Companion To Champions II
The thick plottens! The paragraphs get longer! Lucius makes a cameo! Little Horus does nothing at all! In this episode, Jhary meets someone who shares his dress sense, and the story's place in established canon gets even more unclear; also, Horus' lays down the law as to family. (Dunno if he would actually do that, but I couldn't help myself!)
“Yes indeed, Chaos is very strong on this plane.”
There was silence after the extraordinary pronouncement, every Astartes in the room looking at Jhary A Conel and trying to work out what exactly he meant; it was obvious from his tone that he didn’t mean chaos as in disorder, but said the word as if it deserved a capital letter. Chaos- something powerful yet totally unknown to them…
“Chaos?” asked the Warmaster, frowning deeply- Jhary had been looking a little too intently at him as he’d been speaking for his comfort. “What is Chaos? And what is Law, come to think of it? I take it you don’t mean common law, as in the laws of a planet.”
The Companion to Champions nodded. “Chaos is one of the two elemental forces of the multiverse, along with Law. It is the essence of change and transformation, uncontrolled energy, the driving force behind everything new- without Chaos, the whole of existence would be but a void. It is in direct opposition to Law, the force that keeps everything the same. Tranquillity, if you will…” he said, gesturing with a hand to underline his point. “Now, ideally the two forces would keep themselves in balance and the multiverse would continue on happily. But Chaos has a habit of wanting more, even if it knows full well that for one fraction to gain full control would ultimately end the destruction of everything. ‘Both ultimate law and ultimate chaos lead to stagnation’, as the saying goes… There is a third force, though, that of the Balance. It is the Balance which creates the Eternal Champion in every plane, not that he or she is necessarily aware of it or even their role in existence.”
“So the Eternal Champion’s job is to fight for whatever fraction is weaker in his… plane, you say, and in this… plane, Chaos is the stronger fraction?”
“Exactly. Well put, Captain...?”
Jhary smiled proudly at the Luna Wolf, seemingly oblivious to Abbaddon’s continued suspicious looks; the Astartes hadn’t stopped glaring at the traveller since he had first spoken. By this time, however, the Warmaster and his Mournival had given in to their instincts to trust the strange man who’d so recently burst into their existence.
“Am I correct in thinking, A Conel, that it would be best for us to try to identify your Eternal Champion as soon as possible, then allow you to aid him as you claim is your duty?” asked the Warmaster, recalling what Jhary had said about this Champion and thinking of all the people that could fit into that description. “From what you have told us- the fighting on behalf of Law, not to mention the very name of the Eternal Champion- I would suggest that the most likely candidate is my father, the Emperor of Mankind. He is quite literally eternal and the most powerful human being in existence. It was he who united Terra many centuries ago, created the Imperium of Man, and leads the Crusade to re-unite humanity under a single banner once more. If he isn’t your Champion, then I don’t know who is.”
The Mournival and Serpionson, who hadn’t left the room out of sheer curiosity, all nodded with agreement at their Primarch’s words; Jhary, on the other hand, merely rubbed his chin and made a thoughtful noise.
“It is… possible, but in my experience the Eternal Champion is more of a low-key figure. He also tends to have rather bad luck and little family, which I’m sure you’ll agree are not attributes of your father. With twenty children it’s quite the opposite!”
"Eighteen. He has eighteen sons.” cut in the Warmaster firmly, glaring at Jhary as if trying to psychicly impress upon the traveller just how many brothers he had. A Conel nodded almost meekly, obviously decided not to press the issue.
“Of course, I forgot.”
“Make sure you don’t forget again.” stated Horus, but he seemed mollified by Jhary’s response and most of the ire was gone from his voice; within a minute it was as if he had never been angry. “But come, tell us more about those deadly flies you mentioned.”
Time passed- four days, to be precise. The Imperial force’s war against the Pirasian forces continued, with the Astartes gaining more and more ground by the hour. Loken’s hunch about the woods proved to be accurate, but they were prepared and very few lives were lost; even if each death was mourned deeply, all recognised that many more would have died on a headlong rush towards the well-fortified wall. The Warmaster was pleased with their progress, his praise being passed down the ranks to even the average Astartes- if there were such a thing.
Jhary A Conel spent most of those four days at the Imperial HQ, wandering without purpose and learning of the new plane that he had found himself in. Though very familiar, it had changed since he had last visited it… No, that wasn’t it. It hadn’t yet changed into the place he had visited before and, thanks to his being here now, might never at all. That he remembered it how it would be but possibly wasn’t going to be was a puzzle, unless he was what made it how it was going to be in the first place. Thoughts like that made even his head start to hurt, so he concentrated on getting to know the Astartes who surrounded him.
The Companion to Champions was able to access most areas thanks to a pass given to him by the Warmaster himself, but whether or not he was actually welcome in such places was a different matter. Some, like Abbaddon, remained suspicious and politely or openly hostile to the smooth-talking stranger, but most- Torgaddon and Loken among them- had grown to trust him almost as soon as they met. They were always glad, in what spare moments they had, to tell the traveller about the Imperium and share tales of the strange sights they had seen during the Crusade. Jhary, for his part, could tell a wild story or two of his own- of Hawkmoon and his quest for the Staff, of Elric of Melbone and the cursed Stormbringer, or the Prince In The Scarlet Helm who managed to kill a god. They were particularly interested in the story of Erekose, though expressed much disgust when they learnt what he had done to the human race. ‘Xenos lover’, Loken had called him- obviously a very grievous insult in his culture.
