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Spurius had for a while been hovering about the hangar, trying to find something to do just as the Chapter Master had ordered him to awhile ago. Sadly nothing was really required of Spurius other than to help with unloading some Chapter relics from a transport and such. Overall though there was nothing for him to do or help out with within the hangar, hence his current status of hovering about. Just as he began to walk through out the hangar he noticed one of his fellow battle brothers, one he remembered saving back during the retreat from their homeworld; of course the moment they're eyes met each other they were quick to smile and greet each other as brothers normally do. "Brother Spurius! What a rarity to find you down here in the hangars. Usually your off in the sparring cages honing your swordsmanship." His battle brother said as his armoured hand gripped Spurius, before releasing. Spurius smiled and chuckled, "Good to see you again Brother, and yes... Being within the hangar during a rest period is rare, but I was ordered here by our Lord and Chapter Master, although as to why is still a mystery, but I'm not one to question the man I look up to." Spurius replied as he began to walk forward, his heavy armoured footsteps echoing throughout the hangar. "Haha! Indeed, I guess that would be a good reason to explain your presence here." The smiling warrior agreed as he soon followed closely beside Spurius. "Mhm. Right now I'm finally free from my duties here, so I'm actually headed to the sparring cages now, do you wish to join me brother? I hear there's a practice match about to take place too soon, should be something worth checking out, if not to see about joining it." Spurius offered his friend. The Space Marine mearly shook his head smiling, "No, not this time brother, I have other things to do. I have to join up with my squad. My Sergeant believes we have to put more effort into training the young ones on how to be Angels of death." Spurius smiled and turned his attention in front of himself as they entered the hallways. "I see, and understandable, I doubt I will be hovering around the hallways for long before I'm called to action once more... that or called to train a few new recruits how the Assault Marines were before the attack on our homeworld." Spurius replied in a calm tone before he turned to his friend and brother. "Alright... Guess its time to part ways here then. Hopefully we get to fight side by side with each other in the near future brother. Until then though, I'll talk to you later." And with that the two went their separate ways.

As Spurius began to walk towards the simulation room, he was soon greeted by a familiar voice that greeted him. Spurius gently turned his head to face the owner of the voice only to see one of the Chapters veterans, and a rather close friend he'd fought beside more than a few times. Battle Brother Vermaas, a good man, and skilled warrior. Spurius was quite pleased to see his brother again, more so in good health. "Haha, good to see you Brother Vermaas! It's been too long." Spurius returned the greeting with a smile, before patting his brothers shoulder. "And... yes, well our Lord and Chapter Master had need of me in the hangar so I was unable to join our brothers in the simulation room, despite how much it pains me not to have had a chance to show my brothers how I've developed my skills with the blade." Spurius replied to Vermaas' early statement. "But forget about me, how 'bout you brother? Are you just returning from the mock battle or are in much the same boat as I?" He asked curious to know if Vermaas was wondering the halls much as he was.
 

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Raxan stalked forward, almost into position, the looming form of Raziel off to his left a constant shadow in his peripheral vision. Kain had spoken, briefly, curtly, over the vox indicating that he had spotted movement on the rooftop of a building that overlooked the courtyard, a building that Raxan noticed had a good view of his current position. Ducking behind a piece of simulated rubble, he brought his bolter up, eyes scanning and sure enough they quickly found the signs that Kain had spoken of. But something was off, even the newest brother would not have allowed the slightest glimmer to remain visible, but yet the top of a black helm still peeked above the edge of the buildings parapet. A ruse, it had to be. Whoever it had been that Kain had spotted, they had already moved on, their helm left behind to draw attention.

It was then that Cleomenes' voice flared in the vox, "‘Some fire support, if you would, Raxan,’ The smallest hint of a smile in his brother's words. ‘I imagine there’s a crosshair on my head by now - Keep an eye open for muzzle flashes, brother.’ And without further preamble the massive marine charged out into the open, his bolt pistol raised at the marine, Dymethus unless Raxan missed his quess, that took cover behind Solaki's leg.

Raising his bolter, finger on the trigger, he made ready to fire. His finger twitched, the round in the chamber almost quivering with anticipation, Raxan's own energy filling his weapon with a life of its own. As his finger depressed, his mind, lungs, and arms already anticipating the recoil and rechambering motion of the weapon, but those things never came. A jarring impact forcibly twisted him to the side, tearing the bolter from his hands in a violent motion. Spinning quickly, eyes taking in the fact that an chainsword, teeth still roaring, lay next to his downed weapon. Tensing, something crawling along his spine he felt someone approach, their footsteps masked by silent practice, but years of experience enough to alert him, he spun, fist upraised, muscles tightened, shoulder waiting for the impact, his follow-up strike already planned.

But it was over before he knew what happened, his elbow locked to the point he thought it would break, a knee colliding with his gut, the air knocked from his lungs, an arm, a vice grip locked around his neck. He barely registered the fact that his captor bellowed to Raziel, his friend's armor suddenly covered in inky goo, before his had snapped to the side, rocked by the impact of sound and force as a simulated round impacted the side of his helm.

"Team Gold has been defeated." Tobias' voice, tolling like a dirge rang through the arena. Anger flooded Raxan's form, his pride wounded, but most importantly he saw the entirety of team black's plan. Dymethus had been bait, a sacrificial lamb, a distraction to allow Zurick to get into position with the rest of the team providing fire support. It galled him, those sort of tactics were abhorent.

Tearing his helm from his head, he tossed his bolter back into the weapons rack as he stalked by it, his breathing hard, his mind seething at the way team black, most specifically Ryan and Zurick, had achieved victory. Tobias, all but beamed though as he joined them, something in his expression joyful despite the outcome of the match, "We should do this again soon, I think."

To Raxan's surprise, it was Raziel that answered first, his voice taught, controlled," Yes, we should, it always does to learn lessons from our brothers."

Taking in Ryan, Zurick, and Izrael, Raziel congratulated them on their victory.

Raxan could no longer keep his ire in check, "Lessons? What lessons did we learn brother? Hmm?"

He turned his blazing gaze toward Ryan and Zurick, "A lesson in stealth perhaps I did learn from Brother Zurick, but what allowed his stealth to be successful? They used Dymethus as bait, Raziel. They sacrificed one of their own, intentionally, without cause or necessity, to achieve their goal..... I would think that with our numbers standing where they do, that such tactics would be anathema to our goals. No.... That was not a victory brother... It was an all too unfortunate telling of where we stand as a chapter. If that was a lesson we needed to learn then we are truly lost."

Turning his back on the group, Raxan stalked from the training hall.
 

