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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-10, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Default To Face One's Doom

To face one's doom,
To see the storm
Envelop all-
To gaze on death!
So, this is my first story I've been brave enough to publish here. It takes place in an alternate history of 30K, where the Eldar Empire was bigger, and bad stuff happened in their Fall. Note: I don't own 40k, or the associated trademarks.

NOTE: Since I started on this, it has changed genres; it's more of a small-f fantasy work now than science fiction, though it does take a few elements from 40K. Also, the stories of Angron, Mortarion, and Perturabo are unlinked and will probably remain so. That's unfortunate, but so much interesting stuff is happening on Desh'errea, Barbarus, and Olympia that anything else would be overkill.

These are dark times.

I say these in full knowledge that the times to come may well be even darker, yet I must repeat it: these are dark times.

I have read of the Golden Age of Technology, of the height of Mars and Terra, of the greatness before the fall. I have read, too, of the Eldar Empire, that nation which once held the Ruinous Powers at sway but became their greatest aid.

Some of them remain- how else could it be? Those that renounced the decay and tried to stop it were exiled and shunned for their beliefs. Now, though, they are shunned hundredfold for their ultimate failure, for what they caused.

And now, our greatest hope has been lost.

Now, the Ruinous Powers have taken the Primarchs.

-Malcador the Sigilite, 800.M30

Fourteen. Fourteen of my brothers are yet unfound, two are dead, and one might as well be.

My father has searched all of the Ultima Imperium for signs of us. He found seven. The four that remain- myself, Alpharius, Omegon and Vulkan- carry the hopes of the Imperium on their, our, shoulders.

How many others still live?

When the Primarchs first departed, my father was sure that even those that had landed in the Eye would stay loyal. But the Traitor disproved all of that. Gathering two others, he attacked Tau itself, seeking the destruction of all we have fought for. Horribly twisted, they batted aside normal defences, fighting those of us that had remained.

They lost. The two others were stricken from the Imperial records. The Traitor escaped.

His name shall never be forgotten, and neither will his twisted glory.

Why, Lorgar? Why?

-Roboute Guilliman, 836.M30

I.

The lakes of blood were boiling. A great war was coming to Desh’errea, and the nobles had relished it. To prepare for the bloodshed, then, they had called together the greatest gladiator fights the world had ever seen. They had promised that the arena would be filled with blood and that just one of the gladiators would survive the battles. They had sworn that this would be a never-before-seen scale of destruction, and that they would gladly sacrifice themselves if they had failed.

They did not honor their oath.

Two gladiators, indeed, remained- Angron, the giant from space, and Grakix, an escaped daemon. Unfortunately, in the capriciousness of the gods, the gladiators had trouble dying and bleeding. Many were still alive, and even those that had been killed seemed to rise again. The favor of the gods was not with Desh’errea today.

For now, though, the watching crowds were not any less overjoyed in watching what they would soon depart across the stars to do.

“Now.”

Angron and Grakix lunged at each other, but after a misstep Grakix’ axe flew out of his hand and into the stands, cleaving an important noble in half. The daemon attempted to fight with his claws, but the advantage was clearly Angron’s.

Then the city’s ruler, the Daemon Prince Hurbjek, gurgled and fell out of his seat and towards the arena.

Hurbjek began to drop, spreading his sixteen arms in fright, understanding that his favor with Khorne was lost; below him, the crowd of daemons, humans, and aliens watched the location where he had fallen from to see the would-be new ruler of their town.

Half of them never saw her.

The murder of Hurbjek was followed by a gigantic explosion from below the decks, with the bodies of gladiators flying out from below. To the survivors’ surprise, these bodies were in fact very much alive, carving trails of destruction thru the stands. Angron and Grakix had long stopped fighting each other, and were now invading the spectators too, claw and sword slaughtering together.

“BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!”

Angron’s bellow was echoed by his people, the blood indeed flowing quite abundantly, along with other bodily fluids. The targets were more often than not high-ranking officials, who had moments before watched the gladiators fight each other with detachment.

The ones that were not being slaughtered didn’t attempt to stop it; they knew that they would fight when their time came, and for now they didn’t care from where the blood flowed, much like the patron deity of the planet.

Some of the less insane denizens began to flee, rushing to survive later; the rest watched in wide-eyed amazement as Angron ran to the top of the coliseum and jumped off, followed by a throng of loyal gladiators, tailing the escapees. Others stayed, continuing the massacre: eventually they would be defeated by the actual forces of the city, or turn on themselves and be doomed, but that was mostly because both Angron and Grakix had already left, and the most powerful fighters wouldn’t die easily.

Change had come to Desh’errea.

* * *

Standing above Barbarus, Mortarion gazed at his father’s dominion. The sky-tall mountains mixed into the atmospheric haze, and that haze- so painful and stinging- was permeating thru his mind. Barbarus wasn’t a kind world.

Below, small villages crowded in the valleys. Despairing, the living there were subservient to his father, and the infected and dead were no more than loyalty. The acrid smoke didn’t reach there, but the diseases were as potent below as above.

What right did his adopted father, Tnays, Champion of Nurgle- what right did he have to rule, other than brute force and devotion? Was being infected with a thousand contagions truly enough? The diseases that they had weakened the body, yet strengthened it simultaneously. The diseases of the poor did not have that. Those brought weakness alone, degrading the doomed and eventually killing them, the souls to join with the Plague God and their bodies to become shambling automatons. Of course, the various plagues had different outcomes, and Tnays could never be sure whether a certain slave would become his servant after the end.

Mortarion, for one, had always wondered about those unfortunate beings. They lived without the blessings of the Grandfather- but was that truly the greatest difference? And, most of all, where did he stand?

