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Derrillion IX was a desert world.

A world that held no comfort except for unending miles of sand dunes and mountainous regions, this yellow hell was where the signal had originated from but the sand storm had obscured the pilots of the Stormbirds view and they had landed at least fifteen miles from their designated landing zone.
Largo, the Captain of the fifth company waited for his company to form up and gathered his sergeants around him.

“The vox signals originated from here” He told them Pointing to a place on the map that he now unfurled on the desert floor “according to the signals the brother Legion encountered lizard like men…”

“Similar to the Serrillians my lord?” Sergeant Harpos enquired.

Largo smiled behind his helm. The memory of the battle fought alongside the mighty Lunar Wolves some ten years ago now was still fresh in the minds of all the Spartan Guard not just his company.

“I do not know old friend” He admitted “however The Spartan does not wish to leave a brother legion in trouble. So whilst he is dealing with the vessels in orbit attempting to find out what the hell happened, he has asked us to find the brothers that are seemingly in need of assistance”

Largo got himself to his feet and stared across the hazy terrain before him. He was a native of Terra, born in the old Sahara Desert and that is what had prompted his master to send him.

Although the desert sands of holy terra were more like blasted glass now there were areas that were reclaimed by the mighty world as its own and all manners of foul creatures had adapted to live there.

He did not suppose that this would be any different. As Fifth company moved forward at the orders of their Captain he allowed his mind to wander to the briefing that morning.

Their lord to the strategum had summoned him. Lucian was standing with his back to the Praetorian brother and staring at the vessels in orbit around the golden world that, to sensor scans had only one sea and as the world lazily turned the sea came into view then vanished.

It was no bigger then the Sea of Rage on Eden. The only sea where the storms never abated and only the most experienced sailors traversed.

“You wanted to see me Lord?” Largo bowed his head.

“Largo I understand that you hailed from the desert regions of Terra?”

“Yes Lord, when the Emperor came to our village I was the only one of the twelve he chose to survive the transformations” Largo proudly held his head up high.

“So my son it is safe to say you are well versed in the manner of desert warfare?”

“We were taught as children how to survive in the harshness of the regions. Since the wars there is nothing but dangers that lurk in the ancient sands and some of those ancient sands are now like glass my lord”

Lucian nodded absently. Largo waited for his lord to speak again. He had changed a little since his battle alongside Horus. There was a pride in his posture that was not there before and a strong self-belief in what he did and his sons did.

It would appear that his bond formed with the mighty Horus had a positive effect on the younger Primarch.

“We have received calls for assistance from the planet surface, a brother Legion I believe although I do not know what one as yet.” Lucian explained,

“As our more knowledgeable Desert warrior I want fifth company to find them” Lucian turned and looked at his Praetorian son

“according to reports received they say they are under attack from serpentine creatures that come out of the sands themselves. Of all my sons this would be your companies expertise”

“My lord?”

“Oh come now Largo I am well aware that you have trained your battle brothers in the ways of the Desert” The Spartan rested a giant paw on his sons shoulder and squeezed it a little “that is why you are all nicknamed The Sand Warriors”

Largo beamed at his masters’ words and pride filled him at being given the honour of aiding a brother Legion. Usually it was First, Second or third companies that went in to fight alone but the Spartan was handing this to him and he would not fail him.

“When do you wish us to depart Lord?”

“Swear your oaths of moments and be ready to leave as soon as it is done.” Lucian turned his back once more “and may fortune favour you my son”

Largo bowed his head and with a purposeful stride walked from his Lords command centre and to where his company were billeted.

Within the third toll of the bell, their oath papers affixed to their armour they left The Mortis Sword and headed for the sand world below.

They had been warned of the sand storms but they did not expect them to be so violent. Great sand tornados rose up and buffeted the fifth companies’ transports, even the pilots who were trained to the highest levels were unable to keep from veering off course and that is why they ended up a fair distance from their target zone.

Once they had been deployed the Stormbirds took off again to a pre-designated landing zone in the comparative safety of the mountains above them.

Largo brought his mind back to the present and kept his wits about him. Whether there be creatures that lived under the sands or not he was not sure but the way the sands shifted constantly it would be easy for even a gene enhanced super warrior like a Space Marine to loose their bearings.

This is why he was chosen. Half of his sons came from the desert regions of Terra and the other half came from the Desert regions of Eden and that was why they were called the Sand Warriors.

They watched what they were doing and where they were walking. Every so often they would call out for their brothers but only got static in return and the way the sand storms were whipping up they were interfering with any transmissions.

