses awkwardly and looks to the side, "…prove your prowess as a man."

He can tell Lion does not like the idea. Neither does Luther actually.

"Do I need to kill a bigger beast?" Lion snorts.

"Lion…" Luther groans. "Look, I'm not telling you to grab the nearest woman and have your way with her, but could you at least try?"

"Try what?" Lion snaps. "Grabbing the nearest woman and having my way with her?"

"That's not what I meant!" Luther protests, wondering why Lion is being so difficult about this. He's not asking him to do anything particularly abhorrent and usually Lion does listen to his advice. So, why is he suddenly so stubborn?

"Then say what you mean."

He groans. This is not something that is talked about and so he does not know how to talk about it. For a man as skilled with his tongue as Luther it is a disconcerting experience.

"I mean that people think you're… attracted to other men," he forces himself to say.

Lion stiffens and frowns at the suggestion and Luther cannot blame him. He does wish they could have avoided this conversation, but given how important it is for their plans that there is nothing that can threaten Lion's popularity, this talk is necessary.

"I understand it might be… awkward for you," he continues. "But I'm here for you and you can always ask me for advice."

He watches Lions shoulder sag as he speaks, but this is only a passing moment and Luther decides that his friend was just relieved he was not going to be left alone in all of this. It's easy to forget just how little interaction Lion has had with other people.

"I have no idea what to say," Lion finally speaks up. He stares at Luther and the silence slowly becomes awkward. Then he adds: "Thank you for explaining this to me. I've no idea what I'd do without you."

Luther breathes a sigh of relief and slaps Lion's arm in a friendly manner. "You'd be asking 'what did I say?' at the end of every conversation."

"Oh, come now," Lion laughs. "I don't insult that many people and when I do it's almost always intentional."

"Only because I do most of the talking for you," Luther teases.

Lion doesn't reply, merely grins. He nods at Luther, before getting up: they have other things to do then sit and talk after all. For now, Luther doesn't think about their conversation and disagreement. He does not analyze what Lion has said and what he hasn't. He thinks he understands Lion. After all, why would Lion keep secrets from him?

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-18-10, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Castles


Perturabo is silent, as he carefully constructs the fortress. He fits the blocks, apparently concentrated solely on this task. He’s ignoring the two maids whispering about what happened to “that poor man”. They don’t worry about him hearing it, after all he’s busy and he’s a child. Even if he does hear, he won’t understand.

This isn’t true. He does understand them all too well. It’s also from their gossip that he learns how the world works. Without telling him directly, they inform him of the backstabbing in the court. They teach him to distrust everyone. Who can he trust, if nobody tells him anything? He has no idea who he really is: the man who calls himself his father certainly had not sired him nor did the woman that calls herself his mother give birth to him.

They never mention that he isn’t their child, as if they hope he won’t notice. They lie to him. So, he cannot trust his parents.

He is left alone to gleam the truth from pieces of conversations he overhears and even then he cannot be sure if he really discover it. People lie not only to him, but to each other as well. “That poor man” believed his wife wouldn’t poison him and now he is dead, his wife being incarcerated. He remembers them: her always smiling at her husband, nothing showing the falsehood. And yet… he is dead and she apparently poisoned him.

And so the boy learns in silence that he can only trust himself.

***

The patriarch of clan Dorn is content. His grandson is a bright boy; grasping things even adults have trouble understanding. He’s growing up so quickly. That thought makes the old man frown slightly: the boy is growing suspiciously rapidly. When Rogal should have still been learning how to speak and he was already capable of reading…

At least he will see his grandson grow up into a man. He shakes his head at his thoughts: he is too old to be bringing up a child. Instead of being awed, he worries about growing old.

The object of his musings is not far away, piling snow up into a semblance of a fortress. It’s a surprisingly accurate miniature, especially given what it is made of. With an air of finality Rogal slaps some more snow onto one wall, before regarding his work.

The old man cannot help himself. He smiles to himself as he scoops some snow into his hands and makes a ball. The boy is standing with his back turned towards his grandfather, so he does not notice the flying snowball until its too late.

