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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So this is another take on an alternate heresy, where the main differences are that the Legions and their Primarch's are completely different, and the Chaos Gods are different. It's be interesting to see feedback on what I've got so far.

Part 1

Among the Ashes

A few hours ago this was but a bridge, a nameless, functional strut of metal, grand by the standards of most worlds but just a simple walkway in the eyes of those who lived on this, the jewel of my father’s Empire.

Now it is everything, the axis around which mankind’s history spins, chosen for no other reason than that it was still here when the fires receded. Blackened and dented, it stood firm where a palace the size of a continent had been shredded to molten scrap and buried in smoking Earth.

It crosses the expanse between two of the mountains, mountains of the Himalayas from which all the golden halls and battlements, built in service to His hubris, had been scoured in the fury of orbital bombardment.

Perhaps the fact that it survived meant something, that it had held where the Unbroken’s greatest fortifications hadn’t signalled that it was chosen by destiny, that it was ordained to be the place where the matter was settled once and for all.

Behind me, on the ruined mountain-side stand my Honour Guard, my Captains and their Honour Guards, recalled from across Terra to be with me now, at the end of everything, at the culmination of all our efforts. Black snowfall clings to the lustred Bronze of their armour. The edges of the plates are trimmed with black ceramite and short grey spikes. My First Captain, Arad, pleaded with me to change their colours after the Revelation, but I had refused. The Great Liar may have given us these colours, but we had fought and bled and sacrificed within them for Four Hundred years. They were ours now, and they would not be changed for His sake. They belonged to the Carrion Lords, not The Emperor.

I hear my footsteps ring heavy against the metal underneath, the sound lonely amidst a world robbed of 60 billion voices. I walk the bridge without my brothers, just as the figure on the opposite side left 150 exhausted and broken warriors in gold behind him.

I feel power flowing through me, the cataclysmic power surging up from the Leviathans of the Great beyond, flowing off me in flailing tendrils of bruised light. My teeth have sharpened, and I feel that the blood vessels in my eyes have burst and shredded. I feel the fibres of my flesh writhe and swell, the perverse ecstasy of slow pain throughout my body. The touch of the Gods is not gentle.

He approaches me, wearing an aspect I have never seen. I suspect it is the truest I have ever seen. No pretence at humanity here, he has cast off the bulk of that cloak, a vaguely humanoid shape of searing light, the barest suggestion of a face made by lighter tones on the figure’s head. The ground beneath him changes, shifts, flowing into geometric piles of perfect cubes, like the repeating patterns created in the formation of igneous rock. Even as he walks, he infects the world with his twisted vision of Order.

One of us will die here, and for all my impassioned speeches and ranting on the certainty of our cause, of the inevitability of our bringing The Emperor to bow and face the judgement of his scorned sons, I cannot honestly say which of us it will be. I do not believe I have ever witnessed the true extent of his power. Would the patronage of seven Gods be enough? Could he not be said to be a God himself? None truly knew where he had come from. This being, blazing with transformative, unfathomable light, could surely not be of woman born, and surely not even the most eldritch of sciences from the height of the Dark Age could hope to create such a thing. Had he created himself?

I shake the thoughts from my mind. Whatever else he is, he is a dirty fucking bastard, and I will kill him, just as I have sworn to do. He will pay the price for creating weapons and telling them they were people. He will face judgement for creating beings for no other reason than to wage his wars, burning all ‘extraneous’ passions and concerns and thoughts from their trusting minds, for neutering their very souls.

As I walk, my mind begins to drift back. How had it come to this? How had I become this, the perfect image of a monster in the blinkered eyes of my former self. As I close the distance, I remember, the densely clustered neurons He shaped allowing me to relive years with unnatural vividity in a matter of seconds. I travel back, all the way back, to the days when I was the favoured son, the most well-fed dog of the abomination before me.

***

The Premonarch’s palace on Egogue was littered with smoking holes and shattered masonry, drop pods smoking as they cooled down in flaming ballrooms and gardens. The hallways echoed with the screams of the betrayed. The Carrion lords did not have to run, they rarely needed to take cover. The resistance was psychologically shattered by the mere fact of the attack, unable to cope with the idea that their lord had so utterly failed them. They walked in slow, inevitably progressing firing lines, obliterating the silver armoured opposition as they rounded corners, fleeing other squads that were co-ordinating to drive them into the sights of their brothers. This was no battle, it was the dispassionate cleaning up of an obsolete regime.