Steadily and in disciplined formation the Spartan Guard moved through the ferocious sands like it was nothing more then a summers walk for them ever watching and ever listening to what may or may not be around the corner.

Lucius gripped his sword firmly in his left hand, his bolter in his right. The creatures had backed off for now but they had left five brothers dead and four wounded. Javitz, their apothecary was tending to the wounded, he had already extracted the precious Gene Seed that would allow their Legion to continue in a new initiate.

Unlike the other Legions the Emperors Children could ill afford the loss of a single gene seed, when their beloved Primarch was found there were only two hundred Emperors Children, an unexplained accident had destroyed their gene-seed until the Emperor had found his son the recuperation process was slow and painful.

For years they had warred alongside the Lunar Wolves until their Legion was up to full strength and the Emperors Children were able to crusade alone.
Lucius was one of the best swordsmen in his Legion and even the Primarch would spar with him and Lucius did not let others forget that he was the Phoenicians chosen sparring partner.

He looked around him using not only his enhanced vision but also his helms enhanced vision alas penetrating the thick sandstorm was becoming harder by the moment.

They had come here hoping to find a world ripe for the colonisation instead they walked into a world that was a constant stream of sandstorms and despite the marines thick skin it felt like razors against the skin.

He glanced at his Lord Commander and shuddered at the look of pure irritation and rage on the mans face, this was not how he had envisioned the mission and there would be others that faced his wrath, Lord Commander Eidolon was not one to suffer failure under any circumstances.

Lucius thought better then to speak up that he had commented this was a bad idea, his own ambitions lay in the fact that he stay in favour with Eidolon, one of the great and wonderful Phoenicians inner circle, one of his most trusted confidents.

Whilst the other Lord Commanders allowed some leeway with their men and their views to be heard, Eidolon did not and Lucius had heard enough stories about those that had displeased the Lord Commander and their fate, he certainly did not want such a fate.

The marines of his company kept their eyes glued firmly on the ground, the creatures that had attacked them time and time again had come from the ground like some giant worms and had attacked without mercy.

It had been perfection in battle no quarter given and none asked for it was pure battle. The loss of twelve battle brothers was testament to the ferocity of their fighting. Now and only now were Lucius and his friend Saul Tarvitz beginning to believe that they might well die on this Emperor forsaken world?

Saul joined his side and removed his helm. He cast a sly look to where his Lord Commander was screaming at his own officers to tighten the perimeter and keep a closer eye open for the creatures.

“They are fast Lucius” Saul commented “and what in the Emperors name are they? I have never met a Xenos, save perhaps the Eldar, like them”

“Worms” Lucius offered by way of an explanation “this is certainly a dangerous world, one that the desert raiders of the imperial army would be better suited to I suspect”

Saul nodded in agreement “We should never have come here” he whispered “I have it on good authority that the Vox signals we received contained a warning to stay away, that whatever had been before was gone”

Lucius arched an eyebrow “Saul, it was the Lord Commanders orders that we come here, we are here to serve him and ultimately the word of the mighty Phoenician”

“I know that, I know my place in the scheme of things my friend but this time I think we might be a little out of our depth”

Lucius would have called anyone else that said that a coward and shot them there and then but Saul was his friend, his oldest friend and sometimes he knew his council to be wise and just so for him to say that he thought they were out of their depth then he genuinely believed that this was futile but both of them knew that to tell this to their Lord Commander would not be a good idea.

They both turned as Eidolon made his way towards them and bowed their heads in respect to not only his rank but also his imposing battle honours, the first to be made commander of a company and the first to be named Lord Commander. Eidolon was as brave as he was arrogant sometimes.

“What do you suspect Captains? Perhaps you have a better inkling of what we are dealing with here then others of my command?”

Both Saul and Lucius straightened up, pride filling them that their Lord Commander who so often ignored their advice was now asking them for just that. Lucius may well spar with the Lord Commander but he was still not in the Lord Commanders hallowed inner circle.

“I think we will be safe for the moment My Lord” Saul carefully spoke “Its is getting dark now and since we have been fighting these things they have never attacked in the dark.”

“Why is that do you suppose?” Eidolon asked.

“Because they only come out when the sun is high” Lucius finished his friends’ train of logic “they operate better in the heat”

Eidolon nodded a little “Have a perimeter set up and constant watch, we do not want to be caught unawares again…. I would be most, displeased if we were to be caught napping”

They bowed their heads once more as Eidolon departed Their company, awed by his interest and at the same time well aware that if they were to be caught napping as he put it, they would be blamed for it.

