I don't know if this is the proper place for this, nor do I know if this even has a proper place. It is something I've been working for awhile, just for fun. If it needs to be moved, I apologize for the extra work I placed upon anyone. And without further noise from me, I give you! "This is the Liber Astartes."
The echoing sound of plasteel on adamantium proceeded the giant as he walked, heading into the bowels of the Legio's great command center. A great central hallway ran almost the entire length of the base, and along this hallway, a myriad doors led to other areas, each serving their purpose. Though the Legio was fully manned, the nature of the marines meant that they were never at their place of rest long, before deploying again. Perhaps because of this, the great hallway was nearly empty, a fact that bothered the marine not at all. The time to think was appreciated, and having newly arrived from his chapter, he had been ordered deeper into the base to learn from the Masters of the Librarium. Deeper he went, passing many doors, each unique and interesting.
As he walked, he peered into each door, noticing that each one served as a gateway to the various sections of the Legio's vast base of operations. He stepped across an invisible threshold. This section of the hallway had only two doors, one on each side, and the hallway was divided between them. On his right, a vast array of machinery, ancient and baroque stood before him. The hiss of steam, the clank of gears, and the chants of the Techpriests were hallmark sounds he noticed. The Door itself was massive, with a huge skull emblazoned on the front. The skull was itself divided in two, on half black, and the other half white. Wreathing the skull was a giant gear, the symbol of the ever present Adeptus Mechanicus. As he walked past, he saw the great door crank open, and he was able to peer inside a crack, seeing a vast army of servitors and other humanoid shapes. From within, the vast roar of industry echoed forth, before the doors sealed themselves again. Continuing onward, he turned his attention to the other door of the hallway.
Vast, gilded in gold, and wreathed in every metal known to man, this gateway bore upon it a giant and purely black I. As if carved from the darkest stone, and polished incessently, the I defined everything about the portal, and one could hardly turn away from it. Guards patrolled constantly, and servo-skulls and other familiars darted back and forth. A host of normal looking men stood before the door, and appeared to be arguing quite loudly. Though he was too far away, and the conversation was too masked by the other sounds, his enhanced hearing picked up a few words. Radical, traitor, zealot, and hardliner being were but a few of those he heard. Concerned for a moment that such talk would erupt into conflict, he noticed another figure approach the huddle of men. Slightly taller, but old, ancient some might say, the man exuded power and authority. He approached the quarrel and within moments, the men dispersed, many exiting through the portal, and others milling about outside. With a clash, the doors slammed shut once again, and the obsidian I blazed in its mute glory. Hurrying onward, the marine exited the hallway and came to two more great hallways.
The first was a collection of portals, on both sides, leading to a variety of places. The hallway itself seemed to be a great meeting hall, with long tables, fit for a Space Marine, covering the entire floor. Everywhere he looked he saw fellow members of the Legio co-mingling. A Space Wolf of Russ's blood was drinking huge pints of what could only be ale alongside a dour and reserved member of the Ultramarines, who slowly slipped his drink while discussing tactics with a brother from the Imperial Fists. All these wore the black and red of the Legio, but their shoulder pads clearly denoted their parent chapter. Discussions could be heard from across the room, one discussing the events of the recent battle for Armageddon, another quietly discussing the events of the Heresy of the Arch-Traitor. Discussions of the Legio itself intermingled with talks about the space battles of the era. A Legio commander was recruiting volunteers for a special assignment, and everywhere the general feeling was one of good natured camaraderie. Off to the left, he could see the great tome icon that denoted the Librarium, and noted it, hoping he would have time to spend there in the future.
Off to the right, he could see another great archway, this one wrenched open. A techmarine of the Legio, a Salamander his shoulder plate, was making repairs or adjustments to the gateway. Hanging suspended from the floor by cables, and his own servo-arms, the techmarine was working on making sure the door opened and closed smoothly. The techmarine's face was half covered in a steel plate, with a menacing image of a drake burned into it, and one of his eyes was replaced with a bionic, in contrast to the burning red of his natural one. As he was passing the arch, he heard someone yelling up to the marine. He couldn't hear the conversation, but he caught the word argos. As he passed, he looked into the room behind the arch, noticing marines from across the Legio all working at terminals with remembrancers. Each appeared to be recounting his or her personal thoughts and sagas, most likely as a record for their home chapter. It was just a glimpse however, before the Salamanders techmarine slammed the great door shut.
