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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Emperor has betrayed Mankind. He has sold his loving populace out to the Dark Gods of the Warp for unimaginable reasons. Whether he did it for his own personal gain or under some misguided idea that it was for the best of humanity. Either way, nothing good can come of it. He has swayed a full 8 of his sons to his side and many more worlds are sure to join him simple because of his title.

However, some have taken a stand against this madness. Horus has gathered his loyal brothers to him and plans to fight his father to reclaim the Imperium for the original ideal for which it was formed. After the massacre of Prospero, Horus has just over nine legions at his command. They are the Blood Angels, the Alpha Leigon, Thousand Sons although they only number 1000 now, the Space Wolves, the Ultramarines, the Raven Guard, the White Scars, the Iron Warriors, the Death Guard and of course his own legion. There are also several eyes watching on the peripheries, ready to intervene, knowing that the fate of the galaxy, not just the human race, will be decided by the outcome of this civil war.

Despite the formidable numbers at his disposal and the many worlds also flocking to his banner, there are fears that this will not be enough. Reports from some loyalist outposts have reported creatures of an unknown nature appearing and massacring whole populaces. The Warmaster is not taking this threat lightly, and so has resolved to form a new force to combat this threat most dire. But, some battles are best fought in quiet. Lights shinning in the darkest night.

Hello fellow heretics and welcome to my contribution to the Renegades epic.

The previous/ongoing threads are here:

Renegades is at http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...ad.php?t=90862

Renegades 2: The Flames of Belief is at http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...ad.php?t=98148

Renegades 3: The Fate of Prospero is at http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=106279

Renegades 4: The Emperor's Will is at http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...d.php?t=110117

Renegades 5: Perfection's Cry: http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/showthread.php?t=116059

Renegades 7: When Death Calls: http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/showthread.php?t=117991

Renegades 8: Foundations in Scarlet: http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/showthread.php?t=122265

Renegades 9: Flesh is Weak http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/showthread.php?t=122389

Renegades 10: Long Forgotten Sons: http://www.heresy-online.net/forums/showthread.php?t=122548

So, on with my contribution. I appreciate any comments on my writing style and how I can improve. My only other experience of writing is in the RP's so that might show. A thanks to gothik for allowing my to participate in this. Anyways, onwards...

Edit: I'll edit this as I go along.

Dramatis Personae

Primarchs

Horus – Primarch of the Luna Wolves

Magnus – Primarch of the Thousand Sons

Astartes

Ahzek Ahriman – Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons

Marcus Umojen - Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines

Tylos Rubio - Epilstory of the Ultramarines

Targuta Tarugati - Stormseer of the White Scars

Ort Kastix - Epilstory of the Raven Guard

Serapis Guryoi - Epilstory of the Luna Wolves

Ceris Balsar - Chief Librarian of the Blood Angels

Idriss Felix - Master of the Forge of the Iron Warriors

XV Legion: Thousand Sons

Amon - Captain of the 9th Fellowship and Equerry to Magnus

Ptah - Veteran Sergeant of the 9th Fellowship

Eldar

Eldrad Ulthran – Farseer ofUlthwé

Inwé – Senior Black Guardian of Ulthwé

The Brotherhood

Master Khyron - First of the Eight Swords and Master of the Sharpest Sword Blade

Master Valdar - Second of the Eight Swords and Master of the Watcher Blade

Master Pelenas - Third of the Eight Swords and Master of the Long Sword Blade

Master Dhask - Fourth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Banisher Blade

Master Geronitan - Fifth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Hidden Sword Blade

Master Arno - Sixth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Healers Blade

Master Drystann - Seventh of the Eight Swords and Master of the Purifying Flame Blade

Master Ordan - Eighth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Shield Blade
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I: Inceptum

Ahriman drew his robe closer around his body. His hood feel over his eyes, and shadowed his identity. The bowels of The Vengeful Spirit were quiet on this evening, just as Horus had promised. Ahriman had been winding deeper and deeper into the bowels of the ship for at least an hour now, and had yet to encounter any mortals. He had yet to see anyone. Ahriman fought back the instinct to question whether he was going the right way. He knew he was.

He walked a little faster as he thought of the events of the last twelve hours. Since Prospero, he had been at his father’s side. He had talked at length about the duration of the campaign, and what lay ahead for the Thousand Sons. They would fight, that much was certain. The fires of war still burnt bright in them, but they were all sceptical how much help would be. They all knew that if they didn’t fight now, then there would likely never be an Imperium to fight for again.

This was why Horus tearing him away from his father puzzled Ahriman. Not that Magnus seemed to have minded. Horus had simply taken him after he had spoken at length with Magnus, neither of them saying a word. He was then marched through the corridors, Horus still not speaking a word to him. Horus had then put him in the thunderhawk he had arrived in, hurried him into the storage bay and told him not to leave until instructed. Ahriman had stayed there for hours before he heard voices. Still, no one beckoned him out. He felt the air-craft take off, and still did not make a sound. Even once he felt the metal bird land, no one told him to move. It was silent for a long period after that.

Finally, a metal tap had resonated through the compartment he was holed up in. He opened the door to be greeted only be a servitor carrying a folded robe and a data-slate. “Exchange your armour for the robe. Horus expects you” came the metal chime. “Why?” Ahriman had asked. . “Exchange your armour for the robe. Horus expects you” was the only response he got. Ahriman had growled quietly to himself. He had done as he was told and handed the servitor his armour and donned the robe and glanced at the data sheet for where he was to go.

Finally he reached the chamber in the bottom-most reaches of the ship. He tapped twice on the bare metal with his bare hand. The door slid open just a crack and Ahriman opened it the rest of the way, stepping inside. To a mere-human, there would appear to be no one there, but Ahriman could see a fellow seven figures at the peripheries of the room. He took a few steps forward. Everyone else here seemed equally as confused as him as to their purpose here, but none left. They just stood there waiting for whoever had told them to be here to appear.

A few moments passed in silence before the ninth person appeared. The stature of the man testified to who he was. He pulled hood down to reveal his face. “Sons. Surrogates. These are dark times.” Horus began with none of his usual charisma. His voice was deep and sombre, a testament to how desperate their situation was. “Our father has fallen to the Dark Gods. He had warned us not to dabble to deeply in the things of the Warp…” Horus continued, and Ahriman was surprised not to feel every eye instantly converge on him, as was usually the custom. But, so far the only identities he knew where his own and Horus’. The rest were still veiled by their hoods, similar to his own. “…least we fall prey to the evil he himself has. The Imperium readies for war with itself and all we have striven to build seems to be on the edge of ruin. Our strength of arms can match our brothers, and worlds loyal to the original ideals on which this Imperium was built join with us.”

Here Horus paused, very deliberately as always, but Ahriman could not guess why. They all knew the situation they faced, so why was he reminding them again. “Our father had made pacts with powers beyond his control and we are at a disadvantage. We need a weapon to combat this threat. Remove your hoods and let your brothers see your faces.” There was a moment of hesitancy, no one yet comprehending what their purpose here was. Tylos Rubio pulled back his hood first. A split second later, Ahriman removed his. Then Umojen. Then Targutai. Then several others whom Ahriman did not know removed theirs until they all stood with unveiled faces. “Tylos. Ahriman. Kastix. Targutai. Valleus. Balsar. Guryoi. Felix. You are to be our first weapons. Our bright true swords.”

“That still doesn’t explain why we are here, sir.” Ahriman said, only a fraction of a second later realising he had said what the whole company of warriors was thinking. A tenth figure stepped out of the shadows. “You are all here because you possess a measure of psychic talent, active or latent, and that it the only thing which can harm the denizens of the warp.” His lithe form and pointed helm marked him out as inhuman. “Brothers this is Eldrad of Craftworld…”
“Xenos witch!” Came the spat remark from Felix. His hard-set jawline and grim stance made Ahriman guess that he was an Iron Warrior. And a techmarine, judging by the mechanicum brand on his forehead. The Iron Warriors had never been comfortable with psykers. “Sir, with all due respect, I will not consort which this xenos monstrosity or be accused of witch-craft!”
“No one accuses you of that Felix. But you are gifted. We have all seen you work with machines.” Felix seemed to look noticeably uncomfortable at this point.
“I’m just…well trained sir.” Horus smiled. Not out of humour but out of pity that the man in front of him was having to face something he had always avoided.
“You know that’s not true. You have surpassed veterans’ knowledge without much effort at all. How many times have you achieved impossible repairs or found your opponents weapons jamming or failing simply because you wished they would.” The light of realisation was slowly dawning in Felix’s eyes.
“I’m not a witch.” He said out of blind defiance, unwilling to become what he had always hated. Horus laid a fatherly hand on his shoulder and with one sentence washed away any doubt, as only a Primarch could.
“No, but you are a psyker, and that is what we need you to be.”

Felix’s stance slackened, but his eyes still glared at the elder psyker before him.
“I understand your mistrust. Truth be told, I have no more pleasure in dealing with your race than you do with mine. But, as your…” Eldrad seemed to almost gag at the word, as if it were unpalatable or unnatural to him. “…Warmaster said, these are dark times, and we must ally ourselves with one another if we are to survive the coming storm.” Horus resumed his mantle of spokesman once again.
“The Eldar have a suppository of knowledge which they have gathered on the powers of the warp. You have all proven yourself as able warriors and, as psykers, resistant to the temptations of the warp. But I must ask more of you. You must be more than resistant, you must be incorruptible. You will be tested as never before. Your legions will mourn you, for you must die to them so you may live for our cause. Your old lives are gone, all that remains is to begin your new ones. You will go with Eldrad to hangar Gamma-6 and take the Stormraven. In it you will find new suits of armour, bare of all iconography or legion allegiance, for you are all one brotherhood now. You will join the Craftworld and they will take you on from there. You will likely not see these forces for at least a year, and when you return you will be changed. Then, your task will begin in ernest. Now go my sons and surrogates.”

