There was darkness. In that darkness, he felt small, weak and alone. The last he remembered, there had been so much light. The heavens had opened, the angels had fallen. At least it had seemed that way at first, but it hadn’t lasted long. Soon the skies had darkened, the world he had been defending was shattered. Blood had run like rivers through the streets, houses were charnel pits filled with horrors. Horrors that had once been men who’d looked upon him with adoration. Hell had come to his world, and had taken it. It had been an abomination made flesh that had done this to him, put him here in this place. A dark parody of himself, twisted, hateful and monstrous. A Chaos Space Marine, one of the IVth, an Iron Warrior. Seemingly more machine than man, with its armour surely warped and twisted by an eternity of exposure to hell’s dark embrace. The flash of the monster’s warped firearm had been the last light his eyes had seen.
How was it so dark? He wondered, his eyes should have adapted in milliseconds, yet they had not. His enhance physiognomy was of no use. Was he blind? Were his eyes simply gone? Was it his fate to live out what remained of his life in this hateful darkness?
A dull glow answered his question. Growing slowly brighter, the glow pulsed. It was a strange sickly orange hue that made his stomach wrench and bile rise in his throat. Suppressing the urge to gag, he fought to focus, fought to assess his surroundings, to find something he could focus on, except that offensive pulsing glow. Yet it was the only thing he could see, the only thing he could hold onto. Revulsion gripped his heart, hate filled his mind and just when he could bear it no longer, the glow shifted and moved closer.
“Alive, I see.” A voice croaked, too metallic to be truly human. “That our cousins could fall so low, pathetic.” The voice mocked him. The revulsion and hate was replaced by rage, how dare this thing insult him. He was... The realisation hit him like a hammer blow. There was an entity behind this voice, and it was one of those who’d put him here.
“Traitor.” He spat, although the surprise that he was actually able to speak robbed the statement of much of its potency. The voice made a grating noise, laughter, the bastard was laughing at him.
“Traitor, you call me. You, a son of that dog, that cur. You dare throw insults at me? You, a worthless, weak parody of what we once were, dare to judge me. You, one of the lauded VIIth, who were placed on a pedestal, while we were ground into the dirt. You have no right.”
“You and all your pathetic brethren, who were celebrated and worshipped, and for what? What exactly had the praetorians ever done to deserve the laurels, the rewards and the favours of our creator. Your forefathers stole, lied and cheated. All of my father’s great works, parodied by yours. While we fought and died, while we smashed the enemy’s citadels one by one, while we were ground down, dispersed and weakened. Your pathetic lineage stood, like pristine little statues. They pretended to be the warriors that we were, and were given the rewards that should have been ours.”
The bitterness was palpable, the hatred, it eclipsed everything. Like a dark cloud of raw emotion, it flowed over him and he found himself struck dumb by the outburst. His mind desperately sought a riposte, some come-back that he could use to buy himself some time. He knew that without such a distraction, his life would be cut short soon.
“You think you’re special,” the voice spoke, “you’re not, you’re just another pathetic excuse for a warrior, another waste of a life. You wage war according to doctrines written down by a hidebound fool. Just another follower, another weak-minded child, playing at being a man.”
“Tell me, son of Dorn, do you deserve all that you’ve been given? Do you deserve to stand at ‘his’ right hand? Is it right that you wear the armour, that by rights belonged to a greater man than you could ever hope to be?”
He tried to speak, but the pause was too brief.
“Of course you don’t. Oh, did you have something to say? Well, it wouldn’t matter if you did. The questions were rhetorical, the answers obvious. The simple fact is, your opinion, your thoughts and your feelings are irrelevant. That I’m speaking to you at all is a greater honour than you ever deserved.”
“I saw your father once, you know. Before my eyes were truly open, as they are now. I remember seeing him standing , like a statue, letting the events that were taking place pass him by. It would have been a majestic sight if it hadn’t been for the sneer on his face. You see, my brothers and I had just finished breaching a citadel your forebears had spent months desperately trying to scratch. Yet, despite our great achievement, he still looked down at us, in our battle-scarred plate, like we’d done nothing. We bore the scars of our victory, he bore no mark of battle on him. Yet, it was your forebears who claimed our victory for their own, they were honoured for it. You even bear the symbol of that victory on your armour. A symbol you didn’t earn, a symbol your forebears didn’t earn, a symbol I earned, but was never awarded with.”