It was a question above all others, for in all of the strangeness that his world had seen, he did not see himself. He did not follow the Plague God, though he did not oppose Nurgle either- that would be the height of stupidity. He was not like his father in any form- ever since he fell onto the planet’s surface from space, something was alien about him.

Who was Mortarion?

He would find out tonight.

For now, Mortarion merely gazed from the parapets at the wavering surface below. The planet was wrong, offended his senses, and generally felt strange even after he had lived there all of his life. It felt strange to his father too, for that matter. Barbarus was that way.

Walking down into the castle, Mortarion thought back to earlier days. The beginnings were hazy, but he knew that something about life itself and Barbarus felt like agony, that the smell offended his nostrils, that the taste of the food was painful. He was beyond that now, but nevertheless his impending escape would- he knew- bring back memories of that. There would be people younger than him below; there would in fact be people below- not just himself, his father, undead slaves and daemons. It would be companionship, perhaps, or hatred. There were still rebellions, although the Warlords had defeated each one. He was a powerful fighter, though. He would be safe.

“Mortarion?”

Mortarion nodded, having noticed Tnays a second before. “Yes, father?”

“It’s time for you to choose a deity, a patron. I understand that you have some prejudices against Nurgle, but even if you leave this planet- I care for you, son, and I cannot allow you to reject the gifts of the Gods much longer.”

“I understand. In a few days, Father.”

Mortarion stepped away, and the clapping of his feet on the concrete floors resounded through the hallway.

* * *

Perturabo had always looked on his father with awe. The Tyrant was power-hungry and strict, but he loved Perturabo nevertheless, and although Perturabo viewed the entire situation rationally and isolated himself from similar emotions, he respected his father for more than that.

Dammekos had refused Chaos.

Perhaps the Tyrant of Lochos was afraid for his power, or perhaps it was a moral worry, but Dammekos had never given in to the whispers of the Chaos Gods. Perturabo had the suspicion that their planet was the only one without daemons in the universe, but even alone, its light of logic and honor shone above the surrounding darkness. Perturabo, of course, followed his father. The Chaos Gods were- all of them- lacking in logic to the extreme. They could not be comprehended, and therefore they could not be used- and, of course, there was the matter of driving followers into insanity.

Therefore, his father’s actions were disturbing him greatly.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean what I said: your father is dealing with one whom I suspect to be a sorcerer.”

Perturabo momentarily froze, then thanked his servant and rushed towards Dammekos’ section of the palace. Baeton had never been wrong before, and if his father was indeed falling to the insanity and destruction of the Chaos Gods-

Perturabo, if worst came to worst, would kill him personally.

It would be for mercy.

The doors were, as always, locked, but as Dammekos’ favored son Perturabo of course had the keys. Voices were coming from the armory, and the heir to Lochos gritted his teeth- how did they dare to defile such a place with whispers of Chaos?

Then he bit back the emotion. It was illogical: Chaos was a disease, but not a physical one, at least not its majority. There was nothing right with discussing Chaos anywhere, and there was nothing sacred about the armory.

Dammekos exited the room first, as a cloaked figure rushed off in the other direction. Perturabo made to chase after it, but Dammekos grabbed him.

“What are you doing, boy? You are not so young as to be chasing after insects, but does that mean that you should chase after my ministers? NO!”

“And which minister is that suspicious figure?”

“That, son, is Myxerh, the new Minister of the Warp.”

Perturabo nodded. It was a believable explanation: Myxerh was indeed new, and Perturabo had never before seen him. There was still something strange, though, about the man.

“Be careful.”

“Perturabo, leave. Now. I have personally slain many assassins; I can assure you Myxerh has the best interests of himself and the nation at heart.”

Perturabo meandered back into his room, thinking about what had transpired. He had already made clear that he would not fall to Chaos, and had not been tempted. Therefore, if a coup was brewing, he would be eliminated- for example, at the feast tonight.

“Baeton, bring me more paper. I need a plan, soon.”

The servant nodded and rushed off to wherever. Perturabo grimly thought back to the encounter and forth to the feast. Something Chaotic would happen there, he knew.

He would be ready.

(To be continued, hopefully.)

Last edited by VulkansNodosaurus; 10-16-11 at 10:33 PM.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-21-10, 08:34 PM
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Have some rep for writing this, it is really good. Can't wait to see some more.

Sometimes i wonder 'Why is that frisbee getting bigger?', and then it hits me.

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Originally Posted by Chompy Bits View Post
If the Imperium found us as we are now, they'd probably declare exterminatus on us purely because of Justin Bieber. Wouldn't want that taint to spread any further than one planet.
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The Imperium is crumbling because they're getting attacked from all angles. Why did the Eldar empire crumble? Because they got bored.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-23-10, 02:51 AM
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Interesting story bud! What I've read was pretty good. One thing, you need to space your paragraphs and dialogue lines more. As it stands now, it's one giant blob of letters, broken on occasion by asterisks. Adding more space will make it easier to read. Beyond that, I have no other nit-picks LOL! Keep up the good works and I hope to see more soon!

Good luck and good gaming,

Nate

"If you can't stun them with your tactical brilliance, baffle them with your superior grasp of BS."

"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

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Well, seeing as how you capitalize your characters, use proper grammar and punctuation, I'd say you qualify.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-23-10, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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re: Karnax. Thanks! The next bit will be about Angron, and the entire story will focus on these three Primarchs- I think.

re: Shogun_Nate. Thanks as well! About the paragraphs- they were better-spaced in Word. I'll change them.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-23-10, 03:40 PM
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Looks good bud! Sometimes the formatting gets mixed up when you copy and paste from certain documents. Now, how about a next part?

Good luck and good gaming,

Nate

"If you can't stun them with your tactical brilliance, baffle them with your superior grasp of BS."

