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Discussion Starter #21
I'll assume that it's a good wow :wink: I'm thinking that I'll do some more on Cadia (probably 2-3 more chapters on this major fight scene) and then reunite the Swords with the rest of the Renegades and then start another section of Renegades (Which would be, what, Renegades XI?).
 

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yup thats right if anyone wants to do the Alpha Leigon i've left a teaser in LFS as to what has occured more or less.
 

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So this was originally going to be one chapter, but I got carried away and so it's going to be at least two. But I hope you enjoy this first part regarless...

XI: Dominus Mutatur​

If Amon had been told about the battle he was now part of instead of seeing it with his own two eyes, he would not have believed it. The things which had charged this rag-tag band of humans were the things spawned of the nightmares of a madman. They reeked of the Great Ocean, but seemed possessed by an intelligence and purpose that Amon had not thought could exist within such random rolling currents of energy. These were not just mindless void predators which he had encountered before. These were like splinters of a common thought which had birthed itself. Even for a veteran such as himself, seeing such things pushed his understanding to the limit.

But nothing he had ever seen, even in his own legion, could prepare him for the ferocity of raw psychic power that those he had once called brother and cousins and the humans they were with unleashed. His legion had always been steeped in warp-power, but this was something else. At Nikea they had been called sorcerers and heretics. But the truth that the Thousand Sons had always known, and Amon was now seeing the proof of, was that they had only accessed a fraction of the power the warp had to offer.

As the wave of incandescent azure flame rolled out from the head of this group which seemed to refer to itself as “The Brotherhood”, Amon froze. *What the hell is happening here?* He thought to himself. How could his brother and cousins, let alone mere mortals, have access to this kind of power? For once he found himself on the other side of the coin he had always been on. Now he was suspicious of those he would have, not long ago, walked into hell with. Now he could not help but wonder what they had been forced to sacrifice or bargain to acquire such power. And secretly, although he would never admit it, he wondered how he could acquire it too.

A soft breeze snapped Amon back to reality. It brought a sweet fragrance with it, and Amon knew instantly that it came from the monsters in front. He struggled to believe that such hideous monsters could be so…fragrant. Amon was certain that this had disarmed many mortals before now, and would not be deterred by it. However, is continued to linger in his nose even as it penetrated through his armour, and Amon had to fight its allure.

Suddenly the cloudless sky began to darken and Amon and the rest of the Thousand Sons looked up to see the shapes of probably fifty winged monsters circling overhead like vultures. “Fire on those…things!” Amon shouted. The Thousand Sons raised their bolters to the sky as the Furies dived towards the Brotherhood. Amon and several of the sergeants loosed lightning bolts and telekinetic strikes into the pack. Several of the winged monstrosities fell or collided with their fellows and knocked both of them out of the sky. But the time the furies banked for their scything run at the Thousand Sons, only about half remained. Even still, the sight of over twenty of the winged humanoids diving at the Thousand Sons was intimidating.

Amon drew his hequa staff and split one of these monsters in half with a downward strike. Two marines behind him fired close range bolt shots into the bodies of a few other beast which followed. Their dead weight continued onward into the Thousand Sons and knocked two to the floor. Three rushed one of Amon’s sergeants, a man named Ptah, and forced him to the floor. They forced him to the floor and their claws and beaks raked at his armour. Ptah’s fists lashed out and shattered the arm of one of them. One of the furies drove it’s claws through one of the eye-pieces on Ptah’s helmet, shards of visor and razor claws digging themselves into Ptah’s eye. Ptah yelled and conjured fire in his hand and immolated one of the furies. It’s charred corpse rolled away as the other two tried to flee a foe they had clearly under-estimated. One got away, but Ptah’s grabbed its leg and pulled it back as his stood up. One punishing blow from Ptah’s fist caved in its skull and the thing died with a wimper.
Blood dribbled down Ptah’s cheek as he stood up along with several others who had been forced to the floor in the furies savage dive. They had not stayed long and only ten had survived the Thousand Sons retaliation, but two of their small contingent had fallen, and Amon was certain that these monsters were expendable. Amon tried to assess how the battle had progressed in the brief instants that they had been occupied. Heavy cavalry had joined the fray and were gouging holes into the battle-lines, which were swiftly plugged by both attackers and defenders alike. The hoard which assailed them looked to be at least a thousand strong. Which made it even more amazing that this contingent of mere mortals was pushing back these aether-monsters.

“Sir…” Ptah spoke, pointing to the hill line. “…what in the name of Terra is that?!” Amon looked. At first, it looked as if he was witnessing one of the most majestic sun-sets he had ever seen. Bright hues of the entire spectrum of colour lit up the hill line. It was chaotic but beautiful, so much so that Amon nearly missed the being from which the being the light emanated. Its ancient wings were folded behind it’s back and it appeared to lean on its staff for support. The staff itself was made of knobbled wood with a giant tome which was burning but not consumed by the fire perched on top. The thing resembled an ancient man and a giant bird at the same time. Its legs looked withered and frail; the skin which was not covered with moulting iridescent coloured feathers was clearly wrinkled. Its twin beaked heads surveyed the battlefield. One pair of beady yellow eyes starred across the raging battlefield and met Amon’s and he knew that the creature had not just seen him, but seen into him.

Only the crack of bolter fire snapped Amon’s attention. Ptah had given the order to fire on the creature. Bolter fire and spells flew over the heads of the combatants and streaked towards the bird-like creature. It took a moment for Amon to raise his own weapon and conjure a spell to add to the volley. The creature casually raised a telekine shield to block the projectiles being hurled against it. Its wings opened and as it took off Amon could not believe the creature could even support its own weight. “Keep firing!” Ptah shouted to the contingent of Thousand Sons and they all obeyed, assuming that Amon had told Ptah to order it. In truth, Amon was still trying to regain his sensibilities. Mercifully, several other Thousands Sons seemed to be in Amon’s predicament, but none of them had the humiliation of being unmanned whilst commanding.