Rogal yelps when the snowball connects. He turns around and glares at his still grinning grandfather. When it fails to produce any effect, the boy makes a snowball of his own.

They don’t spend much time like that. Soon enough, the old man has to attend to his duties, but Rogal doesn’t seem to mind. He follows his grandfather inside, the snow on their clothes melting as they enter the warm interior.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-10, 11:14 AM
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this is good stuff i like how you did a short with perturabu/dorn. keep it up

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Originally Posted by aegius View Post
As for adding weathering, didn't you know that marines never get dirty, they are too cool.
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Thank you.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-10, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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AN: Well, that came out sort of weird. The main idea was that Primarchs are huge and sooner or later, wouldn't fit on a normal sized horse.


Size


Jaghatai groans in dismay, as he, quite literally, looks down on his horse. It is only natural that a youth like him will want to grow up quickly, but having this wish be granted is not always convenient. Fa can no longer carry him to battle: he is simply too big and too heavy to ride on her.

What is a warrior without his steed?

A scant two weeks ago, he rode with the other warriors, leading a raid. Now, he could not do it: he has grown out of his horse. It seems so ridiculous. People grow out of their clothes, but horses?

It wouldn’t worry him so much if he weren’t so certain he is still growing. Already, he has trouble entering yurts and moving around in them. While not clumsy in the least, there is no day when he does not collide with something or, in one embarrassing case, somebody. The only bright side he can find is that he practically doesn’t bruise and hardly ever loses his balance.

He reaches out to pat the animal’s chestnut neck. It’s a familiar gesture and he smiles. He is still upset that he cannot ride on Fa anymore, but he has an idea. It will take time, but he thinks he will be able to ride a horse again in the future.

After all, he reasons, horses are already bred to enhance certain physical features. Simply adding size and strength to the mix should not pose a problem. It is time that worries him. After all, he needs to essentially create a new breed and that will take decades. Besides, he will be the only one riding those horses: convincing others to the idea will not be easy.

His expression falters and he frowns again. While he is certain he will live long enough to ride on the beasts, he intends to breed, he’s also quite certain that somebody will remind him that accidents happen and he could die tomorrow. How can he be sure he’ll be alive in forty years? Of course, he knows that it’s all nonsense. If nothing has managed to cause him serious harm so far, why should it happen in the future? But he still needs a different counter argument, because somebody will surely grumble that young people always think they’re immortal.

That’s not as easy to come up with. He busies himself with cleaning his horse as he thinks. Idly, he wonders about the design of the brush and who came up with it, since he has no inspiration regarding his earlier problem.

Then he inspects the legs and cleans the hooves. There seems to be nothing to worry about; he muses that it really is a pity. Fa is a fine horse and since he can’t ride on her, she won’t see any more fights.

If he were old enough to have a son…

He looks up, a thoughtful expression crossing his face. Slowly, he stands up straight and absently pats the horse’s side. The problematic counter-argument to his plan of breeding horses returns to his mind, but this time it doesn’t seem as troubling.

Children tend to take after their parents. Tall parents have tall children. Since he’s huge, he reasons, he will have huge children, who will need large horses. While he isn’t really interested in procreation, he thinks that pointing out this will shut up any complaints about his theoretical lifespan.

Satisfied with his reasoning, he heads back to discuss his idea. A warrior needs a good horse, after all.

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Monster


For the first time in his life, he is unsure of his actions. Before, he has never doubted himself. A criminal needs to be punished. Those that would follow in his footsteps must be shown their folly. So he kills, and kills brutally. He leaves mutilated bodies, but not so that people would not recognize, who the remains belonged to.

It works too. He sees less and less injustice: it has been months since he last caught somebody harassing another person just because they felt like it. The streets are empty after dark: there is nobody skulking in the dark corners, waiting to ambush others.

He has been satisfied with his achievement, until he overheard a mother scold a child. He has no idea what transgression the little boy has committed, but what matters most to him are the mother’s words.

“Behave or the Night Haunter will get you!”

