"Their very existence is blasphemy!"
The words that echoed around the vast stone chamber were more growled than spoken, the voice so deep and resonant it could not possibly have belonged to a normal human.
"Their existence is the will of the Emperor, a continuation of His divine work"
"It is the will of a heretic and an insidious usurper"
Marshall Heber watched in silence as the two Chaplains debated, the skull face plates of their helms mere inches from one another. Their words, more and more heated, were punctuated by the rumbles of thunder and flashes of lighting from the perpetual storm that had given the planet it's name; Fulminis.
"Enough Brothers," the calmness of his tone did nothing to dull the unyielding authority beneath, "as much as I admire your zealous devotion, the Adeptus Custodes, His own protectors and emissaries, have declared them a gift from the Emperor. The High Marshall has accepted this gift. Brother-Chaplain Kurtz, do you dishonour them by proclaiming yourself more devout?"
The Chaplain inclined his head to the Marshall and fell silent.
"Brothers, we have met here in this Monastery to decide how we continue. Our three Crusades have tirelessly brought the will of the Emperor to this region, but doing so has taken its toll. Brother-Chaplain Kurtz, you have lost your Marshall and almost all of your Sword Brethren. Brother-Marshall Geralt, your victories have been great but your numbers are severely depleted. I myself have lost over half of the knights I set out with. And now, with the formation of the Cicatrix Maledictum, not only has it become harder to reinforce our Crusades but our foes have multiplied a hundred fold. The foul xenos grow more bold, invading deeper and deeper into Imperial territory. The cursed Chaos demons spread heresy, infecting all that they touch. Treachery grows like a cancer as worlds lose their way from His divine light. How do we fight this? How do we few impose His will on such a multitude of enemies?"
"With bolter and blade!" bellowed one of the assembled Sword Brethren.
"Truly, my brother. But we must consider the best course of action. As I see it, we have three options before us; We can continue as we are, go our own ways and fight until either our enemies are all slain or we are. We can abandon our Crusades and attempt to rejoin The Eternal Crusader and our brethren. Or, we join forces and together deliver such righteous fury upon our enemies that it will be as they had never existed"
"My Lord Marshall..."
"Please brother, there is no need for such formality between us"
Marshall Geralt gave a small smile "Heber, my brother, it has been many decades since you and I stood shoulder to shoulder as Sword Brethren. I would be honoured to do so again. I hereby pledge my knights to you and renounce my rank as Marshall."
"You honour me brother" said Marshall Heber, taken aback "but it should be decided by the assembled Sword Brethren who should lead this Crusade"
"A pointless exercise. I feel no shame in admitting that your experience and wisdom far exceeds my own"
"Very well brother, but I will have you as Castellan, if you would accept"
"Nothing would give me greater pleasure"
"And what say you, Brother-Chaplain Kurtz?"
"I know of you only by reputation, my Lord, and I see it is a deserved one. I will gladly place my blade alongside yours. However, my knights remain mine and when this Crusade is complete and all taint of heresy is expunged from this sector, we shall go our separate ways"
"If that is your wish, Brother-Chaplain, so be it. We shall occupy this Fortress Monastery and from here we shall cleanse this sector with flame and fury, world by world. I, Marshall Heber, proclaim The Fulminis Crusade begun!"