They all saluted Horus and left being led by the Eldar Farseer, as Ahriman believed they were called. They were being forged into a new weapon against the powers of the warp. Ahriman could see the benefits of having psykers in such a brotherhood, but why did they need the Eldar? Where were they going? What awaited them? So many unanswered questions echoed around in Ahriman’s mind as he walked in silence with cousins from different legions. They were supposed to become a brotherhood, but the Thousand Sons were the only brothers he had known and leaving them pained him. Leaving his primarch pained him. Still their hard footsteps resonated through the barren corridors though which they walked just as the unanswerable questions resonated through all the psykers minds. They boarded the light transport Horus had instructed them to, still all to absorbed in their private thoughts to communicate with one another. As they lifted off, the only sound that could be heard in the confines of the hull was the dull rumble of the engines.
 

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very good, the contrats of the Iron Warrior were all too true and more so since he did not want to believe he was a Psyker and Ahriman who had always known and been comfortable with such a part of his life was well written. look forward to reading more of this especially as the Eldar are involved one of my favourite xenos
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
II : Socialis​

Jar-Lai stood guard in front of the Banshee temple. Eldrad had left over a week ago in order to make contact with Horus. They had communicated via psychic message for over a month. The mon-keigh were a barbaric race and first communications had not been easy. There was much distrust from the mon-keigh, their blind ideas of superiority and several conflicts with their kin had brokered no greater levels of trust.

But Eldrad had changed that. He had shown Horus the dangers of the warp, and what they could do. Horus had conferred with one he called Magnus, the Cyclops to those who saw him in the warp, and found that all he had been told was true. Many on Ulthwe had been apprehensive about sending Eldrad with no bodyguard to a species which was renowned for their violence. Eldrad had, however, expressed faith in Horus that he would be true to his word, and so they had let him go.

Now he was returning, and he bore humans with him. Eldrad had informed them that they were to be treated as guests and allies and afforded every privilege. However, violence was not to be tolerated, and thus Jar-Lai stood outside her aspect temple, ready to receive the Astartes. The transport Ulthwe had sent to collect Eldrad and his companions would be returning within a day or so and they were ready for them.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++​

“And what of our brothers? Is not our place with them?” Kastix almost shouted at Rubio. A large portion of their transition was spent in debate. They had been thrown together too fast to form any real bonds with one another, and so there was obvious friction between them.
“Do you not think Horus knows our aversion to leaving our brothers? Do you believe that he would tear us away from our brothers, our primarchs unless it was absolutely necessary? None of us feel comfortable leaving the fight cousin, but we must trust in the necessity of our charge.”
“You aren’t leaving the fight Son of the Cyclops.” Eldrad spoke. He had spoken very rarely during their transit, but when he had he spoke in riddles such as these. His voice was ghostly and ancient. Each syllable seemed to exist for but a moment, and then it was carried away by the wind. “You are simply fighting from a different angle. You Astartes must understand this.”

Ahriman could not tell whether Eldrad meant his comment as a simple statement or as a more malicious barb, although he suspected the second option more. Ahriman knew that the eldar thought of them as primitive. Eldrad motioned for them to stand and so they did. They had arrived. Felix glanced out the portside windows and saw just open space. The cold vacuum.
“Eldar trickery, there is nothing here!” Felix let out an exasperated cry.
“Quiet, Man of Iron. My kin will be here soon, and they will not appreciate you xenophobia” Eldrad said sternly. But his words were not hissed or spat, but said only with a slight edge of hostility which brokered no argument.

Ahriman looked out of the other windows, and saw nothing. If they were to go one, he had no idea how. Suddenly, the vacuum vomited for the sleekest ship Ahriman, or indeed any of them, had ever seen. It was easily the size of an Astartes battle cruiser. The whole cabin was held silent in awe. “Our passage to my people, Astartes” Eldrad said, making no attempt to hide the pride that the Eight battle-plated Astartes were held silent by the sight before them.

The ship docked onto eldar cruiser, but next to the smooth alabaster sloops of this eldar ship, it seemed boxy and ugly. Everything here was utterly alien to the trans-humans gathered here. “Farseer Eldrad” Another eldar, male judging by his voice, met them at a host of eldar. “And welcome to your companions.” The eight of them stood there for a moment, unsure of how to act. Ahriman took the first step forward.
“I am Ahriman, Chief Librarian of the Thousand Sons and gene-son of Magnus, the one your Farseer called the Cyclops.”
“I am Rubio, Epilstory of the Ultramarines and gene-son of Guilliman.”
“I am Tarugati, Stormseer of the White Scars and gene-son of the Great Khan.”
“I am Umojen, Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines and gene-son of Guilliman.”
“I am Kastix, Epilstory of the Raven Guard and gene-son of Corax.”
“I am Guryoi, Epilstory of the Luna Wolves and gene-son of Horus.”
“I am Balsar, Chief Librarian of the Blood Angels and gene-son of Sanguinius.” There was a pause as everyone waited for Felix. He grunted and released his name.
“I am Felix, Master of the Forge of the Iron Warriors and gene-son of Perturabo.”

The head of the host of black eldar before them looked across each of them in turn.
“Welcome, Astartes and Seers, to the company of Ulthwé.” He bowed a knee to them, but it was clearly a formality as much as their speech was. Whatever these alien’s relationship was with Horus, there was still animosity between the warriors here.
“I will not bow to a xeno freak.” Felix hissed across the private vox.
“There are over a hundred of them Felix. You would do well to remember we are allies here, not enemies.” Tarugati spat back, as a brief moment of awkwardness passed as the Astartes stayed standing. Balsar was the first to bend his knee. Ever the diplomatic blood of Sanguinius prevailed. The rest followed in turn, and the tension relaxed.

Only Felix remained standing, even until everyone else had stood back up.
“Will you not kneel?” Eldrad asked, neither his anger or curiosity apparent through his voice.
“No, seer. I will not.” Felix said as he moved toward the leader of the host. “I would ask this one’s name.” He towered over the black armoured figure, and the men behind him bristled with the thought of impending threat.
“Felix, for Thrones sake!” Ahriman hiss, seething at his cousin’s rash action. Felix did not move, but continued to stand over the eldar male.
“I am called Inwé Shallowstar, in your tongue.” Felix’s hand came abruptly from his side up in front. The first few eldar draw blades or made guns ready to fire, but the blow they expected never came. The hand simply hovered between the two figures. Inwé looked at it slightly confused.
“I cannot bow to anyone but my Primarch and gene-sire. But I offer you a warrior’s hand-shake. As an ally.” Felix said, unphased by the weapons levelled against him. Inwé looked for a moment longer, before gripping it at the wrist.
“It appears there is still mistrust in both of our companies.” Inwé said, almost humoured by his own assumption of the warrior’s violent intentions.

The hand-shake ended and the company of warriors moved into the belly of the ship to be shown their quarters. As they walked Ahriman opened up a private vox to Felix.
“That was a bloody dangerous move there cousin.”
“But it did prove two points.”
“And what would those be?” Under his helm, Felix smiled.
“One, that the Eldar consider us a violent people. And two, that they need to trust us as much as we trust them.”
*It was still bloody risky* Ahriman thought to himself. They entered into a large chamber with eight doors leading out of it. The whole ship seemed to be formed out of this strange alabaster material which sung a gentle note, audible to only those with a 6th sense such as those gathered here. Inwé turned to them. Even as he started speaking, the Astartes group split off to claim a room and spend some time alone.
“These will serve as your chambers until we reach Ulthwé. We are sure you would appreciate some time to rest and refresh yourselves. Food and drink will be brought to you. Farseer Eldrad will expect you to be ready to begin training in six hours.” They all turned back to face the eldar.
“What manner of training?” Ahriman asked.
“Training for your new task as guardians of your Imperium.” Inwé said as he left the group to separate and ponder what manner of trials these xenos had prepared for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
(Double post I know, but I like to keep story and comments separate.)

Thanks gothik, glad you liked it. I realise at the moment Felix and Ahriman have gotten the most 'screen time', but I hope to cycle through all the perspectives as the story develops.

Anyways, here is my next installment and I hope you all enjoy it :) Once again, and comments are very welcome!
 

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It's looking very interesting so far. I like your portrayal of the Eldar- not yet as mysterious, confident, or jaded as in 40K, but already cautious and proud.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
III: Judicium

Umojen lay cross legged on the floor of his chamber. He had spent the first four hours asleep in the bunk the elder had provided for him. He had been slightly confused by the slab of what had appeared to be marble in the corner of the room. However, once he had laid down on it, the material had bent and shifted under his weight to fit him like a glove. Once he had gotten up, he had seen the clear contours of his body melt and reform back into a solid block once again. After that, he had walked out into the main junction where Inwé had left them. Sure enough, there were large bowls of fruit, or at least he assumed they were fruit as they were sweet and juicy to his bite. They didn’t, however, look like any fruit he had ever seen. He had then washed and was now in his robe from The Vengeful Spirit, cross legged.

He had been flexing his mental muscles, reaching out into the void around where they were. He could feel the psychic radiation from most of his brothers. They were like light bulbs in a room already faintly lit by psychic light, bright pockets of psychic power amongst a sea of latent elder psychic talent. Ahriman’s seemed to be the brightest, like a supernova in the warp. As much as Umojen was hesitant about Ahriman and his Thousand Son brethren, they did eclipse almost any Astartes he knew in psychic might. Turagati’s light was like the eye of a storm, always swirling and shifting, but ready to unleash its power at any moment. Kastix’s psychic signature was faint, but almost deliberately. If Umojen tried to peer too deep into the signature, he was aware of both the fact that the weaker observable power was deceptive and that the man behind the psychic presence knew he was being watched. Balsar’s signature in the warp was bright, but not through power, but just radiant splendour, clearly a lesser version of his primarch’s own psychic presence. Guryoi’s was like a jet-engine on a low power. It seemed ready to roar into life at any moment, but less potent at them very moment. Felix’s was the most difficult to discern. His presence in the warp was like a shackled beast, powerful but constrained. Umojen wondered by what. Was it his Primarch who had imposed such limitations, or another?