Several of the back members of the Brotherhood had started to mix themselves around the Thousand Sons. Their spells flew into the sky and impacted into the shimmering shield the wizened bird had erected, but none could penetrate it. Ordan and Khyron also felt it necessary to join the Thousand Sons. *They don’t trust you* Amon thought, or is seemed like his own thought. It sounded like his own and he could not help but agree. It must be his. Amon’s jaw locked. *How could Ahriman, or whatever he called himself, not trust him?*
*He loves those humans more than you.*
*Mere humans, how could he…* Amon’s train of thought was cut off when the twin-headed bird-thing landed and sent a gust of air against the gathered group.

Most under where the monster had landed had scattered, but a few humans had been crushed under its bulk. One fought through the pain of his ribs impaling his lungs. He drew his sword and tried to stab the creature in the leg. The staff came down and crushed the human’s skull before the Sword could make the blow. “Master Khyron, it’s a pleasure” the creature’s left head crowed mockingly. “And Master Ordan. We are honoured!” the right head crowed with a note of bitter sarcasm. Amon smiled. He could not help but enjoy these supposed ‘masters’ be put in their place.

Khyron responded with nothing. This was one of the best statements of his change. He had nothing to say, no response. All he did was throw his spear aimed squarely for the daemon’s right head. The staff moved perfectly in time for deflect the spear. Amon had not noticed that there had been a moment of silence and stillness from when this bird-creature had landed which had been abruptly broken by Khyron’s attack. The Thousand Sons unleashed every bolt in their clip against the beast. Ptah and his fellow sergeants unleashed all the spells in their arsenal, and the Swords acted in tandem. But this creature was a sorcerer without peer, and its counter attack was brutal. Warp-flames and sweeps of its crackling staff dealt fatal blows. The battle had begun in earnest…
 

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Discussion Starter #25
I'm glad you are enjoying it! Hopefully you won't have to wait too long. I should have a reasonable amount of free-time in the next 1-2 weeks :grin:
 

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XII: Sors Textor

Khyron sliced through a leaping daemonette with his spear. Its reach proved invaluable with these swift daemons and it had lived up to its name. It sang with each powerful blow it struck against Khyron’s most hated foes. Of all the things Khyron had kept since his departure from the home of the Eldar, only the weapon in his hand had not been dented or blunted. Khyron could not help but feel it was symbolic of his purpose. Everything else about his person had been rent and torn and bent beyond recognition apart from his razor sharp purpose and that was a greater weapon than even the blade which was currently decapitating a herald as Primus and Secondus killed the daemon’s mount.

The Astartes behind him shouted about something. Khyron looked to the hillside and saw what they were marvelling at. It was nothing more than a sideways glance, but Khyron knew enough about the servants of the Dark God to know what the spectrum of light cresting over the hilltop heralded. Khyron battle signed to the ten Sharp Swords around him to move through the phalanxes. Khyron and his Swords moved towards the Thousand Sons, even as the shape of a winged beast appeared over the hill. Ordan and his Shield Blades had formed an unmovable core in the center of the phalanxes. No matter how hard the legion of the unholy monstrosities pressed, the outer ring would bend but never break and Ordan’s iron core never moved, never gave any ground.

Khyron’s hand gripped Ordan’s shoulder as he passed by “Brother, we must move.”
“Why, we are needed here.” Khyron’s head clicked back and Ordan looked over the First Sword’s shoulder to see the twin-headed monstrosity spreading its aged wings in order to fly towards them. “Primus, hold the Brotherhood firm. If I fall, my mantle and hammer falls to you. Secondus through Undecimus, with me and Master Khyron.” The ten Shield Swords broke away with orderly fashion and moved with Khyron. “You know the Many-Faced-One has been after them for a while.” Ordan said calmly as they neared the end of the phalanxes of the Brotherhood and joined the Thousand Sons. Khyron made no response, but the implication was clear. But Khyron already knew what would need to happen.

The Brotherhood was disciplined and needed no orders to commence pounding the sorcerous shield of Kairos. Bolt shells and lesser spells from the Thousand Sons were disputed by the shield just the same as those from the Brotherhood, but Khyron had expected no less. Several other swords were killed under the weight of the Oracle falling from the sky. “Master Khyron, it’s a pleasure” the creature’s left head crowed mockingly. “And Master Ordan. We are honoured!” the right head crowed with a note of bitter sarcasm. Khyron knew that a verbal dispute with a Lord of Change, let alone Fateweaver itself was to court insanity and death. Instead his launched his un-dulled spear at the Tzeentchian greater daemon. The spear boomeranged away as Kairos deflected the blow that Khyron had never expected would land.

As Khyron and the other Swords and the Thousand Sons attacked, the spear started to swung back around. Kairos had hit the spear with such force that it had flow over the heads of most of the combatants, both daemon and human alike. It would take many long seconds to return to its master. But it did free up his hands. Several Thousand Sons charged the ancient daemon, expecting its frame to indicate its true power. An explosive strike seething with sorcerous energies which immolated four of them in one swoop proved to them otherwise. Two swords charged the Lord of Change and fared better, but the rolling warp-flames which exploded out from the daemons hand proved too much for their hexagramic wards to protect against.

