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It's been too long. So here, have a kinda-fusion that's also an alternate timeline of an alternate timeline! Because why not?

Heresy Online Expeditious Stories 15-02: Memory
Abyss of Epochs (a Renegades short)
VulkansNodosaurus
1044 words​

Sanguinius saw the future. It was one of his core abilities, his fundamental self. So it had been, for two hundred years.

It was still so now; but in a different way. With his growing closeness to the energies of the Second Order, he could still see what would be – but also what would never be. Fates that had been recently avoided.

Most were bleak, warnings to steer clear of. But some were merely strange. And now, in the core of his sanctum, Sanguinius looked once more, trying to cast his mind into a future that would never occur.

Into the furthest future he had ever known.

*

Roboute Guilliman was not the being he had been created as, and had been for so long. By now, he was not even close. Though – it could never have been any other way, after two million years.

His icy armor, telekinetically assembled, glimmered in Macragge’s cold air, lit only by distant stars’ pinpoint light. The system’s own star had been destroyed in Angron’s last offensive, when the Khorneate daemon-Primarch had literally raised a cosmic tide of blood. Only the Novatyranids had been sufficient defense then, and Magnus had almost lost control of the swarm at that.

But Magnus was gone now, just like Russ and Horus and all the others. Only him, Vulkan, and Emperor Sanguinius remained. Not a bad attrition rate, objectively speaking.

Though they were all both more and less than before – before, in those brief years after Prospero when they had thought the universe had gone mad, unknowing that it had always been thus. In those years that, now, two thousand millennia had passed since.

And so, in honor of the anniversary, it was their duty to remember – to remember not the victories, defeats, sacrifices and stalemates of the Long War, but the several years of hope and terror that followed the greatest shock of their lives.

He looked out into the distance, spotting his brothers. Vulkan, the living sun, was sitting cross-legged upon a peak fifty-one kilometers away, meditating. Magma spun around him, dancing to a tune Guilliman would never quite be able to comprehend, heating the dark world as well as cooling his mind. He had been corrupted and then daemon-possessed, in those years; he had not considered himself redeemed until his rebirth, within Sol’s heart. Even now, Guilliman would not have any of his mind left after such an ordeal, burning alive and regenerating trillions of times; but Vulkan had preserved enough for Magnus to heal him. Barely. Yet ultimately, Vulkan had won, and Sol had lost.

Sanguinius – the Emperor, who had cleansed that title with blood and light – was hovering above, in the stratosphere, midway between the other Primarchs. Sanguinius lived for these anniversaries, in truth, due to his weakness. After the Great Game against Curze, the Great Angel could not normally sense the present, only sufficiently distant futures and personal pasts. But at points like this, he could reorient himself in time, take a few steps away from the insanity of omniscience.

And then there was Guilliman himself. Some called him a cryomancer, for his domains were order and water. He had a weakness to the Enemy, he knew, a blind spot far bigger than Vulkan’s or Sanguinius’s. His eyes had been damaged so many times that he actually had to wear glasses. All things told, he was (at least in his own view) the weakest of the surviving Primarchs, at least without accounting for intellect. But in those first years, it had been him and Horus who had reorganized an Imperium Secundus from the ashes of the first, while Sanguinius played regicide on the horizon of eternity. They had built an empire that had a decent chance of actually lasting forever, though forever came with its own risks, many linked to the infinitely-cursed Warp. They had protected so many lives, saved so many souls! Even when the Emperor asserted his mental domination of the Primarchs, Ultramar and the rest of Secundus had been inspired to fight against them, and for long enough that Horus succeeded in throwing off the Emperor’s power, and in the end breaking his gambit.

If only that had been enough to stop the Mark.

“Brothers,” Sanguinius sent by telepathy, his wings like lightning. “Remember Perturabo.”

And then Guilliman did. The Comrade, the Lord of Iron, the one who drew lines for himself and wept to cross them. Not a purely good man, perhaps, but the most lawful of them all. An engineer and an administrator. A subdued hero in the early years, then the Grandmaster of the White Order. It had been Perturabo who had escalated the war, up to a universal scale. He had died in a distant galaxy, to keep alive the last of the Eldar, in a time when Sanguinius needed the prophetic help.

“What of him?” Vulkan asked by the same telepathic channel.

“He will be reincarnated,” Sanguinius said. “A certainty now. A scrap of him survived in the Fourth Order, and it has been guided back to realspace, returned in full. The world is New Athalion.”

And Guilliman’s head spun, for a nanosecond. That he had not expected. Perhaps this would be enough to break the latest stalemate? Though even that prospect paled, in truth, to seeing his brother again, when –

They were being observed.

Sanguinius was silent for a second when Guilliman transmitted that. “Myself,” he said eventually. “In a past that did not exist.”

And then the seven-winged Emperor was, impossibly, facing the Sanguinius that was watching eternity, and smiled. “Your world will never become this,” he flatly stated. “When Horus split from Guilliman, the Wolftime became unavoidable.”

And then he said something else, something that Sanguinius –

*

Could not remember.

With a sigh, the Ninth Primarch descended from his meditation. He saw the same vision whenever he tried to find this fate, and he suspected it was being drawn from his own memory and not from the strings of time. And those last words his not-future self told him were somehow blocked.

Yes, this was turning into an obsession. He would stop this – he knew he had will aplenty for that. It was not immediately relevant. And in the long run, time –

Time would know its own.

(To clarify, in case it wasn't clear - the middle segment is NOT supposed to be Renegades canon, or even a possible outcome of Renegades.)
 
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