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Penance of Angels

Lamenters Iron Warriors Dark Angels Custom Chapter Chaos Crusade Space Marines Chaos Space Marines Xenos Pennance

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#1
GrimApostle

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Penance of Angels

 

Loyalists. Heretics. Man. Xenos.

 

As several dozen Space Marine Chapters are called together for penance, the innocent will be caught up with the guilty in their punishment. And yet, there is no absolution. There is no retribution, nor amnesty.

 

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.

 

Table of Contents

 

BLEEDING HEARTS - I - Lamenters

Part One ... ... ... ... ... ... Here

Part Two ... ... ... ... ... ... Here

Part Three ... ... ... ... ... ... Here

 

ROUTE - I - Iron Warriors

Part One ... ... ... ... ... ... Here

 

 

Preface

 

This was something I had worked on quite extensively a few years ago as an exercise in writing. It is something I've been meaning to share, mostly because this community is the only one that I know of that might enjoy 40k writing. It was easy to work on, without having to do too much world building, but still getting to develop my own characters and conflicts to write out. It isn't currently finished, but I plan to keep going on it for more practice as I work on more original works. That said, I should have plenty to share before I run out - I reached about 50,000 words of story (about a third through what I planned) before it trailed off and became something I've meant to finish. Hopefully that should give me room to keep writing in the meantime. I can't give a timeline on when I'll be updating, but I'll try to keep it regular.


Edited by GrimApostle, Today, 01:57 PM.

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#2
GrimApostle

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BLEEDING HEARTS

Part One

 

 

The desert crawled with aliens like a carcass riddled with maggots.

 

            Bullets streaked through the air, exploding in showers of purple flesh and black-blue blood. The shower spray of viscera coated the ground for dozens of meters in every direction as armoured warriors fell back.

            Each of them bore the cold embrace of lemon-yellow armour. Pauldrons the size of shields shone in the sun, and skull faced helms peered at the charnel field. The warriors came to a towering height of any normal man, standing eight feet tall and four feet broad at the shoulders. It was only their size that kept a measure of proportion in their bodies.

            Unceasing roars marked their retreat as flame belched forth from their guns, coating the surrounding in blood and fire. One strode with a double headed eagle emblazoned across his chest. He sprayed a jet of flame into the midst of the encroaching horrors. Scorched and black-burned beasts flailed their many limbs, and screamed as their dying bodies collapsed, and fell apart in the magma hot burst of fire. Farther along the line of the dozen titans, one lugged a massive weapon in his hands.

            The gun was the larger of two variations. The smaller, which the others carried, was a thick rifle as long as a mortal man’s arm. Its barrel was a short cylinder of a snout and it belched fire from exhaust ports either side of the opening. The men held it up against their shoulders, and despite their unnaturally large frames, it fit snugly against their chest. The magazine was a thirty round cartridge of shells. Each was a bullet the size of a childs fist that exploded on impact against flesh, metal or rock.

Dozens of the explosions erupted in the fleshy alien masses before them. It didn’t matter. The beasts rolled over the dead like a rising tide.

            The larger bolter was held by grips on its top and held against the waist. The heavier weapon was ungainly, even for these warriors, and it fired rounds from a feed of ammunition that struck at a blistering pace. The belt hissed as it chewed through rounds, belching cases. Its boxy frame swung from side to side in a slow motion as its handler raked the ground before him. Its endless bark of death into the crowd ahead was wasted.

            The weapon was decorated with the carvings of battles its bearer had never seen and the names of heroes he had never known. He carried it like a token of divine favour. Squeezing the trigger, death leapt before him as he strafed the weapon. He cut down a dozen targets in a second, but for every alien beast that fell another came to take its place. They swarmed like ants, swarming over one another.

The dozen warriors continued their slow retreat.

 

            The bodies of the dead clumped together and rolled, pushed and jostled like rubble. With every step, the dead rolled another foot closer. The titans hammered the tide of aliens, and the metal cogs in their armour groaned to carry them further away, to the next day of fighting.

