Brotherhood Champion Jairus strode from the teleportation room with assurance and self-confidence in his stride. Whilst his steps did not falter, there was a small part of him that did. He had acted within his sphere of authority and as he thought was necessary to discipline Mordred. The whelp needed to learn. It was the other members of squad Dothrac that caused his resolve to falter slightly. He had trusted Galahad with command, perhaps before he was ready. Eriban was still holding himself back from the Communion, as he had been since Armageddon and Fenris. Talerion was only a few steps behind Mordred in his foolish path, although not so far along that he would have to take such drastic measures.
These thoughts and others besides occupied his mind as he separated from squad Dvorn and made his way to his chambers. He had taken the actions that were necessary to hammer squad Dothrac into the weapon of the Imperium they had to be. A perfect sword was not made by a single hammer blow and Jairus was certain that there would be other blows he would have to strike in order to help the squad now under his wing. But, he could not strike to hard or else he would shatter the blade and it would be worthless save for melting down and trying again. Jairus thought of these things and how to best ensure squad Dothrac did not slip into a miasma of despair when there was a hard knock on the door. Perhaps it was already too late for such things, Jairus wondered as the doors slid open.
Galahad: Brotherhood Champion Jairus listens to your speech and says nothing for a few long moments, his fingers stroking his lips in contemplation. He stands and motions for you to rise saying “Rise Justicar Galahad. Such a fate is not for you.” Jairus flicks his wrists and calls both your staff and your helmet to his hands as you stand. He offers them both back to you and nods for you to take them. You do so, although you are likely uneasy about accepting the symbol of an office you feel you do not deserve. You may well protest, try to explain that you are unworthy, but Brotherhood Champion Jairus will cut you off if you do. If not he merely speaks, and he does to kindly.
“I still believe in you Justicar Galahad of Squad Dothrac. I still believe you have the capacity to lead your brothers and use them according to their strengths. But, I fear I was mistaken in leaving you to command immediately, with no further training and so soon after Zephyr’s death. He spoke highly of you.” Jairus adds the last sentence as though it were irrelevant, but likely to you it is not. Suddenly Jarius’s voice is no longer kind, but hard as iron. You can tell there are lessons he is about to teach you, and they will likely not be easy ones either.
“You can only fail in an oath if you refuse to carry it through to its completion or your death, neither of which have occurred. You may think your request is selfless and humble, but it is not. You would leave your brothers, burden them with more shame and more dishonour because after one error you are afraid of failure?” Jairus pauses to let his words sink in before he continues. “Your brothers need a leader who will lead them through adversity, not balk in the face of it. Where is the Galahad I heard about, who marshalled his squad when their Justicar was slain, completed their objective and got them off of that Space Hulk alive and with the bodies of the dead? Find that resolve again, and use it.”
Your conversation is interrupted by a knock on Brotherhood Champion Jairus’s door. He opens it with his psychic abilities to reveal Brother Talerion standing there, clothed in a simple tunic. Jairus motions for Talerion to enter and the door hisses shut behind him. He continues to speak to you as if Talerion were not even there. “You are a peace keeper Justicar Galahad, used to keeping the humours of your brothers in balance whilst other administered the rod and the lash. No more. Talerion, what is your decision?” Talerion will say whether he will take only his lashes of Mordred’s as well. As he does, Jarius calls to his hand the lash and stand beside you facing Talerion instead of opposite you. “Now you must learn to discipline your brothers as well as comfort them.” With that he hands you the lash, clearly expecting you to administer the lashes yourself.
Talerion: Galahad leaves you, Auril and Eriban alone together. Whilst he’s gone you may take guesses as to where he is going, or you might want to learn more about Eriban. After all, he is another unknown entity entering your squad and perhaps you are curious why Eriban is being kept so close to Brotherhood Champion Jairus as you are. Or perhaps you want to organise a friendly sparring match with one or both of them later. Eriban is the only member of your squad who wields a weapon as heavy as the mighty daemonhammer and it might be good practice to pit yourself against a wider variety of foes. Plus, something like that might well give you a chance to bond with your new squad mate.