The Night Haunter is what the people started calling him. They don’t know who he is and believe he is some sort of monster, and that was fine until now. He doesn’t mind being a monster as long as he knows he is doing the right thing.

But is he? A mother has just used him to threaten her child. That is not something he had intended. Yes, he wants to be feared, but only by those that would commit a wrong. A child does not fall into this category, does it?

Still, maybe he is not wrong. He does not just want to stop criminals; he wants to stop the injustice from happening. If the children learn that there is a monster that will punish them and that the monster punishes adults alike, they will know not to harm others. They will know that some things are evil and should not be done.

The Night Haunter nods to himself grimly. He doesn’t like being feared, nor does he like being a monster, but he does not resent it either. Nostromo needs to change and only a monster can bring that change. So, for others, he will be a monster.

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Writings

Several of the Primarchs had literary inclinations. Fulgrim was quite a talented poet, though he never really invested much in this skill, preferring to concentrate on perfecting his sculptures. Rogal Dorn had written two brutally honest reviews, which to this day serve as an example for many an Imperial critic. Vulkan’s letters have avoided being published until the 36th millennium, but once made available to the Imperial scholars, have given them a new perspective on the Primarch.

Out of them all, Roboute Guilliman stands out as the one who has written most. Chief among his works is of course the Codex Astartes, but it is not the only one. Eschewing more frivolous pursuits, the Primarch of the Ultramarines concentrated instead on purely utilitarian literature. He had penned several manuals and guides, many of which are still used by various branches of the Imperial administration and military.

Notable amongst them is the Educatio Veneris per Stultum, not only because it retains its usefulness until today and is often used by Commissars of the Imperial Guard when they have to address the issue of safe sexual conduct, but also because it is the only writing of their Primarch that the Ultramarines refuse to talk about. A reason as to why has yet to be determined, although an anonymous Space Wolf had once commented that it’s the only book that doesn’t read like the writings of “a complete and utter stuck-up asshole.” (1)

Another interesting position from Guilliman’s list of writings, is the lesser known essay Sculptura de Macragge. It’s one of his earliest pieces of writing, having been composed before he even became the Consul of Macragge. (...)

From Introduction to Imperial Literature

***

Roboute Guilliman was upset. It was not a usual state of mind for him. Generally, he remained content with his life, but not on that day.

It was all his father’s fault. What gave him the idea that leaving his only son to take care of his young cousin was a good idea, Roboute would never guess. The girl was three. Well, Roboute was three too, but unlike the girl he could easily pass for an adult. Or maybe he was an adult?

The matter of his age and his maturity was a constant source of confusion for him. He simply had no idea how to think of himself and that just didn’t sit well with him. Being around children only made the feeling more acute. Predictably, Roboute did not like children and tried to avoid them when possible.

He gave the little girl a wary look. She, in retaliation, stuck out her tongue.

“Nu-uh,” she sing-sung. “You’ve gotta listen to me, ‘cause I’m older.”

He really hated doing this, but he was feeling existentially challenged and the girl’s argument was so damn irrational; he just couldn’t come up with a good retort.

“My birthday is actually the day father found me,” he pointed out, trying to sound reasonable. “I’m probably older than you.”

“No fair,” the child grumbled, pouting and crossing her arms peevishly. “I’m gonna tell mommy you’re mean.”

He recognized the moment in the child-adult interaction as the one where he needed to resort to bribery to get some peace. Well, perhaps bribery was a harsh word.

“We’re going for a walk,” he said, picking the girl up.

“I wanna see the ponies,” his cousin announced, grinning at him for some mysterious reason.

“You’ve seen them the last time,” Roboute pointed out. On his list of utterly boring and useless things, ponies ranked pretty high. They were only good for children to ride on until they were big enough to ride a horse and riding a horse was damn useless, if you had a vehicle to use instead. “How about we go somewhere new?”

It was cheating a bit, he supposed, but then he wanted to go to the park: he was supposed to write about art for one of his tutors and there was a new sculpture there. But children liked parks, didn’t they? So it should turn out alright.