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Brother Spurius' comraderie was welcome to Vermaas who'd become so use to the cold and regret that clung to so many of them since Sotha fell to the Tyranids. Perhaps there was a chance for the future of the chapter with more marines like this. Though as Spurius spoke, Vermaas could feel his chest tighten slightly. The mock battle was of no real concern to him -- he'd have performed just as well as any of his other battle-brothers. What concerned him was exactly why he'd not returned with his brothers to partake in the skirmish. Did we actually want to tell Spurius that he'd just mindlessly wandered around the ship? Aimless didn't begin to describe what he'd done and while he'd done it so that he could muster a moment of self-control and introspection ... it would come out like that.

The Chapter maintained a Reclusium, even if it didn't always keep it as maintained as it should. Any need for prayer, meditation, or introspection regardless of the taboo behind it within the Astartes could be done there. What kind of an impression would he make upon Spurius if he admitted to becoming lax in his discipline? No. No he would not allow the Chapter's morale to sink any lower than the near rock-bottom standards it struggled to maintain now. Regardless of his own needs he would not let it drag another down.

'Other duties brother,' he said calmly, not skipping a beat in the conversation, 'Deep within the ship itself actually. Someone has to go make sure the servitors aren't malfunctioning and the Tech-marines are far too busy trying to keep old Solaki in line.'
 

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Spurius observed his friend and brother Vermaas as he spoke. After Spurius finished his greeting, he kept his eyes glued firmly upon the older Space Marine. He was more or less surprised by his reaction to him telling Vermaas how he'd basically been told to hover about, odd as it sounded, it was what he was tasked with. No sooner had he dismissed all thought on the matter and the questions within his mind he heard Vermaas speak. Spurius smiled as he listened to his brother's reply. Vermaas' other duties were not unheard of, and in truth he'd done the same thing a few times in the past, but soon it was Spurius' turn to speak as Vermaas finished. "Ah... I believe me and a few recruits were tasked with much the same duties awhile back during the times you were off fighting with your squad." Spurius paused for a moment to think, before he turned his attention to the Training hall's entrance, noticing a few of his previous team mates returning from their mock battle. Spurius' smile never faded, rather it grew a little brighter at the sight of his brothers. "Hmm... Seems our brothers return now, a bit of a disappointment I missed the chance to see the training battle, wouldn't you agree Vermaas?" Spurius continued, changing the subject quickly.

As Spurius watched as his former teammates begin to exit the training hall he waved over at them, smiling still. Spurius was quite the odd Marine, and was for the most part the only one not letting the grim memories of Sotha's fall bother him, no matter how much they tore into his dreams at night.
 

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Kain could hear the clanging of his and Cleomenes boots vibrate off of the deck as they charged forward towards Solakai. He could see one member of team black was already there, and would be about to touch it. Cleomenes would take him out, he needed to scan for other potential hostiles. His pistol raised as he ran forward, ready to fire if he saw anyone. However after Cleomenes had gotten a kill both marines were hit by fire, Kain going down as his lenses were covered in ink, weapons staying in his hands however. He couldn't believe how his brothers had used bait, it was unthinkable.

It only took a few mere moments before the training simulation was over and his team had lost 4-1. He felt anger at how quickly he had gone down, it was ridiculous, as was the opponents choice to use one of them as bait. That was not how the Astartes operated, had they truly fallen so far? He removed his helm before placing his weapons on the racks once more, before Tobias voice rang out that they should do it again. Whilst his team voiced their disapproval most notably Raxan, his anger showing through as he barked angrily at his brothers Kain stayed silent, merely nodding to the victorious team and Tobias before leaving.

He headed to the Reclusium, passing by Spurius and Vermaas nodding to them before continuing on his way. Right now he needed guidance from the Emperor and the Primach most, he had to reflect on the words of his lord as well as the debacle just now in the training rooms. Times were changing, the chapter was changing but not for the better. No, they needed guidance now more then ever though he couldn't see that happening for a while.
 

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(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.

“Raxan! Brother.”

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.

"Fear."

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."
 

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Discussion Starter #127 (Edited)
The shaky whispers come first, shivering...

"Emperor guide us, shine your light upon us
We are your sons' sons.
Please...help me...fight on"

The prayer continues fading into the background as explosive bolter rounds ring out, shells falling onto power armor. Zooming out from the muzzle flares reflecting off of Kain's red bionic eye as he looks straight ahead, in his arms he holds his chanting brother. Dark red blood flowing freely over black and gold alike.

Giant legs encased in black power armor move all around them kicking up dirt, some with campaign markings, some without.

Above two golden lions a roaring command parts from lips that lay between a salt and pepper beard, but it sounds so far away.

The noise of gunfire is maddening as the shivering words keep coming, "Emperor...your will be done....your sons' sons...

Another shout soon after from the grill of a battlehelm, this one clearer, "Where is the Chaplain!?"

Raxan holds his bolter steady, his form unwavering, his lips tight and face grim, the firearm rocking in his hands as the view pans away from him following his shots into shades of black and blue.


Everyone:

The bay doors seal shut behind Raziel as he goes after Raxan, Kain having left as well, not saying a word and leaving Solaki, Cleomenes, Tobias in the distance, and all of team black still inside the room as the gears finished up their choir of groans.

Ryan's gaze having followed Raxan's with what may have been some form of contempt on his lips and a short sigh.

"Luck had nothing to do with it," Zurick spoke through his helm's grill voxcaster, his head turned curtly towards Cleomenes.

Ryan continued, moving his focus along to Cleomenes as well, "No matter how good a team is, each individual must take some responsibility for their own life. Dymethus could have lived, but we could not be there to hold him down in cover. I'm glad everyone stayed to chat though. Having the chance to explain to everyone that Dymethus rushing to Solaki was his own decision sure was nice, even if it was anticipated by some of us."

"This is why the chapter needs a new approach," added Zurick.

And with that, Ryan calls to Izrael and the three of them leave.


Several days later

Everyone:

Nearly all of the remaining Scythes stand in one of the ship's several Chapter meeting halls, hardly any of them in their power armor at the moment.

Thrasius is making an announcement.

"My brothers, for too long now the young recruits we have managed to acquire have had no one to inspect and guide their minds properly in the Emperor's light. Seeing as we must rebuild the chapter this, as you all know, is a very pressing matter. Of course, for reasons I need not speak, another chapter's librarian is out of the question. I believe I have finally found another means."

"The Black Templars, specifically those aboard the small fleet crusading the eastern fringe who we fought side by side with two decades ago on Tri'Vaa, sent an astropathic response shortly after we left Sotha. A few of us also fought with some of these brother-cousins during the Damocles gulf crusade. They are solid allies to us. We have spent the last several days discussing the issue and making plans to rendezvou."

