The Black Aquila- a 30k AU
WARNING: This story was written by someone whose imagination is much greater than her knowledge of fluff. As a result, the following may had fluff boo-boos and people acting in such a way that make you want to tear your eyeballs out, but I tried my best... Honest.
“I distrust Great Men. They produce a desert of uniformity around them- and often a pool of blood, too…” E.M Forster
It is impossible to talk of the Imperium of Man without talking of the Emperor of Mankind. The two are mutually reliant and inextricably linked, the Emperor being not only the creator of the Imperium as it stands now but it’s spirit- its lifeblood, and reason to exist- and it is possible that the reverse applies equally. To remove one and leave the other alone would be to doom them both.
But little is known of the great protector of Mankind, so adored by so many, and most stories of his immortal life that have never reached the ears of but a select few; generally this is because of the sheer timescale involved, since the Emperor was most likely born before the idea of writing had even been considered. But sometimes a story is quashed for reasons of ‘morale’ and ‘security’, the truth being judged so damaging to the human cause that a bare-faced lie is preferable.
The tale of the Emperor’s brother is one such story.
He, as far as can be told, had existed as long as the Emperor had. They were equal in power and presence, two twin deities twisting the history of humankind to their taste, and yet the Luciferan- as he was known- had never achieved the fame that his brother so enjoyed. This was most likely because of his nature and manners, which were so essentially different from the Emperor’s that the onlooker would be forgiven for not realising their true relationship.
Where the Emperor surrounded himself in pool of light and actively sought the attention of men, the Luciferan had always preferred the shadows; he had always been obscure out of his own choice, keeping himself to himself and his actions on the side-lines. His true thoughts and feelings were always hidden behind a veil, very few humans even glimpsing their leader’s sibling, let alone being granted the honour of addressing him. When they did, they could not help but compare him unfavourably to the Emperor- for, while beautiful and charming, the Luciferan was not a glowing figure like his brother but a shadow. He was somehow a hole in the world, a blind spot that the eye steadfastly refused to focus on, which suited him very well. Unlike his brother, he was able to stand without detection even in the most crowded of areas, a skill that bordered on invisibility but required no magical skill whatsoever.
The Luciferan was a spirit of change and rebellion to his brother’s loyalty and honour, behind nearly every uprising and revolution in human history. It was his delight to sow seeds of unrest, his philosophy being that change was always good and the only way to improve a bad situation was with the power of the people. He frequently clashed with the Emperor, as much as they worked side-by-side, and more than once played the part of his Judas; by blood and fire did his change come, an enteral necessary evil to tempt and taut humanity into progress.
Their differences were not only in their personality but their abilities. While the dominion of the psychic and the Warp was almost exclusively the Emperor’s, the Luciferan’s talents lay firmly within the material world; the power to change matter was his, the long-forgotten art of alchemy remade with technology far beyond most mortal’s understanding. The Luciferan could shuffle atoms and molecules like a pack of cards, or seem to change the nature of matter with the merest of thoughts. He could change lead into gold or tweak an animal’s DNA to create marvels- or monstrosities, depending on where the observer stood.
Even more unlike his brother was the Luciferan’s Warp presence- where the Emperor was a shining beacon in the Immaterium, the Luciferan had very little presence at all. In fact he had a negative presence, a black hole that not only smothered but absorbed any psychic emanations that approached him- a Blank, in fact. As the Emperor was the most powerful psyker, so too was he the pinnacle of his breed. The Luciferan had honed his Blank powers to the degree that they served as a fearful weapon, able to make his psyker-draining aura an inch or a mile wide as he wished. He could suck away the power of a psychic attack, then throw it back at the caster as a sort of twisted anti-psyker energy that attacked not only the body but the soul, or use his powers over matter reduce them down to their constituent atoms.
But, of course, the Luciferan rarely if ever ventured onto the battlefield; his powers were only witnessed by a handful of souls, his brother included. When he did, his path was littered by psykers of both allies and the foe, reduced to gibbering terror by the passage of what amounted to a psychic vacuum.
Despite their differences, the brothers managed to work side by side for the most part. But there were four times when the Luciferan crossed the line; four reasons why even the mention of his name is forbidden the length of the Imperium…
His first sin came before the Great Crusade.