Rubio’s signature was almost melded with his own, and so Umojen opened his eyes. “How long have you stood there Tylos?”
“7 minutes, 36 seconds sir.” Came Rubio’s curt response. Umojen grunted and nodded in acceptance. He rose to his feet, and turned to face the Epilstory. “We still have 20 minutes before the Farseer expects us.”
“You wish to speak Tylos?”
“Plainly sir.” Umojen knew Rubio was abiding by legion etiquette, but given their situation, it hardly seemed necessary.
“Speak as plainly as you see fit.” Umojen said with a smile.
“We are consorting with xenos. This goes against everything which the Great Crusade stood and still stands for. We are supposed to be fighting for the return of the Imperium, not steeping ourselves in elder witchcraft!” Rubio blurted out, as if Umojen’s command to speak had opened the flood-gates.
“Given any day, any hour, I would agree with you Tylos.” Rubio waited at the door, knowing there was more to come. “But today is not any day, and the hour is not any hour. This could be the closing days of humanity, of the Imperium. The Emperor banned the use of psychic powers, but before this day is out we will be called to use them once again, I believe. Should we not, even if it were to win us the war, simply because the Nikean edict commands it?” The cogs were clearly turning in Rubio’s head as he processed such rationale. He was an honourable marine, dependable. But sometimes his adherence made him to brittle.
“I understand sir.” Was all he could think to say. Rubio could understand the logic, but something about it still felt intrinsically wrong to him.
“At this instance, I would advise you to recall Remark 101 .x “What wins the fight wins the fight…”
…Ultimately, nothing should be excluded if that exclusion leads to defeat.” Rubio repeated their primarch’s words of wisdom with his senior officer.

The issue resolved, at least logically, the two Ultramarines left the room and made their way to the chambers where Eldrad would expect them. They were precisely 2 minutes and 37 seconds early by the time they arrived, but were not the first. Balsar and Guryoi were already there, stripped to the waist and sparing with xenos longswords. Neither had a scratch, but both were drenched in sweat. Umojen and Rubio guessed that it was a contest of first-blood, and stood at the side of the arena to watch.

For a few more moments, the two simply traded blows. Suddenly, Balsar quickened his pace, striking Guryoi with a flurry of blows that forced him back. Each one was blocked by the Luna Wolf, but at some considerable effort. Two successive blows forced Guryoi onto his back foot. After three more he seemed to lose his balance. Guryoi fell back, but quicker that he should have done so that Balsar’s slash with the sword missed him entirely. Having chosen to fall and so pushed himself over, Guryoi was already braced to hit the ground, and a split-second later had rolled to the side and slipped his sword under Balsar’s guard so that is pierced his right breast. A drop of blood welled up as the Blood Angel realised he had been fooled into letting his opponent fall. “Dirty trick” Balsar said with a mixture of amusement and disappointment at his loss. Guryoi opened his mouth to speak when someone else spoke up.
“Needs must when the Devil drives, Son of Sanguinius” Eldrad spoke in his cryptic voice as he entered the rooms flanked by Inwé and a second elder they had not seen before. His face was a mirror and a bright cowl hung over his head. His clothes were a multitude of unrelated and clashing colours.

The others had entered the room without Umojen even noticing. They were all now gathered and Balsar and Guryoi were just about finished donning their armour. Umojen noticed that none of them, not even the elder, were without their armour. A few, such a Ahriman and himself did not wear their helmets, but that was all. As far as diplomacy went, the message was clear; we don’t trust you. Yet. “Noble Astartes, this is the Shadowseer of the Harlequin troupe currently assisting Ulthwé. They have agreed to grant you access to their Black Library…” A juvenile grin of glee played across Ahriman’s features as Eldrad spoke to them. Clearly, this ‘Black Library’ was something the Thousand Sons were fascinated or interest in. Already, Umojen could guess what it might contain. “…it contains all the universe’s knowledge concerning Chaos. In the right hands, it would be a potent and deadly weapon.”

Eldrad paused for a moment, and Umojen noticed that the Shadowseer was rolling on the balls of his feet, yet none of the rest of his body moved. He wondered if it was nerves or impatience, but it was hard to tell when the xeno’s face was hid beneath a mask. “However, such tomes contain sorceries and tainted knowledge far beyond your reckoning. Before they will allow you to even glimpse the corner of a single page, you must prove yourselves as not only capable warriors and sorcerers, worthy of wielding such knowledge, but also immune to the temptations of the Enemy…”
“…Which is why we are here.” Kastix finished for him.
“Correct, Son of the Raven.” Eldrad said, inclining his head.
“How are we to be tested?” Tarugati asked.
“You will face me in combat.” The Shadowseer spoke for the first time. His voice was surprisingly jovial. He sounded happy, almost on the edge of laugher. Quite why Umojen couldn’t fathom. But something about him was apart from the rest of the Eldar he had seen or met.

“I volunteer to challenge you first.” Tarugati spoke with confidence which was far more apparent than his nervousness at facing an enemy he knew almost nothing about. The blank mask snapped to him and remained fixed for a moment. He stared into the mirror image for a second and saw himself. Except he was older, with scars he knew he didn’t have. As he blinked in confusion, the image broke and he only saw himself again. Then the mask nodded and the marines and elder moved to the side of the arena in the centre. Tarugati went to remove his helmet but the Shadowseer stopped him.
“Keep your armour on. You won’t be fighting without it against any other foe”

There was a range of human-esque weapons to choose from. Most were swords of varying length and weights. There were also halberds, maces, axes and hammers. Tarugati held one of the halberds in his hands. It felt comfortingly like his force staff, which was good. He knew what he could and could not do with his staff. Plus it gave him additional reach, which was always a good thing. He turned to face his opponent who appeared to be trying to remember a dance. The Shadowseer took slight steps and hops, occasionally twirling. Once he, well Tarugati assumed it was male under the mask, noticed the Astartes was ready to face him, the ‘dance’ became more extravagant. Tarugati readied his halberd and came at him. Then his head violently throbbed with pain, only his latent training as an Stormseer causing it to subside a measure. He should have anticipated a psychic attack, but the magnitude was what had caught him off guard. He missed a step, as he brought his full powers the bear. Even as he swung at the Shadowseer, which nimble danced out of the way, it spoke to him. “You should always utilise every weapon at your command. Never forget that.”
“I haven’t” Tarugati snarled under his helm. He swung again with his halberd, and when the Shadowseer moved he hurled an invisible wall of energy at it. It rode the wall like a wave, landing gracefully on its feet and retaliated with its own psychic attack.

Horrors and fears assailed Tarugati’s mental walls even as the Shadowseer moved with incredible speed to attack him. Every blow was barely met with a parry from Tarugati. Each time the mirrored face drew near, a leering monster stared out at the Stormseer. It had razor fangs which dripped venom and intense, inherently evil, burning yellow eyes. Tarugati lashed out with a jab at where the Shadowseer was. The Eldar flipped over the blade and punched Tarugati’s helm with enough force to flick his head back. Tarugati answered with a psychic attack in tandem with his physical one. His halberd sliced up and down, forcing the Shadowseer to perform more elaborate manoeuvres to avoid its cutting blade. Even as this was occurring, Tarugati began to expand his mental walls, forcing the elder seer back. Faint arcs of lightning sparked between to two as their powers fought for supremacy, just at sparks flew from colliding weapons. With every blow, Tarugati seemed to be tiring. He could not keep up his onslaught forever, and yet the Shadowseer seemed no less tired than when they had begun. His moves did not falter, and each twist was as graceful as the last. After a few long moments, the Shadowseer assaulted him with another brutal flurry of strikes. Tarugati was forced to concentrate more on his physical defence. Even as he started to force the Shadowseer back, a lance of psychic force struck him and knocked him flat on his back. The Shadowseer ceased his dance, and it was clear that the challenge was over. Tarugati stepped up and placed his weapon back. If it was only physical combat, he might have stood a fair chance. But a blend of psychic and physical combat who was at least equal, if not greater, at both was a battle he could not win. As if reading his thoughts the Shadowseer spoke. “You must achieve a balance between physical and mental attack and defence. The foes you face have done so since their inception, and you must learn to do likewise, or die.” The light tone of the Shadowseer only dropped for the last two words. Rubio stood to face the eldar next, and the dance started up again.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Cheers Vulkan. I don't think in gothik's version Eldrad met Fulgrim, so I reasoned he might be more trusting. Hopefully you enjoy this one.
 

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Apparently this was lost with the recent fix:

VI: Eruditio

Eldrad stood on the surface of Ulthwé, gazing into the cold heart of the stars. He was scrying the the strands of fate, watching them twist and intertwine like the web of some transcendent spider. He tried to plot the path of Ulthwé, of the Mon-keigh they had taken with them. Would their mission end in success? Would it make a difference to the coming war?
“You seek the fate of our people, exhaled seer.” A jovial voice chimed in, breaking Eldrad’s concentration. The shadowseer glided in line with Eldrad and they both stared into space. For a long while, the silence of the void was their only companion other than each other. The Shadowseer knew that Eldrad would speak if he wished, but he could not force him too if he didn’t want to. After several moments of quiet, Eldrad broke the calm with a sigh.
“I don’t want this to be in vain. We risk so much of our people and our secrets we have guarded since the fall of the Eldar Empire. I would not squander it unnecessarily.”

The shadowseer listened intently but said nothing. All of Ulthwé, indeed all of the eldar, knew of this fear. This Emperor could plunge the galaxy into darkness and chaos with his worship to the Pantheon. And the turning of this war could well rest on the shoulders of the eight mon-keigh that were now aboard the craftworld.
“They will rise to the challenge, Farseer. They are young, but we will age them and train them. They will understand. Then more will follow them.” The shadowseer noted with a surreal air of confidence. He had seen glimpses of their souls in their battles. He suspected that they were the best choices, and that had not been by chance. They had potential to be everything that the eldar and humanity needed. If they could survive the coming trials.