"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

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Well, seeing as how you capitalize your characters, use proper grammar and punctuation, I'd say you qualify.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-26-10, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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So this is the second quarter of Chapter I. I'm not entirely satisfied with it, so any suggestions on improvement are welcome.
Angron was running.

It was new to him, the sensation- he had dreamed of it before, but the implants and the sheer anger of the overseers had prevented running, except charging at an enemy. He lacked freedom then over his body, the freedom he had regained now.

He lacked then, too, freedom over his mind.

His thought was short-circuited by the overseers and priests to default, in times of stress, to rage and pure anger. The mechanism prevented any successful escape attempt. Whenever he attempted to plan a method of escape, he would fly into blind fury, preventing any ideas from coming into being.

He was stuck, for as long as the chip controlled him, its creators would as well.

Thus he prayed. All of the escapes without planning had come to naught, so he asked for one of them to be successful; any plans were impossible because of the chip, so he asked for it to falter. One day, his prayers were answered.

The feathered being had come to him during the few hours of sleep. It taught him of ways other than war, of hopes other than blood, and Angron listened. The chip broke soon after, and each kill that Angron made in the arena afterwards he sacrificed to his new master, Lord Tzeentch.

The ideas took shape. Gladiator after gladiator was convinced, and those that were not were eliminated. If two of Angron’s gladiators would fight each other, they wouldn’t kill, for there was no use in killing those who were, for now, allies.

It had all come to fruition now. Grakix being captured by the slavers helped the situation tremendously: masquerading as a Bloodthirster, he had made the escape succeed that much sooner. In the last clash, when almost all of the gladiators had been turned, Angron and Grakix pretended to fight.

After that, they fought, but not each other.

Now Angron ran. The city wasn’t safe: it was clear that the gladiators were weak compared to the police and army. Later, when the struggle for power would turn the streets into a battleground again, when the ambition and lack of reason would combine to ruin the city, when the neighboring towns would desire independence- then Angron and the gladiators would emerge from the iron forests and take over a ruined empire.

For now, the steady beat of his legs and of the ground (Angron had no idea of why the ground beat, but it was likely an imitation of a heartbeat) were the best insurance of the future he could have.

Angron was being followed by a group of other escapees- Grakix had taken half of the former gladiators, hopefully to safety. Angron, for his part, would treat his half well. They had fought for and against the same masters, and they would do so again. There was no need to turn his allies, his tools, against him.

“Angron, where are we?”

The question came from one of the child gladiators. His tiny form was at risk of getting trampled by the larger figures at any point, but as Angron stopped and looked back, he could see the fire in his eyes.

“We’re almost out of the city by now.”

The boy nodded, and Angron broke into a run once more.

The city’s walls were built of swords topped with skulls, packed so thick it was almost impossible to get through them. Angron paused when he saw them: it would take far too long to pull them out. They would have to pass through the gate, unless they had a means of defense and weapons.

Both of which were, of course, conveniently provided by the wall.

Angron screeched to a stop, and even as his feet were scratching the rocks he was pulling out a sword from the ground and tossing it to a lieutenant. Killer was well-known for his hatred of the government, and would make a perfect rearguard.

Killer smiled in grabbing the weapon as Angron began bulldozing through the other swords.

“Don’t forget to put them back after we pass the region! The guards will have as hard a time as we’re having.”

Killer waited for the throng of warriors to pass before beginning to put the swords back into place. Angron didn’t have time to look at what was happening behind him, but it was clear that Killer could easily defeat several of the starving guards. The city was still in chaos and everyone strong enough to defeat Killer had better activities to undertake at the moment, such as dealing with the situation inside the city itself.

Then Killer cried out, and Angron remembered the ancient sayings about the best plans.

He didn’t stop with the swords: he couldn’t, not if they were to escape. It appeared someone strong had a vendetta against them, or perhaps a large force was exacting revenge for Hurbjek. If Killer couldn’t hold them off, Angron could by making sure there was enough space between them.

Turning around once, he saw Killer lying with two holes in his head. There was no time to digest his friend’s death. Gladiators had never been trained in ranged weapons, and more importantly they didn’t have any. There was no way for Angron to, at the moment, fight.

A couple of those who had fallen behind were fending off the attackers instead. The boy from earlier was actually one of them, clearly struggling with a heavy sword but managing to fight well nevertheless. They would have to defend for some time further: Angron’s supernatural speed in uprooting the swords was impossible to match in putting them back in. This was intentional- to Angron, here, escape was more important than stopping the enemy’s attack. Few would exit the city here anyhow. The gate was much more convenient for chasing them.

Angron gazed into the slavers’ mind as such with distaste, but it was better than falling to their strategies.

The struggle behind ceased, as evidenced by the rearguard again, loudly- especially loudly to Angron’s sensitive ears- beginning to stick swords into the ground. Angron decided against looking at what happened: it was clear enough that they had won the skirmish, and based on the number of screams in voices he recognized, Killer was the only casualty.

The end of the wall came unexpectedly: Angron was pulling sword after sword out of the ground, and then there were no more. Jumping aside (and kicking a final weapon down), Angron watched as his group emerged from the passageway and into the iron forest.

There was time, now, to look at and regret Killer. His long-time friend lay impaled on several blades, and a permanent expression of shock could be seen on his face. Killer had been worried that he had failed, even as his sacrifice allowed the plan to succeed after all.

“I’m sorry,” mouthed Angron, “but you did what you had to. Farewell.”

The moment of contemplation passed, and the former gladiators finished replacing the sabers. They were few: there was a total of thirty-one now, after Killer’s fall. More had been taken by Grakix, and the vast majority was weaving their own way through the streets and houses. They would likely head towards the gate, where they could overwhelm the few sentries, or hide out in the city in wait for the time to strike.

The path was open now to head into the woods.