If you do decide to spar with Eriban, you decide that you should do it after you have seen Brotherhood Champion Jairus, since you and him have unresolved business to deal with. You reach out with your mind and find that both Galahad and Jairus are together in his quarters. You quickly make your way there and knock on the door. It slides open to reveal Jairus talking to Galahad. He beckons you in but then ignores you, speaking only to Galahad until he asks you “Talerion, what is your decision?” Here you must make a decision, accept only your punishment, or your brother’s as well. Whatever you decide, Jairus hands Galahad to lash, clearly expecting him to administer your punishment. It appears you are not the only one with a lesson to learn from this punishment.
Auril: Galahad leaves you, Talerion and Eriban alone together. Whilst he’s gone you may take guesses as to where he is going, or you might want to learn more about Eriban. After all, he is another unknown entity entering your squad and perhaps you are curious why Eriban is being kept so close to Brotherhood Champion Jairus as you are. Or perhaps you want to organise a friendly sparring match with one or both of them later. Eriban is the only member of your squad who wields a weapon as heavy as the mighty daemonhammer and it might be good practice to pit yourself against a wider variety of foes. Plus, something like that might well give you a chance to bond with your new squad mate.
Before long Talerion leaves you too. Now it is just you and Eriban. Well, almost. In the archway to the room, you see Justicar Santoro has returned. He moves to speak to Eriban with his mouth, but in your head you hear his voice +My brother is troubled by these recent months. He feels shame for our actions as keenly as you do for your squad mates. I am told you are a man of zeal and faith, more so than many of us. Watch over him. He is my friend and I do not wish to see him fall into the abyss.+ Santoro’s conversation with you seems to finish at the same time he finishes talking to Eriban. The two embrace and the Justicar nods to you as he leaves, leaving you alone again with your new brother.
Initiate 437: You walk into the Apothecarion and are greeted by the face of Apothecary Michael. The corner of his mouth curls into a sympathetic smile “Brotherhood Champion Jairus told me you would come. Let me see the wound.” He motions for you to sit down on one of the medical slabs and he takes your unattached hand from you. He immediately sits it in a tray of ice and begins to inspect your stump. As he does so he talks to you, as it is normal process. “You know, Brotherhood Jairus is a man I rarely see in here, and whilst your own capacity at arms is impressive, you were not going to be one of the few to send him into my arms.” Michael chuckles, clearly trying to make light of the situation as he reattaches your hand, probably trying to alleviate whatever negative emotions you are feeling right now.
Your hand is reattached after about 10 minutes of surgery and Michael tells you that you should head to the armoury to get your armour repaired. As you go to leave he says “I hope to see you again, and call you Brother when I do.” You make your way to the armoury Magos Kane emits a mechanical growl that you interpret as a sigh. “I know you detest wearing a storm bolter, but did you have to destroy it just to prove a point Knight Mordred?” Obviously the Magos has not been told about your recent demotion. Magos Kane beckons you over and begins to make the reperations to your armour, pausing for a moment on the clean cut at your wrist before sealing it. After he has finished he tells you “I contacted Brotherhood Champion Jairus about your request for a bolter instead of a storm bolter. He approved it, surprisingly.” He then hands you an incredibly ornate bolter, a weapon so old you are convinced it is probably a relic. He pleads with you “In the Omnissiah’s name, please take care of that weapon Mordred.”
Eriban: Your new Justicar leave abruptly after introductions are made, leaving only you, Auril and Talerion. It might be wise to get to know your new squad mates, since your feelings of doubt are likely to nestle in you for a while and thus you will likely remain in squad Dothrac for some time too. Or you might seek the challenge one of these brothers to a friendly spar, helping you to both train and provide a distraction from your own thoughts.Soon enough, Talerion too makes his excuses and leaves too.
