A Tutor's Duty
The ochre and onyx statue stood unmoving near the entrance of the small office. Tanned old wounds gave way to fresh scar tissue, sending an involuntary twitch and faint tremor down the sculpture's cheek, to the grill that now served as its mouth. Granite eyes narrowed, knowing that the man behind the desk would not relent without an answer.
When the Imperial Fist spoke, it was the bark of a harsh machine snarl, amplified by the confined space and a third lung.
'Of the Mentor Legion, your questions are a waste of time. Only rumor and speculation surround them, nothing more. My bloodline deals in absolutes and certainties. In my two centuries of service, I have encountered only one of their kind.'
'Seventy years ago on the swamp-world of Keeyask II, I was part of the demi-company sent to break the back of the IV Legion who made planetfall. Keeyask's great underground prometheum reserves were defended by a garrison force of six regiments of Imperial Guard. Among the garrison was the Catachan LXII, fresh from scouring Gillam's Hope of greenskins, and a single Mentor Legionnaire.'
'The first improbability we found was that he did not command the defense, but deferred to the garrison commander. He never sought the counsel of my brothers as we took the field. The first two weeks we saw him fight only alongside the men of Catachan. His appearance was near indistinguishable from that of the jungle fighters, with every inch of his sacred warplate covered in the swamp's fetid, reed infested, brick coloured grime, save for a single inscription on his shoulder that read, Moudrost.'
The man behind the desk stopped scribbling in his parchment and looked up, eyebrow raised. His mouth furrowed as if to give sound to a question, but went back to his work.
'Even as the victory in orbit was secured and the sky itself rained down broken void-craft, he was not present at council, choosing a Catachan proxy in his stead. When my Captain asked why the Mentor fought with the jungle fighters instead of his brothers, the Catachan responded, “He only keeps company from those he can learn from.”'
'It wasn't until the final strike on the IV Legion trenchworks that I saw him fight. Heraldry obscured, he never broke rank from the Catachans, but kept pace and supported their advance. He killed the Archenemy's mortal thralls with nothing but precise blows from his fists, palms, and fingers. He wasted no shells or bladework on them. No flourish or needless motion was present, just ruthless efficiency.'
'Three Iron Warriors held the brookway that naturally channeled the Catachans. He seemed to know exactly how much damage the punishing bolter fire would cause his armour, for he waded directly into the firestorm, allowing the Catachans to move around the trench unharmed. The Mentor offered up no fury and I heard no war cry. A single lightning fast strike took the first traitor in the soft armour under the armpit, his combat blade cutting through the arteries of both hearts. The Mentor held the dying traitor long enough to move him into the path of the next Iron Warrior, and raise his own bolter.'
'He fired a single point blank shot into the traitor's knee joint, shearing the limb off into the mud, before withdrawing immediately to the brookway. The Catachans had used their time to prime satchels of demolition charges and throw them deep into the trench, where the remaining Iron Warrior fled.'
'This certainty is all I know of the Mentor Legion. To give breath to the rumors of others, I might say that some records show they are the kin of Guilliman, that recently it has been assured by the Inquisition that they share the blood of Dorn, that some even say they harbour the geneseed of a traitor legion. I have heard that they have sold their loyalty to the Mechanicum, that they harbour techno-witch devices that can alter the flow of time and reality, and they possess a great arsenal of both ancient and experimental weaponry.'
'I have listened to a Blood Angel claim that they are guilty of legion building, that their numbers swell to near three thousand. That they hide their numbers by sending out only one brother, or ten, to every conflict.’
‘The Dark Angels have claimed that they as a whole are traitors and renegades, and I have heard reports of armed conflict on no less than seven worlds. I have heard that Marneus Calgar himself placed the laurels of victory on their banner at Cour’Dab VII.'
'The most audacious statement I have heard was from a White Scar, who said that their Chapter Master Nisk Ran-Thawll has had audience with the Emperor himself… poetic mythmakers the Chogorians... for they also said he is one of the most powerful and formidable astartes commanders they have ever fought alongside.'
'Me… I say they are nothing but barbarians. Make of it what you will'
And with that, the ochre and onyx statue left the room.
Edited by Candleshoes, 04 October 2013 - 08:45 PM.