The Templars are well known for their Chaplains. As they also have a hatred and mistrust of any psykers, they use their Chaplains to check for taint of the mind in new recruits rather than librarians. I intend to make that the norm for the Scythes of the Emperor as well, once we regain some Chaplains of our own. It is my hope that they can show us how this can be done without telepathy.

They have agreed to send one of their strike cruisers to the meeting point. We make way back to Ferim shortly."

There is a sudden rustle and commotion starts to stir amongst several of the marines in the room. Thrasius simply lowers his head and raises his hands,

"There are several reasons for this. The first is that no chapter that either us or the Templars know about have domain over that region yet so we dont have to worry about running into any other Astartes. The second is that we are now familiar with that area of space. The third is that I and particularly Alexander feel obligated to check on Ferim's condition. After rigorous study of the tyranid genes we collected from the splinter fleet on Ferim's surface, and given the several oddities we have already witnessed in that strand of Xenos he is concerned of Tyranid forms reemerging there, specifically genesteelers, which is enough for me to agree to a scout. If war beckons again, we shall answer despite still not being anywhere close to ideally prepared. The Templars will be there with us, however, and though they have not agreed to fight Tyranids with us in advance, it is inconceivable that they would not."

"That is all for now my brothers. Prepare for Warp travel."

Thrasius then exits the room along with a few others. You can describe anything you wish your character to have done in the last several days if you wish, including any final reactions from the training match. Perhaps Vermaas and Spurius's reactions to discovering the outcome. Now here and with this news, be sure to tell us what your character thinks/says about it. You are all in a group standing near each other.

Solaki:

Sometime between the training scenario and Thrasius's announcement, you find yourself telling Laikus of your dream debacle. Not long after that, you are propped up again in the techmarine's lair, with huge cables coming from the ceiling, floor, and side walls alike to connect to various sections of your chassis with both Laikus and Apothecary Alexander standing in front of you. Laikus keeps his faceplate on, you're not even sure if he can remove his headgear anymore. Alexander stands straightacked with a slightly cocked eyebrow as you recant the dream experience and explain the various possibilities you have come up with.

"I dont detect and levels of warp energy..."

Says Laikus as he scans over your form with a hand held device.

"Your systems seem to be normal." he continues, but drops the device and begins his own search for faults in any case, the spider fixing its net.

Alexander speaks next, "It could very well just be a dream. Everything you seem to have seen in it are from traumatizing events." He muses for a moment longer, "Though they are quite specific. Also the whispering at the end seems rather peculiar to me. Certainly, I have not inspected the minds of very many brothers encased in a dreadnought's body, not compared to the number I have inspected outside of such a circumstance in any case."

Both officers continue on with a few tests before anyone speaks further. Ultimately Laikus returns to a resting position on his feet beside Alexander and they come to a conclusion, which Alexander voices, "We can't find anything wrong with you physical of mechanical form. I think that all we can do for now is wait to see if it happens again. Even if it only happened once, it could still be some form of message. Think on it further. If anything comes to you, inform us."

You then felt your legs slowly dipping back toward the metal flooring as Laikus began to unhook you and lower the prop.

From there, your update joins back in with Thrasius speaking.
 

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Laikus asked him how the training scenario had gone. Solaki explained, somewhat distantly, they nothing much had transpired. Tobias had made him an objective which required activation and no one had, thus the whole scenario was rather boring from his perspective. Solaki wished he had been given a chance to test his weapons against foes which could actually try and deny him. Servitors made for poor practice. Almost as soon as he had finished his brief report of the recent activity, Solaki changed the topic of conversation to the one he had been thinking about during the training scenario. "Laikus, you remember you left me here in stasis, and yet I managed to follow you to the training hall?" Laikus nodded in acknowledgement, still working on some other project. He always was. "Well, whilst that is abnormal, there are stranger things to it..." Solaki proceeded to tell Laikus in excruciating detail about his dream, from the moment he had started to lose consciousness to the moment when he had woken up in the training hall. Laikus was either intrigued or deeply troubled, because he ceased all his other work and focused solely on Solaki's words. He also told him of his thoughts and possible origins of the dream. Since he had thought on it a bit longer, Solaki made sure he expressed them in a way that did not make him seem paranoid. The last thing the Scythes needed was a paranoid marine in a death-machine.

Laikus stood almost motionless for a moment, his body still apart from his mechandrites bobbing slightly up and down, as if being blow by a strange breeze. Laikus said he would talk to Alexander and get him to come and investigate further with him when he could. Until then, Solaki would be placed in stasis, mainly to check whether or not he dreamed again, and hopefully Laikus would pick up something if he did. Solaki obliged readily, and slipped into the drug and psychosomatic trigger based 'sleep'. Solaki was almost disappointed when the next thing he saw was Laikus and Alexander staring at him two days later. Clearly, he had not dreamed. Alexander asked to be told what had transpired. Solaki was almost certain that Laikus had already told him a large portion of what had transpired, but he imagined Alexander would want to hear it from him, just in case Laikus had a different was of expressing it or had left something out.

So Solaki told them everything he had seen and heard. The Sotha child, the Scythe impaled on the wall, the shadow of the Great Devourer and the haunting voice. He told them in concerns, that there could be a fault in the electrical components, or he could have latent psychic powers, or something else. Alexander remained neutral all throughout Solaki's explanation, is un-helmed face stoic. Laikus broke in "I dont detect and levels of warp energy..." As he scanned over Solaki with a portable device. "Your systems seem to be normal." he continued, but dropped the device and began his own search for faults in any case, the spider fixing its net.

Alexander spoke next, "It could very well just be a dream. Everything you seem to have seen in it are from traumatizing events." He mused for a moment longer, "Though they are quite specific. Also the whispering at the end seems rather peculiar to me. Certainly, I have not inspected the minds of very many brothers encased in a dreadnought's body, not compared to the number I have inspected outside of such a circumstance in any case." Both officers continued on with a few tests before anyone spoke further. Ultimately Laikus returned to a resting position on his feet beside Alexander and they came to a conclusion, which Alexander voiced, "We can't find anything wrong with you physical of mechanical form. I think that all we can do for now is wait to see if it happens again. Even if it only happened once, it could still be some form of message. Think on it further. If anything comes to you, inform us."
"I shall." Solaki replied. Alexander turned and walked out, presumably back to the Apothecarion. Laikus lowered him down and informed him that tomorrow Thrasius would be making a general address and that everyone had been told to assemble in one of the meeting halls before sending him back to sleep.