You think you are alone with Auril before you notice Santoro standing in the entrance arch-way. It is likely strange for you to be so close to your old Justicar and not feel his thoughts rub against yours. He walks over to you and begins to speak with a half-smile. “My Brother. We will…” Santoro catches himself “…I will miss your voice in the Communion. You’ve kept us right at so many times and helped our squad remain resolute. I hope these brothers may do the same for you.” Santoro has likely guessed the source of your same, but for whatever reason, likely the courtesy of choosing who you speak to about it. Santoro embraces you and then turns on his heel, acknowledging Auril on his way out. You have an hour to do with as you please. Perhaps it would be wise to stick with at least one member or squad Dothrac for the time being, in order to bond. But then again, if you have no desire to, perhaps you should not.
(Alright guys, update time. Unfortunately, it looks like I favour some people more than others because of the amount of writing some people have. It’s not true, it’s just unfortunate that the dialogue only happens for those people. Hopefully though, you should all have enough to work with and get some decent mileage out of this update.
Initiate 437 stares at Apocathery Michael through the blue lens of his helmet and when he is indicated to sit down on one of the medical slabs he does so handing the apocathery his currently severed hands and watch Michael set to work examining the stump. When Brother-Apocathery Michael attempts to lighten Initiate 437 mood by sharing the information about Champion Jarius all he would receive from Initiate 437 is the cold blank stare of the helmet's blue eye lens meeting his own with the Apocathery may be thinking that his patient if glaring at him. For the next ten minutes the two of them remain in silence as the Apocathery works on re-attaching his hand with Initiate 437 flexing his fingers and wrist when told and once the minor surgery is complete he slides off of the medical slab and onto his feet before inclining his head and heading for the door. When Michael speaks that when they meet again he hopes to call him 'Brother' Initiate 437 once more inclines his head to Michael before bringing his hands up to make the sign of the Aquila as he then sets off on his way to the Armoury and his over-due appointment with Magos Kane.
While making his way to the armoury Initiate 437 has time to reflect on what Apocathery Michael said about the skills of Jarius and resolves to make himself one of those that can send the Brotherhood-Champion to the Apocatherion. Shaking his helmet from side to side with a tiny audible sigh Initiate 437 then turns his attention to the meeting that he is about to have with the Magos and assumes that the Magos will take his silence by verbally and psychically as part of his own dislike towards the diminutive little Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Stepping over the fresh hold of the corridor and into the armoury Initiate 437 turns his helmeted head left and right watching the servitors making repairs to weapons, armoury, combat vehicles and components for the ship itself as he then turns his head in the direction of Magos Kane who he can see has appeared and emitted a mechanical growl that Initiate 437 interprets as a sigh knowing that Kane is looking at his damaged left vambrace where his stormbolter should be. Striding over towards the Magos of the Mechanicus, Initiate 437 looks down at him and to those around he would literally tower over one of the so called: Lords of Mars, as there was close to three feet in difference between Initiate 437 and Kane's own height.
Listening to what Kane has to say Initiate 437 remains in complete silence even when he is handed the bolter and once has is handed it he turns his blue helmet lens to inspect it and sees that this bolter is probably older than even Jarius and most over members in the current company. Initiate 437's eyes scan the bolter for a name as he turns it over in his hands before taking a sure hold on it and feeling its weight and looking down its sight feeling far more comfortable with this form of bolter than he had done with the stormbolter that was once apart of his wargear. Nodding his thanks to Magos Kane he turns and begins to make his way out of the armoury and towards the training decks when the Magos pleads with him not to try and break this one, mag-locking it to his right thigh Initiate 437 turns to face Kane and brings up his hands together slotting his fingers together so that Magos Kane can see as he makes the Cog-Toothed sign of the Mechanicus before finally turning and leaving to head to the armoury.
Once reaching the armoury Initiate 437 checked the HUD on his helmet to see how much time he had left before he had to meet with the rest of Squad Dothrac and seeing that he still had plenty of time he gripped his new bolter in his hands as he moved over to the targeting range that has been set up like that of a street with moving targets stationed in the windows that would fire back blank rounds that were checked to see if they would hit the Marine. Looking around before he began he saw that some battle-brothers of other squads were on the training deck and hoped that they had not learned that he had done, and if they had that they would leave him be for now. Taking a final deep breath Initiate 437 turned back to the shooting range / training exercise as he raised his bolter up to his shoulder and began training to become more proficient with a weapon that was rarely used in the arsenal of a Grey Knight.