Eldrad nodded, mulling over the words of the harlequin. Again, the silence enveloped the duo. Eldrad turned back too trying to divine the strands of fate. Suddenly, one of the threads quivered and snapped. A powerful psyker, one of the most powerful to have ever existed, had just died. More than that, his soul had exploded, sending ripples of psychic energies out from his point of death. Eldrad knew of only a few psykers of that magnitude. One was the Cyclops, but Eldrad knew it was not him. His flame still burnt brightly on his new homeworld. This ‘Emperor’ was another, but it could not be him either. But the energy was similar. It was a relation, a similar being. The death throe came from the cradle of humanity. It was the lesser Emperor, the one called Malcador. Eldrad had met him when he was young, and he doubted the mon-keigh remembered. Now he felt him die, his soul obliterated into a thousand shards by one close to him. The ‘Emperor’ was purging Terra, Eldrad made at assumption. Only someone of a similar psychic magnitude would be able to do that. Things were getting darker quicker than Eldrad had hoped.

“You had better be right Shadowseer. If you have felt what I just felt, you know we must test them. They will either be ready now, or they will never be ready in time.” Eldrad said morbidly. He turned to enter the craftworld. He wished they had more time. He wished that he could be certain that they would succeed, that they could hold back the denizens of hell which they had helped created. But the dice were already cast, and for better or worse, he had placed his lot with the eight Astartes on his home. The needed to head to a training ground.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Felix hit the floor hard. Ahriman’s bolt of psychic power had knocked him off his feet again. He skidded for a couple of seconds before friction brought him to a halt. “You aren’t trying” Ahriman’s voice was harsh with annoyance as Felix brought himself back to his feet.
“I am” He grunted, annoyed at the sorcerer for punishing him so.
“No, you aren’t” Ahriman seemed quite certain of this fact. They had been at this for hours over the past days, and still Felix refused to use his blatant psychic powers. Nothing. Not even the slightest release and Ahriman was beginning to get frustrated. “You will cause us all to fail.”Ahriman near spat. Felix’s gaze snapped up to the Thousand Son, whose helm glared steadily back at him.
“What was that, sorcerer?” Felix growled, clearly offended, taking a few threatening steps closer. Ahriman didn’t back down. Felix had to learn to use his powers, and Ahriman had to force him to unlock them. Clearly orthodox methods weren’t going to work. Some psykers released their powers properly under emotional stimulus, and after the time Ahriman had wasted so far, he was willing to try that.

Ahriman turned his full body to face the Iron Warrior.
“You will fail us all. Everyone else has risen to the challenge set, except you. Everyone else is of use in this endeavour, except you. You just came here to fail your primarch and your legion.”
“Silence witch!” Felix roared, lashing out with a powerful fist. Ahriman waited until the last minute to dodge the blow he had already seen coming. Felix was in a blind rage, his honour impugned. Another blow missed, and another one. Ahriman dodged a dozen blows before he threw him back with a single bolt of psychic energy. He was no member of the Raptora, but his telekine powers were still potent. Felix was up on his feet quickly this time, and charged at Ahriman. He let him get within striking distance, before he hurled him back with another bolt.

“You are a failure. You being here brings shame on your legion and your Primarch. You can’t beat me, and you will die and help this new order. You…” Ahriman was about to continue with more insults when a bolt of electricity hit him square in the chest. Ahriman managed to remain standing, only because his innate training warded off some of the power of the attack. When the electric discharge, Ahriman saw his brother’s eyes blazing a pale blue. The air in the chamber was quickly growing cold. Ahriman smiled under his helm. He lashed out with a strike of his own. Felix was just beginning to tap into the full scope of his powers, and Ahriman was a master psyker. This was always going to be a one-sided battle.

Felix threw up a wall of telekine energy in front of him. The sparks splashed off and scarred the beautiful wraithbone walls. Ahriman went to raise his hand to cast another spell, his arm froze. It became an exertion to simply move his neck. Felix’s fist was clenched, sealing Ahriman’s armour in place. The electric blue eyes sparked with triumph.
“Not so powerful are you?” Felix said condescendingly, cocking his head like a bird watching its prey. Ahriman smiled. He couldn’t move inside his armour, but his lips still could. Felix hurled another bolt of electricity, but Ahriman spoke a ward around himself. Ahriman became clothed in light at the electricity washed over his circular shield of protection. Felix grated his teeth, pouring more and more energy into his bolt. He was unable to cast two spell simultaneously, and Ahriman felt his arms become free to move again.

Even as he held up his barrier with considerable effort, Ahriman realised Felix was going to fry himself just to try and beat him. He needed to end this conflict. Ahriman strained as he bent his shimmering ward from a convex shape to a concave one and forced it closer to Felix. It advanced, step by step, until it met Felix’s outstretched hand from whence power poured. Power and ward met in a violent explosion, and both flashed out of existence. Both were breathing heavily, and Ahriman was drenched in sweat. Felix swayed slightly, then dropped to his hands and knees, panting from exhaustion.
“Now, you are trying” Ahriman said with an edge of glee and a smirk on his lips, before lying on his back and gulping in great breaths of air. “We break for an hour and then return to practice.” Ahriman said with an air of finality. He sat up and looked at his cousin. “You have power, now you need to know how to control it.”

Felix looked up for the floor and said with an air of sadness
“I’ve become everything I hated.” Ahriman had no words of comfort for him. It would not be easy, this journey. Suddenly, and ethereal voice broke in.
“It is a necessary evil, Son of Iron. You must embrace everything you ever hated to save all you ever loved.” Eldrad spoke and Ahriman could not help but feel that the farseer was both correct and speaking from experience. He looked at them both, and the damage they had wrought on the room they were in, for a moment before he spoke again. “The strands of fate dictate we accelerate our plans. We leave in four hours.”
“For where?” Felix asked, still breathing heavily.
“A planet that orders the great eye that the one called Lorgar left as a playground dedicated to the Ruinous Powers. I think you call it Cadia. You are to be baptised in fire and either become what we need you to be or die. There is no other path left to us.” And with that, Eldrad left, presumably to inform the others. Felix and Ahriman looked at each other for a moment before mutually acknowledging that their time or rest was abruptly at an end. Ahriman sighed. “Time is short. I will teach you the Enumerations.” Felix looked sceptical, unwilling to be taught any sorcerous incantations but also realising he had since given up the opportunity to object. Both Astartes sat cross-legged opposite each other, the master ready to instruct the pupil for his own safely.
 

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Really encouraging that both this and Emperor's Will have continued after the crisis (well, tEW is done, but you know what I mean). Good work.
 

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V: Valeo

He landed on his knees having just fallen from a great height. His ceremite knee left craters in the earth as he landed on one knee, one leg and one hand outstretched. The earth was a blood red. He thought it was because of iron in the soil, but his advanced sensory glands told him it was not so. The hue was all wrong. It was more than just blood colours, for as he scrapped his fingers to dig in deeper to the soil, red water welled up in the indents his fingers made. Not red water. Blood. The earth bled as he peeled away the soil like a scab. He looked up and the sky was a maddening cacophony of colours. Blues, purples, reds and others besides, all swirling into vortex in an ellipse. He felt as if the colours formed and eye. The open eye, always watching.

The earth began to tremble with the sound of thousands of footsteps in unison. He could not see them, but walked towards the sound, intending to discover the source. He walked to peak of a hill, and saw the reason the ground trembled. A warband, at least a thousand strong walked through the valley, brandishing weapons forged in all the hells themselves. The cohort’s armour and arms were drenched in blood, fading from fresh vitae into the dried brown hues. Their armour resembled brass in colour. Many of the warriors bore mutations such as horns or claws, although wings sprouted from the backs of several prominent figures.

Abruptly the band or warriors stopped and turned in unison to face him. He was bemused until he heard an unearthly roar from beside him. A horrific amalgamation of man and monster stood beside him. His head sprouted tusks that gave him a boar like appearance. His mouth was lined with shark-teeth and his muscles were warped beyond their natural proportions such that he barely fitted in the colossal suit of armour which he wore. Many skulls, human and other, were hung on tethers of tanned flesh from barbaric hooks all over his armour. He drew a two-handed black sword which screamed and was engraved with blazing writhing script. In a loud voice he called to his warriors “For the Pantheon! For the Emperor!” The warriors below returned the cry. Slowly, the commander turned his head to face him. His eyes blazed with a wild hungry fire, but he still recognised them. Even as the flames seemed to leap out and pull him into the eyes of the warrior, he recognised them as his own.


Balsar heaved himself up as he was torn from the dream state he was in. His body was drenched in sweat. He sat upright and panted to regain his breath. As his breathing returned to normal, Guryoi entered his room. The Luna Wolf took a pause. Balsar stood up and splashed his face with water from a basin in the quarters the eldar had given him. “Bad dream brother” Balsar said as the cool water dripped off his face.
“Can you be certain it was just a dream?” Serapis asked, knowing that dreams were rarely just dreams for ones such as them.
“No.” Was the cool remark from the Blood Angel. Guryoi sighed.
“Well, you will have to ponder it while we travel.” Balsar turned to face his cousin.
“We are leaving?”
“Aye, the Farseer says we must move quickly. Events elsewhere drive our movements and trails faster than anticipated.” Balsar nodded. “Malcador is dead.” Serapis added a moment later.
“The Regent? How?”
“I don’t know. His presence was great in the warp. Eldrad said he felt him die. I noticed a background flare in my mind, but did not realise it was him.” Balsar realised he must have been in the dream when this happened.

The all quickly donned their armour and reported to the main hangar. The eight pyskers stood at attention, not saying anything. This was not a moment for small talk or idle conversation. Each of them could feel the air of foreboding. Balsar could feel something had shifted in Felix, but did not ask. After a few moments, Eldrad appeared, flanked by several other seers with a table covered with a thin cloth. “Astartes, time is of the essence so I will make this brief. We are sending you to a world fully under the sway of the Pantheon, the Four Gods of Chaos. We will come for you in month. Your task is thusly, you must remain alive, sane and pure. None of these will be easy, and you may not succeed. But you are not without weapons. Your most powerful ones being your own gifts. But, should those not prove enough, we offer you these.” The sheet was removed by the eldar to reveal beautifully crafted weapons.