He was giving them a two edged sword, a chance for a rare shot at glory that he would ultimately take as his own and on the other side, the price of failure if they displeased him. Either way he would come out on top.

Saul put his helm on his head and with Lucius went to arrange the watch parties.

No sooner had they arranged the watch parties then the attacks began again, these beasts had made fools of the two captains, they had believed that they would not attack again as the sun was dipping but they had been proved wrong.

Largo raised his hand and his company halted. He cocked his head a little as Bolter fire hit his ears. He ordered his company to double time it and they ran across the sands towards the sounds of battle.

As they came to the top of the sand dunes they stopped and gazed with horror at the scene unfolding before them.

Creatures the likes of which was only ever told in tales of horror crashed out of the sand and swallowed Astartes whole or tore them limb from limb.

Teeth filled maws that dripped red onto the golden sands spat all manners of vile poison onto some Astartes and what incensed the Spartan Guard 5th company even more was that these brave brothers, whose armour was the colour of bright purple and gold bore the Emperors own symbol on their armour, the symbol of the Aquila the only Legion they had been told that were allowed to do so.

“For the Spartan!” Largo roared, “Come home with your shields or on them!”

With a roar of affirmation 5th company joined the battle.

Largo found himself fighting alongside Eidolon and although no words were spoken between them Largo felt a little uncomfortable in his presence. Still he drew his power axe and swung into the giant worms like there was no tomorrow.

He ordered his flamer units to fire full blast and the tide of battle was turned. Finally after five days the Emperors Children were making a break through.
Saul Tarvitz and Lucius found them surrounded by Spartan Guard their shields keeping the worst of the toxic venom off them.

Saul felt the surge of pride within him at fighting alongside such brave battle brothers and as Lucius moved forwards with his sword one of the marines in front moved aside to allow him the room to move but still keep him covered.

By the time night fell the sand had calmed down and the worms were gone, retreated back into their burrows or lying dead on the cooling sands.

Largo called his sergeants over “Take the flamer units and burn those burrows out. Hansha” His Vox officer came forward and bowed his head “Get through to the Mortis Sword and inform our lord that we have found the Emperors Children, then order Stormbirds for pick up”

“Yes sir”

Largo turned to face Eidolon. “I am Largo, Captain of the Spartan Guard 5th Company, your Vox signal reached us brother”

”I am Lord Commander Eidolon, and I am not your brother, I am your superior!”
Saul and Lucius glanced uneasily at each other.

Largo arched an eyebrow “I am a member of The Spartan Praetorian, his inner circle and my rank is equivalent to yours Lord Commander” He spoke through gritted teeth “a thank you would have sufficed!”

Eidolon raised his chin “I am sure my Primarch will thank yours personally, Captain”

“I do not believe for one moment that My Lord would expect it, I however do” He glanced skywards as the sound of the Stormbirds came like thunder on the wind “The next time I receive a Vox signal with your signature on it, I might just ignore it!”

And with that the incensed 5th Captain turned his back and started organising his men.

Lucian watched as the Pride of the Emperor anchored herself just in front of The Mortis Sword. He had ensured that the Emperors Children were billeted and given all the hospitality due to them but he had not yet met any of them. In his hand was Largos report.

He suspected that Largo was still pissed at the remarks that Eidolon had made and in truth Lucian was too but he knew his Praetorian son well enough to know he could fight his own battles.

Still it had disturbed him a little, was this the way of the Legion that bore the Emperors own symbol? Were they all so arrogant? He had been told that Captains Tarvitz and Lucius were different in their approach to his sons but Largo had also said that Lucius was the finest swordsman he had ever seen but he was also quite prideful whereas Tarvitz appeared to be more grounded then his other brothers.

He turned as Davi came in and bowed his head “The Lord of the Emperors Children My Lord”

He clasped his hands behind his back as Fulgrim came into the Strategum.

Fulgrim was a handsome man, as tall as Lucian was with white hair that reached to his shoulders.

His armour was marvellous and a great golden Eagle sat on his breast its wings swept right back as clasps to hold his purple cloak in place. He was not as muscular as Lucian but he was beautiful.

His eyes spoke volumes of his wisdom and his skills and as the Primarch gaze swept around the Spartans Strategum his cultured eye took in all the decoration there was and nodded approvingly at the great skill of the artisans.