But the creature could not sustain its advantage forever, and no creature, mortal or daemon, could hold all the strands of fate at once. Somewhere, one was going to slip away. At some point even the Oracle himself would be distracted. Quintus and Octavian of the Sharpest Sword Blade and Secondus and Septimus of the Shield Blades were the first to land a successful hit. Kairos brimmed with arrogance that no mere humans could best him. After all, the Gods of the Warp had snared and enticed The Emperor himself and were pulling a further half of the mightiest beings in all of human creation into Chaos; how could a rag-tag band of humans on one planet resist, let alone defeat him?

Kairos unleashed another gout of rolling warp-flame against the four humans advancing on him. It exploded against the ward the two Shield Swords placed in front of them. The flames seemed to roll of the shield like water off a stone, until the shield seemed to crumple. Kairos’s duel heads cackled, relishing destroying these humans who attempted to stand against the Gods of Chaos. His attention shifted and the flames subsided, his insane gaze moving onto a different mortal to demonstrate his power on. That’s when the Swords struck. Secondus and Septimus had folded the shield in a psychic feint. The shield had formed a wedge which they now drove into Kairos’s immediate personal space. The Fateweaver realised his error and brought his staff in for defence, the Swords were now to close for his previous magic.

Octavian swung the first blow which sparked when it collided with the daemon’s staff. The blow opened up the daemon’s side for Septimus to swing his mace towards the wrist of the daemon. The Lord of Change flicked the staff back, striking the Shield Sword in the side and sending him sprawling. This gave Quintus time to launch a telekine strike which Kairos blocked with ease, but freed made the daemon use both hand so when Secondus, the third most potent Shield Sword, launched his hammer blow into the daemons ribcage, the sound of shattering bones echoed across the battlefield. The Oracle screeched in pain and emitted a telekinetic blast which sent all of the Swords a safe distance away. But the damage had been done. Before, Kairos had been an unassailable god, but now the god had been shown to bleed and both sides knew that it was a profound act.

The battle raged for many more long minutes as the hoard was being worn down around them. But, both sides could tell that the outcome of this assault would be decided by this battle. Many more perished in the attempt to bring down the Lord of Change. Three Sharp Swords tried to flank Kairos only for him to spin round faster than an creature which looked as ancient as him should be able to and destroy them through either blunt force or magic. The three Sharp Swords sacrificed their lives, and then four Thousand Sons emptied an entire magazine each of bolter ammunition into the daemon. Their bravery was rewarded with a quick but painful immolation by the hands of this demi-god.

Several lesser hits were scored, half of the swords and a third of the Thousand Sons perished, but ultimately the daemon met its end at the hands of the two masters and one seemingly ignoble Thousand Son. Khyron and Ordan charged in the wake of another attack run by Quintus, Septimus and Secondus, Octavian having fallen and his place being filled by Nonus. It had not done any real damage, but it served to distract the phenomenal intellect of the Oracle. The Masters of the Shields and the Sharpest Swords managed to get close unmolested. Then the combat started.

Kairos brought his staff round in a mighty swing, and the end of it was met by a hammer-blow from Ordan. The Master’s blow psychically sparked with the Lord of Change’s staff and for a moment the two beings were at a stand-still, the Master’s righteous fury perfectly juxtaposing the daemons tainted power. The Oracle broke away to swing the staff round his head to block a downwards strike from the Khyron. The blade of the Master of the Sharpest Swords slide down the staff’s length, shedding sparks all the way. It bit into the fingers which gripped the staff’s middle and took two of them clean off before the daemon pulled its hand away. A moment later, Ordan delivered another blow to the other forearm, breaking it so the limb bent at an unnatural angle and forced the daemon to drop its staff.

Kairos howled and knocked Ordan back with the brute force of its broken limb and a frantic telekine blast. Faster than anyone could account for, the three-fingered hand grabbed Khyron and pinned him to the floor, his arms unless against the full weight of the Lord of Change leaning on them. “Now, you will die and know that your Brotherhood will fail.” The bitter left head crowed as the right opened up to reveal the heart of a sun composed entirely of warp-stuff. Khyron stared into it and felt no fear, simply the immanency of his death. Then, just as abruptly as it had opened, the daemons mouth shut and then opened again in a screech of pain. Jutting out of the head was the Hequa staff. Not the ornate one that would have been wielded by Amon, but the symbol of office of a Sergeant.

Ptah, from his distance of almost 15 meters away had thrown his staff into the head of the daemon who had divided its attention too much. The staff had twirled across the short distance of the plain to imbed itself into the daemons head and force it to recoil and release the master it had pinned to execute. Khyron wasted no time in picking up his own spear and severing the right head. The Oracle was sent sprawling “Impossible! My master has shown me all futures! THIS CAN NOT BE!!!” the one remaining head screamed indignantly at its foes. A moment later this head exploded in a mass of ectoplasm, daemon-blood and sparks of warp-magic.
“Your master lied.” Ordan spat contemptuously over the now dissolving corpse of the Lord of Change. A moment of silence marked the victory of the Brotherhood and their allies. Then, as abruptly as it had appeared, it was broken by the sound of a single bolter barking once and an impact striking Ordan in the upper-abdomen, sending him flat on his back. Khyron whirled round only to stare down the smoking barrel of Amon’s now dry bolter.
“Change rules all.” The Thousand Son captain stated before him and the eight other lost souls unleashed their sorceries on who had just a moment ago been their allies and brothers. Clearly, Khyron realised as he raise his own ward and charged towards these erstwhile Astartes, the battle was far from over.
 

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Wow. That'll have... quite an impact. Magnus may well hate the Eldar now- this project has taken the life and soul of his mentor, as well as the loyalty of his favored son. Sure, some daemons got banished, but....