Walking beyond the great hallway, he stepped into the second. Here, all that could be heard was the sound of hammers, fires raging, and men grunting. This was the workshop, and everywhere the signs of such deeds could be seen. A giant of a marine, with skin like charcoal, was laboring over a forge, hammering out a dent in his green armor, while by his side a pale and gaunt marine was tuning the power field on his lightning claws. Fresh paint was being applied, and new additions were being made to the armor and weapons herein. Off to one side, great artworks and tapestries were being made, recounting the glorious deeds of the Legio and its members. At the end of the hallway, masterworks of the forges and artisans were displayed, such masterpieces as would survive on down the ages in deed and song. Nodding at the guards, he passed beyond the threshold, into another section of the great hallway.
This was a great command center, where Captains, Commanders, and all those who lead men to battle came. Lively discussions on tactics could be heard, while elsewhere, marines were being lead through training exercises by their sergeants. A copy of the great Codex Astartes lay open on the central dias, massive and heavy, like a slab of paper ripped open nearly in half. Stepping towards it, he noticed how used it was; its well worn pages telling the tales of the thousands, tens of thousands of marines who had leafed through it pages. Off to one side, a heated discussion was erupting between an Imperial Fist sergeant, and a sergeant from the sons of Corax, the Raven Guard. He couldn't hear the words, but the tone, and their expressions, told him that this discussion was both heated, and dangerous. Realizing he had his own business to attend to, he hurried onwards.
Reaching at last into the deepest part of the Legio's vast base of operations, he knew that he must be near his destination. Here however, the path split. The path to the right was gilded in gold with marble floors, and the banners of victory hung from every wall. The hallway on the left however was dark, dank, and forbidding. Deciding he had enough time, he started down the hallway to the left, though he knew his destination lie to the right. This hallway went deeper into the depths, and was lined with doors
He passed six doors, each sealed and barred with complex locks, runes of warding, and armed guards. The first he saw was a giant brass door, with wood and iron the color of blood woven in. Skulls formed its handles, and heavy chains of brass sealed it in. From within, he thought he could just barely discern the sounds of massive battles being raged. The clash of steel on steel, the roar of bolters, and the throaty battle cries of a thousand times a thousand armies. Further past the brass portal was the second of the sealed gateways, this one a putrid green, the color of disease. It seemed to weep, and a thousand mouths stretched forth from it, only to be repulsed by the complex runes of warding. The guards that stood watch wore complex filtering systems on their helmets, and even they stood a bit forward of the door. The smell was rancid, like rotting meat in the sun, or a dying rat, bloated in the bowels of some lost river. The marine glanced at it briefly, before continuing on his journey.
The next of the six barred doors was a multi-hued array of colors. The door seemed to be both real, and at the same time, it was not. It shifted, glinted, and gleamed, even in the near total darkness. Ever changing runes skittered across it's surface, before disappearing from view all together. The guards of this door were clearly psykers, Librarians of the Legio who were constantly tracing and dissolving runes upon the door, while chains of pure silver bound it tight. Fascinated by the door, the marine almost stopped, before the assignment from his sergeant rung upon his mind, and he started down the hallway again. The door he came to next was heard, before it was seen. A howling cry of ecstasy, or perhaps pain, echoed down the hall, before disappearing all together. This door was the most finely wrought he had seen so far, with intricate, some might say delicate, carving all along it. Every vibrant color was represented, and the images displayed were of things both terrible and beautiful, twisted reflections of each other. Chained shut by immense chains of dull grey, seemingly in defiant contrast to the beauty they guarded. The guards here were completely motionless, staring straight ahead, as if they were oblivious to their charge. The marine paused for moment, listening, perhaps for another scream. Hearing none, he continued on his way.
He walked past two more doors, each barred as well. The first was a strange amalgamation of the first four, as if they had each tried to recreate themselves here, and were counterbalanced by the others. It wept blood, bled puss, screamed in ecstasy, and glowed from within. Chains of every type barred this one, and a combination of guards was present. As he passed, they looked at him grimly, as if he was a threat. He continued onward, not wanting to risk the wrath of the wardens. The last of the sealed doors was revealed then, though it would be impossible to describe. It was as if the Warp itself had bled into existence and was trapped there. Demons constantly struggled against the door that wasn't a door, as if trying to push through. Their entry was denied though, by the many complex runes, wards, and the heavy golden chains that barred the door. Two more stern looking guards eyed him warily, and once again, he moved onward, realizing for the first time the hallway was circle. He exited a through the opening before him and realized he was back at the split he had seen earlier.