The trees here were not complex: there were simply iron towers, with a few pieces of fruit hanging from them. The trees widened at the top, eventually- several kilometers from the town- merging to form a second surface, an iron plane above the ground itself. Most of the blood-lakes were located upon such canopies, but in general there was little there save for blood and battle, neither of which Angron desired now. The caverns below, on the other hand, were full of food and even clean water- a rarity on Desh’errea.

The world, of course, was pledged to Khorne. This made survival for Angron and his group rather difficult, but it was clear Tzeentch would be quite glad to turn Desh’errea. Angron was also aware that his lord had some interest in the giant himself.

The trees began to appear from the ground, and Angron paused to look at his future home. Tzeentch hadn’t lied: the towers were almost exactly as he had seen during the visions. The solid iron had specks of rust in it, but the regularity of the structures was absolute: there was no sort of deviation from an exact cylinder. The gods alone could craft such perfection- though, in Angron’s opinion, the simplicity was rather boring.

Angron started walking again, and the train followed him.

The canopies of the trees started, as promised, to close up and unite to create the surface above. Dripping sounds could be heard around Angron, and a few drops even landed onto him. Slowly, uncertainly, the last holes in the roof began to shrink, close up and disappear to give way to total darkness. The dripping was as slow as before, but a few children started hanging on to Angron.

“Do not be scared when you follow me into the darkness. Light would allow the slavers to find us. I’ll get us out: the darkness here is not the darkness of the arena. We’re safe here, I promise.“

A few cries of assent were clear, but no one said anything understandable. It did not matter. Angron would save them, as the true battle would come soon.

“How long will we need to stay here, Angron?”

“What is your name, child? I’ve noticed your strength in defending us all when we traversed the wall.”

Angron suspected the boy was smiling. “I’m Kefrev.”

“Very well, Kefrev. We shall stay here as long as is needed, that is, several days.”

The giant bent down to taste the water. It was clean, almost metallic, a far cry from the bloody mix that had been given to him as a fighter. There were substances not meant to be consumed there, and many gladiators that would have survived the pit fights likely died from the food and drink.

“I can feel a lake here, and I can see- even in this darkness- that it’s big. We will make camp, and then we shall rest. I thank all of you for your vigilance and aid.”

Angron gathered the dirt and metal into a small pile by the waterside, then took off some of his rags to use as a headrest. The ground was softer by far than that which he had felt in the pits- after all, the surface inside the arena was dirt but hardly ground, being trampled by thousands of legs and uninhabited by any creature or daemon. Even on unfamiliar turf, though, the escapees’ leader quickly fell asleep.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-03-11, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Third quarter of Chapter I, featuring Mortarion.
The smoke thinned below, in the valleys. Mortarion had often heard that said, and believed it, though he suspected he didn’t understand the words’ true significance. He had only twice before gone down, both times only for a short while with his father.

Now, he would find out.

Now, the silence around him seemed to be anticipating something. Mortarion knew that his fate would be decided soon, whatever that meant. He was fully aware of the importance of the moment, of the action.

He had disobeyed his father.

Completely.

Slowly stepping down on the colorless steps, Mortarion made little sound in his descent. Tnays wouldn’t notice anyway. His father was asleep and not willing to be woken up. Mortarion was more concerned about the daemons that scurried around in Tnays’ palace, because they weren’t sleeping and would be very concerned about this escape. Daemons, though, could be fooled with protections from sorcery, and one of the main reasons Tnays was not yet a Daemon Prince was the champion’s reluctance to completely give himself to the Warp. Mortarion shared the distrust, manyfold- for all he knew, there was no reason to trust something so omnipotent as a Warp God, and if there was, he would find out soon. He didn’t know how, or why, but he would.

The staircase ended, and Mortarion continued forward, being hurtled forth by a force that he couldn’t understand. It didn’t actually exist, of course, but Mortarion rushed forward anyway, feeling a strange sensation well up within him for the first time.

It was called freedom.

The slope tilted awkwardly, Mortarion carefully avoiding the rusty building material scattered around him. Even at night, even in the smoke, the castle was visibly about to collapse. Mortarion understood that entropy and decay were the domain of Nurgle, and he wondered if the eventual collapse of the castle would also be part of the Plague God’s and Tnays’ plans.

Mortarion would prefer not to be there when he’d find out.

The nails he had tried to avoid scraped his boots, but fortunately he was still careful enough in stepping as to not damage his feet. The cloud of debris ended, and now far below his father’s castle, Mortarion broke into a run.

He knew some of the villages’ locations, and headed for one of the higher ones. The trip would still take hours, though, even at his current pace. He wanted to run faster, actually, because after all that had happened he couldn’t take time to think it all over- he could decide to turn back!

Torn by the uncertainty and fear of uncertainty, Mortarion let his legs dominate him. It didn’t take long for him to accelerate to faster speeds than he had ever used before: it appeared that he was underestimating himself. Simultaneously, he wondered what the reaction would be to his arrival, as well as to the first person he would meet. He was excited, and his body ran even faster with that state.

The end to the acceleration was predictable. Mortarion’s endurance, celebrated by his father, didn’t automatically make him more careful, and ignoring the guardrails in the darkness and fog was not exactly strange, as after all Mortarion hadn’t been following their directions anyway.

The cliff that the runaway fell from was, unfortunately, quite tall. As Mortarion’s horizontal speed slowed, he hurtled directly down. He thought there was a light below, but couldn’t quite tell exactly where he was falling before the hard landing.

The villagers (he saw houses upon impact) would be impressed for years, thought Mortarion, considering the size of the crater.

At the bottom, the fallen giant reconsidered his situation and decisions. He was alive, although the pain was quite serious. It was possible he wouldn’t be able to get back to Tnays in time, especially if the villagers were rebellious. Still, he felt a need to exit. How could he stay in the depression? He had to act, especially if the villagers were, indeed, rebellious and planning to kill him.