He turned his attention to his younger brother and bowed his head “I am Fulgrim of Chemos, the Phoenician as my sons call me and the gene father of the Emperors Children. It is good to finally met you brother” he held his hand out.

Lucian took his hand and shook it firmly “I am Lucian Dragos of Eden, my sons call me The Spartan and I am the Gene Father of The Spartan Guard. I have heard much about you Fulgrim, it is good that fate has brought us together”
Lucian motioned to a great chair that sat before his desk.

Fulgrim sat himself down and heaved a sigh “I understand, that Eidolon was, less then gracious in his gratitude for the assistance rendered by your brave sons”

Lucian shrugged a little and like Horus before him Fulgrim thought it made his brother look more human then superhuman

“I think my Captain would have accepted a thank you but I know that he has said all he wants to say on the matter”

“Well I would like to meet him, if it were not for him and his company I would have lost warriors that I can ill afford to loose. I am sure that you are knowledgeable on the history of my Legion”

Lucian nodded, he was well aware of the bad luck that had robbed the Emperors Children in their beginnings.

“I have heard much told of Eden, how she is the twin of earth and that her artisans and her professors are much vaunted and in demand”

Lucian couldn’t help but keep the proud glint from his eyes “You do me honour brother”

Fulgrim inclined his head a little “I speak the truth and perhaps I should make amends for my Lord Commanders ungracious attitude. We are a proud bunch and brother, we like to follow the Emperor beloved by all in all he does”

“Brother” Lucian frowned a little “surely that is impossible, no human can ever be like the Emperor, no space marine and not even us Primarchs can be unto him.”

Fulgrim sat forward “Our father is a powerful man brother, he acts for the good of mankind because there are no others that are capable of doing such, not even us his sons can do what he can do or what he has to do to ensure that Man has its rightful place in the stars.”

Lucian handed Fulgrim a goblet of Edonian red wine and sat down behind his desk listening to the handsome white haired man before him.

“Lucian we all have aspects of our father within us, eventually what you carry within you that is part of our father will surface in you. For example our father is the most powerful psyker alive his mind has a power that none can match but our brother Magnus the Red is probably the closest one of us who can match him in that.”

“The Lord of the Thousand Sons?” Lucian arced an eyebrow “I have heard much of his ability with the arts”

“Hmm” Fulgrim pulled a face but said no more and Lucian did not ask figuring that he would find out one day, “Sanguineous who you also have yet to meet encompasses our fathers noble bearing and fair sense of mind but of all of us it is Horus that is so like him in all ways that matter although the great Lupercal has no psyker ability that we know off.”

Lucian nodded in agreement, his memory of warring alongside Horus still fresh in his mind as it if it happened only yesterday.

“So we as the Legion that bears his name and the only Legion granted the honour of the Imperial Eagle upon our breasts seek to be like him, to emulate him in all he does but I am aware that I can never be like him nor better then him.

I do see that perfection is not a bad thing brother and I believe that as our father is so long lived it is not improbable that he once fought alongside the very men that your warrior sons have become a future version of and some aspect of that ancient memory has been passed into you.” Fulgrim sighed a little “I suppose it all sounds nonsensical to you…”

“Not really” Lucian softly said “Eden has long held an old memory of a great democracy and a great culture of art and war. Even when the Tyrant was at rule it was seen as merely an extension to that memory. Many of the forefathers of Eden originally came from that area on Terra and brought with them the history of their culture after old night fell then Eden fell into that culture as everything else was lost”

Fulgrim listened enraptured his thirst for knowledge eagerly awaiting what he was being told

“many of our buildings are Greco in design and many of our legends I suppose are based upon old legends from the birth world and the birth country of our peoples.

The old High Kings And Queens of Eden all spoke of all manners of creatures that lived within the forests and the waters of the world they called home that in their minds were the same as the ones that were written down in the old legends of our culture from the old world. Even the stories were the same. Are you perhaps familiar with the Trojan horse Story?”

Fulgrim nodded “A great war in Antiquity won by the ingenious ploy of a wooden horse?”

”From which comes the old saying beware of Greeks bearing Gifts” Lucian warmed to his tale and Fulgrim was loving hearing it “Eden had a similar war once and maybe some ancient imprint resurfaced but the city that they used to call the High City and is now called Lucians Falls…” Fulgrim deducted a little embarrassment in his brothers’ voice “won that war using a similar method but it was a dragon not a horse but the premise was still the same.”