And who do the Thousand Sons have now? Magnus is crippled, Ahriman altered, Amon a traitor. The Legion's rank and file were decimated during Prospero. Fate of Prospero showed Magnus had created more Companies, but probably not many more Astartes. And on top of everything, the flesh-change problem is not yet solved. Interesting times, indeed. Good work.
 

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I've only read the first few parts in the beginning, but I'm loving it so far:grin:, I really like your portrayal of the Eldar as well, very enigmatic. Can't wait to catch up!

EDIT: Repped.
 

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Sorry for not posting in a while. Had to take a hiatus for exams. But, I have no more exams and a lost of free time, so hopefully should be getting up the conclusion to this brief trilogy of chapters soon.
 

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:search: Well, that was a pretty long hiatus and far longer than I had meant it to be. Hopefully this chapter and the promise of more to come will earn a measure of forgiveness for myself...

XIII: Proditores

The daemon was resplendent in its appearance, and Amon knew the sorceries it wielded were far beyond anything he or anyone in his legion possessed. Possibly greater than Magnus himself. And these Astartes who had been stranded on this planet for who-knows how long were fighting it. Clearly they had lost their sanity. Could they not see the majesty of the being before them? If nothing else, they were ignorant that the being before them possessed the power that could tip the balance of the war. They were destroying the very creature which could help them win the war and save humanity.

Amon could not help by smile as the bird-like creature immolated more of these pathetic mortals who did nothing but hinder humanity with their blind fear of that which the warp contained. Ahriman had been here too long, Amon realise that now. The have blinded him. Ahriman pronounced himself as a ‘Master’ but he was a master of nothing. This creature was more of a master than Ahriman would ever be. The Master holds the key to all things. The key to the flesh change, the key to sorceries which could tear a world asunder. All this and more. It could be in his hands.

Amon had not fired for several long moments. He had stood inert in awe of the Lord in front of him. Even Magnus could learn from this majestic being. It could end the war. Lead you on the path to glory. To new powers, unrivalled by any foe you face. It was easy enough to remain still. Everyone around him seemed to be preoccupied with trying to attack the being that could be their salvation. Amon saw several Thousand Sons were even attacking it. How disappointing. They could have been great. They were blind and Amon knew there was no reasoning with his lost brothers. They had not seen greatness and evolution even as it stood in front of them.

But Amon could see scattered around, brothers who had seen what he had seen; Felt what he felt. They were of one mind. They are my Chosen. The Heralds. “Come to me my brothers.” Amon whispered into the vox with a serpentine tone. The channel was only open to those who were enlightened. They came without question; they jogged over the raging battlefield. They were a Coven of Nine and Amon knew that there was something significant about that. Their power felt magnified, amplified. Only the shrieking of the Lord broke the attention of the sorcerers. Amon’s gaze snapped to see the creature he had admired be struck down by his arrogant, errant ‘brothers’, although the word no longer seemed palatable to Amon. They had sold out humanity to fear and superstition. They have denied the race its birth-right.

Strangely Amon felt no sadness at the creatures passing. He had served his purpose. He had bought the Change. And change was the only constant thing. Everything changed. Decay and death were just change of state. Nothing was constant. Only change. And these ‘masters’ seek to deny that. A moment of silence had washed over the battlefield. They were relieved. Amon saw the truth of it now. They believed they had stopped the natural progression of humanity. Stopped its ascension. Amon raised his bolter with a sneer. By fate, he had one bullet left. A bullet with a name written on it and so could not be fired until this moment, when it was destined to be fired. It propelled out of the chamber and into the chest plate of the ‘master’ who called himself Ordan. Then Amon proclaimed the first and only truth “Change rules all.”

The horrified look on Ahriman’s face was beautiful. Ordan, or whatever his name had originally been, still moved. No matter. Once they had disposed of these cretin, Amon would finish him himself. Several mortals surrounded their fallen leader, swords and wards raised ready to defend him. Amon laughed at their attempts. They could not overcome a sorcerer like himself of such power. The ones who had not died defeating the creature now turned to attack the new threat of the enlightened Thousand Sons. Amon and his coven unleashed every sorcery in their arsenal against them. Powerful lightning bolts tore through mortal flesh and destroyed red Astartes battle-plate.

Their attackers were not without resources of their own. A dozen bolters barked as the Thousand Sons Amon knew to be lost to the foolishness of Ahriman and his fellows fired on the Enlightened. Telekine shields stopped the projectiles, and so the Thousand Sons drew their Hequa staffs and charged towards their foe. Ptah unleashed a bolt of telekinetic energy at the closest Thousand Son to him. The bolt staggered his opponent, but his own sorceries had robbed most of the strikes power. “What madness has gripped you brother?” Ptah called as he closed the gap between them.
“It is not I who am lost, but you. Can you not see?” The Thousand Son babbled as he raised his own weapon and charged at Ptah.
“I am not yet an old man that I lack sight.” Ptah grunted as their blades met in sparks of iron and psychic energy.
“Oh but you are so blind, my friend.” The Thousand Son spat as he swiped widely with his Hequa blade, forcing Ptah to jump back to avoid a wound to his abdomen.

The Thousand Son lashed out with a telekine strike which Ptah barely defended against and followed it with a savage downward strike. Ptah blocked the blade high above his head. He wreathed his hand in psychic fire and punched his opponent square in the chest. The plate buckled inwards and split, but his opponent paid it no mind. Blood slowly oozed out and his opponent lashed out with more frantic strikes, his blade covered in psychic lightning and his eyes blazing a fiery yellow from the inside. The Thousand Son cackled even as his blows were mostly deflected and sustained more in return from the veteran sergeant of the Thousand Sons. The dents started to be pushed out, as if there was a pressure being applied from the inside. Ptah noticed the joints of the Astarte’s armour begin to swell. Ptah and the Thousand Son locked blades and pushed against each other. Still the man was laughing, always laughing. They two broke apart and the Thousand Son tore off his helmet. His face was a shifting mass, with the only constant features being the burning eyes. Ptah had seen this before. The flesh change was taking its hold. “I am Change” the distorted mouth screamed with a thousand voices as its arms became more fluid and the armour that cased the warrior began to buckle, but this time from the inside.