With a groan, the runaway faced the world again.

Sitting up, Mortarion saw the landscape lock into place once more. The houses were silhouetted and easily visible in front of something unknown burning behind him. No one was outside that he could see, although a few voices could be heard from the fire’s vicinity.

The structures were built quite plainly compared to Tnays’ palace above, although Mortarion had to note they were collapsing less.

Mortarion clawed his way out of the hole, almost colliding with a child above him. Her hands were bandaged, and her pale face was so afraid of the giant that had almost smashed her that Mortarion couldn’t stop himself from feeling pity.

“Who are you?”

Mortarion’s initial, planned introduction felt wrong now. The girl hadn’t angered the Plague God, and if she had, could she truly be wrong? There was something unnatural in her punishment, something that shouldn’t have been.

“My name is Mortarion.”

“Why were you up there? No one can breathe up there.”

Mortarion shrugged, the hypnotizing effect the girl had had on him and that he had had on the girl both largely gone as he started talking. “I can. My father has his castle up there.”

“But the Champions aren’t human, and you are.”

Was he?

It was hard to truly know what he was. His size and strength were, apparently, abnormal for a human. His father had never truly cared for what he was, though, but accepted him in any case.

Accepted him as a prisoner.

Mortarion felt that he was doing the wrong thing by simply sitting there, but could think of nothing else to say. He didn’t want to leave the girl, however. He needed something to talk about, or something to do, or some way to interact with others.

“What’s happening over there?” he asked, ending the uncomfortable pause.

“Old Jerdel’s house is burning, and they can’t put it out.”

Mortarion nodded, already in his mind sprinting to the scene. His body followed seconds later.

There had never been much fire above, and as Mortarion looked at it he felt a sense of awe at the destroying monster. Still, the other people were trying to put it out, and the new arrival couldn’t desire to do anything else. If he was to earn anyone’s trust, this was the way to do it.

He suspected that his massive form made some of the inhabitants fear him, so without words he began helping carry water to the site. Mortarion suspected that this was done mostly for cosmetic purposes, as there was no way to easily put anything out now. Instead, he concentrated the water on corners and connections, to prevent the fire from spreading. There was the faint feeling of making a mistake inside him, but Mortarion didn’t care whether he was putting out the fire correctly. The important matter was putting it out together.

The flames didn’t even waver, but Mortarion felt that there was a dimming going on. Perhaps the fire had already exhausted its fuel, if that was indeed how a fire worked; he knew little about flame, living as he had at an altitude where such concerns were unlikely and in a well-watered castle.

A voice cried out from the crowd: “Jerdel’s still in there!”

The voice became a chant, and the chant became a rhythm, even though everyone knew within the first seven seconds that Jerdel was, indeed, still in there, burning up inside his own home and likely suffering greatly.

Not a person rushed in.

Mortarion knew he was immune to many illnesses, but he had no idea about his body’s protection from fire. This would, he realized, be a chance to find out. He would almost certainly survive, and it was not a deed that could cause problems for Tnays, meaning he would be able to return if he desired.

Slowly, but gaining speed, Mortarion smashed into the dwelling. The flames warmed him, even burned slightly, but he felt his innate resistance surface again.

It was different inside the dwelling. Tongues of red licked the walls, and the furniture was smoking. Batting aside doors, Mortarion saw a small body on the floor. He had no idea if it was Jerdel, of course. He had never been here before. Still, the recent fugitive lifted the unmoving object up onto his knee.

Jerdel still had a pulse.

As Mortarion hurried towards the exit, feeling slightly worse, he looked down at the ancient in his arms. The man looked younger than Mortarion would have thought, but his face was riddled with sores and his legs were bloated beyond reasonable bounds. The bandages that covered the young girl’s arms covered Jerdel’s entire body, and the hands in particular looked scarred even under the covering.

This, Mortarion knew, was what his father supported. The Plague God did this to those he found unworthy. It had always been right to Mortarion, the destruction of the weak and disobedient, but when this man was apparently considered an ancient- how could everyone be weak?

Mortarion knew weakness was wrong- but were Tnays’ desire to rule and destructive trail not weaknesses as well?

Ramming his skull into an iron bar, heated incredibly by the fire, did nothing to stop Mortarion’s decisive mood. This was the signal he had been waiting for. Tnays’ teachings, which for years had fooled the impressionable Mortarion, now stood as the nonsense they were. The Plague God was omnipotent, perhaps, but apparently could not use omnipotence for the improvement of the masses. He was enslaved by his own beliefs, as Tnays was. What was the purpose of life under Nurgle, if not blindness?

Nevermore would Mortarion be stupid and led by pointless beliefs, he decided at that moment.

The support bent under the force of Mortarion’s impact, and he stopped running. Jerdel was brought out into the night smoke, Mortarion setting him down among the stunned crowd.

“He shouldn’t have been able to survive that!”

“Is Jerdel even still alive?”

“Who is he anyway?”

The last cry became especially prominent among the questions hurled at Mortarion, until a figure emerged from the back. She had no aura of pride or satisfaction that the arrival had always seen as the mark of leadership in Tnays, but nevertheless it was somehow clear she was the leader.

“Who are you?”

“I am Mortarion, son of Tnays.”

“Then why do you come here? Our poor village has done nothing to anger the powers above, save for a few voices of dissent.”

“I do not come for anger: I come for experience. I do not know my fate, but I know that the fate this world now bears is wrong. We must stand strong against the powers of the Plague God. My father never understood the problems with his teachings. I do.”

The sound that came from the crowd seemed new at first, but Mortarion soon recognized it as clapping.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-22-11, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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The end of Chapter 1. There'll probably be some time before I continue this. Also, comments? Anyone?

