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The Mortis Sword cut through the space ways like a great shark. In the year since leaving Eden she had served proudly alongside the fleet of the Night Lords and the Fifty-Seventh Expedition, the Spartan Guards fleet had finally gone their own way having proved themselves more then capable to do the job.

They had run ins with the Eldar and the Orcs as well as other Xenos races. They brought worlds to compliance peacefully and by consummate acts of war that were decisive.

They had gained respect from their brothers in the Night Lords and now they were set free to war the stars. The Master companion of Vox one Gerrard Johnu came before the Ships master Tyrunus Hellanus and cleared his throat.

“My lord the message we have received is from the Primarch of the First Legion itself”

Tyrunus was a distinguished man in his late fifties and he had served alongside many of the other Leigons as the Emperor and the Spartan Guard formally the Mountain Warriors had sought to find their master.

His grey hair was almost white but his eyes were an intense blue that seemed to read through the very minds and souls of his crew. He knew every nook and cranny on this ship as he had been with her since her maiden voyage and risen from the ground up. He knew every creak and groan of the vessel that he now commanded as a man would a lover.

He told his second to inform the Primarch and await his instructions. His second a woman by the name of Derena Jural was indeed a strikingly beautiful woman but her strict features hid the beauty that was beneath,

Her very stature spoke of duty to the navy and the Emperor as well as her Primarch and as she approached the doors above the main bridge her heart began to hammer in her chest and her stern façade nearly gave way to total fear.

The two Terminators that stood either side of the door, part of the famous Griffon Riders regarded her with little interest but their ceremonial javelins remained crossed barring her entry to the Primarchs stratagem.

“I have a message for the Primarch” She composed herself and spoke as best she could just about keeping the tremor from her voice.

The Terminator on the left, the one they called Rondu took the slate and told her to wait then entered the stratagem and handed it to the Primarchs Equerry and retreated.

Davinus a former captain of Fifth Company had been wounded in a battle with the Eldar. The left side of his face had been horribly burnt but his sheer bloody mindedness and his grasp of the Imperiums politics had made him the perfect choice to be the Primarchs Equerry.

It was the Praetorians jobs to keep the soul of the Legion intact; it was Davinus’s job to protect him from the infernal politics that lay in the underbelly of the Crusade. He was as tall as the First Captain but slender built.

The left side of his face was covered in a gold plate moulded to fit the shape of his noble patrician features. His right eye was as green as the Eden fields but his left eye burned red with the glow of the cybernetic implant.

He crossed to the crescent shaped table where his master sat and handed him the data slate. Lucian read it and arched an eyebrow

“The Dark Angels wish to meet with us” he said more to himself “This could prove interesting. Pass my compliments to the Master of Vox and have Tyrunus head towards the co-ordinates.”

“Yes my lord”

Davinus returned to the door with his masters instructions and then moved back to the table.

There was another figure in the room, another giant who had joined them a few days ago and as Lucian rose from his seat the other giant rose with him.
Konrad Curze watched his brother intensely. For a year there had been no contact with the other Legions although the discovery of a new brother would surely have made its way through the crusade forces but the demands of the crusade had left little in the ways of reunions.

“So now it begins Kon” Lucian looked out of his window at the star field beyond.

“So it would appear brother” Konrad agreed.

A few months ago he had confided in his brother the agony of his visions and Lucian had become more protective towards his older brother. At long last the Night Haunter had a brother he could truly trust to keep his counsel.

“What’s he like?” Lucian asked.

“Who? Lion El Johnson?”

Lucian nodded and turned from his window. His Praetorian stood around the edge of the room letting their master and the lord of the night talk.
Just being in the company of these two demigods was honour enough for them.

Konrad was silent for a moment, considering how to phrase his words. There was no love lost between him and the Lion but Lucian had to make his own mind up about his other brothers and not be swayed but his own opinions.

“The story goes that he landed in the wilds of Caliban, a death world he was ten before he encountered humans of any kind although how he survived the creatures that inhabited that world for so long is known only to him.

He was found by some questing knights of The Order and taken in by Luther and raised by him like a son.

However to say he looked like a ten year old is wrong, you know as well as I do that we have no youth to speak off and when he was found it was said he looked like a wild man.

It was Luther who named him, his name meaning the Lion, the son of the forest I believe. He was mute for a while but once within the monastery he began to learn and speak at a rapid rate and like the bond you found with the woman who raised you, he and Luther had a bond.

With the order bursting at the seams with recruits the Lion and Luther crusaded across the entire planet ridding it of the creatures that inhabited its wild places that fed among the populace and only retuned when the beasts had gone.”

“Sounds like a warrior my world would speak of in legend” Lucian mused in admiration.

“When our father came for him he was given command of the first Legion, the ones that were created before all others and named them the Dark Angels.”

“So they truly are the first Legion” Anteaus remarked quietly.