In the throws if its madness, the monster began to care less about its own safety. Ptah exploited this and after a wide and careless slash, he sliced his opponent’s arm clean off. But instead of blood, flesh flowed out. It flowed and flowed until the stream of flesh had become a flailing lash of skin and muscle with a pinkish hue. The tentacle dived at Ptah’s shoulder and, to his surprise, punched through his should guard. The flesh whip carved through skin and broke the bone in his shoulder and Ptah cried out in pain. The tentacle pressed in harder and forced the veteran sergeant to his knees. The pain was excruciating. The monster that had once been his brother loomed over him and its jaw opened wider than any human or Astartes ever should. It was going to devour him whole. Pushing through the pain in his shoulder, Ptah desperately drove his blade into the creature’s chest. Ptah focused all the power he could muster to travel along the blade. The monstrosity blazed with a psychic flare and recoiled as the sorcerous fire consumed it from the inside.

Elsewhere, the story was the same. Those Astartes who had fallen unleashed sorceries foul against their brothers and the Brotherhood. The flesh-change claimed two others and mortals and Astartes alike worked together to bring down these…traitors. They had betrayed themselves and their brothers. They could not be called anything else. Khyron scythed through a bloated monstrosity with one arm which breathed warp flame which had just consumed his Decimus as the creature’s blade had opened what may well be a mortal wound in another Thousand Son’s chest. Khyron’s spear sung with glee as it split the monster from head to toe. “Ahriman!” The booming, cackling voice carried across the battlefield. Amon held of his opponents, but Khyron knew that he wanted to face him. “Dare you face me in single combat? Or dare you not and so send your lackies to die for you?” Amon challenged him. Khyron knew he could beat this fallen Astartes.
“You will die like all other heretics.” Khyron’s curt response came. Amon rushed at him and Khyron motioned the other to let him try. He could deal with this one, and the rest were falling one by one. This would be over soon.
 

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XIV: Principium et Finis

Khyron’s spear rose up and blocked Amon’s downward falling strike. The two weapons sparked and lightning arched off of them for the brief moment they were in contact. Khyron stepped sidewards and brought the blunt end of his weapons into the Thousand Son’s side. It was a powerful blow aimed straight for the fibre bundles in Amon’s Mark IV armour. It connected, bursting capillaries and bruising flesh. Not a mortal or even a potent wound but, imbued with kinetic energy, it was enough to stagger the Thousand Son. Khyron tried to advance but a sweep of Amon’s Hequa staff kept him at bay.

The potential energy built and the air grew cold. Khyron had only and instant to raise his psychokinetic shield. Crackling warp lighting crashed against his ward.
“It was never enough for you was it, brother! ” Came the screech of Amon’s disgust as his psychic powers rolled off Khyron’s shield. Although the blinding light obscured his normal vision, Khyron felt Amon coming for him. Khyron spun to the side as he let his shield down, avoiding Amon’s questing deadly blade.
“You are no brother of mine.” Khyron’s voice was stern. He knew Amon’s face. The memories, the person he had once been screamed within him to be set free. He couldn’t. He had made that bargain long ago and he would not turn back now. Not after everything he had suffered. Not after all that lay before him.

“The knowledge of Prospero’s spires. Our Father’s teachings. Everything we learnt. It just wasn’t enough for you was it!” Amon continued to wail as his weapon came dangerously close to Khyron’s face. It gouged a superficial rent in his chest-plate, but the heat from the hequa’s blade burnt the skin beneath it. Khyron’s spear came round and sliced just underneath Amon’s shoulder. The blade bit deep. Amon lashed out with a telekinetic strike that forced Khyron back, wrenching his spear from his shoulder too. Blood poured profusely and the flesh bubbled and ran like lava over the wound.

“How could you keep this from us? This is humanity’s birth-right! This knowledge, this power, it is ours!” Amon conjured bolts of psychic force and hurled them at Khyron. They were not the disciplined strikes of a man focused on the Enumerations Magnus had taught his sons. These were raw bolts of power, pulled from the aether by a man who was to wounded and prideful to be mindful of whence they came. Khyron grunted with each he deflected. A powerful psyker such as Amon was no simple opponent. Worse still, something coalesced round these betrayers. The Gods were desperate. This was this last chance they would have to destroy the Brotherhood of the Sword. Seeds of corruption planted long ago matured faster than they should. They wielded more power than they knew how too. And their best hope was Amon. A suicide bomb to detonate in the heart of the brotherhood and slay it before it could grow.

Khyron could not allow that. It had to endure. They had already come through so much, too much, for it to all come to nothing here on these shifting sands.
“Enough Amon!” He bellowed, his voice powerful enough to give Amon pause. Something in Khyron’s voice shackled him and bound him for an instant. It was more than his name. Ahriman knew him, knew who he was, what he had and what he lacked. The power of his name tied his flesh and stopped his heart. An instant later his limbs regained their strength. He went to strike at his usurping brother, but Ahriman was already coming for him, body and soul.

Khyron reached for Amon with hand’s formed of psychic power and Amon could do nothing to prevent them wrenching him from his body. Both were veteran psykers and so their bodies continued to fight on reflex, but that was not where the true duel was anymore. Both Astartes flew high and apart. Amon tried to focus his spiritual form into something constant, but his power wouldn’t let him. His limbs shifted and warped themselves into avian and serpentine forms, and then into other unnatural things. Some might have been disturbed by seeing their inner self so in flux, but Amon accepted such inconsistencies as natural and necessary. It was a fundamental truth that to survive, one must adapt and change.

