Ckcrawford: The Last Tower
Extract from the pages of an old Terrain book… What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
Deep Down in the Galactic South of the Imperium, lay the lost and most beautiful worlds of the Imperium. “The Four Titan Worlds”, as so they were called. The first world, “Oceanus” the planet with beautiful oceans. Of all the oceans in the world, these oceans were the most beautiful. The depths and mysteries underneath them all but known. The second, “Cronus” a planet that was known for its fine and gentle forests. The third, “Helious” which bore the biggest mountains in the galaxy. And the fourth, Phoebe, the planet that was most like old Terra yet received the least light of the four due to the distance to the Sun and Moons that it had around it. Some called it, “The Planet of Darkness.”
Each world had been colonized very minimally due to the size of these planets. Each over four times the size of Terra. After they were found by the Imperium, the Emperor had declared these worlds restricted. To be kept as jewels of the Imperium after the Crusade. Untainted and untouched by the warring races of the galaxy, they were admired by the High Lords of Terra.
In doing so, after the Second Founding, four of the most beautiful towers were created along with four of the most successful second founding chapters given the responsibility of guarding these worlds.
After a while, expeditions to these worlds had stopped and their beauty forgotten. Instead each chapter was given command of Imperial Guard Regiments, and many other resources to start extracting the natural resources each world had. The only difference was that each world had its own abundance of particular resource. Knowing that whatever chapter owned this sector, they would have the power to rule the entire Galactic South. As such, every Chapter Master refused to start sucking their planet of their resources. Stating they were protecting these jewels as directly ordered by the Emperor before the Heresy.
Only one obeyed the new administration’s command.
“Burn all of them down!”
The Chapter Master looked upon the Planet of Cronus from his ship as he barked out the order.
“A lesson to all those to employ hit and run tactics and think they can disgrace me. Now, we watch them burn.”
The crew looked at the targets. Guilt stuck in their throats chocking them. But it needed to be done. It had been thousands of years. Their fathers, and grandfathers had fought over this planet. Now they would give them the respect they deserved. And they would bring the Imperium the rightful Chapter to rule this sector.
The Sons of Darkness. The Chapter that had been created to rule “The Planet of Darkness,” had benefited in being the farthest planet away from the three. And the enemy Imperial Guard Regiments had been devastated with the constant night fighting. So dark was the planet that unless you lived on it, you could not employ any strategy. Even with the three Chapters and regiments of the planets fighting against one, they were still massacred, as whole regiments disappeared without a trace. After three weeks, the three chapters had retreated from the Planet of Darkness with 75% casualties.
“Are you alright Chapter Master Syrian?”
Quintus, the Chapter Master’s first Captain had seen him walk away from the scene unnoticed by the rest of the crew.
“Yes Quintus. Its hard to see such a world turn to ash. To see my brothers who defended these worlds annihilated. But we follow the direct orders of the Imperium. “
Quintus looked at his broken Chapter Master. They had lived longer than most Astartes, fighting together against the Green Skin, Tyranids, and renegades pirates that went all over the galaxy to steel resources from planets. Now he was now in the progress of destroying this brotherhood.
“What of the Tower my lord. What shall we do about the survivors in Cronus’ Tower? “
Syrian started walking away and then paused for a moment in the shadows.
“Purge the traitors. A traitor is a traitor, no matter what kind of bond we have.”
A century before had seen the fall of Oceanus. With the traitors in full retreat and fully devastated, the Sons of Darkness killed every living thing on the planet’s surface. Syrian had seen the faces of his brothers as they returned from killing their former brothers. The look in their eye’s as though their souls had been pulled from them. And the beautiful Tower of Oceanus had artillery shells barged into it until its existence had been a mystery to the world. But Syrian had seen none of the destruction. He did not want to.
Now they had arrived to their hardest compliance… Helious. It would take everything in Syrian’s power to take down this world’s power. And he would personally have to lead the assault.
The Sons of Darkness were facing as much a disadvantage as the three chapters that attacked the Planet of Darkness. The only difference… they were the darkness.
The Imperial Guard Regiments had surrounded the Tower of Helious. It had been built deep within its mountains, and virtually made it impregnable.
The final assault required precision. As the Sons of Darkness dropped down on the fortified tower, they would need the Imperial Guard to bombard the inside of the fortress right before they landed.
As the Imperial Tanks bombarded, it became disastrous as several of the pods were destroyed in mid air. But it didn’t matter; they had gotten most of the Chapter inside the fortress. The tanks had stopped the siege, and the real slaughter had begun.
Limbs had been torn apart as the traitors were easily swept aside. And Syrian chased Helious’ Chapter Master up the Tower.
The Chapter Master of Helious threw down his sword, accepting his fate.
“I have obeyed the Imperium, and the Emperor. I have done it all in his glory.”
The Chapter Master dragged something from his holster. Quick as he was, Syrian drew his blade upwards through his stomach.
The Chapter Master fell down. As he looked at what the proud astartes was about to draw to him. He dropped his sword as his hands trembled to what he had come upon.
The Flag of the Four Towers. A lost artifact that was given by the Emperor to them but lost until now.
“What have I done?”
Like the Towers, now there was only one. He whispered again.
“What have I done.....?”