I strode at the head of my Honour Guard. I was somewhat bothered at the ease of the conquest. There would be no glory in this. Yes, this was back when I believed there was glory to be found in the crushing of resistance in the grinding, goliath wheels of the oppressive monster the Emperor had set in motion.

There was occasional return fire that cracked and barked through the bright stone corridors, some pockets of half respectable resistance, but never against me. Any cluster of silver-armoured, silk wreathed palace defenders broke at the site of us, stumbling backwards and blocking their faces as they panicked at the surreality of time and space and deeper things that overwhelmed humans at the sight of a Primarch. All that and beneath it was the sight of me, twice the height of a man, covered in the bronze and black plates of my legion and wearing a black cape made from the hide of a nameless apex predator on a distant, nameless, frozen hell. And they saw my Legion symbol, the black iron likeness of a shrivelled and emaciated human head, crying out in death. It was in these moments the defenders truly realised the depths of their leader’s failure. The Devil had come, a being that broadcasted its presence like a nuclear explosion of psychic power that penetrated the minds of even the dullest mortal, and Premonarch had not seen it, or worse, he had not told them he had seen it. They were cut down by me and my ‘sons’, falling in moments to the spinning storm bolter that raged beneath the polished power fist on my right hand, the corpse-maker, another gift from my father. He had wanted to call it the Fist of Hesperex. I had found the name lacking in character.

We soon reached the great doors that led to the leader’s throne-room. At least we had called it a throne-room among ourselves, in mission briefings and strategy meeting. In actuality it was so much more.

The twin doors opened at my push, swinging apart to reveal a gloomy, windowless darkness lit only by blinking lights. The floor was grey marble, and the walls were buried under tons of impenetrable wires and machinery.

At the back of the room, rooted into a throne of wires and humming generators was the pale naked shadow of a man, staring up at nothing and breathing shallow breaths through a dried out white beard.

We scanned the darkness for threats, panning bolters back and forth in the darkness, but we saw nothing until the Premonarch’s guard chose to reveal themselves, twelve skittering shadows. They wore metallic, motorised armour that covered their entire bodies, their faces covered in heavily breathing face-masks with circular glowing eyes. They were raised above the ground on multi-jointed arachnid-like legs that ended in blades caught what little light there was in the room, seemingly made of some kind of smooth synthetic diamond analogue.

I drew the power sword that rested at my hip, a serrated, cruel looking blade called Severus, named after the only man who could truly be said to have raised me. A thread of the old man’s blood ran through the blade, and holding it always put me in mind of the day he had reached out, took my hand and pulled me from the smouldering wreckage of my gestation pod. The heat gave him burns and scars that would mark him for the rest of his life.

My Guards followed suit. Perhaps we could have cut them down from a distance, but moments like this just seemed to demand the closeness and dignity of melee combat.

‘You are the guards of your planetary leader?’ I asked, speaking the local dialect that I had mastered in the space of about half an hour, two days before, from the listening to insect sized spy drones that had been scattered across the surface of Egogue.

‘We are the soul-bound of the Premonarch. We carry his knives, and fight with his vision.’

‘Then you are determined to die in his defence?’

‘We could not even entertain the thought of any other path. To betray Him is the truest hell.’

‘We will see about that.’

The six of us, me and my Honour Guard, surged forward at the same moment as the soul-bound. The soul bound flowed around our strikes, righting themselves all around us until they had us surrounded, before darting in again.

The fight was like nothing else I have ever experienced. They were fast to be sure, surely chem-stimmed and propelled by the lightning fast dexterity of their robotic limbs, but not fast enough to explain the way they ran rings around us. Every strike was dodged with contemptuous ease, they were always able to do the one thing they needed to in order to avoid death, even if we had done nothing to sign-post our attacks, and they never lost a window, never missed the most momentary opportunity to dart in past our guard, false-diamond punching through the gaps in out armour to dig deep into meat and bone before releasing agonising waves corrosive, boiling energy that danced around the wounds like
arcs of red electricity, the blades whipping out and the soul-bound dancing back just in time to avoid retaliation.

Braden, Third of my Honour guard went down as a blade whispered into his neck guard and boiled the blood in his head, the attacker flipping backwards from a wave of storm-bolter shots from Atror, Second of my Honour Guard.

Only I was able to match their abilities. They always seems to know what I was going to do, but I moved with such typhoon like speed and fury that, eventually, they would simply be unable to move fast enough to avoid misty evisceration from Corpse-Maker or Severus.