They presented weapons to each according to his type. To Kastix they granted a modified Warp Spider’s warp-jump pack and two short sword which seemed to move quicker with every test slash Kastix swung. They gave Ahriman a singing spear, resized to fit his Astartes hands. Umojen and Rubio received double-handed blades, each a twin of the other. Felix simply received his hammer back to him, but with some obvious modifications. The stoic warrior nodded in appreciation, which was practically a bow considering how he had been when he first arrived. One of the seers approached Balsar with a kind of harness with mechanical wings fitted and a scimitar like blade. “We have heard your father is an angel and so fashioned them in his likeness, Angelson” the eldar said. Balsar put the harness on, and felt the wings become part of his power armour, like they had always been there. He exercised them, so he hovered for a second before touching back down. Then he hovered for a bit longer, and then started to hover for a minute or so. It felt so natural. Was this how his Primarch felt? Or was it even greater than this?

As the giving of weapons came to a close. Each bore a blade or staff of some sorts, and their bolters had been refitted to sit on their forarms. “We have loaded up our transport with all the munitions from your craft. You must be gone. Be strong, Astartes. Be strong for us all” Eldrad said with the most genuine tone of fear Balsar had ever heard him use. With that, they all boarded the eldar craft in silence. They each took a seat as the craft lifted off an headed towards one of the eldar’s Webway portal. Rubio broke the silence with a heavy sigh.
“So, here’s what it all comes down to.”
“Aye, here’s where we prove our metal” Kastix nodded in agreement.
“We will not disappoint our Lords. We will become everything they need us to be. All of us.” Ahriman asserted with a confidence that only someone who had gazed into the future since his youth could have. Felix grunted.
“For our Perturabo and the Imperial truth!” He declared with a powerful tone, placing his hand in the gap in between them all. Umojen placed his hand on top of his cousin’s
“For Guilliman and the Imperial truth!”
“For Corax and the Imperial truth!”
“For Guilliman and the Imperial truth!”
“For Magnus and the Imperial truth!”
“For Jaghatai and the Imperial truth!”
“For Horus and the Imperial truth!”
“For Sanguinius and the Imperial truth!”

For several hours they travelled, only each other for company. Whereas their first travel together had been awkward and full of tension, this one was easy and comfortable. The Astartes discussed battle plans, hypothesis of who or what they would face. Most were certain they would face Astartes, but all were tentative to mention it. Felix and Ahriman spent a great deal of time in conversation, running through rituals and protections for the former to use in the imminent battle. When they finally fell out of the Webway not far from Cadia, all conversation ceased as each Astartes was shocked into silence by the sight of it.
“What is that?”
“All kinds of hell I didn’t think existed anymore.” The planet was a shifting mass of several different hues of colour. Some a deep red, others a sickle yellow, other still were just conglomerations of random colours which were somewhat painful to look at. The planet bore scars that made it look like the very mantle of the earth had been smote by some colossal sword. And behind it all was a bleeding tear in reality in the shape of a baleful eye. Suddenly the group became startlingly aware of just what faced them on the testing ground they were swiftly approaching…
 

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My latest contribution. I hope you enjoy some action :)

VI: Tentationem

The transport carrier they had originally come to the eldar fleet was the same craft they used to leave the ship which had brought them thus far. They were alone. Serapis reflected on what awaited them. Whatever was down on the planet’s surface had the eldar spooked. They had refused bluntly to even enter the planet’s atmosphere with their craft. So all the supplies had been loaded onto the small inconspicuous craft his primarch had sent them off in. Serapis caressed the length of the great staff the eldar had gifted to him and he didn’t wear his helmet yet. His short cut brown hair was his own as it had always been, but his face had been assaulted by the gene-tech wrought in him and made him to look like his primarch. He was a Son of Horus and he was proud of it. He had been picked from his entire legion to represent them here, to forge a new brotherhood to stand against the madness which faced them.

The craft rocked gently as it encountered some turbulence, and Serapis ignored it. They would be landing soon enough, and so he unlocked his helmet from its magnetic locks on his thigh. He slid it over his echoing features and his world was coloured red. Outside the craft, unnatural winds howled and the stench of phosphor was heavy in the air. The sky was a twisting kaleidoscope of colours, several of which could not be seen anywhere but here. Dark air-borne predators circled in skies on winds too small and tattered to naturally support their weight. They paid no attention to the small metal box descending from the sky, and so the journey went unremarked for the Astartes.

Serapis was the third to crush the arid ground beneath his boots. It was a dirty brown, bordering on red. *Like a scab* Serapis thought to himself. He looked around. In the distance there seemed to be some sort of structure. A tower? Or a hab block maybe? Serapis didn’t even know of this world, much less of who or what was there. In the background of his hearing, he was certain that the hissing of the winds formed words, but every time he tried to listen for them they faded in his mind, like grasping for fog. There was something most unsettling about this place. He could feel a pressure on his mind, like the weight of the Immaterium was bearing in on him. He ground his teeth together beneath his helm, and even that was frustrating. Sections of his tactical read-out were just reading garbage back to him. Random numbers and off centre calibrations were frequent as he stared out of his vision slits.

A sharp noise broke all their focuses. It was the demented howl of maddened wolves. It echoed from the east and Serapis knew that it was meant for them to hear. Something had found them, and despite his void sealed suit, Serapis shivered. Something was very wrong here. “Ready yourselves” came Ahriman’s stern voice across the vox. Serapis gripped the red leather bound haft of his stave and waited, watching the direction the howls had come. Then they came. At least twenty hulking dogs shod with scales and rising bone crests jutting from obscure angles from their heads, necks and backs, came pacing over the hills. Serapis twisted his wrist and opened his bolter’s first round into the oncoming dogs. They snapped and barked at each other, their endless rows of elongated fang clattering over and over, even as the bolts came to meet them. Several struck the flanks of the beasts, but it didn’t seem to hamper them, still they came on.

With a thought, Serapis opened his hand and sent a gout of flame rolling forwards, wagering that a wall of psychic flame would do more damage against these…monsters, for lack of a better word. Instead, he found the opposite. His fireball should have hit one of the lead hounds dead one, but instead it simply guttered and died without touching it. Serapis noticed that the same thing happened to the Ahriman’s bolts of lightning, Rubio’s telekine blasts and Balsar’s ‘red spears’. They just seemed to absorb the power of the warp into themselves. They were almost upon them now, their jaws so close and their eyes burning like fires of some eternal forge.

Ahriman’s spear flew in the corner of Serapis’ vision, spearing a hound before flying back into his hand. Serapis gripped his stave in two hands, and rushed forwards to meet their foes.

His stave’s spiked and bladed edge came up in a wide arc, crackling with destructive energy. It struck one of the beasts in the side of the head, splitting the jaws apart and knocking it aside, but not killing it. Serapis let one hand fall away from the stave and brought up his wrist to fire a succession of bolts into the skull of another oncoming hound. The craters the bolts blew in its head and side seemed the same colour as its already exposed flesh. It was like whichever madman’s nightmare had forged these hounds from hell had forgotten to cover them in skin. A trio of bolts through the beast’s skull put out its fiery eyes.

Before he could turn, Serapis was hit with a full body tackle by the hound whose jaw hung by only half the original tendons that had been joined to it. Although Serapis didn’t notice, its claws left a gauge in his armour and paintwork, the first of many such battle-marks and the first of the paint that would eventually all be stripped just to reveal the pure metal belief. Although none of them did or would remark upon it, this was what was happening to each of them. Their souls were being damaged and rent and all unnecessary decoration stripped away until only the raw brilliant purity remained or the armour folded in on itself.

Serapis came up in a roll to face his opponent. He barely had time to register before the fell-hound dived at him again, its mouth open ready to engulf him. Serapis brought up his elbow into the beast’s lower jaw with bone shattering force. The two halves of the mouth collided and each bit into the other. As the failed crunching jaws continued with their original momentum, Serapis spun to the side and as the monster landed, his spiked stave came down upon its head and burst it like a ripe fruit. The actually flesh seemed to slough of and decay rapidly as it died, in moments being reduced to an ectoplasmic puddle on the ground.

Serapis noticed that Balsar was facing three dogs at once, each of them snarling and hissing, Balsar twisted about his waist, watching one or two at a time. On some unheard signal, all three pounced at him at once, certain he could not evade them all. They were wrong. His monofilament wings vibrated furiously and Balsar was propelled into the air. Not yet having the confidence to fly as his father had done his entire life, he let gravity bring him back to the planet. All his crushing weight broke the spine of one of the flesh hounds and his sword sunk deep into the skull of another and became lodged there. The third, sensing an opportunity, went to pounce but never made it. Serapis’ stave connected with the underside of its belly and tore a mortal wound through it. Its entrails flopped out as it was battered aside. Still it tried to stand, determined to fight on, only to be met by the barrels of Serapis and Balsar’s boltguns.

More and more died in the following moments. What had first started out as fight where the Astartes were out-numbered was quickly turning into a massacre of these beasts. Their prime agent was fear and strength, and against normal humans they would have found themselves the victors. But these Astartes were bread to know no fear and had gazed into the warp long enough to not be shocked by what it vomited out. As for their strength; their strength was easily a match for these hell dogs. The last one was surrounded by all those mighty warriors and summarily executed with a decisive blow to its skull.

A brief moment of calm and silence washed over the Astartes as they stared at one another. None of them had sustained any real injuries, but scratches on their armour showed where the beasts had at least landed blows. “We need to keep moving” Ahriman said finally. He looked up to the group “These are void spawn and just our being here will draw them to us.”
“We need a better position to defend from. If more come for us, we’ll need more than just our strength to beat them.” Felix added, everyone nodding in agreement.
“I propose a theoretical…” Umojen interjected “…that mountain over there cannot be more than a few hours away. Six of us will continue to the mountain on foot, moving less detectably. The other two will take the transport and the remaining supplies, conceal it in the mountains and establish a base of opperations. When we have a perimeter established we will vox exact coordinates.”
“Why don’t we all just take the transport?” Tarugati offered.
“Because…” Serapis joined in, realising the thought behind Umojen’s plan. “…Our souls act like flares for these warp creatures to follow, as Ahzek said. If only two go in the transport, it has a better chance of remaining undetected.” Serapis looked towards Umojen to confirm he was correct, and the battle helm of the Ultramarine nodded up and down.

