Alexandros stepped forward into the circle of light. He didn't know where he was, for there was nought but darkness surrounding this isle of illumination. A moment passed, and another figure entered across from him. The being was a Primarch, that much was obvious from his giant size. Yet, Alex, to his great confusion, did not recognize the other's face. The other Primarch's armour provided no helpful clue to the man's identity as the ebony metal was decorated by red eyes and a giant wolf's pelt on top.
The other Primarch seemed as confused as Alex was. "I do not know you. Are you another secret of Father's?"
Secret? Alexandros shook his head. "No, my existence is known to the entire galaxy. You are the one who seems to have been hidden. Or are you?" Darshan reached forward, ready to solve this mystery from the other's mind when he slammed into a wall of resistance. This was even more confusing to Alexandros. The resistance wasn't like the will of a powerful psyker, but something more inanimate. Darshan didn't detect any touch of the Warp upon this newcomer, let alone anything. Yet, at the same time, the other Primarch lacked the black hole sensation of a Pariah. Indeed, while Pariahs tended to unnerve everyone else, the other Primarch possessed great life to him and mighty charisma, undoubtedly an aspect given to him by the Emperor.
The other Primarch laughed, a biting and arrogant sound that fit the harsh maul in his hands. "Me? Hidden? I am Horus, the Warmaster! All know of me."
"I think you're mistaken," Alexandros began, even as he couldn't detect any sense of falsehood in Horus' words. "I am the Warmaster, appointed by the Emperor himself. I am Alexandros Darshan VonSalim."
Horus scoffed. "What deception is this?"
Before another word was spoken, hovering screens appeared around the circle, floating around them in a lazy clockwise fashion. They showed scenes from Alex's history and, what he assumed, to be Horus' life. The screens showed decades of years in brief seconds, but, for whatever reason, Alex could see and remember each minute of the memory displayed in perfect detail. "Where am I?"
"I recognize Leman and Magnus," Horus added, "but not these other brothers."
Alex saw Horus crowned as Warmaster on a world cleansed of Orks, while Horus saw Alex crowned as Warmaster on a world of watery Qarith corpses. "Are we from different realities?"
"I think you're right," Alex murmured as the memories continued at their contradicting speeds. "You were first found and the greatest of your brothers."
Horus took pleasure in the words but said, "You weren't. You were the second and not the greatest, but only because you rejected greatness. So many worlds brought to heel by your words alone. Not even Lorgar was as successful as you were on the field of politics."
The compliment brought no happiness to Alex as he had seen that Lorgar was already walking a darker path. "Your Luna Wolves, no, your Sons of Horus, all of you preferred audacious assaults aimed at the enemy's head."
"We are not the Imperial Army. We are transhumans. We do not just win battles, we must win them in a way suited to our power and skill. By crushing the head of the enemy for all to see, we crush the spirit of those who oppose us."
"It fed your pride," Alex noted.
Horus snorted. "As opposed to you and your Halcyon Wardens. You preferred your victories as bloodless as possible. Whether it was through your emphasis on the shield or your machinations you inflicted upon your opponents. Yet, you eschewed the glory you rightfully won to build others." Horus was pensive as he continued to watch. "You actively tried to keep your brothers tied together, until you became Warmaster. If only I had you at my side instead of the likes of Fulgrim of Alpharius. The Emperor would have stood no chance against us."
"What?" Instead of hearing Horus' reply, Alex saw the truth in another screen. He saw Horus fall only to rise corrupted. "You let them use your pride against you."
Horus' retort was quick and harsh. "I was shown me the truth!"
"You made a mockery of the office of Warmaster."
"Weak words from a man devoted to peace. You ignored the battlefield and disgraced your title."
Alex took his eyes away from the screens to glare at Horus. "I was faithful to Father."
"You are deluded," Horus said as his hand tightened his grip on his mace. "We were all tricked. Father had no intention of honoring us when the Great Crusade would come to an end."
Likewise, Alex tensed as he held the Spear of Terra and Aegis at his sides. "I've heard those words before."
"Yes, from the one called Icarion. Your closest brother, and you spurned his warnings," Horus accused, a single talon stabbing in Alex's direction. "And you call me traitor?"
"Icarion is wrong," Alex insisted. "And so are you. After only a few years away from father's side, you lose all faith. What weakness. I served as Warmaster for decades without question."
Horus growled, "Only because you blind yourself with your unthinking devotion."
The screens stopped, showing only a few years into the respective Heresy and Insurrection, hiding the truth that lay at the end of those wars. One Warmaster regarded another. "So, you maneuver your way to Terra."
"While all you can do is retreat before the Stormlord," Horus said satisfactorily.
Alex countered, "With Azus returned to the fold, Icarion's chances of victory dwindle."
Horus laughed again. "Such delusions." He hefted the mace. "Perhaps I shall strike you down with Worldbreaker, and save the Stormlord the trouble of having to kill you by his own hand."
At the sign of aggression, Alex slid into a defensive posture, the two weapons crafted by the Emperor's own hand, Worldbreaker and the Spear of Terra, aimed at each other. Although he could not affect his opponent, Darshan could still peer into the possibilities of the future, ready to find the one that would grant him victory against the fallen Warmaster. "You are the only one holding your rebellion together. You can put a stop to the insanity that afflicts your reality. Father is merciful. He loves us all dearly."
That incensed Horus. "You know nothing of the Emperor!" He shouted as he charged.
Edited by Lord Thørn, 01 December 2017 - 03:41 PM.