Regeth, fourth of my Honour Guard, smashed aside six blades from one of the guards using his vambraces and chainsword before they could reach his chest, but this revealed another trick up the defender’s sleeves. His soul bound attacker carried on, striking him in the face with his fist, the collision raining red lightning and half collapsing Regeth’s helmet.

Regeth ripped the helmet off and surged back towards the target. He had been driven into raw fury, and kept charging as his foe skipped away, relentlessly pursuing it, all restraint and skill lost in the fury. This proved to be the key. In the face of such random speed and ferocity, the soul-bound seemed less capable of planning and trickery, having to push itself just to keep up with the inhuman physique of the Astartes. Regeth leapt, and though the soul bound had started to jump aside before Regeth had went for the jump, Regeth thundered forward with such unstoppable speed and power that he managed to catch the soul-bound with one arm and bring it crashing into the ground in a squeal of broken metal, before Regeth tore half its head off with a swipe of his over-sized fist.

The other’s caught sight of this and followed suit, fighting with wild abandon and a minimum of thought. The approach had its problems. Hesperex’s sons had to fight through the pain as blades lashed in under shoulder guards and knee joints, rendering limbs unusable or doing untold damage to their organs burning organs. Teneth, fifth of my the Honour Guard died as he tackled a soul-bound and five blades went their full length into his torso, reducing everything inside to a scalding mush, but Teneth’s bulk carried on to crush his attacker like a child beneath a falling horse.

Soon the last soul-bound fell as ‘Severus’ bisected him, and things quietened, the only sound the distant rumblings of fighting in other parts of
the palace. I approached the throne, climbing gunmetal grey stairs until I towered over the Premonarch. I was unharmed, but my remaining Honour Guard leaned against walls as they dealt with the pain of what should have been several mortal wounds each. Regeth was doubled over, vomiting almost black blood onto the floor.

‘I have rarely seen opponents able to challenge my Astartes on something close to an equal footing. Explain.’

The Premonarch gasped, still staring vacantly into space.

‘They are…were...will be my soul-bound, their minds connected to mine through the wonders of technology, able to borrow a fraction of my foresight to guide their combat as I have guided my people.’

‘They leeched off your powers of premonition to predict what my warriors would do?’

‘Yes. Yes that’s right…’

‘Then tell me, how did you not predict this. How did you not see me, who you surely see as the end of your entire way of life, of your life itself? That’s how this society works, they root you into arcane and unholy machinery that amplifies you psychic power, and you guide them, warn them of coming famines, times of war, where they should build their cities to avoid natural disasters.’

‘Oh I saw you, I’ve seen you coming for decades, and I see much else. I see the course of your life written in fire across the stars themselves. So many names, Hesperex, The Warmaster, Elshedeath, all birthed in the blood of worlds. And I saw that you could not be stopped, any more than one man could stop a tidal wave large and terrible enough to end the world. There are forces that want you alive, horrible, vast, unspeakable things whose wills cannot be opposed. I did not tell my people of you, because I wanted them to live in peace up till the moment of your coming. I knew this was our end, that we could not erase the evidence of our ‘sinful’ technologies, and the respect with which we treat the far-sighted you call psykers, and that we would be cleared away for a foreign and cold-blooded people, and that in time, those people would make of the galaxy such a hell that we would not wish to survive in it. So I said nothing, I let them live peacefully for the last few decades, before the monsters came, before the rapist of worlds knocked on our door.’

I ignored most of what he said, well aware of how hollow and twisted the whisperings of psykers typically were, or seemed to the ‘dull’, and disgusted that a people had so utterly put their destiny in the hands of one. Psykers were to be managed, they were to be utilised, they were to be watched with the greatest suspicion. To follow one was to invite the greatest doom.

I raised Corpse-Maker to point at the Premonarch’s chest. He just continued to breath, still not deigning to look at me.

‘Then there are only the formalities left. I, Heseprex Villiar, Primarch of the Seventh Legion, The Carrion Lords, Warmaster of the Imperium of Man and loyal servant of the Imperial Truth, judge you, the Planetary Leader of 44-132, as guilty of the unjustifiable use of psykers, the elevation of psykers to positions of planetary power, the employment of technology so perilous and esoteric as to be handled by none other than the Mechanicum, and resisting the subjugation of your planet under Imperial Rule. In the name of the revered Emperor of Mankind, I sentence you to die.’

The Premonarch laughed a weak laugh as a delirious smile broke onto his face.

‘Your body and soul will be their violated playthings, and you will thank them for it.’

A single shot barked from the storm bolter beneath my fist.
 
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