***

(1) Interestingly enough, the latest editions have been supplemented with a chapter regarding the Genestealer threat written by Chaplain Ortan Cassius.
(2) Incidentally, most of Guilliman’s writings about Macragge are works written for his tutors.
From Introduction to Imperial Literature


AN:
Roboute’s cousin is another effect of “hm, but they must have had a life outside of being awesome warriors of awesomeness TM”.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-10, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Hair



There's one thing that Leman Russ, Lion El'Johnson and Sanguinius have in common. They have all at some point dyed their hair. This is where the similarities end.

When Sanguinius dyes his hair, it is because he is grieving. It is not a custom from Baal: no one really knows why the Angel considers black hair an inherent part of mourning. Of course, none of his brothers have asked. Each of them has his own little idiosyncrasies, so why bother Sanguinius for his?

Like most of his Space Marines, Leman Russ has grey hair. It's also precisely the reason why he first dyed his hair blonde, then red. With grey hair, he didn't stand out that much and his pride wouldn't let him accept this. As a leader, he had to be recognizable. Changing the colour of his armor was out of question, so he did the next best thing and dyed his hair.

Unlike the previous two, the Lion does not regularly dye his hair. He did it only once and only because it would be inconvenient not to.

***

There are many types of silence. The one that currently surrounds Lion El'Johnson is usually described as icy. It would have been daunting, had he been a normal human; given that he is a Primarch, it's terrifying.

"Could you be so kind and repeat this?" he asks and the hapless diplomat, who had been explaining the customs of the people they will be negotiating with, wishes the Primarch would just yell.

"Your hair can be seen as an insult by them, sir," he barely manages to say.

"Yes?" the Lion drawls, making the diplomat cower.

"As part of their punishment a coward's hair is dyed blonde there," he continues. "If they have to negotiate with blonde leader, they might jump to conclusions."

The Lion takes a strand of his long hair and inspects it in silence. There's a russet undertone to it, but it is undeniably blond. For different human cultures the same colour can denote various things. In some cultures black is the colour of mourning, in others it is white. Therefore, he knows what he should do and why. There is much more to gain by being pragmatic, then by demonstrating disdain for the other culture.

Still, the sheer nonsense of the situation is getting to him. His hair shouldn't matter in diplomatic relations.

With a sigh, he says, "Give me a few hours. I'll do something about my insulting hair."

***

AN:

This story has been brought to you by various inconsistencies between the descriptions of Primarchs in BL books and their pictures.

Okay, I admit, the part about Leman Russ actually having grey hair is my idea (or to be even more exact that of my brother's). In canon, he's usually portrayed as red-head, but there's at least one picture where he's blond. So, why grey hair? 'cause Space Wolves' hair turns grey once they matured enough. It makes sense for Leman to share this trait.

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New


Fulgrim is an administrator, not a warrior. He feels out of place in his new purple armor. A part of him wonders just how much money went into making it and how he could have used those funds. It’s not that he doesn’t like it: it’s beautiful and it doesn’t hamper him at all, but he’s just not used to it.

There are many things he isn’t used to: that he’s no longer Fulgrim the foundling, but Primarch Fulgrim; that people liken him to a Phoenix; that he doesn’t have to worry about resources and how to use them efficiently (well, that’s not exactly true, he has to admit; Space Marines and the Imperial Army aren’t workers in a refinery, but they’re still people and ammunition is not, say, crude oil, but the gist is still the same); that people have the time to decorate things like his armor, let alone produce art and most of all that he has a father and brothers.

The last thought makes him smile. He has only known Horus for a few weeks and yet he can’t imagine a better brother. The Primarch of the Luna Wolves is what Fulgrim considers the ideal Primarch should be; both a warrior and a politician. Just by watching him, he learns how to become more like he should be.

He knows he has a long way ahead of himself. The mere fact that he feels uncomfortable when presenting himself as a warrior is a testament to that. He looks at his reflection in the mirror and shakes his head; if nothing else, he looks the part.