The Emperor had been reluctant, to say the least, to let his brother take part in his newest project; making sure his sons were born safe and well required a patient, careful nature- not something that the Luciferan was famed for. But his prowess with technology was and, having eventually allowed the Luciferan to participate, the Emperor soon found that the addition of his skills to the project very much outweighed any negative influences he brought with him- or so it seemed. For, unknown to anyone but himself, the Luciferan had added an unexpected ingredient to the recipe.
An ingredient that was only detected the day that the Primarchs were taken from Holy Terra, sent scattered like beads thrown across the room; only the Emperor’s best efforts prevented the disaster from becoming fatal and, as soon as the merest hint of calm returned, he confronted his brother, taking care to keep out of his psychic-dampening aura.
“You did this.”
It wasn’t a question but a statement of fact. The Luciferan looked up from what he had been doing, raising an eyebrow. “Did what?” he asked, puzzled; but his thoughts soon came to the same track as his brothers and he scowled. “Oh, brother. Are you honestly to say that I was to blame for the actions of the… Warp forces? Are suggesting that I am their controller now?”
“No. But you thought you were and that, apart from actually going through with the most foolish venture, was your most grievous mistake.”
The Luciferan looked for a second as if he was going to give a facetious reply, but the expression on his brother’s face made him reconsider; the Emperor’s psychic powers may not be able to harm him, but neither could his own Blankness effect his brother like it did normal human beings or even Astartes. If they were to fight, they would not only fight each other to a standstill but run the risk of killing everyone within a good few miles. He sighed. “You know, that much is obvious. I should have guessed- nothing is secret from the Immortal Emperor of Mankind, eh?”
“Exactly, brother. Exactly… What, may I ask, possessed you to do this? What in your mad and foolish brain convinced you that this was a good idea?” He was practically shouting now; nearly no-one but his brother could make him raise his voice, and no-one but his brother could have heard it without weeping with terror. “You have come perilously close to ruining what we… No, what I have worked on for so long. Your stupidity- your utter, pigheaded stupidity- could have doomed everything that I have planned for the human race. If you were not my brother, know now that I would have struck you down where you stand!”
The Luciferan narrowed his eyes, looking his brother from top to toe; they were very alike, physically, with only the darker shade of the Luciferan’s body and his storm-coloured garb setting them apart. “I’m surprised you let a little thing like that stop you, Lord Emperor.”
If the Emperor was the only living thing who could raise his voice to his brother, then the Luciferan was the only living thing that could render him speechless. He very swiftly recovered, though.
“You… You think I would do that? You do. You think that I would raise my hand against my only brother and strike him down. Luciferan, we have never seen eye to eye, but has it really come to this?”
The Luciferan was silent for a second, not meeting the Emperor’s eyes. The unspoken answer hung in the air between the two immortal brothers like a dark spirit, before he spoke again. “I regret what I have done, brother, but I will not apologise. What I have done, while foolish, is what I was created to do. My nature. Don’t you see?” The Luciferan paused for the briefest of seconds. “You were made by the best in humanity, all the hope and ambition and spirit. People love you because you’re what they love in themselves. But after you’ve had your pick what, may I ask, is left for me? I am chaos and change and rebellion because that was all that was left for me. If someone takes all the light, you have to take the shadows. This is the role I was made to play, so do not blame me for following the script.”
There was silence for a long time; there could only be silence.
“If it makes you feel any better, brother, I’ll help you look for them.”
The exact nature of the Luciferan’s second and third transgressions have been lost in time- or deliberately destroyed after the Heresy, perhaps. It is not widely known, then, that the Emperor’s brother was banished from Terra after the first sin and – so the story goes- set about searching for the missing Primarchs, accompanied by a few select companions.
It was then that his lack of psychic powers, a lack that had never affected the Luciferan before, began to severely affect him.
Unable to seek out his lost nephews with the power of his mind, the Luciferan seemed to become irredeemably lost within the unmapped vastness of undiscovered space. Very little was heard from the Emperor’s chaotic sibling for almost a century, leaving the Emperor to search for his sons by himself. Then, during the Great Crusade, the Luciferan reappeared back on Terra with very little warning and totally alone; his explanation for his absence was that he had been in a shuttle crash on a jungle planet, a crash which killed most of his companions outright. The damage to his ship was such that the rest of his companions died of old age, injury or starvation before he could make the vehicle airworthy once more- whereupon he made his way back to Terra, learning on his way that all of his nephews had been safely found and were leading humanity’s rediscovery of space.