Khyron’s form was an island of constancy compared to Amon’s riotous amalgamation of pieces of truths and lies being fed to him. His blades wings stretched out and his hooked talons opened in anticipation. Light shone from him, bright and terrifying as the dawn is to the midnight blackness. “Why do you deny your species its inheritance? Amon’s overlapping voices quested, perhaps hoping to open a doubt in Ahriman’s mind.
“This is not humanity’s birthright…” Khyron’s golden voice spoke, burning Amon as his words wrapped around him. “…it is humanity’s curse.”
“Lies!”

Amon’s sapient limb rounded to strike Khyron’s golden chest. His wings came round to protect him. The strike landed, but the bladed feathers held firm and Amon could feel his flesh charring. He recoiled. The longer this fight went on, the less he could stand to be in Ahriman’s presence. He hated him. He had hidden this knowledge from him. He had not opened himself to him. Not explained what he had learnt or what had changed. The defensive wall of light opened up and Ahriman’s razor sharp beak came for him, tearing at his chest. A tentacled limb came up and coiled around Ahriman’s throat, but the blazing talons tore it apart and pulled it from around his wind-pipe. The limb fell as the embattled foes climbed higher.

Khyron stabbed and tore at his foe. His talons tore limbs apart as quickly as the formed from the engorged mass that had become of Amon. His beak stabbed the centre, silencing lying mouths and tearing out cataracted eyes.
“How long will you lie to humanity?” One voice accused. Khyron didn’t answer, didn’t even try to think of an answer. To do so would be to court madness and heresy. The mass flailed with greater intensity, tearing plumes of golden feathers from his wings even as the burned Amon to hold. One limb, little more than a shard of bone, rent a deep line down the side of Khyron’s face, blinding one eye and scoring his beak.

“Begone son of Chaos!” Khyron finally yelled, his voice carrying every measure of power he could muster. His beak and talons drove into the centre of the wailing mass of Amon’s corrupted soul and rent it apart. With a crack of energy and scream of eternal pain, the soul of the Thousand Son exploded, obliterated by the force of Khyron’s dogmatic power. His wounded form fell back into his body. He panted. He was exhausted. His limbs ached and his head throbbed from the mental strain that the battle had inflicted on him. He stood steady and watched Amon’s lifeless corpse topple backwards and ashen ruins pour out of the rents in his amour.

Unable to stand anymore, Khyron fell to his knees. He tore off his helmet, ruptured cabled leaking small amounts of fluid down his neck. He leaned forward and a few drops of blood fell from his mouth and nose and were drunk up by the thirsty ground. Around him he could hear nothing but silence. Five slow droplets of blood from his leaking nose echoed in his mind before he could hear footsteps approaching him. Eight by his reckoning, and one lighter and more syncopated than the others.
“Do you require a healer brother?” That was Arno’s voice. Khyron slowly shook his head.
“Ordan…” Khyron whispered the name as a question.
“He lives.” Khyron nodded.

He stayed on his knees for several more moments before finally forcing himself to stand once again. The Masters of the Brotherhood stood around him, each battered and bruised almost as much as himself. The only oddity was the Eldar seer, whose leg was an ugly shade of crimson and he leant against his staff for support.
“Eldrad. We wondered if you had forgotten your promise.” The Farseer nodded.
“I thought you might be dead.” There was an uncomfortable moment of silence in the gathered council. Khyron chuckled. It was infectious. Before long the nine of them were laughing despite their wounds at the absurdity of both party’s comments.

“This is quite the cult you have here, Master Khyron.”
“This is no cult…” Valdar spoke. He had been the first to suggest forming the Brotherhood, although he would never claim such an honour. “This is the Brotherhood of the Eagle.”
“Nam symbolum!” Came the chorus of chants from the gathered humans, most standing despite their weariness. Some sat, but they chanted all the louder to be heard.
“Apologies. This Brotherhood, what is their purpose?” Eldrad enquired.
“Their purpose?” Geronitan repeated, his curiously high voice giving the words a mocking inflection.
“You sent us to become weapons…” Dhask spoke, his husky timbre sobering the mood Geronitan had created. “…And now we will make weapons of our own.”
“They will become like us…” Pelenas smooth voice drew Eldrad. “…A mighty priesthood. Holy and terrible to behold by our foes.”

Eldrad understood. He and Horus had sent them to become weapons. They had forged others in their likeness. Those who fought for humanity had suspected they would only gain back what they had given. Instead, they had an army. With the Mon-keigh’s gene-forging capabilities, they would could raise at least a century of fighting men, anthemia to the Emperor and his daemonic allies.

“Sirs.” A voice from the crowd. The little council turned to regard this fresh member of their conversation. Ptah stood at the head of a group of Thousand Sons, reduced by nearly half from what they had been. “What happened to Amon and the others? Was it the Flesh-change?” The Masters glanced amongst themselves. Astartes were supposed to know no fear, but the possibility of such a rampant disease did give him pause. He wanted answers.

Ordan stepped forward to answer.
“No. Your brethren were corrupted. As much a ploy by the Enemy as that assault was. They wish to stop us and twisted your brothers against us in order to try and reach that end.” Ptah’s face screwed slightly trying to understand what he was being told.
“Is such corruption not from the Emperor? How can it affect a loyal son…”
“The Emperor is a symptom of greater disease, like Amon was. Chaos is the true source of this corruption. It may affect any man, great or lowly, and that is why we must always be wary.”
“Speak plainly damn it!” Ptah barked.