Talerion watched Galahad leave the chamber, clearly a weight of doubt and the shame brought on by his and Initiate 437's actions clearly on his mind as he left. The newcomer Eriban then made his presence known, speaking to Talerion, his voice carrying sincerity in his questions "Our Justicar walks as if bowed by a great weight, was his failure so great?"
The straightforwardness was somewhat off-putting to Talerion and his immediate reaction was to lunge to the defense of his Brother Justicar, "No!" his tone harsh and defensive, relaxing and becoming more somber as he continued, "No, our Justicar has not failed us, rather we," he paused and corrected himself, "no, it is I, I who failed him."
At Talerion's suddent outburst Eriban's head snapped back from Galahad's retreating form to fix talerion with a piercing stare his tone harsh, softened by the slightest trickle of understanding "sorrow and remorse will not help him, yet a Justicar is a teacher as much as a leader. Learn from this, remember it and carry it with you and his strife will not be in vain."
Eriban's tone became more business like, his eyes fixing upon Talerion as he continued trying to gather information, to what end Talerion did not know "how did you fail, Brother?"
Talerion eyed Eriban harshly for a moment, he did not enjoy the feeling that he was being interrogated, offering only a simple explanation. "Initiate 437 broke away from the squad in an effort to intercept a group of Traitor Guard that could have revealed our position. I went after him to ensure that he would not be overwhelmed by any ambush awaiting. We did so without orders." He would speak no more on the subject and merely looked over Eriban's shoulder, the markings of another squad resplendent on the pauldron. Looking for some answers of his own he asked a question of his own of Eriban. "Why is it that the Brotherhood Champion seeks to keep you so close to him Brother Eriban?"
Eriban raised an eyebrow at the accusing tone and the bluntness of Talerion's statement and he gives a weary little shake of his head, "I can assure you it is not for the pleasure of my company which seems to be loosing it's appeal by the day." His voice grew distant and Talerion could almost taste the sorrow in his aura, though the wall within his mind kept him from knowing the source of Eriban's pain.
"I have seen... and played a part in the worst moment of our hallowed order," Eriban continued, a grim aura surrounding him and Talerion could tell he is reliving the moments before his eyes, his voice almost as if reciting a prayer. "In those moments honorable men and astartes alike are reduced to children even as they sully the Emperor's name with their blood stained lips. I have wept inside at orders I was given yet still carried them out even when my heart screamed that I should stay my hand." Talerion could only be saddened by the words and the aura that Eriban carried, he wondered if he would let his own missteps weigh so heavily on him.
Talrion's moment of introspection was interrupted as Eriban's voice became a fierce growl, "When a weapon begins to doubt the direction of the hand that wields it you watch it closely unless you want to get cut." Eriban eyed him harshly even as he mellowed a certain import in his voice, his tone half accusatory, half in warning "Just like you watch a rabid dog unless you want to get bitten."
Easily catching the barbed implications of Eriban's statement Talerion stayed his hand though he was greatly tempted to strike the newcomer for his words, even if they were not wholly untrue. If Eriban viewed them as rabid dogs, then from what Talerion could glean the man viewed himself as a broken blade.
"437 and I acted improperly and I give no resistance to that claim, nor do i oppose any sentence and punishment given by the Brotherhood Champion nor our Justicar. I admit my faults and do so openly brother Eriban, perhaps if you were to do the same, these feelings you have, this turmoil and weight on your aura that i sense but cannot know the cause; perhaps you would be alleviated of such strains were you to confide in our Brotherhood Champion, Justicar or even another battle brother. "
"My failing was to seek to aid a then battle brother, I hope that your failing will not be so simple as refusing the outstretched hand brother Eriban, perhaps you see the Brotherhood Champion's interest in you as a slight, but in truth you must be a worthy battle brother indeed for Jairus himself to seek to look after you, such attention would not be afforded just anyone," his tone was sincere and carried a warmth to it that had been severely lacking earlier in their conversation.