Only two days after his examination by Laikus and Alexander, Solaki was in one of the meeting halls with most of the other Scythes. As few were indisposed, but most of them were gathered here. Even seeing the remaining 50 Scythes gathered was an impressive sight, and made Solaki proud that they had endured so much and still stood tall, but sad that he feared the worst was no yet behind them. Thrasius stood up to make his announcement, his hands motioning for silence. "My brothers, for too long now the young recruits we have managed to acquire have had no one to inspect and guide their minds properly in the Emperor's light. Seeing as we must rebuild the chapter this, as you all know, is a very pressing matter. Of course, for reasons I need not speak, another chapter's librarian is out of the question. I believe I have finally found another means." There was a universal murmur of acknowledgement. "The Black Templars, specifically those aboard the small fleet crusading the eastern fringe who we fought side by side with two decades ago on Tri'Vaa, sent an astropathic response shortly after we left Sotha. A few of us also fought with some of these brother-cousins during the Damocles gulf crusade. They are solid allies to us. We have spent the last several days discussing the issue and making plans to rendezvou."

Solaki remembered fighting with the Templars on Tri'Vaa. Solid allies indeed "The Templars are well known for their Chaplains. As they also have a hatred and mistrust of any psykers, they use their Chaplains to check for taint of the mind in new recruits rather than librarians. I intend to make that the norm for the Scythes of the Emperor as well, once we regain some Chaplains of our own. It is my hope that they can show us how this can be done without telepathy." Solaki could hardly blame Thrasius for his suspicion of psykers. Being able to spot them but remain immune from their powers was a considerable advantage. One that would let the chapter start to grow again finally.

"They have agreed to send one of their strike cruisers to the meeting point. We make way back to Ferim shortly." Ferim. Solaki felt an impossible wind send shivers down his non-existent spine at the thought of the planet where he had lost his body. They would be returning, and Solaki, and many others, wondered what would drive them to return? Was Thrasius becoming obsessed with previous battlegrounds of the Scythes? First Sotha, now Ferim. Thrasius simply lowered his head and raises his hands, "There are several reasons for this. The first is that no chapter that either us or the Templars know about have domain over that region yet so we dont have to worry about running into any other Astartes. The second is that we are now familiar with that area of space. The third is that I and particularly Alexander feel obligated to check on Ferim's condition. After rigorous study of the tyranid genes we collected from the splinter fleet on Ferim's surface, and given the several oddities we have already witnessed in that strand of Xenos he is concerned of Tyranid forms reemerging there, specifically genesteelers, which is enough for me to agree to a scout. If war beckons again, we shall answer despite still not being anywhere close to ideally prepared. The Templars will be there with us, however, and though they have not agreed to fight Tyranids with us in advance, it is inconceivable that they would not. That is all for now my brothers. Prepare for Warp travel." Solaki understood better now, but still could not say he was looking forward to returning to Ferim. Too many broken memories from that place had not yet settled for him to feel comfortable about it. Still, if Thrasius felt if best, the he would follow his liege even into the Eye...
 

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After the outbursts following the training Dymethus headed back to the Armoury to see if he was still needed by Laikus for anything. Upon arrival instead of finding Laikus he picked up a bolter and carried it to the Omnissian Shrine where he sat and methodically stripped the weapon as he meditated on the events of the day.

Ryan’s words to Cleomenes stayed with him, "No matter how good a team is, each individual must take some responsibility for their own life. Dymethus could have lived, but we could not be there to hold him down in cover. I'm glad everyone stayed to chat though. Having the chance to explain to everyone that Dymethus rushing to Solaki was his own decision sure was nice, even if it was anticipated by some of us."

After an hour’s meditation he returned the bolter and went to find Laikus for a list of work to be done, having resolved to meditate on how to stop him from becoming a true outcast among his brothers.

A few days later Lord Thrasius summoned the remainder of the chapter for to one of the meeting halls for an announcement. Dymethus stood near the back near the bulk of Solaki as Lord Thrasius made his announcement. A return to Ferim, one of the few worlds upon which he had served as a battle brother of the Scythes and the start of him being an outcast.

This was an opportunity to make a fresh start; it was like a return to the beginning, a chance to be a part of something special as Squad Scrious is in favour even with the return of Cleomenes. This is the time to stop being the new guy, the only non-Sothan and become the first of a new batch of Scythes, the first non-Sothan, an important part of the generation of Scythe.

The Black Templars would be an interesting meet; he remembered very little about them from previous meetings during their time on Tri’vaa & Ferim, as he had had no reason to deal with them personally and was rarely in a position to do so. But what really fascinated him was what their method of testing would involve that replaced the standard use of a Librarian, would this be some kind of tech, or something else?
 

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Kain finished his prayer to the Emperor, standing from his kneeled position at the front of the Reclusium, his midnight armour matching the mood within the sacred chapel. Seldom few used this area still and it wasn't in the best of conditions with there being no chaplain to oversee it and to ensure that it was kept pristine. He turned to the door recognizing Vermaas standing in the doorway of the Reclusium, looking like he was waiting for Kain to finish.

"I am surprised that anyone still come's here brother Vermaas. The chapters fallen so far few seldom come here."

'It is not as abandoned as you might assume, sir. I spend, perhaps, far too much time in here myself.' The marine responded, his gaze on Scrious as he spoke, Kain glad that he wasn't alone in his prayers to the Emperor.

"Maybe your right Vermaas, and within these walls I am not sir but brother. The chapter is changing brother, and I am not sure that it is for the better. We have no one to watch over our spiritual guidance, no one to ensure we praise the Emperor. Perhaps if we had a chaplain Astelan would not have fallen, though should we blame ourselves for this failure? Even without a chaplain when we have gone on campaign we have had to look after our spiritual needs, perhaps this is one of the many failure's of our chapter."

'Astelan, the Emperor's vengeance upon his name,' said Vermaas, his voice Kain noted was firm and full of hate with tension lacing his voice, 'Was his own worst enemy. He let the corruption into himself. It is my firm belief, brother, that even if there were a chaplain next to him at all times he'd have fallen. Chaplains do not control the soul of a battle-brother, he does.'

His brother looked around the Reclusium, before continuing speaking. 'I heard about the mock battle,' he began, 'I do not agree with the tactics used by Zurick and the others, sound though they may be. But surely brother it is not tactics alone that brings you here?'

Kain let Vermaas speak, nodding as he spoke, his words did make sense. "I was next to Astelan brother on that cursed planet. I saw his fall first hand, I even sided with him to begin with as I was blinded by loyalty to him. I believe that if there was a chaplain there then it could have been prevented, or his heresy could have ended immediately."

He paused moving over to pick up a icon to the Emperor. He held it in his hands for a moment, staring at it before turning and placing it back where it should be before turning to his brother. "Whilst I don't agree with our brothers tactics I cannot fault them. They are young and headstrong and believe their way is right. I cannot be sure if they used our brother as bait or if he acted on his own."