As Perturabo entered the room, he squinted.

The banquet hall had to have changed. In the end, Chaos did not- in Perturabo’s experience- leave a place unaltered. If they desired to be secret, these signs would be hidden, but like some animal the daemon-worshippers left their insignias everywhere.

There were many clear alterations. This made Perturabo’s job harder, as finding the relevant sign among the multitude of banners was likely to be near-impossible. Unfortunately for Dammekos, Perturabo knew that there were good reasons to suspect Chaotic intent, and the room had been modified to a far greater extent than necessary. The additional stone columns were the most revealing of the fact that Dammekos had something to hide.

The search was fruitless. Perturabo considered the possibility nothing was going on, but stayed on guard as his father advanced to give the first speech of the night.

The food was drugged for certain, and Perturabo was wearing his best armor. He was aware a few people were directing surprised looks at him, as his large size was even further increased in armor.

Dammekos- the Tyrant of Lochos, Perturabo’s father- began his speech.

“My dear allies! It has been far too long since it was last possible to meet so. The war with Ntaolus came at an unfortunate time for our nation, during a period when we were barely recovering from economic crises and political turmoil. We came forth then, saved the country, resisted the tide of Ntaolus and won the war. We will never forget the sacrifices that the war consumed, but in all it is fortunate that we are able to feast here today.

Now, we are gathered again. It is unfortunate that some have denied the power with which we won the war, the mighty capabilities of our soldiers. The reformers that have suggested we give up our military capabilities, even after the attack against is proved so devastating. I thought for a while about their execution, but I am a kind ruler, and have settled on a compromise.

There is a power that will allow us to rule this world even better than before, that will quash any attempt at dethroning us by the other kingdoms, that will ensure our continued domination of Olympia, all while allowing us to reduce the size of our army. Let us recognize its strength, and erase the last remnants of resistance from this world, in the name of that which we will support. For Chaos!”

Two seconds. It took two seconds for a hall previously filled with rational discourse, devout listening, and careful eating to devolve into full war. Perturabo was tired of this: he had seen plenty of that during the conflict that they were celebrating the end of. This would end. He could not allow Lochos to devolve into civil war.

Perturabo raised half the table up and threw it at the left corner of the room. This was the seat of the reformers, the supporters of peace. They were extremely disappointed politically, not only furious in principle, when Ntaolus attacked. They were the most likely allies of Myxerh, and they would die today.

Gunshots and sword-strokes rang again his armor. Perturabo could feel some wounds, but none were deep enough to cause him any persistent troubles. Pushing aside a couple more tables, the Prince of Lochos cursed at not being able to do more, for not comprehending this would devolve so quickly. Still, this would suffice. His father wasn’t expecting his foreknowledge, but surely some other plan had been cooked up in the malodorous kitchens of Chaos in the meantime.

That wasn’t what he was worried about. The plans of Chaos were overcomplicated and underperformed constantly. The problem, rather, was the threat that his father was simply stronger due to whatever “gifts” the Ruinous Powers had bestowed upon his insane father.

A pair of guards, their helmets strange and likely mutated, rushed towards Perturabo. They were batted aside. The wrathful son would not be stopped from reaching his father.

Perturabo charged.

“For Lochos!”

Behind him, a dozen men fell into step. Tables and columns collapsed as the enraged Perturabo ran through them. The banquet hall was falling apart, but in truth he didn’t care: it was after all tainted by Chaos.

Perturabo had no desire for a direct confrontation with his father: although he had always defeated Dammekos in sparring, there was no telling what mutations he had received since. Even worse, the insanity meant that his father might not even care for his own survival, creating even more problems in reasoning a victory. Perturabo had no desire to fight his father, but he saw no other choice.

Fejgil stood in his path.

“Perturabo. Brother. Why?”

Perturabo’s adopted brother had spikes in his hair, which was itself bleached an unnatural shade of white. His hands were more like tentacles, and his eyes seemed to be a dark violet, most certainly not their natural color.

“Fejgil, this is no time for discussion. You betrayed everything we stood for.”

Their blades met, but even with mutation, Fejgil was no match for Perturabo. The Prince’s mace collided with his brother’s armor, caving it in. Raising Fejgil up, Perturabo gazed at the traitor without emotion.

“No, Fejgil, not today.”

Tossing his brother aside, Perturabo stepped on his skull, even as he felt a strange wind in his sole. The armor was pierced, but fortunately the weapon didn’t touch his flesh. It was, after all, most likely poisoned.

He advanced. Covering up the hole in his lower legs’ armor, Perturabo realized very well his vulnerability. It would be the perfect place for Dammekos to strike, and he would need to be prepared for that.

The stage had held a brutal melee seconds ago, but now only Dammekos and Myxerh stood atop a pile of corpses.

“Son. You have betrayed me.”

“No, you betrayed me. You have given up the principles that have governed Lochos and brought it this far. Would you have Olympia a Daemon World?”

“You do not comprehend the power of the Gods!”

“I comprehend fully the power of daemons!”

Myxerh stepped out, as if to mediate the conflict. It was patently clear to Perturabo that the false Minister simply desired to kill him by some foul sorcery.

Having his head crushed stopped his advance.

Perturabo turned to his father, making an effort not to grin. “You have done enough.”

The first blow came as Perturabo expected it, and he parried it easily. The clanging of his father’s sword against his power-mace filled the hall, and there was a slight feeling of pressure from the eyes boring into them.

Ringing, the weapons clashed yet again. Perturabo looked for his father’s defense, but had no time to concentrate due to yet another maddened strike. Still, Dammekos was slower by far, and each meeting of the weapons reinforced that.

Perturabo had one weakness- the crack that Fejgil had created- but the Tyrant was not attempting to exploit it. Instead the blows came at random, even if they were as strong as Perturabo’s. Chaos was a weakness, not a strength.