Eriban smiled and Talerion could feel a sense of brotherhood and closeness through the bond yet the shield does not waiver. Talerion could also sense a hint of sorrow in his aura, "You speak wisely and already you teach me to be more careful with my tongue in future." Eriban offered a bow of his head in slight deference as he continued, "You are no rabid dog yet your brother in arms that dragged you upon his leash acts as one infected by madness or stupidity. I pray it is the former for, as you say, a mind like a ship can be righted if offered the time and a helping hand, but a slow mind is difficult to speed up." It was obvious to see his forehead furrow as he struggled to choose his words, seeking to get his point across without offending. "I know not what ails him and can promise I like you will support him as a Brother, but I ask Talerion for your sake, if he runs again do not follow." In Eriban's eyes his worry is pure and he holds your gaze for a moment before speaking again, Talerion wondered if he was speaking from firsthand experience as he was still unable to discover what it was that weighed so heavily on this new member of Dothrac.
"Yet such a request cannot be made without payment and I hope this is worth the cost," Erbian spoke somberly. "Let us take this situation. Our initiate has disobeyed running ahead of his Justicar for what he thought was right. Let us pretend I am your Brother Champion, Emperor Protect us. Mordred has disobeyed and I deem him unfit, tainted in fact. You do not see his taint and feel the punishment is sever yet I deem he must be destroyed. I command you to shoot him in the head for his crime."Eriban looked deeply into Talerion's eyes, seeking to read the man's response, "What do you do?"
Talerion would fix Eriban with a quizzical look, almost a wry smile crossing his lips, "You are not the Brotherhood Champion, but, were Jairus to instruct me to put down an Initiate who has failed our Brotherhood so badly then I would carry out those orders. However, I would stay my stormbolter and use my halberd, a former battle brother of mine would deserve at least the honor of a warrior's death."
He moved as if to leave but never let Eriban out of his vision, "Brother Eriban, do not be so quick to place harsh judgement on a brother that you do not know. Now if you will excuse me I must speak with Brotherhood Champion Jairus, we have matters to discuss. We may continue this discussion at another time if you wish Brother." Talerion used the word 'Brother' for the first time directly to Eriban, a sense of sincerity and genuine kinship flowing in his aura.
His exchange with Eriban was behind him now, though it still was at the forefront of his thoughts as he entered the Brotherhood Champion's chambers as requested by Jairus himself. He was eager to have his sentence carried out, not because he felt it would absolve him of his responsibilities, rather he would gain from being held accountable for his actions.
His armor had been left with the tech priests and he wore but a simple robe that covered his lower body from waist to his knees, he looked to Brotherhood Champion Jairus and seemed as if he was about to address him, when he noticed Jairus silently pass the lash inro Galahad's hand. Still he wanted to show proper decorum and addressed them both, "Brotherhood Champion Jairus, Brother Justicar Galahad, for failure to honor your orders I stand before you for my sentencing of 70 lashes. 20 for negating your orders and 50 for attempting to strike my superior officer. Should Initiate 437 return as our Brother once more, I could not allow for his coronation to be marred by a reminder of past transgressions. I would do so for any of my Battle Brothers."
Talerion looked at Galahad and spoke to him with a tone and aura of warmth and understanding that had previously been lacking in the young bladesman. "Justicar Galahad, my sincerest apologies for my actions," his attention being drawn to the lash that lay in his Justicar's hand, "I know I have forced you to take action and I ask for no reprise for my sentence, I ask only that you not mar the scriptures," Talerion turned his arms wrist up, showing the Canticle of Absolution as well as the Sigil on his left arm and the Grey Knights War Cry in its entirety on his right. Taking a knee he bowed his head and awaited his sentence to be carried out.