He moved over to stand next to his brother placing an armoured gauntlet on his shoulder, "You are right though it wasn't the loss of battle that brought me here, even if it did sour my mood a little. I came here to ask the Emperor's forgiveness once more, though without a chaplain to observe the proper penitence it has been more difficult. Why are you here brother? Are their sins you have to atone for or are you merely seeking to be closer to the Emperor?"

'God-Emperor,' the marine corrected Kain quietly, not wanting by the sounds of it to slight him Kain thought though it brought a smile to his lips.

'Despite the lack of a chaplain I still feel a duty to return here each day and make my prayer to him on Terra. I know my faith in the God-Emperor causes some of my brothers to remain distant from me. I am not sure if that is simply a sign of the desperate times we're in or of some bitterness they cling to over Sotha.'

Kain frowned as he mentioned Sotha, bad decisions had been made on their homeworld since they had returned, and Kain had played a role in the problems that had arisen. He had allowed his pride to clash with that of Cleomenes. 'I worry for the souls of my brothers,' Vermaas began again 'I worry for myself sometimes. I know Lord Thrasius has found no slight with my actions regarding Izrael but I wonder just how frayed we all are ... if it takes pulling a bolt pistol out to get someone as impulsive as Izrael to heel.'

Kain nodded a frown coming over his face. "It was... rash to pull out the pistol though I understand why you did it brother. The God-Emperor forgives us as long as we don't fall and become heretical. As to why you are here I agree, the chapter still needs this place, and I am glad that I am not the only one who thinks so."

'Cleomenes, he is not one of us.' Vermaas said, turning his head to lock his eyes onto the Sergeant. Kain saw the look in Vermaas' eyes. He had to agree with his brother though, it was true. "It is true brother, because Cleomenes has not been through what we have, has not seen how our chapter was defeated, because he didn't witness it he is not one of us. He believes himself to be our superior, to be the only marine who believes in the old way. Whilst I know we must move forward we cannot forgot our purpose, or our devotion to the God-Emperor."

Vermaas rounded on Kain, his eyes burning with fervor, 'It goes deeper than that brother. As you said he has not suffered as we have suffered. Where was he when Sotha was besieged? Seconded to a rogue trader? Off exploring the galaxy? Where was he when the Tyranids fell from the sky? Where was he whe-'

Vermaas cut himself off short and averted his eyes from Kain's steely gaze. 'I know you feel Zurick and the others were reckless but they are nothing compared to Cleomenes. When he attempted to subvert your command on Sotha -- it could have costed us the entire operation. An operation that was only suppose to be his safe recovery.'

Vermaas sighed, 'He will be a poison in our already thin blood, Kain. I call him brother ... but I cannot lay claim to the actual feeling.'

Kain looked at his brother as he laid his feelings about Cleomenes on the table. Kain paused a moment before meeting his brothers eye, "He is not one of us brother, due to the losses we saw. I do agree with you, his choice on Sotha was not ideal, and I'm glad that the squad had sense to not follow him in his vain glorious attempt to gain some command. He lives in the past, we must look to the future brother, and ensure that it is a future with our service to the emperor in mind."

Vermaas turned his face from Kain, 'Let us hope his arrogance does not get one of our brothers killed. Such an incident would be ... dire.' With that his brother left the Reclusium, Kain not having a chance to respond.

He turned and with one last look around the Reclusium he walked away, determined to seek out his brother Raxan.
 

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Dark thoughts ran through his mind, memories of battles long past overlapped recent experiences. The whole of it causing Raxan to grimace, to wonder why he could not center himself. He longed for the peace and calm, the surity of purpose and intent that had been there not but a few days ago. "But then," he questioned himself," Do I really long for that? Do I wish to turn a blind eye once more to the problems that need to be addressed." He shook his head once more, clearing the cobwebs, banishing from his thoughts things that could not be changed, thing that merely demanded acceptance. Some things you could not change, the death of Sotha, the breaking of his beloved chapter, the betrayal of Astelan. But he did know, he did believe that he could inspire change. To prevent those things from happening again, to stop like events from dragging himself or his brothers once more to the edge of defeat.

The last several days had been uneventful, most of his hours spent in his quarters in solitary reflection. His actions and words at the training match haunted him, forcing him to go over them time and time again in his mind. Sometimes he convinced himself that he was in the right, that the things that he had said needed to be said. Other times he had seen the folly in them. He had set a bad example, he had tarnished his own reputation by losing his temper, a temper that until recent events had been mellow, easily contained, rarely flaring to anything but annoyance. Many things had changed and many things were going to change. He could feel that change brewing, coalescing around the Heart like thunderheads before a storm.

The time he had not spent in his room had been in the cages, sparring against servitor and marine alike. Through the burning heat of combat he worked out his frustrations. Much to his displeasure he found that he was no closer to calming the feeling of unease and disquiet that tormented him. His thoughts ran furiously, considering the best way to approach the problems that plagued them. In the end, his musings brought more questions than answers. He had even found himself in the Chapel on more than one occasion, something that was more than a rarity for him even in the days where the Reclusiam was represented in strength. Nothing, none of it provided a remedy for his taciturn thoughts.

It was in this frame of mind that Raxan found himself in the back of one of the meeting halls, his form draped in the shadow of the arches that spanned overhead and the columns that ringed the room, listening to his Lord and Chapter Master speak of his decisions. Wondering with unease if consulting the zealous Black Templars was the right course of action, wondering if returning to Ferim, so soon after the shock of seeing Sotha was going to do more harm than good. Raxan was glad that Lord Thrasius was finally taking action, the fact that his suspicions proving correct that his Lord was just as concerned with moving forward as he was about looking back providing a lifting of his spirits. The thought of Tyranids re-emerging on the surface of Ferim was also something that pleased him, odd thought that sounded in his head. Perhaps this would give the chapter something to wet its teeth with, to met out its vengeance in a manner that would provided catharsis for many. All in all, despite his reservations about joining with the Templars, Raxan's mood was much improved as he left his shadowy corner and approached his squadmates. Intent to speak with both Kain and Cleomenes, determined to find out about their thoughts on recent developments. Things were about to get interesting, the thunderheads were no longer on the distant horizon. The storm of change was coming and coming fast and Raxan knew that to weather it, he would need his friends, his brothers, and his squadmates to rally together. He was determined to be the one that see that happen, regardless of what it took.
 