Kastix seemed convinced and with no further interjections Umojen continued.
“So is my theoretical approved?” The other members of the group nodded.
“Me and you will take the transport” Felix said with an air of finality. No one held any authority, but if anyone was going to be able to establish a perimeter, Felix would and so no one objected. Umojen and Felix entered the transport and it took off, speeding ahead of them to the mountain they would make into their home for the coming days and weeks. The rest broke into a run towards their destination. Serapis was certain that they would not make it there unchallenged, but he was equally sure that Felix and Umojen’s journey would not be plain sailing either. Serapis could not help but wonder what would befall them over the coming month, what trails they would face. He realised that they were totally alone down here. There was no fleet in orbit ready to assist, no battle brothers to reinforce them. There was nothing and no one. Just them against what might well be an entire planet which hated them. His grim expression was hidden by his battle helm as he ran with his cousins towards what they hoped would be relative safety…
 

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cant wait for more, the eldar are the greatest race in existence and eldrad ulthran is one of the greatest of them all.
 

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Ok, so after my hiatus, I am back with another installment. Hopefully this will inject a bit of momentum back into my section of this and hopefully you all enjoy it. I know it's shorter than most of my other pieces, but it's more of just a re-introduction. There will be more to come...

He saw the mountain again. He kept going back there. The mountain that ate men. How great had his folly been then, to think a mortal being could master the warp. It was like a man believing he could master the oceans. And perhaps therein had been the problem. Man had mastered the continents and the oceans and nothing had been out of their reach. When control of their own home had bored them, man had stretched out his greedy, possessive claws into the heavens and pulled them from orbit. Nothing had been or was beyond them. And since nothing they could see had been, they had assumed that nothing ever was.

But such things were not so. Eternal and finite beings had watched them from when the stars were first formed. They knew their ways and could find every fault in man’s step. As man had pulled more into his grasp, he had opened his bosom for the poisoned knife to stab his heart. And thus the knife had fallen, and the poison had been delivered quickly and efficiently to every vessel in the body. Man as a race had been poisoned and even now its body fought to repel to venom at all borders.

Now a desperate anti-vemon had been developed and was being refined even now. But it was painful to not be able to see the progress of it. There was no guarantee that anything, even this most desperate of measures would work, could stop man’s demise now. Was the hour too late to change the fate of humanity…


Magnus opened his eyes slowly from his meditations to find Captain Amon standing quietly in the doorway of his chambers. “I did not wish to disturb your meditations lord.”
“Always so formal Amon.” Magnus said as he hoisted himself off the ground. His limbs were impotent, but within the psycho-conductive network of hit throne, Magnus’s powers allowed him, with but the smallest exertion of will, to levitate and move from place to place with almost as much freedom as he had when his legs still worked. “Why have you come at this late hour my son.” Magnus said.
“It’s the astropaths my lord. They have received a message.”
“Horus?”
“No my lord”
“Another of my brothers?”
“Not likely.”
“The eldar?”
“Possible, but again not likey.” Magnus’s brow furred. If it was none of his brothers nor the eldar, and it seemed to trouble Amon greatly, Magnus wondered what was so special about this message.

“What is the message Amon?” Magnus said, his voice still calm despite his growing impatience. Amon did not speak for a moment, clearly thinking how to best phrase his response.
“That’s why I came to you my lord. It seems we cannot get the message out of them.” Magnus stared inquisitively at Amon, so he continued. “They know that they received a message, but cannot remember who it is from or where or what the message contains and every attempt by…other adepts to pull the information from their minds had failed.” So many of his own sons, including Amon by his inflection, had tried to obtain the information. And having all failed, they had come to him.

Magnus sighed. Not out of loathing or annoyance, but actually out of pleasure. He enjoyed mental exercises and with all the mental strains he bore in silence it would be good to devote himself to a task, even if it was only brief. “Well, I guess we should make our way to the choir room then.”
“No need my lord. I had the choir brought here.” Amon said as he beckoned in the Astropaths indentured to the Thousand Sons. Magnus chuckled. Amon had known he would not resist a chance to exercise his powers. At least that part of him was not crippled.

The Astropathic choir shuffled in. It always struck Magnus as ironic that where the powers of the warp had made him and his legion strong, these men and women were withered and made fragile by holding such powers. It was a burden that they bore, and Magnus respected that they bore it willingly. “Well, now. Let’s see if we can’t…” Magnus never finished his sentence. At the sound of his voice, the whole choir in unison snapped to attention, their backs arched, and their mouths locked open. Amon’s weapon was instantly in his hand, but Magnus shook his head. Cool blue vapour coiled out of the mouths of the Astropaths gathered, and started to coalesce above their head.

At first the vapour just formed into an abstract ball which hung in the centre of Magnus’s chamber. Then features started to push themselves out of the cloud, forming a face familiar to Magnus’s mind. One he had not seen in many months. “Azhek?” Magnus whispered with an air of trepidation. This sorcery was unseen, even to Magnus’s trained mind. “Lord Magnus. I am Khyron, First of the Eight Swords. I request your, and any other legion’s, available aide to be sent to us immediately. Foremost we require Apothecaries and gene-seed. There is work to be done.”
“My son, where are you?” Magnus implored, thrilled at seeing his son again. Even through this faint mirror, the Astarte that had been his first captain looked changed. Almost as if he was not the same man at all.
“All will be explained my lord. Ask the Eldar where to find us. Nam symbolum.”

With that the vapour diffused into the air. The astropaths returned to their natural positions, their bodies sore from being contorted in delivering the message. Amon approached Magnus, somewhat sheepishly. “My lord, what was that?”
“Powerful sorcery my son. The likes of which I would not have thought even Azhek was capable of.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Now…” Magnus mused “…now we answer the call. Call for Horus and Eldrad. They must hear of this.” Amon bowed and left to bring his uncle and the eldar seer before his lord. Magnus dismissed the Astropaths and went back to meditations. It was powerful sorcery, just as he had told Amon. But the truth was Magnus did not know how powerful. A non-astropath being able to commune with an astropath was rare enough, let alone commandeer an entire choir to deliver a simple message and be able to block it from all but a certain individual was a feat of unimaginable skill and power. Certainly the winds of change were blowing.
 

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VIII: Veritatem

Eldrad stood for a moment outside of the Cyclops’s chambers. He had been abruptly summoned from his duties elsewhere to come meet with this sorcerer king, and had not been told why. At best, relationship with these Mon-keigh were strained, but the climate of open warfare only served to heighten that and make tempers fray. He had not been back here in some time. Not since he had taken the eight from the fleet to be tested. He had heard that the Battle-king of Ultramar was fighting his own personal war against the legion of She-Who-Thirsts and knew that Horus would not wait much longer before he engaged in his own battles. Eldrad took a deep breath and composed himself before he pushed the great doors open wide.

Horus was already there, talking with Magnus. However the conversation halted abruptly when Eldrad walked in. This was not a good way to start a meeting like this. Magnus’s eyes remained impassive, but there was a weight of something unvoiced behind them. By comparison, Horus’s blazed with the fires of a thousand suns. “Welcome Eldrad.” Magnus spoke, trying to ease the tension. “How are the men we sent to you?” Eldrad could feel that was a loaded question. As the seconds passed between the question being asked and his answer, Eldrad could feel Horus’ eyes boring into him.

Eldrad swallowed again. His honest reply was he did not know. He had not seen or spoken to them since they had left them on Cadia. They could be dead, or corrupt, or fine.
“They fare as expected, Lord Magnus.” Eldrad replied finally. Now Hprus started to pace the room like a caged hound, his eyes permanently on the Farseer. Magnus simply nodded.
“Side question, how do the eldar communicate with each other?” This question Eldrad was not expecting. What had lead Magnus to ask this question. Finally Horus spoke.
“What my brother means to ask is; are your people in the habit of hijacking other persons and using them as puppets to communicate through?” Magnus shot Horus a look of something between vague annoyance and a plea for patience. “Brother, we have a war to win. We cannot ask peripheral questions when we are only interested in the answer to one.” Horus retorted.
“No Lord Horus. The eldar don’t communicate like that…”

Eldrad was about to continue when Horus cut him off again.
“Then why is it that Magnus has received a communication of that sort from a man who wears Ahriman’s face, but professes not to be him?” Eldrad was starting to see why he had been called here. They were concerned for their sons. Still, he had no answer for them.
“I don’t know Horus.” Horus snorted, out of indignation rather than amusement.
“So, you are supposed to be training them to be warriors against my Father and the powers he has aligned himself with, and you don’t know how they have acquired such knowledge.” Eldrad could feel the heavy weight of Horus’s personality bearing down on him. Even for one as old as he, the primarch was intimidating when roused.

Now Magnus spoke again, his voice having the slightest undertones of malice.
“How do you not know?”
“Magnus…” Eldrad began, realising that whereas Horus’s anger was kept on a leash and it was controlled, Magnus had tried to bury his too deep and now it was boiling over. “…we had to test them. We had to be sure that they could be trusted with the lore of Chaos.”
“What have you done with my son?” Magnus bellowed, small arcs of ethereal lightning tracing themselves over his body. Eldrad dropped his façade, realising that at this point that any modicum of deceit would just inflame the primarch of the thousand son.
“He is on Cadia, a planet which lies just on the edge of the Eye of Terror. We left them there almost a month ago and haven’t had any contact with them.”

To his credit, Magnus remained calm for several seconds. Then the storm broke. Eldrad just had time to bring a ward up before a telekine blast slammed into him. The bower the primarch possessed seemed to have only been strengthened by his disablement. Eldrad skidded across the room as Magnus’s attack continued.
“MAGNUS!!!” Horus bellowed, his voice carrying over the crackling of warp-lightning and the incoherent bellows of the enraged Cyclops. To Eldrad’s relief, the primarchs attack relented.
“He abandoned our sons Horus! He left them to die. The xeno’s bastard…”
“Did what he needed to. Better that they die than be used against us.”
“He’s my son Horus, you can’t just expect me to be calm about this.”
“I have a son with them too. So does Sanguinius and Guilliman and Corax. We all have invested our best psykers.” Magnus’s rage subsided.