Konrad turned a little “and they do so like to remind us lesser numbers of it”

He was sarcastic but let his words hang in the air for a moment allowing all present to know that in no uncertain terms the Night Haunter had no time for the likes of the Dark Angels.

“There are rumours that he has more or less exiled the Terran born sons of the Dark Angels to Caliban preferring the company of the Caliban born Dark Angels. But they are only rumours and unsubstantiated”

“Why would he do something like that?” Lucian frowned “It does not make sense to favour one set of sons over another that could cause resentment”

Konrad nodded a little “Its no secret, if you and I are honest we, as all our brothers, prefer the company of our cradle world sons for they are the ones we have fought alongside and bled alongside before the coming of the Emperor but that doesn’t make our Terran born sons any less in our hearts.

However it would also appear if the rumours are to be believed that any who anger Lion El are sent home under the pretext of safe guarding Caliban and overseeing the next generation but they are then forgotten.” Konrad shrugged “Far be it from me to criticise the workings of a fellow brother but it will breed dissent”

Lucian nodded. He and his Praetorians had worked hard to stamp out any signs of schisms in the ranks regarding places of birth. Each of his companies were a precise mix of Terran and Eden but he supposed he could have promoted a Terran born son to the Praetorian it was just he had counted on the four men in the Praetorian far longer then he cared to imagine. He would think it over and make the change, less his Terran born sons believe that he was not being fair to them.

“So” Anteaus cleared his throat “are the Dark Angels notable warriors my lord?”

Konrad nodded “Oh they are exceptional they just a little too secretive and sometimes a little arrogant. It’s not like the Lion to request a personal audience he’s up to something”

“I’ll be ready for whatever he springs” Lucian swallowed some ale “will you stay until he has been?”

Konrad nodded “I will, but be aware brother, when it comes to tactics, aside from Horus there is none better then the Lion he is a tactical genius”

Lucian returned his gaze to the stars and mulled over what had been imparted to him then said, “Have Captains Konan and Largo report here immediately.”

“Lord, have they done wrong?” Nikoli asked

“No but I have need for two new Praetorians and as the Captains of Fourth and Fifth Company they are in prime position” he gave the four Praetorians a meaningful look “in fact go find them and swear them in”

Nikoli smiled and bowed his head “As you command Lord”

The four men bowed their heads and walked out leaving Konrad and Lucian to conduct their own private talks.
 

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Konan was a giant of a man taller even then Anteaus with salt and pepper hair tied into a ponytail and cold grey eyes, it was well known that his combat record was glorious. He was a man of few words but his men adored him and would have followed him into the pits of hell and beyond for all the glory they would achieve, even the Eden born sons had come to adore him for he never left a man behind and his nobility was well known.

Lucian loved him dearly and was proud of him and his company no end, especially when; in their first action as Spartan Guard they broke a nest of Orcs and killed all within an hour. Fourth Company had the battle honour on their banner and it was a source of pride for them all.

Largo was Davinus’s replacement as Captain of Fifth Company, not as big as Konan he was no less muscled. He was handsome with dark skin and blue eyes. Davinus had named him to Lucian as his replacement for when it came to mountain fighting the man was the best there was.

His sense of humour was legendary, indeed in action with the Night Lords he even made the mighty Axemaster of the Night Lords laugh at a vulgar tale concerning an intimate moment between an eldar and an orc.

An hour later they were fighting the orcs in a vicious battle that saw twelve battle brothers of both Night Lords and Spartan Guard dead but a forged brotherhood between fifth and second company.

Now the two Captains stood before the Noble lords of the Praetorian wondering if they had displeased their master.

Anteaus shook his head a little whilst Demetrius and Nikoli forced the stern facades to remain. However despite their concern over the three captains expressions it was the blank griffon masked Seranus that made them worry the most.

It was frightening moments to have a Chaplain regard you with their stern unflinching gaze but Seranus was positively terrifying and the two captains had seen him on the field of battle too many times with his Crozius Arcanum swinging whilst reciting the laws of the Emperor.

His devotion to their lord eclipsed his devotion to the Emperor and that was evident whenever he walked the field of battle and if there were men found wanting, soldiers or Astartes they soon found their courage once more.

Rather die in glory then look cowardly in the eyes of the High Chaplain. Then again the First Chaplain Erebus had tutored him and he had been a most studious and fast learner merging what he had learnt with what had come natural to him due to his trade before the war of the homeworld.

He walked round the two of them as they stood at stiff attention wondering what they had done to cause the High Chaplains interest. The High Chaplin stepped back

“Welcome Konan and Largo to the Praetorian”

”My – My lord?” Konan’s deep voice queried bewildered at his lords words.

Demetrius began to laugh and both Anteaus and Nikoli could no longer keep their amusement in

“By the Throne your faces brothers.” The first captain boomed with harsh amusement.
Konan and Largo exchanged quizzical looks with each other but did not relax. Nikoli slapped their shoulder guards and put his head between them both.