He seemed particularly smug upon his return, because his gamble with the Ruinous powers seemed to have paid off- he was particularly proud of Sanguinus’ wings and Magnus’ psychic power, which he asserted were down to him- and put on the air of someone possessing superior knowledge. What that knowledge was the Luciferan refused to say, possibly because to the share superior knowledge was to take away the satisfaction of knowing more than any other.
His brother’s ire towards the Luciferan had mellowed considerably over the last a hundred years, and the wayward immortal was welcomed back into the Imperial fold with open arms. He at once faded back into the shadows, having very little direct contact with his nephews and preferring to experiment on his own in the laboratories or steadily read his way through libraries of Terra. The only Primarchs he did seem to have an interest in were Magnus and Lorgar, for entirely different reasons; the first because his immense power was apparently due to his actions, and the second for reasons that he never shared with anyone, least of all his brother.
Throughout the next century he experimented and read almost nonstop, his extreme secrecy and increasing detachment from humanity’s affairs eventually rousing the Emperor’s concern; the Luciferan’s air of undisclosed knowledge had only increased and he had started dropping hints as to some unknown future catastrophe, only smiling mysteriously when pressed for details. He had obviously seen or heard of something during his travels in space that was known only to him and perhaps a few others, and seemed to be planning to take the information to the grave- if, indeed, he ever required one.
The Emperor did not want to suspect his brother of any wrongdoing, like he was loathe to suspect his favourite son Horus when Magnus tried to warn him of his betrayal, but eventually he was forced to accept that his brother had some hand in the Heresy. He had, after all, been in frequent communication with Lorgar and there was no denying that he had contact with the Ruinous Powers before. It was no large leap of logic to assume that it was the Luciferan who first planted the seeds of Chaos worship within the Astartes- the Emperor knew from long experience that starting rebellions was one of his brother’s strong points. They would at one point be forced to meet in battle, two gods of immense and opposite talents, and even he was uncomfortable imagining what the effects of such a clash would be.
But the Luciferan had made himself scarce and they only met once, on the bridge of Horus’ warship as it orbited above the battle of Terra. This is where the story of the two brothers and accepted history begin to really part ways; in the traditionally told story, Horus kills his own brother Sanguinus and seriously wounds his father before being killed by the Emperor. But the story including the Luciferan reads very differently, starting with the death of the Blood Angel’s Primarch…
The Emperor gazed down at the broken bodies of his two sons, lying on the floor like so many unwanted playthings, then turned to face their killer; the Luciferan was cheerfully unrepentant, smiling faintly and tap-tapping his fingers against the stormy-grey surface of his power armour in a strangely familiar four-beat rhythm. There was blood splattered on his armour and smeared on his skin, blood on the black power sword he held loosely in one gloved hand; like the wielder itself, it was both the twin of the Eagle’s Talon and yet so fundamentally different. His Blank aura filled the whole bridge, swallowing without a flicker any and all attempts at psychic attacks- including the death-throes of the two Primarchs.
“You killed them.”
The Luciferan’s smile widened. “Yes, I did. But why are you so horrified, dear brother? It wasn’t as if you were going to grant the traitor any clemency; I merely did your job for you. A favour to my favourite elder sibling, you could say.”
The Emperor ignored his brother’s jibes and glanced again at Sanguinus’ corpse, lying next to Horus’; he remembered seeing the Warmaster die, the Warp energy that kept him alive drained away like blood before he was quite literally stabbed in the back.
He remembered Sanguinus’ look of relief- he had been so sure that his uncle was on his side- a split second before his head had been severed from his shoulders with one fell sweep.
And he remembered the look of unholy glee on the Luciferan’s face as he murdered his own nephews. He pointed at the winged body, looking his brother deep in his dark eyes. “But why him, why kill Sanguinus? What purpose does his death serve? Who’s side, exactly, are you on?”