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Vermaas swung the practice sword to his left, then back around to his right expertly blocking both swings by the combat servitor. He swiftly moved back as a third blade came swinging by him before moving in for another attack of his own which was parried. Vermaas' mind was reeling with dark thoughts, more so these days since he spoke with Sergeant Kain. He knew it was slowing him down, making his reaction time slower and it was exactly why he was here. Should duty ever call he would need to be at his best and could not afford such luxuries as doubt or confusion. Only by sweat, blood, and strain could a true Astartes clear his mind -- for there was no other state of being that felt more at home to them. For nearly a week he'd kept himself locked away either in the training cages, ruthlessly going through exercise after exercise, in the Reclusium in deep prayer to the God-Emperor, or in his private quarters meditating on the issues of the Chapter.

'Increase threat level,' he intoned, 'Maximus.'

The combat servitor came alive and swung like a wild beast with blades swing in all different directions trying to throw him off his balance with feints, thrusts, swings, and stabs. He felt the doubt in his mind begin to recede as his combat instincts took over and he came into his more pure state of a gene-forged killing machine. He blocked two of the servitor's blades on his practice sword, grabbed the cold metal of another sword-arm and kicked out knocking the machine back a few paces before quickly moving in to slam his fist into its metal body -- leaving a small dent. Blades flashed out and he dodged most and blocked the rest. The duel between man and machine continued for hours. Vermaas could have ended it at any time but it kept his attention and his mind on war, tactics, and combat instead of matters that were of no concern to him; such as the murky fate of his chapter.

'End,' he stated coldly and the combat servitor went from a raging mad machine to docile in a heartbeat. Sweat poured down his body and his muscles ached, the bruises of several injuries covered his body. As he exited the practice cages he made sure to robe himself in simple cloth, adorned in the Chapter's colors, before leaving.

It was some time later that he stood alongside the remnants of his Chapter before Lord Thrasius as he made his decree about the Black Templars and Ferim. He fealt uneasy as soon as he heard of the Templars. They were one of the very first successor chapters of the Imperial Fists and they were known to be vengeful of psykers of all kinds. He was unsure if the Scythes should adopt such a stance. He kept his council to himself though and disbanded back to the Reclusium to pray on the matter.

Perhaps the Emperor would give him the wisdom he needed.
 

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Raziel was in the chapel when Vermaas and Kain expounded their views of Cleomenes, he was knelt in a side alcove, all but invisible in the deep shadows and partially concealed by the drapes hung from the top of the arch. He stayed silent as they talked, considering his own dark thoughts in the safety of darkness. Where they had nought but shadowy company.

He smirked at their comments on Cleomenes, and raised a surprised eyebrow. True he felt much the same about the arrogant Space Marine, but he was amused that these two would discuss him so. He had always been the rebel in his youth, now these two appeared to be trying for the mantle, though he had to admit pulling a pistol on a brother was a new one.

He was rubbing the Aqulia clutched gently in his huge calloused hand, and bent his head back to it as footsteps echoed out of the chapel. He waited and before two long, Kain followed. Rising, he exited the chapel, made one last genuflection, before turning and going the way of his brothers.

---

The Black Templars. They were... interesting men. He had fought alongside one in the Death Watch, a fierce, unforgiving man who was terrifying in battle, he had ripped an Ork Nob limb from limb and then used those limbs to beat back another mob of orks. Though they could be, unforgiving, whether they would consider the Scythes as still pure when one of their number had fallen to Tzeentch. His jaw tightened. Only time would tell.
 

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(the parts that say 'everyone' at this time includes Solaki, Vermaas, Cleomenes, Raxan, Raziel, Kain, Dymethus, and Spurius

As Thrasius directed, the crew aboard The Heart prepares for warp travel and soon enough the massive Flagship sails through the colorful demonic ocean.

Vermaas:

During warp travel You have a vision. Oddly, you cannot recall when you experienced it. Whether it was during prayer or meditation, battle practice or sleep...you just seem to have it in your memory now but it is as vivid as your own hands before your eyes. In fact, thats how the vision starts. Your hands open palmed and fingers half curled in their black gauntlets for a moment as if they are both holding something other than air. They seem to move forward on their own, your body with them. They suddenly take a strong grip upon two handles with large triggers attached to them. An Assault cannon mounted on a turret extends over a crumbling building wall, a few stories above the ground. Several bombed out structures fill your view beneath a gray smoke-filled sky. Below you in the street marches what must be at last a hundred men dressed to the Imperial Guard. They march toward your position.

You cant see them, and you cant make out who the voices belong to, but you know that some of your brothers are near you on the building's rooftop. You open fire, see bright muzzle flare and distant sparks of dark red, and thats it.

Everyone:

If your characters had something to say to someone during the previous update but did not get to, it is during this time that they may.

The Heart Makes good time, taking only eight days to reach Ferim's system. It takes about another days travel to reach where the Black Templar strike cruiser already awaits, not far from the orbit of Ferim's further of two moons currently designated only as M2.

All of what is effectively squad Scrious as well as several other Scythes of the Emperor.

As to seeing the moons designated as M1 and M2 Thrasius makes the comment, "It certainly is not like the Imperium to take its time in naming its territory...odd."

"The Black Templar Strike Cruiser Indignere Iudex in view my Lord, both ships are en route to approach." says one of the dozens of piloting crew from his hunched, seated position; only turning his head to speak and exposing the cables attached to his head and chest that lead into the panels before him.

Within the next couple of hours, all of you are in the hangar bay area to accompany Lord Thrasius in his formal greeting. Alexander, Ryan, Zurick, Izrael, Tobias, and the remaining sergeants are also present.

By this time you are all well aware that Thrasius has two obectives in mind for the Templar Chaplain. The first is to inspect the new recruits for tainted minds. The second is to train one of the Scythes to be a chaplain and teach them how to detect taint without the use psyker powers.

You all know you are among your Lord's favoured troops...

A black Thunderhawk swims though space toward the bay opening. It slips through the shields and gravity containment fields, going from a silent fish to an obnoxiously loud beast. As its engines whine and cool, you all come to formation behind your Lord. Your ears quickly mute most of the engine noise and pick up a new sound, one of heavy clanking coming from behind the blast doors. And before the thunderhawk's black doors open still, something slams into your sense of smell.

As soon as the doors opne a dusty looking cloud of smoke pours out onto the metal floor and slowly up into the hangar air. The source of the smell: incense, and lots of it. From out of the cloud of incense first emerges a Black Templar with the chaplan's banner rising from his powerpack. Behind him come two Sword brethren in terminator armor....something your chapter has been lacking since Miral. One of them bears lightning claws, deactivated of course, and the other bears a power sword and storm bolter. Behind them emerges Chaplain Albrecht. His armor a more coal-like black than his brothers' jet-black. His helm sharply edged and all black as well, looking more like a skull than the usual MKVII helm. His red eye lenses also brighter than normal, but the light more focused to appear as pupils. Six more Astartes line up beside the banner holder.