“Relax brothers and hear the words of the High One”

The two Captains did as the Third Captain ordered and Seranus began to speak.

“Our Lord in his infinite wisdom has decreed that the inner circle of the Spartan Guard has room for two more warriors. He did not need to think about this for both your battle records have spoken for themselves and in his wisdom The Spartan has decided that as the highest ranking Terran born sons of Lucian you are to be inducted into the Praetorian.”

The Griffon helm seemed to take on a glow of its own but it did not unnerve the two new initiates not now they knew they hadn’t failed their lord

“all that is required is that you offer counsel to The Spartan if he requires it and be in attendance when he requires us. Choose two officers to fill in for your duties when you are unable, as your duties to The Spartan will take precedence.
Swear allegiance to The Praetorian and The Spartan that only death or dishonour will take away.”

Konan and Largo went down on one knee and swore their allegiance. When they rose to their feet they were given their marks of office, two helms wrought in gold with red horsehair crests going right down the back.

“Welcome brothers” Seranus bowed his head as did the other three.

Konan and Largo swelled with pride at the honour and walked with the others to the table and exchanged stories with them.


Anteaus and Largo shifted uncomfortably as the Shuttle made its way slowly along the runway of the embarkation deck.

They had arrived in system two hours ago and the First and Fifth Captains had been asked to meet the Shuttle and bring their guest to the Primarchs personal chambers.
Largo had filled Anteaus in on the Dark Angels when he knew them before the arrival of their Primarch. Anteaus found that he might not like the Dark Angels and their secretive nature. Largo had told him that was only apparent after their reunion with their Primarch, before that they were as open as any other Legion.

The Shuttle came to a halt and the doors opened to reveal a giant of a man in black armour and a man in the garb of a Librarian. Largo cast a sideways glance to the third member of their party. Tanis the master Librarian although not an official member of the Praetorian he was never the less held in high regard by the Primarch was ranked equivalent to Seranus in command and Davinus.

He was present at most meetings and the Primarch always consorted with him on the way to deal with his guests, even before his vast mental powers surfaced Tanis was known as a reader of men.

In the days before the arrival of the Emperor he had been a famous diplomat his ability to read men and women uncanny and always gave the High King and his Queen an advantage.

With the death of his master on Baran eight months ago he had become the new Master Librarian and he had taken to his role diligently and the hood of office fit him like a well-worn coat. This is what he was born to do and this is where he would become the greatest librarian in the legion.

His head was hooded his face shrouded in darkness for it was said that he could not bear the bright light but that was more to do with where he came from.

Anteaus told Largo that the Black Continent was continuously shrouded in darkness through a quirk of nature and, like the Night Lords the people of that continent could not stand the bright light for any great period of time.
It made them excellent night fighters.

The two Marines stepped either side and down the ramp came a giant. The three Marines went to one knee as he came towards them.

He was as handsome as he was strong. His blonde hair sat around his shoulders like the beast for which he was named and his blue eyes sparkled with not only the mystery of all Primarchs but the secrets that he kept himself.

“Rise, honour is done” Lion El 'Jonson spoke and when he did whilst soft and hushed the whole deck, who were on their knees heard him.

The Three Spartan Guard rose to their feet and Anteaus stepped forward

“Welcome My Lord of the First Legion I am Anteaus, First Captain, this is Largo of the Fifth and our master Librarian Tanis.”

The Lion nodded and turned to the two Marines with him

“This is my Brother Redemptor Nemiel and my Librarian Zahariel El’zurias” The two dark Angels inclined their heads.

Largo had informed his two brothers that a Brother Redemptor was the Dark Angels answer to Chaplains. They were not only the soul of the Legion but the respect they had within the Dark Angels could easily put them on par with the First Captains as their authority sometimes went higher then the First Captains.

“If you would care to follow me lord I will escort you to my Lord”

Anteaus stepped to one side and along with the Griffon Riders marched the Primarch and his marines to the Primarchs private quarters.

Tanis watched the two Dark Angels and turned to Largo as they went out of earshot

“There is something about them two that I do not trust”

Largo glanced at the Master of Librarians

“Perhaps it is because the one called Zahariel is young to be such a high ranked Librarian and lets face it Seranus gives even Anteaus the creeps sometimes that is his job so as a Chaplain wouldn’t Nemiel do the same?”

Tanis shook his head “I cannot explain it brother I just know that this is not going to be a good meeting.”

The two men fell into step with the others but Largo was troubled by the hooded Librarians words.
 

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Lucian rose with Konrad as his First Captain came in and bowed his head. The others did the same as they laid eyes not on just one demi-god but two.

Lucians Private Quarters was a world away from his strategum. Here was where he found silence and tranquillity. Books of Edens history were stacked neatly in rows and the Lion noticed that there were another three rows above, one chronicling the history of Nostramo, the rise of the Emperor and a detailed set of books on the history of Colchis and the rise of Lorgar to its prominence.