Jhary kept quiet, then, about the fact that the Eternal Champion wasn’t always human.
On the fourth day of his stay in the Imperium, the HQ was to receive a very important visitor. Jhary had been talking with the rememberancers in their makeshift bar- another one of his new favourite places- when he heard the news that Lord Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor’s Children, had arrived on-planet and was to visit the front lines that evening. Jhary knew that the taking of the planet’s sector was a joint effort between the Luna Wolves and Emperor’s Children Chapters, but like all the others had assumed that the Primarch was too busy in other places to visit his brother. Apparently they were wrong, and another of the Emperor’s almost demi-god sons had graced them with his presence. On receiving the news the traveller had smiled broadly, excused himself from their company, and made his way to the Great Hall where he had first been taken to meet the Warmaster.
His high-level pass allowed him to enter the packed Hall, the traveller’s small figure dodging and weaving in between the much taller Astartes until he had a decent view of the two Primarchs, evidently deep in conversation; Marines of slightly lower rank, including the entire Mournival and several Emperor’s Children, hung around the two giants like tug boats around ocean liners.
The traveller smiled to himself. Lord Fulgrim’s appearance, especially his long hair and colourfully ornate armour, appealed to Jhary’s aesthetic senses; he had a feeling that the two of them might get along if allowed to meet. He smiled, then frowned as he remembered the Primarch’s decidedly grim fate- it was much like Elric’s, in a way, undone by a daemonic sword that gave him power but ultimately cost his soul, and forced to end the lives of many who he had loved. The Companion’s eyes automatically flickered to Lord Fulgrim’s side, where his sword was buckled, but to his relief it was the Fireblade he found there and nothing possessed.
Then he heard his name mentioned.
“And then he told us that the Champion tends to be a most unlucky person, normally unimportant and without family…” The Warmaster was telling Lord Fulgrim, his eyes not on his brother but scanning the crowd intently as if searching for someone. “It seems to be vital that we find this Champion and aid him in his fight against this Chaos, the fate of the Imperium could rely on it. Or so I understand… I’m sure A Conel could explain it better. Ah, speak of the devil- there’s the man. Jhary A Conel!”
Jhary ducked from behind a smug-looking man with an impressive sword of his own, bowing deeply and removing his hat to Lord Fulgrim as he had to the Warmaster. “My lords.”
Lord Fulgrim looked him from top to toe thoughtfully, raising an eyebrow at his colourful clothing and noting with approval his obvious care as to his appearance. He also noted that, unlike the majority of humans, Jhary seemed totally at ease around Space Marines and even Primarchs- most curious. “So, you are the Companion to Champions my brother mentioned.” he said, his tone as thoughtful as his analysis of Jhary had been. “You seem to have made quite an impression- and it’s not often that the Warmaster is impressed by a human.”
“I try, my lord.” replied Jhary, smiling modestly. “Many that I have met will agree that I am a very trying individual.”
This amused both Primarchs, but the Warmaster was in a business-like mood and didn’t hesitate to move back to the subject in hand. “According to A Conel, this Chaos could turn out to be the most dangerous threat to humanity; even more dangerous that the xenos threat, he says. He also insists this is not an exaggeration.” he added, an Emperor’s Child behind his Primarch having made a politely sceptical noise in his throat.
“Unlike ali- xenos, Chaos is a corruptor of men. It tempts them into serving it and then changes the weak among them beyond all recognition, eventually driving most of them insane.” said Jhary firmly, remembering the twisted creatures he had met in the Queen Of Swords’ world, among other places too numerous to mention. “It has the power to turn humans into monsters, mindless spawn only serving the whim whatever god so transformed them.”
“And my brother tells me that the Warp is a world of Chaos?” asked Fulgrim, frowning as he looked down on the small man with the big hat. This news, if it was true- and there was no reason to disbelieve him if Horus thought he was genuine- was deeply disturbing. “That the ‘Warp Predators’ we encounter are called by you as ‘daemons’?”
“Yes, my lord. They are simply very small facets of a larger power, the controllers of Chaos and the real threat to the Balance. They are called gods by many civilisations, and the name fits. They are very powerful and no friends of humanity.”
“There are no gods!” burst out the Emperor’s Child who, until now, had been sheltering behind Lord Fulgrim’s graceful form; he was glaring openly at Jhary as if the traveller had just insulted a very close family member of his, possibly his mother. “My lord, this man is obviously a superstitious madman. The Emperor himself teaches that there are no gods and certainly no daemons- would this man would rather we believe his baseless lies than the word of the Emperor?”
“Peace, Eidolon.” soothed Lord Fulgrim, making a ‘calm down now’ gesture with his hands. Some nearby Luna Wolves looked positively scandalised that someone would so openly disagree with their Primarch, even if Horus himself didn’t seem too insulted. Jhary simply blinked.
“Are you saying that you have never encountered anything which cannot be explained by rational explinations- by science or logic?” asked Jhary firmly, looking from one Astartes face to another. The Warmaster and Loken shared a significant look, one word said simultaneously.
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; 10-08-11 at 08:08 PM.