So, I wrote this story of how I see the Lion returning to waking world, how he has been doing, sort of what was going on inside his head, and basically the trigger that finally got him to wake up.
I don't claim to be an expert on the Lion at all, but I try and - if you read - you'll notice I kind of make me appear more human, but after ten thousand years, a few things could change.
Also, it involves Lord Cypher, and this story takes on the belief that Zahariel El'Zurias is the Lord Cypher we all know and love. For he is the key that would bring his father back
and all the other Primarchs in fact.
The story is very long, so I will post it in parts, and here is part one...
The Boy and the Beast
The boy squatted by the shore of the stream and took a sip of clear spring water in his cupped hands. The water tasted like nectar down his parched throat after hours of running unceasingly from the Thing. Covered from head to toe in blood, a lot of it his own, his muscles ached very badly, yet his wounds have all healed completely. The lacerations dealt upon his body would have killed lesser men outright, several times over, but he doesn’t know this yet, for he has not encountered other men before. They only living things he have seen his short life were monsters that sought only his death.
As he drank a generous amount of water, he looked down at the clear reflective surface of the water and saw the face of a boy he had never seen before. An angular face, with high cheek bones and a broken nose. Long messy golden locks covered a face that was caked in dry ruby blood. Sharpe intense eyes, like jade arrows, looking back at him. He does not often get witness his facial features and physical appearance from reflective surfaces, but whenever he does, he looks different every time, bigger, taller, more intimidating. But the eyes, those terribly beautiful green orbs never change.
He splashed some water on his dirty face, rubbing his palms and fingers along the terrain of his features to wash away the dry blood. He paused. He sensed it. Though he didn’t see it, he could hear and smell it. He heard its diamond clawed paw scraping against stone and tree trunks. He smelt its cadaverous breath, the stinky sweat of unwashed flesh, and filth riddled fur. Its approach wasn’t that of stealthy predator attempting to catch its prey off guard. It was one of mockery, where the predator knows its prey is cornered, with nowhere left to run, and its death is inevitable. It stalks slowly but assuredly towards the boy, toying with him; a trait that is not of evolutionary design for life patterns of animals. But this is no animal. It is a monster.
The monster was grotesquely massive. Scything blades decorated the mane around its neck. Lesser fur-like razor-sharp needles ran along its ankles and behind its jaws. Its body is covered in segmented armour plates that gives it an appearance akin to the Terran scorpion`. A half metre long sabre tooth protruded from the left side of its upper jaw; the right side sabre tooth was broken at the gums. In the previous encounter with the beast, the boy managed to crack it with a stone, which he then wrenched it free, and is now slung around the boy’s waist. But the worse of the beast’s features were its eyes. Its sclerae were orange like a reptile, but its irises were pitch black that did not reflect light like a human’s. It was a grim darkness that led to a place of terror, a hole into the unreal.
The boy’s right hand instinctively reached for the slung sabre tooth, and held it in front of him like combat knife. He slowly backed away until his left foot fell into the stream with a splash. Momentarily loosing his balance, the beast chose this moment to pounce. Its hind legs folded, its fore legs tugged, it sprung right at the boy, teeth like swords and claws like spears aimed at the boy. Knowing no fear, he braced himself in the face of certain death.
Then everything stopped. The beast froze in midair, the water splashes, the falling leaves, even the wind. The sounds from the background also stopped, the flowing water, the whooshing wind, the creaking trees, all vanished like a vacuum. Even the sense of smell was absent, freeing the boy from the beast’s rotten odor.
Strange facial features played across the boy’s face, expression he has never experienced yet in his short life. Something strange stirred inside him. Something that young boys like he do not usually experience in themselves. This is not right… The boy though. That’s not what happened. The beast leapt at me, so I rolled under it, and struck out with the sabre tooth, piercing the flesh of its abdomen where the protection was weaker. There was a painful sound of such primal hatred that no natural animal should emit, and hot boiling blood splashed on my face. It reached its diamond paw down to swat at me, so I rolled to the right and away from its putrid underside. With a speed and strength that the beast underestimated, I jump unto its neck and wrapped my arms around it. Ignoring the agony as its dagger mane pierced my flesh, the beast shook its head frantically as it tried to dislodge me, but my grip on it was adamant. Then I plunged the sabre tooth into its right hellish eye. An even greater cry emanated from its maw and its attempt to knock me off increased. I raised the sabre tooth up to land a second blow, but one of its paw somehow found me and sent me flying metres away to crash into a tree. I was bleeding all over my body, several of my bones are broken, yet miraculously, some of my wounds are already beginning to heal. The beast looked right at me with its one remaining eye of terror. The hatred I saw in that black orb of damnation sent chills down my spine – I would have used the word “soul” but such concepts were unknown to me then. I held my weapon high and charg- ‘A Calibanite Lion.’ Said a deep voice.