There were archaic weapons racked on the walls and the Dark Angels at first wondered if there were mere reminders of a warrior’s soul but then it dawned on them that they were weapons that Lucian had used at some point in his life. Each one had a small plaque underneath it with a date underneath each weapon the truth was they were weapons he had used in the killing ring and he kept them as a reminder of where he had learnt what mankind could be like when it found its depths of cruelty.

There were a couple of paintings one of Lucian in his armour standing with his three brothers Curze, Angron and Lorgar. The men had not attended a sitting but the image had come from someone’s memory and Curze had one himself, as did Angron and Lorgar as a keepsake of that great day.

The other was the Cliffs of Affirmation and the view was astounding.

An oaken table carved into the shape of a mighty hand and a half sword sat by the only window with a high backed chair carved into the likeness of the Griffons that now once more flew protectively over the skies of Eden and were kept in the care of the Sisterhoods.

On the far walls were miniature banners denoting his companies here and at home. One side was dedicated to the Sisterhoods and the Imperial Army that travelled with them and the other to his companies. The Lion had to admit he was shocked to see such dedication to his sons here and daughters at home.

There were two rows of comfortable sofas although they were more an affectation of humanity. A great globe of Eden sat in one of the corners continuously spinning in the orbit that Eden took around its sun, two years to circle its sun a gift from the Mechanicum in thanks for him allowing them to settle on a world that in a year had turned up many riches thought lost to them.

There had been annoyance from the Mechanicum at first at the thought that they could not settle on Eden but when they had settled on the world of Stygan it was deemed perfect enough for their needs and had been turned from a barren wasteland into a hive of industry and eventually the arms of the Spartan Guard were manufactured here and their armour as well as home to the fleet of ships that were constructed here for the fleet.

Not only that but the people of Eden were starting to look outwards from their world and had started to colonise the more habitable worlds of their system and Lucian had received this news with a sense of pride knowing that each world had its own beauty and danger but that the future of his Legion was secured as the Chapter Master had decreed that when the time of choosing came each world colonised would send their first born sons to the ring of challenge the former killing ring now renamed and cleansed of its bloody history thanks in part to the great bout between Angron and Lucian.

Now after taking in his surroundings The Lion stood before his brother and looked him up and down although he barely acknowledged the Night Haunter which incensed Lucian but an almost unperceivable shake of the head from Konrad told him that he was not that bothered.

“I have heard much about you Lucian I hear your sons call you The Spartan after an ancient Terran warrior state” The Lion placed both his hands on the arms of Lucian “I hope we can work well together.”

“It was a affectation given to me by Angron and I see no reason why we cannot get along brother” Lucian replied politely.

The three Primarchs moved to the sofas and sat themselves down. “Anteaus”

”Lord?” The first Captain bowed at his lord

“Why don’t you take the Dark Angels on a tour of the Mortis Sword.” Lucian suggested although it was not a suggestion really just a polite order.

“By your command” Anteaus acknowledged and left with the others including Zso and Krieg.

The Lion accepted the goblet that was handed to him and took a sip, he made an approving noise and set it down on the sword shaped table.

“When I was told that the Emperor beloved by all had found a lost son I must admit I was a little jealous”

“Why?” Lucian asked.

“I had wanted to be with him when he found a lost son, to be the first to find a lost brother. I mean the World Eaters were there when the Iron Warriors were reunited with their father Perturabo, then they were there when he found you along with the Word Bearers and Night Lords. Sometimes I think that when brothers meet alongside the Emperor it forges bonds and ties that will not be broken”

“Perhaps the Emperor decided that it was time Angron, Lorgar and myself should experience that Lion, perhaps if he finds another then you will be lucky enough to be with him,” Konrad politely said although there was a dark rumbling in his voice.

The Lion pulled a face but said nothing and it was clear that neither man cared much for one another. Konrad hated the secrecy that surrounded the Dark Angels and the Lion did not like the violence that seemed to encompass the Night Lords.

Lucian got up and motioned to the world below them “So do you need aid prosecuting a theatre?” He asked.

“No” The Lion shook his head “I have come to issue a friendly challenge”

“Oh?” Lucian arched an eyebrow and Konrad sat straighter.

“I have heard that The Spartan Guard are magnificent mountain fighters”

”In truth they are magnificent all terrain warriors” Konrad corrected

Lucian flashed the Night Haunter a broad grin, proud that his older brother whom he idolised thought such a thing about his sons.

“Well I would like to test my third company against your third company” The Lion sat forward “Perhaps us Dark Angels can teach you a few things”

”Or we can teach you a few things” Lucian smiled.

“I doubt that” The Lion drew in a smug breath “my sons are perfect in whatever theatre they prosecute and I would like to teach you tactics”

The smile faded from Lucians face as he saw for the first time the depth of arrogance that ran through the man and if there was one thing the Spartan detested it was arrogance.