Taking the right path this time, he walked down white marble hallway, where the walls were laced with gold and precious medals, and the banners of victories uncounted hung, draped in such a way as to command the attention of any who walked the hallway. More doorways led off from this main hallway, each a gilded monument to that contained within. He walked past a giant door, royal blue, with a large golden U emblazoned on it. Scrolls and banners detailing victories beyond number hung from it, and two guards stood before it, both Ultramarines by their shoulder guards. They nodded respectfully to him, and he returned it, before walking onward. The next door was huge, black, and forbidding. A large white cross adorned the front, and crusade badges from across the Imperium were hung upon the gateway. Prayers and wardings against the mutant, the heretic, and the unclean were traced upon the front, and the guards were grim men of the Templar brotherhood, who stared at him defiantly before he walked off.
Further down the hallway, he came across two doors sitting opposite each other, as if in defiance of one another. The one on the left was dark green, bearing a winged sword emblem upon its face, and covered in battle victories of the Legion I. Two dour and grim faced marines stood guard, their helmets obscured by the hoods of their tan robes, wrapped around their armor. Directly opposite them, was a massive steel grey door, with the emblem of a giant black wolf across the front. Skulls of a huge variety of beasts adorned the door, along with drinking pints, the trophies of campaigns, and ancient weapons. Two boisterous marines were stationed out front and they waved to him and gave him a hearty cheer. As he passed, they returned to throwing casual taunts and jests at their brothers across the hall, who remained stony silent. Chuckling quietly to himself, he continued onward.
The gate he came upon next was a large, blood red door, emblazoned with a single tear drop. Gilded, ornate, and decorated in finest metals and jewels, it was a work of art as much as it was a gateway. Two great golden wings stretched across it, and the victory scrolls hung upon it detailed works and deeds going back nearly to the Crusade itself. The guards standing before were inhumanly beautiful, looking like large angels rather than marines. Each had a shock of curly golden hair, and bright eyes, and both bore a friendly smile for him. They nodded respectfully and pointed further down the hallway, where the end of his quest lay.
The second to last door was a massive portal, that dwarfed all the others in size. It bore the symbols of the clenched fist, the fire breathing drake, the black raven, the lightning bolt of the Khans, as well as too many others to describe. It was as if each chapter of the Emperor's finest were beyond this door. The guards in front were both marines from Chapters he had heard only legends about, and he had no doubt that beyond the gate were more such heroes, as well as tales of victories and glories beyond number. Wishing he had the time to enter, he realized he was at last nearing his goal. Walking further onward, he finally stood before the last door. Unlike the doors before it, this one was simple, almost plain. It had no words or banners hung upon it, and only two symbols. The first was the Aquilla, the great two headed eagle that was the Emperor. Grasped in talons was an open book, though no words were written within. Puzzled for a moment as to why he was sent here, he simply shrugged and pushed open the doors. They swung open easily, and what he saw took his breath away for nearly the first time.
Beyond the last gateway, hundreds of tomes sat open, while beside them sat holographic projectors, each showing the sagas detailed. Hundreds of images played at once, like a multitude of movies playing against each other. He was lost for a moment in the simple vastness of the room he had entered. Then he felt a tap on his shoulder, and spun around, coming face to face with another marine, though this one was older than he by far, looking nearly ancient. His blue trimmed armor, and the mass of wires connecting his bald skull to his armor clearly marked the stranger as one of the Librarium. The marine stepped back and bowed slightly, acknowledging the wizened psyker before him.
"My pardons ancient, I did not mean to intrude. I do believe I am lost."
The ancient marine gave a chuckle, "Lost? Perhaps. Where were you intending to go?"
The marine stood to his full height, "I was ordered learn more of those chapters I was lacking in knowledge of. My sergeant didn't tell me where to go, he simply told me to walk the hallway until I reached its end. What in the Throne is this place?"
The Librarium looked at him quizzically, as if studying him completely. The marine felt probes enter his thoughts, gentle and quiet, so as not to intrude, merely feeling him. Finally the ancient laughed. "Yes. So here you are. This," he gave a sweep of his arm, "is the Liber Astartes. This is the record of heroes; some forgotten, some that no one knew existed at all. This lad, is what you were ordered to find. This is what you must understand. Come."