All of them have impressively decorated armor. Each suit is marked with several campaign markings of white and red. They bristle with iconography such as skulls, eight point stars, and litanies... not to mention weapons. Intricately designed blades of many sizes, chainswords with gleeming teeth, and so many chains and strips of parchment as if they were ribbon. All of them but the chaplain have their helmet's removed as a polite formality.

Thrasius and Albrecht approach, a warriors handshake between them and formalities spoken. The chaplain introdues the two terminators, each the sergeant of the two terminator squads under his command, one assault based the other standard.

"Brother Sergeant Ulric," he says waving to the one with lightning claws, "And Brothe Sergeant Roth," he says waving to the other.

"Have you had time to scan the planet yet Chaplain? I noticed the two moons haven't been formally named yet, which seems odd."

A harsh voice lashes out from the Albrecht's grill-vox "Despite this oddity, Ferim itself seems to be breeming with hive-city activity since when you last left, according to the information you sent me regarding its condition at that time. The section you are familair with, Vorspire, has increased more than ten-fold in size and population. Your chapter has been semingly out of contact with the Imperium for more than a decade now. I regretfully inform you, the Imperium is not what it was in the late 41st millenium. Th beginning of the 42nd has been unkind to say the least. We need a chapter like the Scythes o the Emperor back in the fight...thus, why I am so eager to offer my assistance on this day."

"I see," replies Thrasius, "Let's not wast time then. To the first order of business. Alexander, Tobias, I assume Brothr Niko has prepared the youths for the Chaplain's examination?"

Alexander begins to offer his affirmation when Albrecht interrupts, "Let's not waste time indeed, Lord of the Scythes. I am plenty capable of performing both tasks simultaneously. Lead me to them."

Though he doesnt explain how, and simply follows Thrasius. Alexander, Tobias, the other Scythe sergeants and the two terminator sergeants leave with them. This leaves the eight of you looking at the seven remaining templars...who all stare back with little to no emotion on their faces whatsoever.

But without warning they become alive. One who bears a long sword sheathed at his hip, with bright blonde hair and dark eyes moves forward pointing at Vermaas, "A brother-cousin I could come to like quickly I think." he then offers his hand to Vermaas.

The one with an axe and plasma pistol, a grim face like tree bark, brown hair and several service studs to boast speaks next,"Always so quick and brash Leonard..."

The largest one who carries te heavy bolter booms out in a loud voice that nearly echoes, heavily accented, "Well this is depressing. You Scythes were such a lively bunch in the Damocles."

One with a pistol and chainswod turns his head to one with a bolter and sword, both have dark hair and tanned faces, "Is this really all they have left?"

The second replies by adressing the Scythes, "Indeed? Are there less of you than what we saw on Tri'vaa? You took losses on the world we orbit? How did those tyranids escape Tri'vaa and make it all the way here? We bombarded the surface.... By the way, I am brother Zamiel my holy allies."

Another Templar holding a pistol and chainsword on his form remains still, but as more begin to speak the more you can pick up shaky muttering of some kind escaping his helm.

The one with the banner atop his powerpack cooly walks to Solaki, looks him up and down and asks, "What legendary veteran do I have the honour of standing in front of? I am not familiar."

The last one who has a bolter at one hip and what appears to be a short linked mace on the other stands with arms crossed, merely scanning.

Greet the Templars. I will make mini updates as necessary. That or I will PM replies. Other than that, post your charcaters reactions to the rest of the update as usual.
 

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Solaki stood in the hangar bay with the rest of the remaining Scythes of the Emperor. He had been asleep for most of their transit from Sotha’s system to Ferim. Again, he had almost expected to dream, but he had not. Nothing was out of the ordinary and if he could only forget that he had ever dreamt in the first place, it would be like nothing had ever changed. He knew that Thrasius had gathered many of his favoured troops as well as his most senior staff to greet the Templars. Solaki could only assume that he was here to demonstrate that, in some capacity, the Scythes were still functioning normally. Well, almost normally. All they lacked was a means to detect psykers and a chaplain to nurture the spiritual health of the chapter as it recovered. But then, that was why they were here.

Solaki couldn’t help but go back in his mind to the last time they had been here, orbiting Ferim in high anchor. They had known their quarry was somewhere down on that planet, but had yet to find it. Him and Brother Devin had joked and laughed about his brother being able to kill the larger of the tyranid’s bioforms. They had bet and laughed and embraced. Then they had gone back down to that blasted planet and it had torn them apart. Their most hated foe had been more prepared than they anticipated. Solaki had not seen Devin aboard the Heart since Ferim. It was possible that their paths had just not crossed, and that was possible. But it was also possible that he had died with too many others on that forsaken planet, and Solaki did not want to ask in hope only to have it crushed. Better to live in ignorance.

The black form of the Templar’s Thunderhawk eclipsed Solaki’s view of the planet he had almost lost everything on and snapped him back to reality. The Chaplain Albrecht waded through the fog of incense which swirled around their feet. There were two terminators which accompanied him and seven other marines. Each was ornately decorated, as to be expected of the Templars. However, it only served to accentuate the contrast between the noble, well stocked chapter that the Templars were and the struggling, barely recovering chapter that the Scythes were. If Solaki’s chest moved as he breathed in, he would have puffed out his chest in order to show he would not be cowed.

However, he doubted the Templars would have been impressed. Solaki wasn’t sure if it was his own standing within the Templar chapter or the fact that the Scythes were barely larger than a half company of marines, but Albrecht seemed to only show the most base respect for Thrasius and even less for Alexander and the other senior members of the Scythes. Or perhaps that was just how chaplains were; they flaunted authority and need answer to no one. Honestly, Solaki could scarcely remember how chaplains were meant to behave or treat their brothers. The only half memory he had was Arx, but even then he was not a true chaplain. He just might have been, given the chance.

The Lord of the Scythes and the others apart from those in Squad Scrious lead the Chaplain and his terminator sergeants out of the hangar. For a moment, the Templars just stared at the Scythes. They were like Black Sentinels. They neither moved, nor spoke; they simply stared in casual indifference as the Scythes gathered before them. However, the moment both the leaders had left the room, it was like these men of obsidian suddenly ceased to be stone and became alive. One seemed to have taken a liking to Vermaas. Another identified the first as Leonard. "Well this is depressing. You Scythes were such a lively bunch in the Damocles." said another. “A lot has happened since Damocles.” Solaki said.