Several hands went to their weapons and men already weary adjusted their stances to do battle once again. Ordan made no motion for them to lower their weapons, he only fixed Ptah with a soul-bearing glare. The Thousand Son raised his hands in apology. “I just want to know what happened to my Captain.” Ordan nodded empathetically.
“I understand, but I cannot give you what you seek. Few minds can handle such knowledge. That is part of Amon’s corruption. Despite what you have heard, not all knowledge is good.” The arrayed Brotherhood eyed Ptah, wondering what he would do. To his credit he simply bowed in acknowledgement, understanding he had heard all he would be told.

“I trust you brought all we asked your father for?” Khyron spoke gain, his voice still croaky from tiredness. Ptah nodded.
“It awaits you on the Imohtek. The Thunderhawks will take us back to it.” Several Master nodded in satisfaction.
“Let us leave this planet then. We have a greater work to do and you…” Khyron nodded at Eldrad. “…have a bargain to uphold.” Without a word, the members of the Brotherhood moved towards the Thunderhawks. Ptah began ordering his men to transport the corpses of their brethren back to the flyers when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Leave the traitors here Son of Magnus…” Ptah turned and Drystann met his gaze. “…let their treachery die with this world.” Ptah nodded as the Master walked towards the awaiting Thunderhawk that would carry him of a planet he had spent eternity on.
 

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whoa dude great addition and welcome back btw and its ok, mine was meant to be a couple weeks, turned into three months whilst i settled into my new job, so no forgiveness needed.....oh amon...ahriman....*cry* ah well such is the will of Chaos
 

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Huzzah! It's back!
 

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Discussion Starter #34
XV: Primum multorum

Ptah was silent on the thunderhawk up. He had done as Drystann had ordered, left Amon’s body to the carrion birds. It felt wrong. Whatever had happened on that killing field, whatever Amon had just done did not erase a lifetime of good works done in the name of humanity. His fingers intertwined and he leant forward into them, staring at no particular patch of the thunderhawk’s floor. He breathed deeply and sighed through his nose. He had been on countless battlefields, faced down foes that would make any mortal soil himself. Why did this trouble him so?

With Amon’s death, command fell to him. The battle and then the ensuing betrayal had left him with a force half the size he had left with. And half of those were now rotting under the baleful glare of that tear in the fabric of reality that he had heard several of these crowding mortals refer to as “The Eye”. Amon was Raptora, but he knew enough of the Corvidae teaching to recognise the symbolism in that. A great, lidless eye, forever watching and judging. It was a trick used in past to force humans to conform to social norms. Make them believe there was some entity watching them at all times and they would never rebel. It was an omen, a warning, a maleficarum as those on Fenris were so keen on calling it.

“Sir!” a curt voice broke his introspection. Ptah looked up. It one of his men, Mbizi, was standing over him. The man had no measurable psychic talent, but he was a deft enough shot with his bolter that you might believe he did. “We’re about to dock back into the Imohtek. The captain wanted to speak to Amon.” Ptah nodded understandingly. What did he tell the captain? How did he explain what had
*Tell him nothing.* a voice, forceful and sudden, spoke to him. He was used to psychic communications, but this was totally unexpected. It had somehow bypassed his defences. *Tell him nothing.* He felt the words threaten to come out of his mouth against his will. He swallowed them back down.
“Tell the captain I will explain everything when I’m on board.” Mbizi nodded and turned to do just that. The presence in his head was gone, but if Ptah had missed it entering his mind, there was no guarantee.

Soon the whole thunderhawk thrummed with the sound of engines cycling down. Thousand Sons formed ranks to exit, as did the members of “The Brotherhood” who had ridden with them. The ramp lowered and the false light of the hangar flooded in. Quickly the men in the troop compartment diffused into the hangar, the Thousand Sons disarming and going about their business and The Brotherhood simply forming mute, motionless phalanxes. They didn’t seem shocked by the technology on display. Rather they seemed apprehensive, on-guard. There was a vigil look about all of them, the way their hands never strayed far from their weapons and they eyes always darted about, never resting in one place for long.

“Captain Ptah!” A cool, jovial voice echoed across the chamber, the same one that had echoed in his mind. Geronitan raised his hand and draw Ptah’s eye. “Make arrangements for these men’s accommodation will you.” The Master swanned off after his brethren who disappeared down one of the many adjacent corridors, eight of their mortals in tow. Ptah snorted. This was a vessel of the Thousand Sons and these nameless Astartes walked about it as if they were its firstborn masters. It was odd to him that Geronitan was so jovial. All the rest of them seemed to have become more sombre, except the pale Master.

Ptah obliged with Geronitan’s command though. The Imohtek was a large vessel capable of supporting many more Astartes than they had brought with them. Finding space for these mortals was no problem, except that it took time. Whilst his conscious mind worked out the logistics of housing almost 500 mortals, his subconscious processed what had happened on the surface. What he knew was that Magnus and Horus had sent Amon and the Eldar to recover some weapon they had been developing, and that they had been sent with supplies of gene-seed, armour and weapons in abundance, presumably to resupply those who had been developing said weapon. But all he had now was a vessel full of distrusting mortals and eight Astartes he only half recognised. How was that supposed to turn the tide of the war?

Under his feet the vessel shook. Ptah broke his introspection. Were they under attack? No warning klaxon’s blared. Once again the floor shuddered.
“Captain…” Ptah barked into the vox to the ship’s captain “…what the name of the Great Ocean is happening?” Ptah didn’t get a reply. He turned to face the thunderhawks again. “Captain…” he was about to yell at the shipmaster again, but he didn’t need to. Through the void shields of the open hanger he could see it. Cadia was burning. Great rents of lava erupted and consumed entire continents. The world was dying, and it’s secrets with it. Cyclonic torpedoes and lance strikes continued to batter the wounded planet until it imploded, spraying out a fast field of asteroids that glanced off the void shields and tumbled into the infinite blackness of space.
“Sorry my lord. Orders from Master Khyron.” Was all the shipmaster had to say.