A person, a man, another human. But he was no ordinary man, he was a giant, clad in black armour of inhuman proportions. Strange decorations of skulls and seraphic wings decorated the plates and trimmings of his armour. He wore a cloak that partly covered his frame, and a hood was pulled over his dark features. Despite the slight unorthodox in the markings and color of the newcomer’s armour, the boy recognized his role of office as the Lord Cypher. But more importantly, he recognized this man; if the boy was mystified at the armour being worn by this person, he gave no sign. Age and scar have worn the face under the hood, but his identity could not escape the boy.
‘Zahariel.’ The boy spoke the newcomer’s name in an impossible voice that belonged to a grown man. It was harsh and beautiful, like a tempest and a torrent combined.
‘I haven’t been called by that name for a very long time.’ Zahariel said. The boy looked on at him without saying another word, as if trying to gauge his secrets just by looking hard at the man.
As if to break the soundlessness, Zahariel spoke ‘I’m sorry to interrupt your dream. Was this how you killed your lion?’ Boy’s hard stare never wavered from the man’s face, and after an intense moment, Zahariel had to turn his own gaze away.
‘As I ran at it, and It towards me. I jumped right into its opened maw with my weapon outstretched.’ The boy’s sudden reply took Zahariel by surprised. ‘Its teeth closed around me whole, and like swords, they stabbed me all over the body…’ He closed his eyes, as if trying to recall the physical sensation of the ancient memory. ‘The pain, Zahariel, the pain. It was unimaginable. By rights, I should be dead, chewed up into a dozen pieces...’ He turned from Zahariel to look at the beast suspended in midair, and pointed the sabre tooth at it. ‘But its tooth which I used as a weapon never ceased cutting and gouging the inside of its throat and other unidentifiable organs beyond. The smell was almost as bad as the pain.’ There was a long pause. ‘Then it spat me out, and I hit the ground just in time to look at it convulsing in its agonized death throes.’ He turned his face back towards Zahariel. ‘Then it retreated, limping back a short distance before it finally gave out and died on the spot.’
Sensing the story has come to a conclusion, Zahariel decided to share what was on his mind. ‘I guess you could say, it had a taste of its own weapon.’ He grinned lamely at the boy. The boy’s face was expressionless, as it always has been.
‘I walked over to its carcass.’ He continued unexpectedly. ‘I was starving, I wanted to feed on it. I haven’t eaten anything since... since ever.’ Zahariel listened on, interested in this part of the story that has never before been shared to anymore. The boy continued. ‘I knelt by its sliced stomach, and despite the smell and uncooked meat, I was about to plunge my head down and start feasting, but… I sensed it, and I stopped.’ Zahariel knew what the boy was referring to. ‘You sensed the corruption, the warp that has tainted the feral beasts of our world for generations.’ The boy did not say anything; his lack of response is close enough to a nod of the head.
But when he spoke again, it was an unexpected surprise. ‘A couple hours later, as I continue along the stream’ he pointed his unarmed finger in the direction of the stream’s flow ‘I will encounter a raiding party of knights from Order. They were the first humans I had seen, and leading them was Luther himself.’
He nodded his head in appreciation of the boy recounting his tale. ‘I can’t remember too well the Calibanite lion I slayed, it has been… so long.’ Zahariel’s face was casted down as he said those words. Then he looked up at the boy. ‘But it was the second proudest day of my life.’ Though his face revealed no expression, there was a trace of pride and joy in it. ‘Indeed, it was a momentous day for the Order, and I couldn’t have been more delighted to have such a warrior by my side.’ Said the boy, as he walked towards the man, still holding onto the sabre tooth. He looked up at the him and asked the question that Zahariel feared he would. ‘Why are you here?’
It was not really a pause, only a slight hesitation that revealed his nervousness and dread of this eventful moment. He spoke softly, gently, conveying the magnitude of his purpose here. ‘It’s time to wake up, my lord.’
The boy hesitated, betraying his impassive features.
‘You are needed, I am here to bring to you back.’