With that, the old man began walking down the dimly lit hallway, past the rows and rows of tomes and holographs. As they walked, the marine stopped every now and then to read and view a story that caught his eye. He witnessed a Chapter called the Ice Lords, rising out of a frozen world, and taking their battles to the stars, before watching the city they called home plummet from the clouds to the frozen plans below. Moving on, he saw marines of the White Hand spreading a message of divine will across the stars, rising from the humble beginnings of a prison world. He saw marines of the Blazing Sons, armored in gold, marching steadily and ceaseless through a storm of firepower, before closing the gap and incinerating their foes in a cloud of promethium. The tales went on and on, nearly all of which the marine had never heard.
Following the Librarian onward, the marine noticed a side portion of the great hall, cordoned off by skull-servitors. Looking past them, he saw holographs of marines fighting marines, and Astartes battling Astartes in wars that consumed planets. One especially caught his eye, in which a giant of a marine, wearing terminator armor the color of iron strode forth from a base hidden in a sea of dying stars, plundering worlds, and taking his treasure back to his remote stronghold. Stopping momentarily to look closer, he felt the old psyker's hand on his shoulder.
"No lad, that's not for you today."
The marine turned back, noticing the hard set in the old man's face, as well, anger? Defiance? The marine couldn't tell, but the sectioned off area clearly evoked an emotional response from the ancient Librarian.
"What's back there ancient?" He tried to be as polite as possible with his query.
"Even the Legio and the Liber are not immune to the siren call of Chaos. There are those who have turned from the Emperor's light. Those are their records, so that we may know them when we find them, and may recognize them as we deliver His Justice. But come, that is not what you are here for today." Having answered the young marines question, the psyker continued deeper in the great hall, past more and more holographs and stories.
Finally, the old Librarian stopped, looking out over a vast holographic display, which shifted every few minutes, shining the light on the story of another of the Emperor's sons. He saw marines in blue armor battle the Eldar through a maze of wraithbone and death, while lightning slashed all around; before the holograph shifted. Now he saw marines in red and gold launching a devastating artillery barrage on a city, reducing it to smoldering ruins of ash and smoke. Again the image shifted, and now it showed what appeared to be a Female Marine. Not a Sister of Battle as he recognized, but a marine, similar in stature to him and his brothers. He watched as a horde of marines from many chapters descended upon her, slaying her in a flurry of rage. The killing blow was a large ball, gleaming and smooth, with three holes in it, possibly the size of fingers. The ball flew from the sky and crushed her skull, ending her completely. Following the path the ball had taken, the marine saw a large figure in green armor, with a white eagle upon his chest, and a blood red bolter in his hand. The figure stooped down and retrieved his ball, before wiping it clean.
"What was that? What just happened?" The marine wanted to know more about this female marine, why she was attacked, and why the warrior in green armor ended her life with a glowing ball.
"This is the Liber. That was blasphemy, trying to rise up in defiance of our Immortal Emperor and His Laws. Such things happen, though the Liber itself often unites to destroy such threats. You saw yourself how the "abomination" fared, did you not?" The Librarian cast a sidelong glance at his companion, discerning his reaction.
The marine looked shocked, "Was she a traitor then? One who turned from His light?"
"No." The answer was simple, concise, and immediate. "She was an abomination, worked against the laws of nature and the Emperor. This is the nature of the Liber Astartes. The strong survive, the weak die off, and those who go against the Law of the Liber are quickly and fiercely set upon. Now, watch."
The marine turned back to the hologram, where the dead female marine lay. He watched in amazement as she disappeared, replaced by a regular marine, tall and strong. He journeyed across the stars, slaying many Orks, taking the heads of Warbosses for trophies. His armor changed colors, his battles changed tactics. Finally, he returned to the place of his birth, a completely different entity, a marine that the Emperor would proudly claim. The marine stood before the Warrior in the armor of green, who inspected him carefully, before nodding his grim assent and letting him pass. He walked through the projection to stand beside one of the books in the vast hallway, before disappearing.
"This is the Liber child. Where the weak die, as do the strong. The truly strong however, rebuild, come back, and stand proud. This is the Liber Astartes, where the tales of heroes and giants are told. This the Liber Astartes, where legends are made."
Edited by Shinzaren, 02 December 2011 - 09:12 PM.