“Purpose, Lord Emperor? What purpose does any death- or indeed, any life- serve? There is no purpose, no higher power or greater good or light at the end of the tunnel. Humanity is a parasite on the skin of the universe, brother, blindly taking for sustenance from powers that we cannot hope to understand.” jeered the Luciferan, taking a step forward. “They live, within fourscore years and ten they die, they are forgotten almost at once. Stupid, short and utterly pointless, wouldn’t you agree, brother? They stumble about for most of their pitiful lives totally unaware of the true nature of the universe, so scared of what they can’t understand that they can’t see the true magnificence of Chaos. Even Horus was blinkered, he was only after power. He ignored the art of it, the true beauty.”
“There is no beauty in Chaos, Lord Luciferan. Just destruction and the corruption of all things.”
“Blind. You were always so blind, brother… Just like your feathery son over there. He-”
The Luciferan never got the finish the sentence, as the Eagle’s Talon came sweeping down at his head and he only just managed to avoid being decapitated; his own dark blade, Shadow Claw, blocked the blow at the last second. Stepping back, he aimed his own attack at his brother.
“Finally showing a little spine, are we? Very well, it’s your funeral…”
The battle raged back and forth, both combatants equally matched and perfectly prepared to kill. The Luciferan’s Blank powers rendered the Emperor’s psyker abilities nearly useless, but his brother made up for that in superior sword skills. It wasn’t long, then, before the Emperor managed to wound the Luciferan- a deep gash to the side of the face.
He didn’t notice the blood on his own skin, didn’t notice that wounding him seemed to cause the Luciferan pain, but he did notice when he stabbed the Luciferan straight through the arm his own arm lit up with up with agony. Then the Emperor saw it- each wound on one brother’s body was mirrored on the other, as if there was some link between them even the Blank powers couldn’t dampen. A link like nothing he’d seen before.
His brother smiled. “You’re finally coming close to the truth, Lord Emperor. Do you want to hear it- are you too afraid?” he taunted, raising his blade defensively- but leaving a wide opening anyone who knew blades could take full advantage of and which the Emperor of Mankind, in his overwhelming rage, did.
Two wounds, twice the pain.
“You still don’t realise, do you?” sighed the Luciferan, wiping blood off his chin with a grotesquely casual air; he was still smiling, the Emperor noticed, even with a sword in his guts. He’d never stopped smiling since he arrived. He’d soon change that. “I’m not here. I never was… Look at yourself! For once, put away your delusions and actually see!”
The Emperor blinked, not taking his eyes off his brother or his hand off his sword. What lies was he trying to feed him now, he thought, ignoring the insistent voice saying something was deeply wrong and that he should do what the Luciferan said for once. He heard his brother sigh with mock pity at his refusal, the smile still on his face as he pointed to the Emperor’s own stomach with a dip of his chin.
“You might want to take the sword out of yourself sometime soon.” He added helpfully, and this time his brother did look down.
“That’s not possible.”
“Not possible? Not possible that you created me out of all the dark, twisted part of your insane patchwork mind? Not possible that I don’t exist as a person, but as a scapegoat for all of your mistakes? Made me a container for all your wicked thoughts? Yeah, that’s not possible at all.” The Luciferan stepped back as he spoke, leaving the Emperor holding onto the blade in his own stomach; he was fading as he did so, the far wall visible through his mocking face. “I guess from your expression you’re remembering what you did now. It’d be hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic…”
“Then I was the one who made the contract with Chaos? I was the one who drove my sons away, who drove Lorgar to Chaos? And I… I murdered my own sons?”
“I’m afraid so. You’ve ruined everything you ever worked for, brother, and you know what the sad thing is? If you were human enough to face up to all the times you made mistakes- even admitted you made some!- none of this would have happened. But you were always very arrogant.” The now-transparent Luciferan shrugged. “I guess this is what humans call irony, isn’t it? Still, you’ll have a long time to think about it. We worked out that. In fact, you’ll have all the time in the world… Goodbye, brother. It was nice knowing you.”
Originally Posted by effigy22
"No daddy, not there... i will be a good boy! i promise! no... not the cupboard! DADDY PLEASE! NO NO NO! Horus is a good boy... horus is a good boy... horus is a good boy. Daddy loves horus... daddy loves horus... daddy loves horus..."
Originally Posted by TheReverend
haha, well I was just re-reading A Thousand Sons and came across teh line "the horns on Magnus's breast were thrusting"...
"With a hey-nonny-nonny and blood all over the place"
Last edited by Black Steel Feathers; 10-05-11 at 04:22 PM.