Jairus told me that Zephyr had spoken highly of me before his death. While it was not as irrelevant to me as it seemed to be to the Brotherhood Champion I knew full well that Zephyr would’ve spoken well of every single member of Dothrac, including Mordred. Therefore Jairus’ words did not reassure me as he probably thought they would for I knew that for all that Zephyr spoke highly of me, he spoke highly of the man Jairus had called a disgrace to the Grey Knights and to the Emperor. Zephyr had been many things, but a great judge of character was not one of them. He was an excellent warrior and commander who would have no doubt risen to the ranks of the Brotherhood Captains and maybe even beyond had not Kartha cut his life short but he had never been one to understand the nuances of the members of his squad. He knew how to utilize us in a battle, how to inspire us to fight in the Emperor’s name. But he was never a peace maker. It had been left to me to balance the emotions of the squad, a role I had taken to and greatly enjoyed.
His words about my fear of failure struck me harder than I would’ve liked as I realised their accuracy. I was afraid. Afraid of failing my brothers, of failing Zephyr. Afraid that I would not be strong enough to do what was necessary. My greatest flaw had always been personal loyalty. I would sacrifice myself to save even one of my brothers without a second thought, no matter who they were or what their role was. Even now, after he had been disgraced and stripped of his position as a battle brother, I would still give my life before allowing Mordred to lose his.
His words about the Galahad who rallied Dothrac after the death of Zephyr and drove the Forsworn from The Darkest of Days were the ones that really made me look at him. I was quiet when I spoke. I knew Jairus was not going to respond, but he had to know the truth, even if he didn’t understand.
“The Galahad you want to know is one that I would choose never to free again Brotherhood Champion. He was not a Grey Knight, not a soldier. He was a killer, feeling only rage and hate, fighting only for vengeance. That Galahad is not a man you would wish to meet Brotherhood Champion. He was impulsive, reckless and had no concern for his own life or those of his brothers, only the death of his foe and the next fight. Had he been there today instead of me, he would have stood beside Initiate 437.” God, it hurt to call Mordred by that title. He was my greatest friend, the man I had fought side-by-side with for over a century and now I had to speak of him as if he were some recruit rather than a man who had proven himself to me a thousand times over and would go on to prove himself a thousand times again.
“But he would not have stood beside the initiate because he wanted to protect his brothers, but because he wanted to fight. He would have done anything to drown out the memories of the deaths of his brothers. On that hulk he didn’t care how many brothers he lost, provided the Forsworn he was facing died No Brotherhood Champion. No, Jairus. You would not like to meet that Galahad.”
As I had expected Jairus did not respond and I did not respond to his later words either until he handed me the lash to strike Talerion. I stared at him, disbelieving as Jairus said the words that would etch that moment into my memory for the rest of my life. “Now you must learn to discipline your brothers as well as comfort them.”
Talerion announced he would be taking the lashes intended for Mordred before looking to me and speaking with a warmth and understanding that had not been present when he first addressed myself and Jairus. "Justicar Galahad, my sincerest apologies for my actions,” Talerion said, his attention shifting to the lash held weakly in my grasp as I gazed at my friend in silent horror. "I know I have forced you to take action and I ask for no reprise for my sentence, I ask only that you not mar the scriptures,"
I looked at Jairus with eyes that showed no emotion, eyes that were dead. “I pray that you have not unleashed more than can be controlled Brotherhood Champion by commanding me to do this.” I addressed both of them then, speaking louder. “I will not disgrace Talerion or shame you by refusing this task Champion, but I hope that I never need to do this again. If it becomes necessary for me to do so, I do not know whether it will be the Galahad you know or the one I wish I did not.”
I whispered into Talerion’s mind then, hiding our conversation from Jairus. ‘You need not apologise to me brother. You did only what I would have done.’
I wondered if he felt the lack of emotion in my mind when I spoke to him, wondered if Jairus noted it as I brought the lash back and struck with it, leaving a diagonal red line across Talerion’s back from his left shoulder to his right hip. It was the first of many as I brought the lash down again and again. Eventually Jairus turned away, going to continue his work. I was grateful he had left, for it allowed me to let the tears run down my face as I punished my brother for something I could never blame him for doing, for it is what I would’ve once done without a second thought.
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