By all means self confidence was a good thing to have, he had an abundance of that but even he had his failings as he was sure others of his kin did but to not admit to those failings and to believe that you were better then those all around you was a sin, a cardinal sin in his eyes.

That was how mistakes were made and how people died.

“Very well brother if that is your wish then so be it.” Lucian inclined his head a little “Perhaps now you will tell me of Caliban. I have heard of the work you did there and I am interested to hear of your crusade”

”First” the Lion met is brothers gaze “I would love to hear of Eden, I hear it is the exact twin of ancient Terra and…. your wife I am informed that she was a warrior without peer”

Lucian set his goblet down and shook his head “I will tell you of Eden by all means but as for Elisha that was a different life and before I understood who I was and what I am, I will not speak of her for she has no place here any longer.”

Konrad lowered his gaze. He had often wondered what Lucian thought on that subject, now he knew. It seemed that when he had said goodbye that day on the cliffs of affirmation he really was laying his past to rest, to allow the past to become history, myth and legend to the people there.

He knew that Lucians name would live long after he was dead but the Queen would become a myth, a great warrior queen who had freed Eden alongside her giant of a husband but his star would eclipse hers and she would be consigned to memory.

Konrad found himself feeling a little sorrowful at that idea; the Primarchs in reality were truly alone. Oh they had each other but like all siblings they had their falling outs and their squabbles but sometimes they wondered if they would ever truly know what it felt to be human.

For a brief time Lucian had felt that and he did not doubt that Russ or Angron had too although it was never known either way and had Elisha lived then he knew that the Emperor would have taken Lucian in much the same way he had Angron and used his powers to make the woman forget her husband.

Still it would have been nice however briefly to see the woman that had captured a Primarchs warrior heart.

The Lion let a look of disappointment cross his face but it did not stop him from persisting.

“Brother, us Primarchs have no need for a woman’s comfort, I am curious is all.”

“Who says we have no need for it?” Lucian frowned “it is not a necessity in our genetic make up and it does not rank high on priorities when we are bred and made to war the worlds we have to war but show me where it says there is a removal of the need?”

“My apologies brother it is obviously a painful subject for you” The Lion raised his hand but Konrad had seen what the Lion was doing and gritted his teeth.

Lucian was being baited and like the young pup he was he had walked right into it.

“It is not a painful memory at all it is just a memory of a different time” Lucian repeated and then realised what was going on. He shrugged which was an odd gesture for a giant to make and so utterly human “you would be better asking the newly elevated Marines about their experiences I can assure you all my sons that were raised on Eden know the comfort of a woman before they became Astartes”

The Lion laughed and clapped his hands together it was then he saw the Mortis Sword and getting up he walked over to where it sat upon a gold rack on the wall.

He let a gasp go from his mouth and ran his hand along the blade. “I have heard about this blade. It is all they say and more,” he murmured.

The Night Haunter and Lucian exchanged puzzled glances, especially as the Lion had a hungry glint in his eye.

“Is it true the blue lines are the souls of Edens ancient gods?” He asked “and that this sword can claim the enemies soul and bound it within?”

“It does what it was wrought for” Lucian carefully said “but I am the only one who can wield it. Not even Angron could wield it nor Lorgar or Konrad”

“So it obeys only you?”

Lucian pulled a face “The monks at the monastery where I was raised said as much whether it is true or not I cannot say”

The Lion murmured a little but Konrad got the distinct impression that he was not really listening. An eerie shiver ran along the Night Lords spine, the Lion had set his sights on something and it was known that what he wanted he always got.

“Would you care to wager this weapon on the outcome of our little war game?”

“What?” Lucian scowled

“Call it a trophy for a magnificent weapon should be used not put on display”

“You are joking aren’t you?”

“No” The Lion stood back his great cloak of the Calibanite Lion he slayed moving with him “I am not”

”No deal” Lucian evenly said “That Sword is the symbol of my Legion and not you or anyone else is going to take it from me. Now I suggest you leave my vessel brother and prepare your company for this little training exercise”

The Lion bowed his head “Dawn then brother until then”

Davinus came at his masters biding and escorted the Primarch back to his shuttle. Lucian clenched his fists by his side “That man is unbelievable”

”He is goading you brother” Konrad explained “like the preverbal Lion from which he gets his name he is testing you for weakness.”

Lucian met his favourite brothers dark eyes “Then if he is seeking for weakness in me he is in for a very big surprise Kon,”

“I think I will be here for this” Konrad announced “to ensure fair play”

”Would there not be?”

”We’ll see Luc” Konrad quietly spoke “we’ll see”


Nikoli did his breathing exercises as he sat in his arming chamber. His men all prepared themselves for the trial ahead. When the mighty Spartan had tasked him with this honour he could barely contain his excitement

He had tested himself in battle many times and had the scars to prove it but he was going to enjoy going against the First Legion it would be a wondrous encounter and he hoped to forge friendships with them as he had with others.

He heard a polite cough and looked up to see Zso leaning against the doorway.