"Is this really all they have left?" said another. The one who identified Leonard agreed and identified himself as Berek. Solaki was sure they meant not offence by their words, but surely they were not dense enough to realise that the Scythes needed no reminders about their numbers, or lack thereof. The one with the banner approached Solaki and coldly assessed him. "What legendary veteran do I have the honour of standing in front of? I am not familiar." Solaki hoped the Templar was not being sarcastic in how he spoke. Solaki did consider correcting him on the status he had bestowed on Solaki, but though better of it. The Templars did not need another reason to doubt the Scythes. “I am Solaki. I was on Damocles and Sotha, like many of those here. And who are you, cousin?” Solaki’s metallic voice rasped from out of his vox grill…
 

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Vermaas stood near Lord Thrasius has the Templar's thunderhawk passes the protection field, a thin membrane seperating them from the harshness of the void. Its loudy engines resonate around the bay, a thundering sound that would deafen mortals but his helm's auto-sensors detect the danger and immediately protect his ear-drums from the worst of the pain. Still, even with a suit, given his proximity and the restrictions of his suit there was a slight ache for a few moments.

The craft lands and the loading ram hisses open and he sees only darkness. His nose, on the other hand, is assaulted by the smell of incense and he feels a moment of sorrow. Those same smells, not exact but close, use to premeate the Reclusium -- they use to drift around their own Chaplains to various degrees. Vermaas blinked as a question rose to his mind he couldn't answer -- who was their last chaplain? He found it disturbing that he, a veteran of three centuries, couldn't answer. Then the figure, a darker smother in the pitch blackness, emerged. He held aloft their Chaplain's banner and behind him came two more in tactical dreadnaught armor, something the Sycthes were grossly lacking. He eyed them as they marched in silence down the ramp but then caught the sight of the man himself.

Chaplain Albrecht. Their supposed saviour. Vermaas was a righteous Astartes and while he felt his faith was not as strong as it needed to be he clung to it nontheless -- still this man struck him with a kind of arrogance. His walk spoke of authoritarian duty, of unyielding rigidity to an equally stoic set of beliefs. His skull-faced helm, so typical of Chaplains, glowed with a malevolent light those promised only swift death to those who fell short of those eyes and perhaps a slight compliment to those found true. It was not a balanced trade in Vermaas' eyes. But then nothing ever was.

Lord Thrasius and Albrecht approach has cousins and embrance like warriors. Vermaas eyes his chapter master wearily and begins to wonder why the Templars of all Chapters. He catches himself and purges the thoughts from his mind -- it is not his to question only to do. His attention remains on the conversation and his mood grows dark with each passing second. Who was this Astartes, a mere Chaplain, to disrepect Lord Thrasius? His grip tightened on his botler, held at a ceremonial 'at-the-ready'. He kept himself in check, even to the Templars it would only have appeared to be a slight rebalance.

He did not move his head, kept it firmly forward like an statue as Thrasius and Albrecht left the hanger bay, surronded by their honor guards. Scarcely fifteen seconds later he noticed the other six Templars standing in front of them, each as unmoving and unspeaking as he. Suddenly one of them came alive. He had long golden hair and dark eyes with a sword at his side moves swiftly towards Vermaas.

'A brother-cousin I could come to like quickly I think,' he says extending his hand.

Time slowed and Vermass' equilibirum felt suddenly off. He looked at the approaching hand of the Templar, his fingers slightly curled and black and then he remembered a vision. His mind reeled and fought against it for a moment -- how could he remmeber a vision? He hadn't had a vision. His eyes stare at the painfully slow moving hands of the Templar and he digs up this sudden memory from his mind. He stands with his hands wrapping around an autocannon, in the distance he can see the massed ranks of the Imperial Guard marching towards them, he can feel the chatter of the autocannon as he unleashes it into the distance. He remembers hearing voices, they sound so much like his brothers but yet too vague to pin a face to. What in the name of the God-Emperor could this mean?

Then he realized the hand was just stopping before him, at a respectful distance and the eyes of the Templar were wide and full of curiosity. He hesitated for maybe a heartbeat or two, before lowering his weapon and mag-locking it at his side and grasping the hand before him.

'Like-wise brother-cousin,' he said, letting the title hang waiting for a name, it was given to him by one of the Templar's brothers, 'Leonard. I am Vermaas, how was your travel?'

He felt conflicted. He dispised Albrecht but the one before him held none of the pomposity of the Chaplain. He dismissed the Templar Chaplain altogether -- perhaps it had truly been too long since the Scythes had one. Maybe their's had been just as arrogant and rigid and the memories were just dull in his mind.
 

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Standing in line with the rest of the Squad Dymethus felt, proud, awkward & worried. Proud that he had been chosen for this duty, to have risen so far so quickly was unexpected, even in a chapter as ravaged as they Scythes. Awkward because it was his first time as an honour guard for anyone or thing, and due to his sudden meteoric rise in station he had not yet formed a true bond with the rest of his unit. And worried that he’d make some error and bring dishonour upon the chapter and himself. He felt sure that there were other Scythes who should be here, there were some he thought would have made this kind of rise naturally in any chapter, though for one reason or another they did not make it to full battle brother.

During the journey Dymethus had taken to having discussions with the other members of the squad, with mixed success as several members were otherwise occupied with various duties.

The noise produced by the Templar’s Thunderhawk was overwhelming as it entered the hanger and bought Dymethus out of his revere, he listened intently to the various sounds of hearing the slight differences between the engines. Analysing this he determined that the craft was in perfect working order though the port engine had a stronger spirit than the others, a quirk that had developed over centuries or perhaps millennia of use.

The spectacle of the Chaplain’s arrival was almost enough to break Dymethus’ composure, he had seen anything like it before, not even during the feast days back on Radnor when the priests of the Imperial Cult put on dramatic and impressive displays of the power of the Emperor. The two terminators only raised the opulence of the spectacle, as the Scythes had no remaining terminators or suits of tactical drednought armour Dymethus had never had such a good look at a suit. The mass of additional detailing added told of the wearers deeds but did nothing to hide the sheer power and intimidation of the armour.

As Lord Thracius and Chaplain Albrect introduced each other and their closest, Dymethus remained in position awaiting the instruction to fall out and opportunity to see the Templars method of examination. He almost turned to follow his lord out of the hangar, but the lack of order held him in place. He now looked upon the Templars lined up opposite his squad, there was little else to do at this point. A few of the Templars started to introduce themselves to other members of the squad.

One of them mentioned Damcoles, a campaign fought before the Adeptus Astartes were more than just a rumoured bogy man used by parent to encourage their children to behave. Another piece of history I am not a part of, but have to live up to, he thought.

Dymethus decided to take the plunge and pick a Templar to introduce him self to. Unsure about approaching any of them, he decided to just announce himself in the same manner as Zamiel. As he spoke he changed his mind and approached Zamiel offering his hand

“I am Brother Dymethus Galunus, of Sqaud Scrious.”
 
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