Fulgrim clapped his hands in delight “So the old tales still come to life.” He laughed

“brother allow me to have a cultural exchange between our worlds. Chemo was once resource poor. She had forsaken all in the pursuit of survival once I matured there I changed that as best I could and I would dearly like to expand my worlds knowledge by entering a cultural exchange with your world. Perhaps it would ease the ill founded tension within our sons.”

Lucian smiled broadly and Fulgrim took a long hard look at him. He had a likeness to Angron the same build and from what Horus had imparted to him the same lust for battle but not quite as barbaric as the Red Angel.

He was handsome and even the scars he bore from his battles pre-compliance and after that he had gained did not detract from that handsome visage.

“I will contact the Senate and allow them to make the nessercery arrangements Fulgrim.”

Fulgrim rose from his seat and as Lucian rose with him he embraced him close “I think this could be the start of something more brother”

“I would hope so brother” Lucian acknowledged “Would you care to take a tour of my vessel and see to your sons now?”

Fulgrim nodded and the two Primarchs walked out.

The Primarch gazed at the great murals of the Spartan Guard and right now the battle of 5th company alongside the Emperors Children was being carefully rendered into one of the alcoves. His great eyes took in the scenes around him and beside him Eidolon kept his silence as his master absorbed the scenes around him.

“Such beautiful works Eidolon Chemos would indeed benefit from such an exchange of ideas and art wouldn’t you agree?”

“Yes Lord” Eidolon respectfully answered.

Fulgrim cast him a sideways glance “You don’t think much of them do you?”

“It is not my place to comment Lord”

“Oh come now old friend you and I are long time friends I thought you could speak plainly in my company”

Eidolon was silent for a moment “The Lord Lucian is a noble warrior and has raised his sons to be just as he expects Lord, but I do find Captain Largo somewhat – barbaric in his approach and his manners are lacking”

“But the Lunar Wolves, Night Lords, Word Bearers and World Eaters swear by their honesty Eidolon” Eidolon snorted a little at the mention of the Leigons he considered nothing more then low born curs “even the Ultramarines have bands of honour with them” Eidolon detected a warning tone in his Primarchs voice.

“It would perhaps be remiss of me not to apologise to the Captain,” He acknowledged.

“It would not and that is what the Emperor would do”

Eidolon bowed his head and walked away.

Largo was polishing his armour working out the scratches and his armoured was heavy with the smell of lapping powder and oils. Eidolon stood in the doorway and watched the 5th Captain working on his suit of armour with all due diligence and respect that each marine afforded their blessed power armour.

He cleared his throat and Largo looked up then stood up. Eidolon looked the Praetorian up and down. He was a well-built man even without the gene-enhanced gifts of the transformation process.

“I see I am disturbing you Captain” Eidolon quietly spoke.

“You came to see me for something I assume” Largo curtly replied.

He made no pretence of his dislike for the man to do other would have made him a liar and Largo was respected within his Praetorian brothers and his own command for his plain speaking.

“I came to thank you for your assistance”

Largo nodded and sat himself back down “If that is all?”

“I said thank you….”

”Did you come of your own accord Lord Commander?” he spat the last words “or were you perhaps sent by your beloved Phoenician?”

Eidolon shook his head a little “I came to apologise but I can see it was a waste of time”

“An apology is only such if you mean it and you do not mean it, someone who is asked to apologise and does not do it off their own back does not deserve it to be accepted. Not even to ease your conscience”

Eidolon clenched his fists “You have insulted me and I will not forget this!”

”I sincerely hope not” Largo went back to attending his armour “you insulted me on the battlefield and I will never forget it”

Eidolon turned and walked away leaving Largo to his duties. The Terran raised his head and stared at the door for long moments after Eidolon had left then with a slight disgruntled shake of his head he returned to his work.

Lucian watched his brothers’ vessel depart and turned to Anteaus “I take it that Largo was not accepting of Eidolons apology?”

“No Lord” Anteaus answered

“Well he’ll have to find someway to work with the man if we ever work along side them again.”

“Clash of personalities Lord, Largo doesn’t much care for what did he call it…haughty personalities”

Lucian sniggered a little but to Anteaus it sounded like a great bull snorting, “Tell the Master to continue on the way.

“Yes Lord”

Lucian turned his gaze back to the stars and clasped his hands behind his back. He smiled to himself Largo was an honest man and a plain speaking man, even before he became an Astartes if what he had learnt was true.
It was something the likes of Eidolon would have to get used to and he would not change his 5th for the world.
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