Eldrad stood for a moment and then spoke
“Thank you my Lord…”
“Don’t speak Seer!” Horus snapped, his calm soothing voice which had just calmed Magnus replaced with a voice which sounded like the rolling of thunder. “I haven’t worked out what I am going to do with you yet. You tell us nothing about what you are planning or what this ‘training’ consists of. You were reckless with some of the best marines we have, and experienced soldiers are not something we have in abundance.” Horus sighed exasperated.

Everyone was quite for a moment. Eldrad felt the tension slowly relax and risked speaking again. “What did Ahriman say?”
Magnus looked up. “He called himself Khyron, and he said that we should come find him and bring Apothecaries with gene-seed.” Eldrad raised his eyebrow. “He said he would explain when we got there.”
“We?” Eldrad queried. Horus chuckled
“Oh yes, you and Magnus’s enquiry, Amon , are taking a Strike cruiser, Imohtek, to Cadia to bring our weapons back and give them all assistance they require.” Eldrad nodded. Horus turned to leave his brother and the Seer alone.
“One last thing my lord?” Horus stopped and looked over his massive shoulders. “You know what will happen if they are corrupted don’t you.” Horus nodded and left the two psykers alone. Magnus glared at Eldrad, clearly not having forgiven him. Eldrad bowed briefly and left for the hanger to travel to the awaiting cruiser which was waiting to see the fruits of his people’s labour.
As Eldrad crossed the threshold out of the room Magnus growled “Pray for your sake you have not wasted their lives.”
“I already do, for we will need them if we are to weather the coming storm.” Magnus nodded and once more was left alone with his thoughts. Left to ponder what might have become of his son.
 

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IX: Revenio​

Khyron sat cross legged, his mind cast into the aether. In his previous life he had viewed it as a great ocean, teaming with benign entities and many predators, but an ecosystem which could be mastered like any other. One which humanity could explore the depths of and know everything that dwelt within it. But his time on this planet had taught him to reconsider this notion. The warp was not an ocean, it was not a knowable thing. It was in a constant state of shifting, warping, changing. Nothing was ever constant. Above all, everything was a lie there. There was no truth to be found within the warp. There was knowledge, but the Gods which dwelt there used that knowledge to usurp the truth. They sat on their perverted thrones plotting the damnation of humanity; plotting its descent into chaos.

Over his time here, he had died and been reborn. He had died, one piece at a time. First, his hubris died. Such a thing would have been his downfall, and it almost was. He had been forced to purge his arrogance from his mind. Then his thirst for knowledge. That had been difficult to rid himself of. He had never thought it a problem, but chaos was insidious. It had used his healthy desire and appreciation of all knowledge to feed him and stuff him like a glutton until he was bloated and useless and easy to destroy. The others had died slowly like him too. Valdar and Pelenas had been forced to cast their unwavering loyalty to a father they once had aside. Now they were only loyal to the Brotherhood and the Creed and everyone else was never above suspicion. Drystann had been forced to overcome his own bloodlust, lest it destroy him. Geronitan’s kindness and humanity had to be put to death. They had all died and nothing remained of the men they once more. But that was necessary. For in death, they had become something greater. Something the war needed. They might have forgotten who they were, but they had not forgotten their purpose.

There had been many times when they had come close to faltering. Most were in the first phase of their time on this Warp-infested planet. When they had been alone and wondering if they would ever be rescued. What had felt like months had passed with no respite from the horrors that dwelt on this planet and not contact save each other. Tempers had frayed and the Brotherhood, although it was not yet the Brotherhood yet, had almost split in its infancy. Then they had found the human settlements and that had almost been the final nail in the coffin. Most of the humans that dwelt here were corrupted by Chaos and served the Dark Gods with every base depravity that existed. Khyron had thought then something he was certain that they had all felt; could humanity ever resist Chaos? At that moment, it had felt like they were staring into the inevitable fate of humanity. They had all considered laying down their arms and giving into the inevitable.

Then they had found the humans. What they had not realised was that Lorgar had been here before them. Many of the populace had fallen to his sway, and many still were already tainted by the powers that manifested here. But a small group of humans had hidden away. They alone in a world gone mad could see that the Chaos Gods brought nothing but ruin and despair. There was no hope or truth in them, only lies and Chaos. They had embraced the broken Astartes with joy. They saw these dull armoured warriors as their saviours. But the truth that the Brotherhood acknowledged was that these simple mortals were their saviours. They had nurtured their faith in humanity and each other, and shown them that that was their greatest weapon. Faith was anthemia to these denizens of the warp. And so, they wrote the Creed, the Word of Humanity. It was a code to live and die by and it gave them faith. In exchange, the Brotherhood had helped these humans to destroy those who had sold their souls to the Dark Gods and trained them to succeed them.

Khyron and his brothers had cast a net of warp energy around their encampment. To the naked eye, nothing existed. But to one who could see through the warp, thousands of tiny strands of invisible thoughts and power stretched out of kilometres. Anything or anyone trying to move against them would find an enemy that was prepared to meet them. Not that anyone had challenged them in a while. Well, except for the most fool hardy of daemons, usually of the Blood God himself, but sometimes the most supremely arrogant servants of the other warp powers would challenge them. Such was life on the blasted wastelands of this world.

Khyron sat in the centre of this web like a spider, waiting for anything to disturb his nest. Suddenly, the strands underneath him shook. Khyron spread his consciousness along the threads, finding where they had been triggered. He couldn’t find a point of origin. The strands were vibrating, but it was not from one point. It was the whole of the threads, vibrating at the same time as if hit by a wave. A wave. Khyron’s heart rate accelerated. He had sent his message to a man only remembered as the Cyclops, but he had wondered if it would ever be answered. If it was the Old Ones, his web would not have felt their entrance, for their ships did not disturb the warp like humanity’s craft did. It had to be them. No one else had any reason being here. Khyron’s eyes snapped open, and he stood up quickly. He had to tell the others. They had been heard.

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“My lord Amon, we have entered the world designated ‘Cadia’’s orbit. Your instructions?” The shipmaster of the Imohtek asked Amon. Amon stood passively behind the command throne of the captain.
“Topographical scan of the planet.” Amon said. It was phrased as a statement and he expected a swift response. Several of the other humans at the many consoles of the ship tapped furiously and brought up a 3-D rendering of the planet.
“There appears to be several small settlements my lord. Do we know where we will find Lord Azhek and the others?” the human called Phael asked. He was a good man and had served the Fifteenth legion, even through the madness of Prospero.

Amon turned to the eldar Seer as his side. He did not like the xenos. He had left his brother on the forsaken world and did not seem repentant in the slightest. But he was a first rate psyker and his father had bade him to take Eldrad with him. “Do you feel that?” Amon said.
“Yes.” Eldrad said staring straight ahead. He knew exactly what the Son of the Cyclops was talking about. There was a form of psychic beacon calling from the planet. It spoke no words, and conveyed nothing, it simply existed as a waypoint in and of itself. Amon nodded in assent.
“Master of the Deck…” Amon spoke into the vox “…have two Thunderhawk transports prepared for launch immediately.” The captain of the Thousand Sons turned to the eldar. “We are leaving.”
“And if it’s a trap?”
“We are leaving with weaponry and 3 squads of my finest men.” Amon said leaving the bridge and expecting Eldrad to follow.
“So barbaric.” Eldrad muttered sub-audibly, although the Astarte probably heard him. In truth, he was more worried that 3 squads might not be enough if they had given over to the ruinous powers.

Within five minutes the Thousand sons were already penetrating the atmosphere of Cadia and speeding towards the encampment. It was a mis-match of ramshackle huts, but at least it resembled something human. As they came into approach, Eldrad could not help but feel that they had disturbed something, but they had moved so quickly it was impossible for him to tell what. As the Thunderhawks landed and the pristine Astartes disembarked, eight similar figures stood to great them. They were flanked by dozens of humans, all of which seemed oddly unimpressed with the arrival of these armoured giants from the skies.

Amon was shocked by the sight that greeted him. He recognised several of the marines which stood before him, but only by their faces. Their armour was scratched bare, any paintwork it once had was now gone. Strangely, their armour bore no iconography, but this did not seem inflicted by battle. It was as if the armour had been designed that way. The same armour was dented and obviously patched up in several places. But it was not the armour that bore the scars. The visible flesh of these Astartes was scared and their eyes spoke of mental scars which were as unspeakable as they were terrible.

The one that stood at the head of the group Amon recognised. A smile broke across the Thousand Son’s face as he saw his friend, even in a state such as this. “Brother. It is good to see you!” Amon exclaimed as he rushed forward to embrace his battle brother. For Ahriman’s part he simply stood still even at the man he had once known wrapped his arms around him. It was a one sided embrace for a while, until Ahriman tentatively returned it.

“It is good to see another defender of the Imperial truth.” Khyron said as the Astarte who seemed convinced they had known each other released him. “Ahriman? We are more than fellow defenders…” The man stared, his eyes perplexed and imploring. “…We are cut from the same cloth. Both Sons of Prospero.” Khyron sighed. He had not realised that many would mistake him for someone else.
“I’m afraid we are not.” Khyron spoke flatly. The Astarte went to speak, but the xenos Khyron remembered to be Eldar placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Be still Amon, I’m sure all will be explained in due course.” Eldrad spoke this time
“Indeed. I believe formal introductions are in order. I am Khyron, First of the Eight Swords and Master of the Sharpest Sword Blade.”
“I am Valdar, Second of the Eight Swords and Master of the Watcher Blade.”
“I am Pelenas, Third of the Eight Swords and Master of the Long Sword Blade.”
“I am Dhask, Fourth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Banisher Blade.”
“I am Geronitan, Fifth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Hidden Sword Blade.”
“I am Arno, Sixth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Healers Blade.”
“I am Drystann, Seventh of the Eight Swords and Master of the Purifying Flame Blade.”
“I am Ordan, Eighth of the Eight Swords and Master of the Shield Blade.”

