(OOC: A collab between myself and Midge)
Raziel sighed at Raxan’s outburst, he had been surprised that of all of them it had been Raxan who had been affected most by the manner of Team Black’s victory. He pried the helmet from his head, there was a slight hiss as gas escaped from the locked collar as he removed it. He eyed the other Space Marines with a baleful glare, daring them to comment on Raxan’s dramatic exit, then turned and headed after his friend. Raxan was moving fast, and Raziel had to lengthen his stride to catch up, putting a hand on the Marine’s shoulder and applying a gentle pressure.
He span, the anger still clear on his face, but he remained quiet, saying nothing when he saw it was Raziel.
"What was that? Of all of us, you are the one who should not have lost your temper, Emperor knows I was tempted to act as you just did."
"I am so conflicted brother....." his voice was quiet, tempered, controlled, "Things were so clear, our path as a chapter evident and sure. We bide our time, conserve our resources, grow, then take the fight to our enemies."
He shook his head, as if trying to clear his thoughts, "But since Sotha, since Cleomenes' return, I have noticed things, seen things that once I remained blind to. Things are not right with us brother."
Raziel responded with a fierce tone, but no less controlled than his Brothers. "No, but how will this help, they are young perhaps, foolish definitely. But would you even hesitate to give your life for your brothers? The loss of any Space Marine is a grievous toll."
He steps back and smiles bitterly, "at least you had the chance to fight for what we once were."
"No, Raziel, I would not hesitate to give my life for anyone of them, but nor would I sacrifice one of you to achieve my goal, regardless of the circumstance."
Raxan’s eyes narrowed at Raziel’s last statement, "That is where you are wrong brother, we all have the opportunity to fight for what we once were. Here and now, we make a stand. We train the new ones in the values of old. In the ways of honor and duty, we remind the old ones through our actions that we are not dead and dying, but alive and longing for rebirth. Zurick, Ryan, and their lot, think they have nothing to lose, no future to fight for. It makes their decisions dangerous, reckless. That is the sort of thinking that we must eliminate if we are to survive..... For I mean for us to survive..... Even if I have to carry each and every one of you on my shoulders."
Raziel stared bitterly out of the armoured window, and that bitterness was evident in his voice. "One hundred years brother, one hundred years spent in the service of the Inquisition, it changed me, perhaps not for the best either. And I returned to find my Chapter changed even more."
"And what do your eyes see Raziel?" The question was honest, probing, "What do you see when you look around this ship? When you meet the gazes of your brothers?"
Raziel took a breath and shook his head.
The word was simple, curt, brutal.
Raxan nodded his head, his agreement clear, but he stayed silent as Raziel continued to speak.
"Not of death, but of failure"
He smiled mockingly and the scar twisted it into a vicious grimace.
"We sacrificed everything, and it still wasn't enough, what do we have left brother? Our pride? A cruel shadow of what we once possessed. Our lives? The few that remain."
He stared into Raxan's eyes, "what more can we do?"
"While even one of us remains brother, as long as he stays true to his heart and his duty, we are not lost." He will gesture around the hallway where we stand, "We rise from the shadows, we stop hiding away in distant corners of the galaxy hoping that one day, far off, we will be able to rebuild."
Raxan pounded his fist into his open palm, the sound of ceramite on ceramite cold and empty in the empty corridor. "We seek out those within our ranks that would prove worthy of the Reclusiam."
Again his gauntleted fist struck his open palm, "We set aside our fear of the warp, we find recruits that will allow us to rebuild our Librarium with those we can trust to hold true to the way of the Imperium and the creed of the chapter. We must have those that can test the minds of our young ones, to make sure the taint of chaos does not exist in their minds and hearts."
His eyes became hard, "we stop hiding. We start acting like the weapons the emperor created us to be."
Raziel looked away, "true to his heart and duty? Are we even capable of that any more brother? I can see the purity in many of our brothers, but since Astelan each seems to be mocking the ideals the Reclusiam taught us all those years ago. We were created weapons, but without the purity of purpose we once shared what are we? What good is a weapon without the strength of the arm that bears it?"
"We must find that purpose once more brother. Too many of our brothers pine for the past, long for vengeance for a tragedy that happened many years ago. That purpose exists for us. Whether it is to take the fight back to the Tyranid menace, or combat other enemies that threaten the Imperium remains to be seen. You say that we fear failure? Well as far as I am concerned if we continue the way we have, we have already failed."
"I know brother, but I don't intend for us to continue the way that we have, the young ones have much to learn, the Chapel remains empty, there are few other than I that still observe the old rites. We might be a shadow of what we once were, but without our guidance the young ones will only hurtle ever faster into death or damnation. They show promise, but as it was with us centuries ago, it is raw and untamed, Lord Sotha knew what he was doing when he assigned us to their squad. We have to act as the guiding hand that the Chaplain's were for us, at least until another is selected."
"I agree, remember brother it is Lord Thrasius now." Raxan replied with a smile, "I think that is more significant than any of us want to admit. I think our Commander is starting to see the same things we are, I think that looking upon Sotha, it's desolation, has caused many of us to take a long hard look at what we are and what we wish to be."
"I refuse to forget it. He may no longer wish to honour our home, but we sacrificed our birthplace, not just our chapter, and I won't have it's name left by the wayside."
Nonetheless he nodded in agreement, "and you Brother? What do you wish to be?"
"I wish to be nothing more than what I was, what I am.... An honorable man and a marine that sees to his brother's and his duty."He looked at Raziel, sincerity in his gaze, "we have known each other a long time Raziel, you know that that is all I have ever aspired to. I am no leader of men, my friend, I simply see what I see. I try to provide an example that is true, honest. I just hope that is enough to see us through."
Raziel smiled then, it was a terrifying sight, but he meant it. He reached out and clapped Raxan on the shoulder.
"Sometimes Raxan, I wonder how you are still just a battle brother. Your modesty does you no credit."
Raxan smiled back with genuine feeling, "it is not modesty brother, it is truth. I am happy to fill the role that I do and I aspire to no other."
"I know Brother, I cannot see myself in any other role but that I occupy now, and I have too long a history to be deserving of any other. Perhaps your greatest virtue and your greatest flaw is your lack of ambition"
"We shall see... We shall see. I see a great change coming for us all brother. Who knows where fate will find us once we have weathered it."