Dammekos stabbed the empty air, and Perturabo swung again. The blow connected, shooting a wave of electricity through his father’s body. Arching back, Dammekos swung his power-sword directly upward, the weapon flying out of his hands and into a corner of the room. Perturabo wrenched the mace, the twist causing Dammekos to flail before collapsing on the floor.

The man, so much smaller than Perturabo, now looked pathetic before his gaze. Dammekos had been a worthy father and a great ruler, but now he had been diminished by Chaos. The Tyrant of Lochos had by all means lost his rights.

Perturabo considered allowing his father to live, even as he knew that Dammekos would only stab him in the back. Knowing the battle was won, Perturabo sighed. Though Dammekos might have only adopted him, his upbringing was entirely due to the one that he would now destroy.

“This is wrong.”

Perturabo understood the evil and unnatural problem of what he was about to do, almost feeling ungrateful. But he had decided this question long ago, and there was not any other way.

The Prince of Lochos dug his mace into his father’s head.

Dammekos screamed his pain for a second, then fell silent.

Perturabo looked at the room that had once been a hall for feasts. The walls were about to collapse in the ferocity of the battle, and the floor was marked with blood and organs. The tables and columns were either destroyed or defaced. Chaos had wrought havoc on Lochos.

“Will any fight for the Ruinous Powers now?”

None answered, not with screams of approval or yells of challenge.

“I rule Lochos now, and soon all of Olympia. It is my greatest regret that this had to end the way it did, but one must have no mercy for daemons. It is a fact that those corrupted can be redeemed; unfortunately, it is a rare event. Execute all who fought for my father today. They have become a liability and a danger to our realm.

We must remain vigilant, for Chaos is covert as well as overt, such as when my father was corrupted without myself even knowing it until today. We must remain strong, for the power of Chaos, though ultimately self-destructive, is dangerous to all. We must remain logical, for insanity is either the first sign of Chaos corruption or the surest way to it. We must remain, for besides Olympia, there are few who still honor the true ways. And by all that is good, we will remain!”

No single speech, nor any number of them, could heal the wounds that Dammekos had made in the world. There would be rebellions as well as plots. Still, intelligently applied brute force was always a valuable commodity, one that the new ruler of Lochos had plenty off.

Perturabo left the stage, viewing a few corrupted attempting to resist their bonds. The walls were damaged, but not destroyed, and there was thus no means of escape; still, Perturabo lent a hand to handcuffing one of the traitors.

She spat at him. “You! Weakling!”

Perturabo shrugged. “It is ironic, then, that the weak won today. Let it continue to be so.”

The woman was led away, and the Prince of Lochos walked out of the main doors. Outside, it was spring, and the music of the construction machines let him relax. This was a dark day in the history of Lochos, but it would pass. His land would be reborn.

And he would be the cause.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-29-11, 07:16 PM Thread Starter
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Well, it's been a while.

A quick note: some people will probably say I didn't make daemon worlds Chaos-y enough. I recognize this. Personally, though, I would prefer to leave the incomprehensible madness place of the Warp distinct from daemon worlds. Thus, here, a daemon world can have rivers of blood or towers in a Mobius strip, but it doesn't have to.

So:

Time had passed.

Time was a valuable commodity everywhere, Angron suspected. In any case, time was valuable on Desh’errea. His gladiators had not been followed by any sentries, and contact had been reestablished with Grakix as well. The water was clean, and food- though not plentiful- was sufficient to allow his small camp to survive. Few Khorne daemons came here: it was too deep, too dark, and most importantly too lonely.

Under the massive columns, Angron wondered why the plan had to move forward. Would it be so impossible, he wondered, simply to live out the rest of life here, in peace?

It would. He knew it would.

Grakix was already getting restless, and Angron’s plan asked for action soon. More importantly, though, this idyll could never last forever. The cities would band together again, eventually, at least into some semblance of the league they were previously in. Any free republic would then be doomed.

It was for that reason that he now stood before his group, ready to say a few last goodbyes before the “scouting” mission.

“Kefrev, Bertgak, Reftog, everyone. I am leaving; I might not return. While I am absent, Reftog will be our leader, but remember this: a leader is only the first among equals. Otherwise, he is a master.”

Angron ignored the shouts from the crowd as he swiveled, the bare foot leaving a mild dip in the soil. They were mostly fond cries of farewell, but Angron did not demand worship- that was reserved for Tzeentch alone. As such, he simply walked, the black ceiling- so distant as to be invisible even from the campfires- hung over his mind.

The first rays of light, Angron almost didn’t notice. He was too concerned with wondering why he- a leader and a giant- had decided to go on, of all things, a scouting mission.

There was only one reason, and he knew it. He was the only one he could trust in executing this step of the plan.

The next few rays, Angron noticed. They were harbingers of the open space in front of him. Above, holes let the radiance into the cave-like space of the camp. To his front, however, no light could yet be seen; the canopy stretched on for a while longer.

The walk would be long- far longer than their retreat here, in thought if not in time. It had been easy to run, but walking required focus.

Focus, Angron had never lacked.

The city rose up ahead of him, still impressive despite the dirt, still visible despite the distance. Its red walls and blood-anointed spears were clear, a signal that invading armies were not welcome. They came anyway, of course: Desh’errea was a world filled with such stupid conflict, with such destructive waste.

“Nothing should serve one purpose only. That which serves no purpose at all is abhorrable.”

The tunnels outside the walls were not easy to get into, and even less safe. The blood seepage and sheer instability of the underground would have taken their toll on his escapers. Nevertheless, the passages- for those reasons- were largely unused, and thus secret.

The ground collapsed under Angron’s feet, dropping him into a low-depth tunnel.

Well, sort of secret.