            A hundred yards behind them, a dozen vehicles waited, idling as black plumes rose from exhausts and choked the air. The lemon-yellow clad warriors turned and ran in full sprint. They rushed to the transports with their loading ramps still lowered, and the aliens surged forth, no longer held back. It was the inevitable outcome. Against a hundred thousand aliens, a dozen men would inevitably fall back, no matter their firepower.

The aliens threatened to over take them, leaping and bounding further with every step. Though the armoured giants were fast, the beasts gained on them.

The automated turrets and manned weapon sponsons of the box-like Rhino transport vehicles turned, and plutonium coated high velocity bolts shot forth. The unthinking tide of purple carapace, and red in tooth and claw scrambled over themselves and trampled their injured brood mates in pursuit of the fleeing prey. They slowed, but kept up their advance.

            Unclear words screamed in the gunfire as rifles flashed out from murder holes in  the transports. Thick vehicle treads bit into the earth to surge forth, and tore over the ground. The sand kicked up and splashed like water around them. For all the noise of the armour, the roar of engines in high throttle was barely audible above the snarls and snapping jaws of the infinite horde that trailed after them.

            The vehicles sped off and the roll of corpses was lost in the surging mass of aliens. The pack broke, and the faster creatures pulled ahead in pursuit. Their almost-reptilian faces were kept down as they ran, their bodies held parallel to the ground and scythed arms tucked into their body like a bird folded its wings. Their feet slammed into the ground, kicking up dust behind them and razor claws twitched on their toes with every step.

            The leading beast that followed glared at an armoured warrior through a murder hole. It gained on the Rhino. Even through the filtered red of his visor, the warrior could see the malice in the beasts sole eye. Its green eye. It lingered on its face like an emerald star in a purple nebula. The pupil widened as adrenaline pumped through its musculature. It bayed its neck and howled, and snapped its jaws. With three extended paces the creature picked up speed and leapt through the air. It raised its scythed arms and foot claws to grasp onto the armoured hull of the transport as the warrior slammed a new magazine into his bolter. With a heavy thud it landed and its claws tore into the compartment, burying into the man’s shoulder as he grasped the handle of his weapon and slammed the weapon’s receiver, chambering a round.

            Without tearing the scythe free, he pulled the trigger and heard the bark of his weapon tear through metal, and rip the alien in half. He reached up with his good arm and pulled the claw free of his flesh. The wound clot in an instant, and he heard the alien tumble into the dirt as they sped away.

            He turned from the firing hole and saw his brothers shooting for their lives. The discipline was still in their movements but the firing was at a more frantic pace than anything he’d ever seen. His vox communicator crackled to life but he couldnt make out the words. Maybe it was adrenaline.

            Everything was distorted. Everything was moving as if delayed and every movement in the Rhino looked as if it was a phased image slowly catching up to real time. The movements of his brothers became little more than a blur of motion. Another burst on the vox and his brothers turned to look at the front of the Rhino. Through the drivers window ahead, he saw a massive beast, larger than anything he’d ever seen rear its head over the dunes on their left flank. It rose like a mountain. Much closer, another wave of aliens crashed over the desert.

            It was a massive creature that stood to the height of an Imperial Titan, a colossal war machine. It’s head was crowded with thick bony ridges that easily looked as big as tanks. Its body arched up like a cobra and it stretched out a dozen scythed arms. The largest pair looked about the size of a watchtower.  It arched its head and screamed.

            The warrior grabbed his helmet, trying to tear it free to cover his ears. His audial filters couldn’t drown out the noise – the rumbling scream of walking armaggedon. His eyes went dark in the noise, the noise screaming from inside his head, and roaring over the endless desert. He couldn’t see the beast dart forward, throwing up a dust storm in its wake, and obliterating dunes with its flailed tail. A cloud of sand rushed forward in its wake, and it dug its scythes into the earth to manuevre, coiling around the advance of the armoured column.