Regaining his cold composure, the boy replied. ‘Bring me back? To where?’ ‘To the world of the waking.’ Answered Zahariel. ‘What are you tal-’ but Zahariel cut him off. ‘You have been asleep for a long time my lord. Lying frozen in a state between life and death.’ Zahariel wanted to say “like Robute Guilliman” but decided this moment would be a terrible time to reveal the extent of the current Imperium.
‘When you returned to Caliban after dealing with Hours’ heresy, there was a civil war on the planet. It was an all out war between those who were loyal to the Imperium, and those who have sided with Luther and turned their backs on it. We attacked you and your warriors, then all hell went loose upon our world. Do you remember?’ The boy closed his eyes dramatically slowly, and a single tear ran down his cheek. ‘Yes. I remember.’ Zahariel did not say anything, and just looked at the boy expressing sympathy and regret for perhaps the first time in ten thousand years.
‘I remembered ordering my ships to bombard the planet, I remembered teleporting down to face Luther - my father personally.’ Sensing a rise of tension in the boy’s words, Zahariel moved towards him, hands outstretched as if to cool him down. ‘My lord, I am not here to remind you of the painful past atroci-’ he was cut by the boy’s sudden continual. ‘Then he struck me down. My father, all saturated in the same powers that Horus has sold his soul to.’ He was looking in the direction of Zahariel, but through him and not at him. ‘The price he paid for such fell powers. All of this, the death of our world, damnation to all its people. A never ending war of brothers against brothers.’ His eyes regained focus and was fixed at Zahariel once again. ‘The dark powers he wielded were terrible, it transformed him into an avatar of death, a reaper of souls, and Angel of Darkness.’ This was once again, part of an event that Zahariel was not privy to, first handed. ‘But despite all that has befallen my beloved father, I dare not raise my weapon to strike at him, for he is still my father and behind all that corruption, I believed a shred of nobility lurks in him yet… ’ He walked right in front of Zahariel and placed all the tips of his fingers on his armoured chest. ‘But I will never know Zahariel. Luther struck me down, then I knew no more.’
Zahariel held the boy’s hand in his armounred fist, it encircled the little hand completely. He had a treasonous idea of whether he could crush those fragile looking fingers. The boy looked up at him and asked the big question.
‘How long have I been asleep? Since I was laid low by my father.’ Zahariel’s hard features never wavered. ‘Ten thousand years.’
The boy, to his eternal credit, did not move a muscle on his face. He closed his eyes and nodded his head. Zahariel knew what the boy was going to ask, so he answered, before the question was uttered. ‘It has been ten thousand years since the Horus Heresy; that is what we now call it. The Imperium endures, but it has not found lasting respite. It survives in a state of stagnation and endless wars where millions constantly sell their lives to quell the tide of oncoming foes. Terra is ruled over by a body of twelve august lords that command their factions, because none of the Emperor’s Primarchs remain to guide us.’ The boy did not say anything and just looked on. ‘After you fell, my lord. Corvus Corax was the next to leave us, he just left, and his last words were “nevermore”. After him, Rogal Dorn went to assault a traitor armada, which he boarded one of their ships and never returned. Next was lord Vulkan, disappearing, without a trace. Then Roboute Guilliman, wounded by his brother, Fulgrim, and was put into stasis in a state of undying, similar to you lord. Then The Great Khan was gone, last seen heading into a webway. And the last to go, was Leman Russ, heading into the unknown, leaving us to fend for ourselves...’
But there was something on Zahariel’s face, something like surprise, but better. It was hope, a genuine, warmth of the face that believes the light in the darkness will never, truly, die out.
‘But Guilliman has returned. He is leading the armies of the Imperium against its foes, and cleansing thousands of world from the clutches of Chaos as we speak.’ He spoke the next sentense with dramatic slowness. ‘The Emperor is calling his sons back. And now, father, it is time for you to come home.’
The boy said nothing, nothing at all. Not because he did not know what to say, but because he is constantly saying a million things inside his head, formulating ideas and possibilities, similar to that of Guilliman’s theoreticals and practicals. The magnitude of this information could not possibly sit well with anyone, even a Primarch. His lack of response was absolute that Zahariel feared he might have slipped into a trance.
But finally, looking up at Zahariel El’Zurias, the boy, the young Lion, the Lion El’Jonson spoke. ‘You said you are here to awaken me. So, let’s get going, my son. Bring me back to the waking world.’
To be continued in Part II...
Edited by Manchu warlord, 23 April 2018 - 09:27 PM.