Ptah stalked through the halls. Eventually he found them, huddled in the Apothecarion with the Eldar Seer and the gene-seed that the Imohtek had brought with it. He opened his mouth to speak, to spit fury and insolence at them. Pelenas beat him to words.
“Can we help you Captain Ptah?” his voice was smooth and disarming.
“Who gave you the authority to destroy that planet?” his word were not as forceful as he would have hoped. He could feel himself being manipulated subtly, but could not seem to stop it or protect against it.
“The Imperium did.” Dhask voice was like the roll of thunder in the distance. Ptah snorted derisively. What did that even mean? Authority came from a person. Magnus, Horus, their Captain. One could not simply claim it.

However, none of this little cabal seemed forthcoming with any other explanation.
“That’s it? You condemn a planet to oblivion, ignore the chain of command…”
“We are outside your command.” It was Arno’s turn to speak, his bare hands covered with viscera and continuing to work. Ptah watched him for a few moments, the petty quibble of command forgotten or at least put to one side. There were several different gene-seeds that he seemed to be splicing together.
“What…” Ptah whispered more to himself. He coughed and spoke louder “What are you doing?” Khyron sighed.
“We have indulged you for quite long enough.”
“Indulged me?!” Ptah scoffed at that. “…I am the ranking officer on this ship, and you will answer…”

“We will do no such thing!” Khyron’s presence seemed to grow and fill the room like a malevolent shadow, his voice becoming deep hand cold. “We do what we must and the knowledge we hold we buy at a great cost. Those who wish to subvert us or covet our power are traitors and heretics all. Those who do not understand may seek to stop us, but we are not answerable to men such as they!” Ptah held his ground, but his words shrivelled up in his mouth. He swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. Khyron stared him down, as if daring him to ask another question or make another demand. He didn’t. “We will tell you what is necessary for you to know. But know this, what we keep from you we do not do out of malice, but out of care.”

Eldrad limped forward, still mainly supported by his staff. “Know this Ptah, your father and uncles consented to this union. Whatever happens here, whatever they do, it carries their authority with it.”
“If I am reluctant to trust them, what makes you think I would trust you, xeno witch.” Ptah sneered. Eldrad paid it no mind.
“If you do not wish to see the Imperium crumble to ash and all you have worked for to come to ruin, you would do well not to hinder us.” Valdar said from the corner of the room.
“How can I trust you, when you will not tell me anything?” Drystann laughed a mirthless laugh. It was the kind of laugh that made you worry about the fate of those who were laughed at.
“You don’t, and you shouldn’t. For we will be always watching, always ready. The moment you show the slightest deviation, the moment we even suspect you to be in league with the Enemy, we will kill you and rid the galaxy of your taint. We don’t need your trust, it is of no use to us. All we need is for you to follow our word as law.”

Ptah mulled this over. He didn’t know what made it worse, that he couldn’t trust these men who by all rights should be his allies, or that they didn’t seem to care. As much as he hated that he had to fraternise with the Eldar, Horus and Magnus had sent him with them and so he had to assume his words were true.
“Then where shall we head too. Back to Horus and my Father?”
“No, not yet.” Ordan spoke, gently shaking his head. “First we must acquire some materials from our Eldar allies. Eldrad…” the Farseer turned his head round. “…guide Ptah to your kin. Time is off the essence.” Eldrad’s brow furrowed. It was enjoyable to see the Mon-keigh put in his place, but now that such tone of implicit authority turn its attention on him, he found it most unsavoury. Still he bowed shallowly. “As you say.”

The Thousand Son and the Eldar left and the Council of Eight was left alone. So far they had found gene-seed from each of the legions loyal to the Horus and Humanity in the stocks provided for them. They had woven the strands of their individual power together into a single gene-seed. It was potent, but not enough. “Dhask, lock this room down.” Arno politely told his equal. A moment later the room was quarantine sealed and psychically locked. One by one, each master surrendered a vial of dark crimson and Arno shattered them one by one over the gene-seed, the liquid seeping in as if it possessed a sentience of its own.

Finally it came to Arno, who produced two such vials. He held them steady above the gene-seed. The others began to weave incantations of their own, binding the essences together. It was a powerful blood ritual, one that could combine the essences of men together. But that was simple enough. What made it challenging was that it was not the essences of men they were combining, but of Primarchs. Some taken from the gene-seed given unto them. Some of it snatched from the rolling currents of the warp. A fraction of their power, so little that it would not be noticed. They could have tried to take it from the Emperor himself, but he would have known and found them. They were not ready. They still had to arm and armour themselves before they could face down the legions of the warp.

Arno’s fists shattered the last of the vials. Shards of glass became imbedded in his hands, but no blood flowed. The essence ran over his fingers, never sinking in, and fell onto the gene-seed below. The room held an expectant breath. This was the first time that all the shattered parts of the Emperor, divided amongst the Primarchs, had come together in one place. The gene-seed began to pulsate softly. As dim corona of light highlighted it. Arno smiled. He carefully lifted the vessel up and placed it in with the rest of the stock they had been given. It dissolved in the ammonic fluid, the glittering particles worming its way into all the other gene-seeds, making them into vessels too. Soon they would be ready to begin implanting those they had been training for generations. And once they had the secrets of the Eldar, they would be complete in their transformation.
 
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