Eldrad watched as each of the Astartes he had left to an almost certain fate stepped forward in turn; Ahriman, Umojen, Rubio, Tarugati, Kastix, Guryoi, Balsar and Felix. He had known when he had left them on the planet that they would likely be corrupted or killed. So many strands of fate lead to one of both of those. He had spent countless nights pouring over the runes and seer stones trying to see if there was any alternative long before he had approached Horus with his offer. There had only been one where they had lived and Eldrad could scarcely believe that the universe had moved in such a way as to allow these men to continue to serve. Beneath his pointed helmet, Eldrad let his mouth experience the luxury of a smile as joy washed over his insides.

Khyron’s expression turned from one of relative friendliness into one of open hostility. At once his weapon was drawn as was the weapons of his eight fellows. “Assemble the Brotherhood” Khyron called out and Ordan and Dhask split off from the groups and roused several dozens of humans from their slumber. These men were built like initiates into the Astartes, with muscles thick and iron forged all bearing crude armour and weapon with marking etched over them.

“What is going on Ahriman?” Amon demanded. “Don’t you understand, fool! We are under attack. Now ready yourselves, the Enemy comes.” The one known as Drystann snapped. His once angelic face had been horribly marred down one side and a thick ropey scar wound it’s was from his temple until it disappeared under the collar of his armour. His eyes were flinty and spoke of a ruthless uncompromising nature.
“Where is this enemy? There is no one here!” Amon exclaimed exasperated. “Ahriman...” He began to implore. Surely his friend was simply jumping at shadows. He was totally unprepared when Ahriman’s hand struck him across the face.
“Call me that again, and I will have your tongue! I am Khyron you dense fool and the Enemy WILL be here and we need to be ready for them. Now ready your men and form the back row behind the Brotherhood!” Amon straightened himself and the man who had once been his brother stepped to within an inch of his face. For a moment they simply stared, Amon’s a mix of revulsion and anger, Khyron’s one of cold indifference in irritation. “Now.” Khyron hissed.

“Yes…” Amon replied and a moment later added “…sir.” Khyron simply joined the humans who stood ready behind him. These must be the ones he had said he was the master of. All of the eight Astartes had a group which followed them, some larger than others. Drystann’s lot, the ones they had called the Purifying Flames, could not have numbered more than twenty and they stood facing a hill waiting for an enemy Amon still could not see. There could not have been more than a hundred and fifty humans between all the groups. Amon obeyed his orders and formed up the final row behind the humans. Even as he and his men stood ready to fight, he could not help but wonder why these humans were a more sturdy bulwark than his Astartes in the eyes of his brother and cousins. These thoughts occupied his mind until he saw the tide of screaming bodies start to appear over the hill just as they had said and then his only thought was what kind of madness had they landed into.
 

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X: Primus Sanguis

Drystann stood at the head of the Brotherhood. He turned to look at them men to his left and right. Primus and Septimus stood looking into the distance ready to face foe they knew very well. Each member of the Blade was named numerically in order of their induction. There were eight Primus’s in total, one in each Blade, but each only responded to their Master’s call. They would receive names after they had become full Astartes, and as such only the Masters had names. The Enemy came screeching over the hills. The first several rows were made up of human who had sold themselves to the Pantheon. There were maybe a hundred humans, branded and sent to be slaughtered like cattle. The Purifying Flames drew their swords and all held them in a position at their side ready to swing them up and bury them in the flesh of their foes.

The Purifying Flames held their position as several of the Blades cast bolts of lightning and balls of flame into the oncoming enemy. Ordan and his Shield Blade were weaving protective wards around the Brotherhood and their ‘guests’ even as the spells and bolts mowed down the humans. If any had of made it through, they would have meet the sharp end of one of the Purifying Flames swords, but they did not. Bodies were immolated, electrocuted or torn to pieces. A normal foe would have turned back, knowing that to continue the charge was to continue into certain death. But this was no normal foe and they were more afraid of the monstrosities behind them and the death in front of them. And so they all came and all died to a man. Next came the real enemy.

The humans had merely been a test of strength, which much both sides knew. What came over the hill would be shocking the Thousand Sons which had just joined them, but were strangely normal for the members of the Brotherhood and the solitary Eldar. Horned daemons with red scaly skin and blades which glowed with a hellish inner light as if they had just left the forge fires ran at the warriors with wild abandon alongside giggling lithe purple daemons with deceptively voluptuous forms and exposed breast which sat in extreme juxtaposition to the hideous chitinous growths many sported.

Drystann could feel each Purifying Flame reach out and connect with his own soul. He would act at their conduit for their own master spell. More bolts and spells flew, but this enemy was much more resilient and although many died, many more escaped unscathed or still able to fight. The Purifying Flames kept their swords in the same position they had for the last few minutes until the enemy were only twenty paces from them. “Nam symbolum!” Came the war cry from Drystann’s lips which met the woops and howls of the oncoming Enemy. The Purifying Flames advanced as one straight line, their swords still in the ready position. The enemy charged with wild glee to meet them, thinking that these rash twenty which had separated from the group would be easy to destroy.

As the head of the hoard and the thin line of one Astarte and twenty humans met, the Purifying flames swung their swords up as one and instantly scythed down twenty-one foes with precise blows. But that was not the worst damage that the strike wreaked on the oncoming hoard. As the swords swung the psychic energy of twenty of the purest souls in existence poured their energy in the one pure Astarte which led them. This purifying energy was then amplified and poured back into those it came from and then channelled out of them. So, as the swords of the Purifying Flames cut down twenty-one daemons and sent them back to the nightmare realm where they had come from, a roaring wave of pure azure flame rode onwards, engulfing the Enemy. The purifying flame burnt the very perverted essence of the foul spawn of chaos. It overwhelmed their corrupted physical form, and left nothing by still burning ecto-plasma as they were cast back into the warp. Over a hundred daemons perished and the charge faltered, struck by a grievous blow from what should have been an easy kill. Then the rest of the Brotherhood moved.

The Purifying Flames slowed their pace by a half-step to let the others catch up, but the pressed into their foe. The bloodletters and daemonettes which remained were still a substantial number. As the rest of the Brotherhood formed up, the assault began in earnest. Drystann swung his sword in a wide arc and split two bloodletters at the waist before a daemonette lashed out at him with its chitinous claw. The flat of Drystann’s blade blocked the blow before the daemonette, disoriented by the purity the beings around it, was speared through the face by the point of Primus’ sword. No words of thanks passed between the two. It was not that the Master needed his first’s protection, but that Primus had no other opponent for a split second and so had freed his Master.

Over the cacophony of the battle which they were embroiled in, Drystann could hear the blaring of war horns and knew what they meant before he heard the heavy tread of cavalry. The snorting of the brass juggernauts could be heard even through the din of battle, and their spiked heads impaled several of their cohorts who could not move out of the way fast enough. “Septimus! Primus! On me!” Drystann shouted as the daemonic hoard separated, content to let the three Bloodcrushers charge the Purifying Flames. Drystann and his two Swords stood still with their swords raised as their foe rushed towards them. It seemed that they were content to be impaled on the horns of the juggernauts. Then, at the last moment, all three too a side step and sliced the legs out from under the beasts and sent them crashing into the dirt.

Two of the riders flew off their mounts onto waiting halberds of three Long Swords. Drystann, Primus and Septimus turned their attention back to the foe which was pressing into the gap left by the Bloodcrushers. The final rider had held fast and rode his mount into the ground. Instead of being deterred by his dismounting, the daemon only seemed to reach a greater level of rage and blood lust. The long chains of skulls hung from his belt chattered together and his elaborate brass armour glinted in the faux-light emanating from the Great Eye which hung in the sky; a sign that the Gods were watching. A warrior approached clad in primitive armour and levelled his two weapons at the Herald of Khorne. A roar echoed from the daemon’s throat as it jumped at the human with its Hellblade, almost as long as the man was high, raised above his head.

The downward blow was blocked by the human warrior crossing its swords over his head, although it strained his muscles. The Herald snarled, leapt back and swung at the side of the warrior. The human moved with the speed of an Astarte initiate, his biology enhanced by the biomancers of the Healer Blade, and stepped inside the blow of the Herald, blocking the blow with a downward strike of his own falchion. The human’s elbow lashed out and the spiked elbow guard punched into the mouth of the Khornate daemon. It snarled, insulted that it had allowed itself to be bested by a mere human. The next flurries of blows from the enraged Herald were scarcely blocked by the human, and each blow blocked threatened to tear his muscles, dislocate a joint or break a bone and the human could not afford that. Again and again the daemon struck, each time forcing the human on the defensive. “I will claim your skull for Khorne petty human.” The daemon snarled as he felt assured at his victory.

The next faint was blocked by the human, but before he could react, the daemon had used the impact of the blow to break away and slice through the out-stretched arm of the human. The daemon grinned as the human recoiled in pain. Contemptuously slowly, the Herald raised his weapon to decapitate his defeated foe. Quintus of the Long Sword Blade stared fearlessly into his executioner’s burning yellow eyes even as the Hellblade sliced through his neck and sent his head rolling onto the dirt.

“Kar’xin’tila’xaz” came the shout which stunned the Herald for a moment. The calling of his true name staggered him as another human appeared to challenge him. This one was not like the last. This one knew his name and wielded power over him. The Herald tried to raise his weapon in defence, but his arms became like lead and so the block was weak. “Kar’xin’tila’xaz...” the Tertius of the Banishers spoke calmly as he continued to attack the daemon who could feel his link to material world become undone by the speaking of his true name “…I banish thee in the name of the Brotherhood and by the Creed for a hundred and one years. I send thee back to the warp and let it be known that Kar’xin’tila’xaz was bested by a human.” The words of power the banisher spoke sealed the fate of the daemon. The Heralds connection to the material realm was being severed and his blows became sluggish and pathetic. He could not be bested by a mere human! In a final act of desperation, the Herald lashed clumsily out at the Banisher. The blow was easily deflected, even by one not yet Astartes, and Tertius drove his sword blade through the neck of the Herald of Khorne. A thick gargling sound could be heard as the physical form of the weakened daemon collapsed and the daemon was banished into the warp just as he had spoken. Even as the Third Sword of the Banisher Blade sought a fresh quarry and pulled its name from the warp, the battle raged on.
 
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