* * *

“Are you sure this was a good idea?”

Mortarion shrugged. “My father’s tyranny is no better than this. It is true that farming is nigh-impossible, it is true that daemons keep popping up, it is true there are rumors of a larger army coming- yet we can survive, and we will survive.”

“Mortarion, you saved me in the fire. You have spoken wisely ever since. I was among the few to openly suggest rebellion back before, and your foremost supporter since. But how can we survive like this?”

“Jerdel-”

“I do not suggest surrendering. I do not suggest ending this. I merely say we need-”

“A change?”

Jerdel sighed in agreement.

“The people stand in support of you, and so does Chief Wakrawa. But- but you should not be a tyrant. We need the strength of doubt.”

Mortarion nodded. “I’ll call a council. We’ve sent out ambassadors, I assume?”

“Why?”

“We can’t topple them by ourselves. Other villages need to be-”

“One of many ideas you should bring up at the council.”

Mortarion exited sharply. It was just like Jerdel to point out a critical flaw in his plan, then put off solving it.

The streets were dark, and despite the fog- which was not any more virulent, so far- the village could clearly be seen outlined ahead of him. A few pops were audible to Mortarion’s right, the symbol of incubating daemons.

They came from below. Somehow, this was important.

Whatever the case was, the new leader rushed to the site of the attack. The frequency was increasing, and that was disturbing: in the end, Jerdel was right about the situation being unstable.

The plague monstrosity was a small one, and Mortarion grabbed it with one iron-gloved hand.

“Why? Why are you here? Why do you attack us?”

“Because the rot must spread,” it spoke in a gurgling voice.

“And why? Why? What do you live for?”

“To follow the Grandfather.”

“And why must you follow him?”

“Because the rot must spread.”

It was simply an automaton. Mortarion crushed it in disgust, throwing off his corroding gauntlet simultaneously and hurling the objects to the waste pits. The discussion had been a mistake, but Mortarion needed to understand.

Everyone listened to him, looked up to him. That was more due to his martial skill than his ability to think, of course, but he knew he possessed both. Still, even Jerdel had felt it necessary to apologize before contradicting him.

He needed an equal. He needed someone who could stop the uprising from failing when he would.

He needed someone to talk to.

The Council would be soon, and on his way Mortarion barely noticed the stack of spears near a wall. The children running around them were sparring- playing an practicing at the same time.

This was the next generation, he knew. He may be immortal, for all anyone knew, but the others were not, and battle- true battle, the type which would come soon- would take its toll. If all else failed, he had given instructions to the children to run towards other villages.

To keep the dream.

* * *

He had sworn, once, not to let Lochos fall into civil war, not to allow the empire Dammekos had built up into a dominating power to fall apart into the squabbling enjoyed by most of Olympia.

This was easier said than done.

Perturabo led the capital, of course, and iron rule had been reestablished. Unfortunately, Lochos was not as simple to take as the capital. Irod and Kaleot had declared independence in the south, and Jesthen in the north. Worst of all, Talna in the west was not only rebellious, but had fallen into Chaos.

Perturabo couldn’t even deal with those rebels directly- there was a greater threat in the rump Lochos that remained. Myxerh’s allies had organized a resistance within the mountains of Lochos itself. Without their leadership, they were a hopeless group, but Chaos didn’t need to conquer. It desired only the destabilization of Perturabo’s regime.

In this, it was succeeding.

Perturabo pressed against the walls of the throne room. Pacing, he had run into these boundaries again and again, but he simply turned around and started again. He would not deviate from the straight course. Similarly, surrendering to Chaos would make everything worthless.

The foe could not be compromised with. Perturabo knew this. The rebels, though, weren’t frustrated with him personally. They simply saw the disorder as a convenient window in which to take power. As for the theoretical revolution running around his caves- they weren’t all Chaos either. Many were simply nobles unhappy with Perturabo’s dominance, either considering his takeover illegitimate or simply desiring a more representative government, as was found in- for instance- the rebel Irod.

He couldn’t just acquiesce to their demands, though. He needed to be both popular and strong. He had to preserve- something, at least.

“Is something bothering you, my lord?”

Perturabo looked at the new arrival. Terion was the reason the East had remained loyal to him. He’d once been saved by Perturabo, when on an expedition to the summit of Lymepus- the highest mountain on Olympia, never before climbed, the namesake of the entire world.

Now, Terion was not plotting against him. This didn’t mean Terion had no plots, or that he could be trusted- allegiances could be changed at a moment’s notice- but Terion was unusually honest and truly grateful to Perturabo. The Warp-mines and farms of the eastern reaches formed the heart of Lochos’ economy, but instead of forging his own path, Terion chose to throw in his bid with the person that seemed least likely to take the throne.

“Terion, you know. The possibilities for retaking my father’s conquests are lowering every day. I need a propaganda victory against the resistance, to ensure-”

“Such as a successful war?”

Perturabo grinned. “The reformers will not be happy, but they’re in the resistance anyhow. Let’s see- I’ll write a document about the dangers of Chaos, and then, well. Who should we have attack us?”


“Jesthen is most isolated geographically and politically.”

“Yes, and it sided with Ntaolus during the last war. It’s perfect, really. “Queen” Knaire is power-hungry, and- basically, yes. Can we be sure no one overheard this?”

“Well, you’re in charge of Throne Room security, so yes.”

“I hate it when people think I’m omnipotent.”

“I know.”

The two friends stared at each other for a couple of seconds, then separated.

Renegades Saga contributions
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...tions-cry.html)
(https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...s-scarlet.html)
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The Emperor has turned to Chaos. The dream of the Imperium has become a nightmare. But Horus and his Coalition stand against the dark, here at the end of time.

Lorgar's Betrayal
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What was broken has been mended. And what was burned away can never be reforged.
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Good work.
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