“You might have wondered why we hate you, why we fight you. You might have even wondered why we turned on you. The simple fact is, that it wasn’t us that turned. It was we that were betrayed, by that worthless corpse you now call a god. He used us, threw us at world after world, casting down civilisations that’d lasted for millennia, then spat in our faces. He awarded those who’d been too weak to do the job in the first place, not us, not the ones that’d carried our weaker cousins to victory. He rewarded those weaklings, like your father and your ancestors.”
He sensed that his jaw was hanging slack, this couldn’t be true. He fought to decry it, fought to hold onto the glorious stories he’d been told of his Chapter, his Legion. This Iron Warrior couldn’t be right, it had to be lies, fed by millennia of bitterness and warped by the predations of those beings that the voice must worship.
“I see that look in your eye,” it said, “you don’t believe me. It’s alright, I don’t expect you to. I’ve encountered hundreds of your kind over the last ten thousand years. They’ve all been the same. Indoctrinated fools, whose minds have been filled with the Imperial lie. That we were the villains. Try to believe me, we weren’t. Our eyes were opened, we saw what ‘he’ wanted. We saw this empire of stagnation, this Imperium of lies, where politicians rule, the weak oppress the strong, and humanity slaves its lives away to feed ‘his’ insatiable desire for power.”
“Do you want to know the sad truth? If Horus hadn’t turned out to be so weak, so sentimental, we would have stopped this repulsive state of affairs from ever happening. The empire that would have been born from our victory would have not limped on, stagnating and weakening over ten thousand years, until our race stood on the edge of extinction. No, it would have grown, become so much more, so much greater, than ‘he’ could have ever envisioned.”
“This is why we hate you, not only did your ancestors stand on our shoulders on their way to victory, pushing us into the mud as they did so, they allowed our race to degenerate into little more than cattle. They destroyed all we fought to build through their carelessness, their greed and their ignorance. They allowed power to fall into the hands of lesser men, and they cursed our race to a slow death. Mankind limps on, a weak parody of what it could have become. Can you imagine it? An empire built by and led by the strong, one that stands supreme. The xenos filth would have been purged so long ago. There would be no enemy to challenge our rule, our dominion over this galaxy. Who knows what we could have accomplished?”
“I’m sure you believe that it was the so-called Heresy that caused all this, but this is yet another lie. As long as ‘he’ ruled, this fate was inevitable. ‘His’ relentless pursuit to stand as the human races one and only god was always doomed to end this way. Eventually he would have grown tired of his pets, and the weight of responsibility would have still fallen to the so-called High Lords. There was but one hope, and it was lost.”
His vision swam, an outline appeared. The warped armour worn by the voice was familiar, it had to be the same warrior who’d shot him. Only this time the warrior was un-helmed. The darkness lifted further and the room he was in became visible for the first time. It was plain, clean and almost clinical in appearance. Not a scratch or a scar marred it’s surfaces. It was far from the stuff of nightmares that he’d been expecting. He allowed himself to focus on the warrior. The face of his enemy. It was not unlike his own, in fact if it hadn’t been for the subtle signs of sub-cutaneous bionic enhancements and the sickly orange glow that emanated from the warriors right eye, they could have been mistaken for brothers.
“Surprised? What did you expect? A mutated monster, more warp-spawn than man? We aren’t all what you think we are. We may have learned well the lessons of fear from our midnight clad cousins, and our armour and weapons may reflect that lesson, but we are not all like our daemon-loving cousins. We do not all throw away our humanity so lightly.”
“Unfortunately for you, hatred sits heavy in our hearts. We cannot, will not, forgive you and your kind for what you’ve done. For us there is only one outcome of meetings such as these. You can count yourself lucky, you know. You, at least, will go to the warp knowing the truth. So many of your brothers die in ignorance. Still, it’s no less than they deserve. It’s no less than you deserved. Before the end, tell me one thing. Knowing what you now know, do you go to your death peacefully, or with regret?”
He looked at the warrior, his soon to be executioner. There was no response, he could find no shred of the fervency that had once gripped his heart. His head felt heavy, too heavy to lift. It dropped, and with it, his world disintegrated.
“Regret it is then.”
The warriors blade swept down, and darkness fell.
Edited by Dam13n, 04 October 2015 - 12:27 PM.