“Not interrupting am I?”

Nikoli got to his feet but Zso waved him down. His midnight blue armour seemed somehow duller in the light but then that was how it was, the armour of the Night Lords stood out at night when caught by the moon.

“No need for ceremony Nikki” He smiled and walked fully into the Arming chamber.

He looked at the Third Captains mementos and nodded once in a while as he came across a shared memory the two had of their time fighting together.

He picked up the broken grip of an Orc bolter.

“We certainly gave that greenskin bastard a run for his money didn’t we?”

“That we did brother” Nikoli agreed, “He didn’t expect you to fall out of the sky like some giant rock”

“Or for you to suddenly appear before his eyes” Zso chuckled. His smile faded a little and he sat across from his friend “don’t loose this test Nikki”

”Would it matter? I mean it is a test and they are the first I am still young compared to most of them”

“Nikki my lord imparted some of the conversation that went on in the Spartans private chambers. The Lion is an arrogant man who does not like loosing and he has his eye on the Mortis Sword”

Nikolis smile faded when he heard that “What? Why?”

“It’s a symbol of your Leigons faith in itself if you will, the Lion seeks to weaken his opponent and you can bet that he will use whatever means he sees fit to make you all look small. Teach them a lesson brother that they are as fallible as the rest of us. There is only one Legion who can ever lay claim to be infallible but only because they have learnt from their losses and never let it happen again”

“Who?”

”The Lunar Wolves, they are the greatest Legion of us all and the most ferocious. Oh worlds would rather surrender without war when they hear us or the World Eaters are coming into deal with them we live by the creed that fear of the dark is our strength and the World Eaters raw aggression is what people fear most brother but when it comes to the Lunar Wolves there are none more ferocious and yet the Dark Angels believe that they are the greatest because they are the first legion and they rarely let people forget it”

Nikoli got up and shook his head in amazement “and he wanted my lords weapon?”

“I doubt he would have took it for long, just a day or two to prove who was the strongest” The Talonmaster got to his feet. “I will be planet side alongside my Lord to watch you and I will be there to hear your oath of moment for this is a test brother and a test that I pray on our bond that you win”

Nikoli rested his hand on the Talonmasters shoulder “thank you for your words brother my company and I will not let you or our lord down”

Zso left the Praetorian to his work and made his way back to where the others stood watching the Third Company prepare and swore in oaths of moments. When it came to Nikolis turn Zso held his bolter and listened to the oath with Seranus then watched as Third Company headed down with Lucian and Konrad alongside them he followed his lord eager to see what would happen.



Dawn peaked over the mountain ridges casting its wakening glow over the peaks making them look gold. Lucian breathed in deep and stretched enjoying the fresh crisp and clean air. In his year of travelling the stars he had not had the chance to enjoy such freedom.

He saw the Lion with his inner circle and moved to where his sons of Third Company stood Nikoli had passed the word around that this was an exercise they would win and why he felt they should and such was the charismatic power of their Captain none of the warriors of Third Company wanted to let him down.

Lucian walked over to where Nikoli stood with his sergeants and as he approached they all fell to one knee.

“Rise warriors there is no need for you to bow to me” Lucian softly said “Now my sons gather round and hear my words I will not be disappointed if we do not succeed in this matter but I want you to try the best that you can after all they are the First but their arrogance will be their undoing. Pass my words to the men in your squads and make them aware that I The Spartan am proud of them all”

He rested a hand on Nikolis’ shoulder and the Third Captain felt his pride soar. Just as it had so many months ago in the killing ring when he had joined Lucian’s gladiator warriors and in the mountains when he had fought alongside the giant in his war to free Eden from The Tyrant.

He remembered the words of the Talonmaster and nodded once then gave the Spartan Guard Salute.

Lucian returned it and watched as his sons headed off to the mountains. They were armed with only blanks for to kill another brother was a sin Astartes did not kill Astartes.
The rules of this were simple. The blanks would mark dye on the opposing warriors armour, red for the Spartan Guard and green for the Dark Angels. The Dark Angels had landed some few hours earlier and dispersed into the mountains ready to strike.

The Lion came over “I thought I would make this more interesting”

“Oh?” Konrad arched an eyebrow

“My sons are carrying live weapons”

”They are what!” Lucian roared

“Oh they are not shooting to kill but how else is one to test their mettle against each other, in the training cages it is real why not here?”

Lucian launched for the Lion but Konrad held him back “Later brother this will be decided later” he hissed “Zso inform Nikoli that the Third are walking into a live fire fight!”

“They have no live weapons lord!”

“I am aware of that Talonmaster but warn him of the Lions treachery”

The Talonmaster bowed swiftly and did as his master ordered. Konrad hauled a roaring Spartan away from the smirking Lion and held him against the Stormbird.

“Calm yourself Luc” he whispered, “there will be time enough for you to teach that smarmy bastard a lesson but trust in your sons”

“If any of my sons are killed…” Lucian warned.