To think he was unsure about the colours. Of course, he said nothing to his father, but he did tell Horus he’s far too pale to wear anything that vivid. People will only see the armor, he had argued. His brother told him not to worry over such things. Nobody would ever manage to create something that would overshadow a Primarch.

Now, he has to agree with Horus. It was silly of him to have doubted his brother: of course Horus knows better. He is the Emperor’s favourite and has performed the duties of a Primarch since much longer then Fulgrim.

To tell the truth, he is envious of Horus. Unlike him, Horus is a son to the Emperor in more than just the biological sense. He is not only the Emperor’s creation, but a beloved child that had a father for years. Fulgrim can’t help but to wish he were in Horus’s place.

If it were the case, he wouldn’t feel like he doesn’t really belong, like he’s not really what everyone thinks he is.

He hears the door open and veers around, to face a grinning Horus. Fulgrim isn’t sure if he is happy or embarrassed to see him: he has just been thinking about his brother and not all of it has been positive. Some of his uncertainty must show on his face, because Horus’s grin falters a bit.

“See? I told you not to worry,” he says and his grin returns with full force. “You look very pretty in your new armor.”

“You’re just jealous mine is nicer than yours,” Fulgrim responds almost without thinking. Horus starts to chuckle and Fulgrim joins him.

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Walls


Mortarion hates Sanguinius. He never shows it and never tells anyone, but every time he sees the Angel, he wants set those stupid wings of his on fire. It doesn’t help that he is quite aware just how irrational his feelings are. Sanguinius never did anything to warrant such enmity from his brother.

When he looks at Sanguinius, he sees perfection. Unlike Fulgrim, he does not chase after it and it is not what he begrudges. It’s the ease with which it comes to the Angel. Despite growing up on an irradiated death world, Sanguinius always looks beautiful. He can be splattered with gore and tired from days of fighting, but he will remain graceful and awe-inspiring. Mortarion knows that he looks like he’s recovering from a death-threatening illness on his best days.

Mortarion is not a people person. He doesn’t like small talk and he tends towards pessimism. People are afraid to strike up a conversation with him. Sanguinius has no such problems. He can merely enter a room and suddenly everybody will adore him. He doesn’t even have to bother.

But most of all, he hates Sanguinius, because whenever they are in the same place Sanguinius tries to be nice. He should be able to see that they won’t ever be real brothers and yet he offers companionship. It’s like he can’t see there is and always will be a wall separating them.

***

“We’ll go this way and flank them,” Sanguinius explains, drawing a line on the map with his gauntleted finger. “You have to keep them occupied.”

Mortarion looks at the map, his face shadowed by the hood of his grey cloak. He has said roughly three sentences during the whole planning session—Sanguinius has been counting. The Angel feels like he is talking to a wall. Why won’t Mortarion respond?

Just as Sanguinius gets ready to add something, his brother nods. The Angel waits, but only silence follows.

It’s probably the most awkward situation he has ever found himself in. Sanguinius simply cannot think of what to say to his silent brother. So, he tries what has worked so far and places his hand on Mortarion’s shoulder.

“You can tell me if there’s something you don’t like,” he says, smiling encouragingly at his brother.

It fails. Mortarion shrugs his hand off and shakes his head.

“It’s a good plan,” he says quietly, but somehow it makes Sanguinius feel like a door has been shut in front of his nose. Mortarion stands right next to him, but he could as well be miles away.

***

Sanguinius doesn’t know Mortarion. Whenever he tries to strike up a conversation, his brother remains silent. When he has talked with him for the first time, it felt like he was talking with air; he could not tell what his brother felt or thought.

He does not like Mortarion; his brother won’t let him. He shuts him off and hides in himself, using silence as fortress. He does not dislike Mortation: he does not know him well enough to feel anything like that.

If anything, he feels mildly frustrated with him. They have a background similar enough to share at least a bit of understanding and yet it is not the case. Sanguinius would like to know why, but he is not dying of curiosity.

In the end, he treats Mortarion the same way he would like his brothers to treat him, simply because he hopes that one day it will pay off.

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