“He will have told them to fire non lethal rounds he is just goading you” Konrad assured “As arrogant as he is the Lion is not going to break the Emperors law”

”Emperors law be damned Kon!”

Konrad held him harder against the Stormbird “listen and listen well, the Lion is arrogant and not so long ago he got into a argument with the Wolf and wrestled him then threw him on a table.

Now the story goes that when the Wolf picked himself up he was laughing and the Lion thought he was laughing at him when he wasn’t, he was laughing at the absurdity of the situation but the Lion thought Russ was mocking him and he punched him and knocked the Wolf out cold but the Lions arrogance has made him an enemy of Russ but still Astartes do not kill Astartes we bicker and we fight like any other family.

Break his smugness and tell your sons to do whatever they must to win, the Lion changed the rules here Luc, not you”

Lucian breathed deeply and calmed himself down. He touched the Vox feed on the collar of his armour and keeping his gaze firmly fixed on the smug features of the Primarch of the Dark Angels spoke in Edonian to his sons.

“By now my beloved sons you know that the Dark Angels are using live rounds although they will be non-lethal. Their Primarch has acted dishonourably and so my sons show them why it is when it comes to all terrains we are the best there is.”

Nikoli responded to the Primarchs words with a shout that echoed over his entire company.

“For the Spartan!”

Nikoli gritted his teeth and clenched his fist “Blend”


The Dark Angels watched as the Spartan Guard made their approach and their Captain Demiala grinned at his sergeant “This will be easy Sergeant Belicous”

Belicous nodded then looked back and frowned “Captain they have gone”

“What do you mean they have gone, that is impossible we just saw them make their advance? How can a thousand men vanish?”

The Captain scoured the area around him and his company but just as his Sergeant had said the Spartan Guard was gone.

Like they had never been there.

“What Sorcery is this!”? His brother Redemptor Granus hissed.

“Spread out!” Demiala ordered “they can’t have gone far watch for the tree line and make sure that all avenues are covered we’ll show these pubs why we are the First!”


Nikoli ordered his squads to take different areas of the Mountains and ordered the assault brothers to wait for his mark. He had received word that the Dark Angels were milling around the peaks and the cliff edges so for a good hour or two the Spartan Guard mapped their terrain.

When Squad Spearheart came across the Scouts they moved behind them, appeared into the open and brought them down without a noise. Sergeant Ferraris informed Nikoli of their success and moved on.

By the time the Dark Angels retaliated their Scouts were making their way back to the Stormbirds.


It was a glorious game in the eyes of the Spartan Guard and as Lucian watched his sons that were defeated make their way cheerfully back he was the one who shot the astonished Lion a smug look.

By now the returning Dark Angels had told their lord of the seemingly invisible trick of the Spartan Guard and he was becoming more furious by the moment.
By sundown there was only two squads left and by moon rise there was only Nikoli and Demiala left out there.



Nikoli moved to the top of the ravine and lay in his belly. He peered over the ridge to see the Dark Angel move himself stealthy despite his sheer bulk along the bottom edge. Nikoli mirrored his movements but remained on his stomach like a wolf shadowing his prey.

When he was certain that he was ready he got into a crouch came out of his camouflage and launched himself down onto the back of the Dark Angel and tagged him then stepped back and held his hand out.

“Come brother my Lord would declare this a draw as we were the only two left there is no shame”

Demiala was having none of it, he believed he had been tricked by sorcery and with a roar launched himself at the Spartan Guards Third Captain. Nikoli was propelled back and rushed to the ground by a man that was slightly bigger then him and had the wind knocked from him.

He let a grunt escape his lips as the Dark Angel rolled off him then landed a punch to his helmet knocking it off so that it rolled away.

“No!” Nikoli roared and caught Demialas wrist as he came in for another blow. “You have no honour!” He brought his head forward and head butted the Dark Angel on the bridge of his nose splattering meat and blood and leaving it broken.

A rage over came the Third Captain that he barely believed existed and landed blow after blow on the now retreating Dark Angel.

The last punch sent him rolling down the precipice with the Spartan Guard after him. Nikoli landed a few more blows then stopped and stepped back, seeing his foe groaning on the ground. He breathed harshly and went back for his helm. It would need repairing,

He spat on the ground at the feet of the Dark Angel and thought about leaving him where he was but honour dictated otherwise and with a disgruntled shove he pulled him over his shoulders and carried him down to the cheering Spartan Guard and the silent and glum Dark Angels.

He deposited the Dark Angel on the ground unceremoniously and returned to his company.

“They have no honour Lord” He spat venomously “They cannot accept that we beat them us the new pups!”

“Returned to your Company Nikoli” Lucian rested a hand on his shoulder “I am proud of you all”

He looked at the Lion who was slowly showing signs of becoming apoplectic with rage and his Dark Angels knew that look, they had failed their lord and made him look a fool and this would not bode well for them.

In a move that only a Primarch could make the Lion ran at Lucian and grabbing him round the waist he threw him to the ground.

“Sorcery you use sorcery!” He roared

Lucian got to his feet “No we don’t it’s a skill we have and one you can’t have go back to your ship Lion El’Jonson you have been defeated”

The Lion threw a punch that put the Spartan on his backside again and both the Marines drew their bolters but Curze got in between them.

“Right there is only one way to settle this. Put down your bolters Astartes do not threaten Astartes!”

He glared at both Companies and the anger of a Primarch was a terrible thing indeed.
They shamefully lowered their bolters he turned his attention to the seething Primarchs and moved between them both

“Strip your weapons” He ordered.

The Lion muttered an obscenity under his breath and Curze moved up to him until they were face to face.

“You struck a cowardly blow Lion, had you listened to what Lorgar had told you he said the Spartan Guard have an ability to blend into their surroundings borne from years of war it is a skill that you seem to be pissed off about so strip your weapons and lets see if you can beat the pup!”

“My pleasure Curze!” The Lion sneered.

“Luc, strip your weapons brother, it is against the laws of the Emperor beloved by all to fire upon each other but that does not mean you can’t fight with fists”

Lucian moved to where his Third Captain stood and could feel the bristling anger within his sons.

He said nothing and moved to the middle ground where by now the Dark Angels and Spartan Guard had made a ring.

Nikoli glanced at Zso and Krieg and knew that this would not be like the bout with Angron, that had been Angrons way of testing his new brother and that was a feat to watch this was a battle out of anger and the Dark Angels had cast the blow.

Konrad stepped back and joined his two sons as the Two Primarchs attacked.


The Dark Angels roared their affirmation as the Lion landed blow after blow on the Spartan jeering with every one he threw reminding the younger Primarch who was his better.

The Spartan Guard fought the urge to protect their lord, Nikoli looked despairingly at Zso who glanced at his master but the ever stoic Night Haunter said nothing and remained watching.

Krieg leaned into his masters’ space “Lord are you going to stand by and let this happen?”

“Do you think Axemaster that my beloved brother would thank me for interfering and coming to his aid like a nursemaid?” Konrad rumbled darkly.

Krieg moved back a little “No lord but the Lion is stronger…”

“So he thinks” Konrad muttered “Have faith in my brothers abilities Krieg like I do”

Krieg bowed his head and moved back a little.


Lucian caught the next blow and with an uppercut he landed a blow that would have killed a space marine and decapitated a human as it was the Lions head snapped back and sent him flying back into the sand and landing at the ramp of the Stormbird, the Spartan Guard roared with pride and the Dark Angels fell silent.

Lucian got to his feet and shook his head a little he staggered over to the groaning Lion and landed a punch to the jaw.

Then turning away he made his way back to his sons only to be struck in the back.
Lucian landed on his face and spat his blood into the dirt. He snarled a little and getting to his feet he caught the charging lion and in a move that even his warriors were stunned by he lifted him high into the air.

That was when Konrad intervened seeing the anger in his brothers face.

“No Luc!” He forced

“Step away Kon!” He seethed

“You do this Luc and you will be condemned your sons will be without a father and hunted. Do not let him do this to you brother”

Lucian wavered and with a roar of rage he threw the Dark Angel into his sons and lowered his arms.

“Nikoli return to the Mortis Sword” He ordered.

The Third Captain knew better then to insist he stay and began ordering his men to return to the Mortis Sword.

Lucian walked over to where the Lion was now getting to his feet “If it were not for the Night Haunter you would have made a murderer of me know this there is animosity between my sons and yours and me and you, you are a coward in my eyes”

He stepped back but did not turn his back on the Lion and waited until they were gone leaving him and the Night Haunter alone.

“You ok?” Konrad asked.

Lucian looked at him and said nothing and just returned to the waiting Stormbird.


Lucian toyed with his tankard for a while. The Night Lord and his sons had departed to continue their part of the crusade. He touched the side of his face where a yellowing bruise was sitting reminding him of the power of the Lion.

He laid his head back and stared at the ceiling as a polite cough brought him out of his musings.

“Yes Davi” He quietly spoke.

“Lord, we are ready to get underway but I have marked this world for colonisation and sent the details to the Emperor”

“Beloved by all” Lucian muttered

“Indeed”

“Then tell Tyrunus to continue at his leisure”

Davinus bowed his head and went to leave then stopped “Lord”

”Yes?”

”It will not be easy to fight alongside the Dark Angels now”

“Good let them fear us and worry about what we are going to do next”

“Lord from what I have learnt the Lion has a long memory”

Lucian met his Equerries gaze and swallowed a long draught of ale it was a while before he answered,

“Then there is nothing more to say is there the Lion is not going to be one of my biggest fans and I for one do not care”

Davinus bowed his head and left his Primarch to his musings but prayed deep inside that should they work alongside any other Legion nothing like this happened again.
 
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