            The lead vehicle smashed into its side, crumpling like paper against the carapace. It leaned forward as the vehicles screeched to halt and two small forearms picked up a transport farther ahead and tore it in half.

The titan watched his brothers tumbled out to their deaths. Their armour was a mix of black and reds and blues in patterns he was unfamiliar with. They vanished in the onrushing mass of alien beasts that had caught them, flooding the ground. The serpent threw the tattered halves of the Rhino into the stalled convoy as dozens of beasts swarmed over them, stabbing and renting open the vehicles like tin cans.

The warrior watched as the rear end of the vehicle flew towards him and his mouth grew to a silent scream.

 

            Brother Dolore awoke in a cold sweat and his arms shot out to brace the edges of his open sarcophagus. His fingers went white knuckled in their grip over the carved angels and gargoyles along its rim. Within he could feel the nutrient tubes unplug from the sockets scattered across his gene enhanced body. His fingers ran up to grip the edges of the rest chamber by his chest and he felt the engravings of grimacing stone faces and trumpets held by winged cherubs. He pushed himself up and out of the holy chamber. The irony wasnt lost on him. From time immemorial the angels of death had rested in these capsules. These coffins. It always seemed to him that the sons of Sanguinus slept soundest within the sarcophagi.

            That triggered something. Why had he been sweating in his sleep? It must have been the dream.

But Astartes didn’t dream.

And there was something else. Some feeling. Something he didnt recognize gnawing at the base of his neck.


Edited by GrimApostle, 03 January 2019 - 03:01 AM.

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#3
Bjorn Firewalker

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An interesting start. Is Brother Dolore experiencing events his gene-seed's previous bearer experienced? Will he demonstrate psychic powers later?

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#4
GrimApostle

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BLEEDING HEARTS

Part Two

 

 

Brother Dolore awoke in a cold sweat and his arms shot out to brace the edges of his open sarcophagus.

            His fingers went white knuckled in their grip over the carved angels and gargoyles along its rim. Within he could feel the nutrient tubes unplug from the sockets scattered across his gene enhanced body. His fingers ran up to grip the edges of the rest chamber by his chest and he felt the engravings of grimacing stone faces and trumpets held by winged cherubs. He pushed himself up and out of the holy chamber. The irony wasnt lost on him. From time immemorial the angels of death had rested in these capsules. These coffins. It always seemed to him that the sons of Sanguinus slept soundest within the sarcophagi.

            That triggered something. Why had he been sweating in his sleep? It must have been the dream.

But Astartes didn’t dream.

And there was something else. Some sort of feeling. Something he didnt recognize gnawing at the base of his neck.

            It had been so vivid he thought, brushing the sweat off his brow. There was a stabbing pain in his temple, and his hands jerked up to his face instinctively. The migraines again. This day was getting worse. If they continued he might request the medicae. The dreams and sweat were almost certainly some sort of symptom. An unidentified affliction. Probably minor.

He wondered how long he could tell himself that and believe it. He loathed seeing the medicae. Part of it was the dread of hearing that his mental state would inevitably deteriorate into madness. The rest was just because he disliked seeing them. It always meant something was wrong. That in itself was just a reminder of how much had gone wrong for his chapter.

            A heavy rapping sounded on the door. Brother Dolorecalled a voice from the other side. Dolore recognized the voice of Sergeant Benedrino. He struck the door again as Dolore opened his mouth to speak. Brother we know our next course. Were gathering before the order is relayed. Meet in the chapel hall. Three minutes.

            Sergeant.He answered. Benedrino walked in measured paces back towards the chapel. Dolore guessed his brothers had already gathered. How long had he been recovering?

            Pushing such thoughts from his mind, he stood and quickly dressed. The tattered cloth he slipped over his naked form ran its course threads over his skin, and the flagellant wires woven in its fibre stung. He winced as he put it on and wrapped the golden braid belt around his waist. Without a word he slipped an amulet around his neck, bowing in reverence as it came to rest on his chest. The talisman was light against his chest, and he imagined that he could feel the cool metal on his skin once again. For now, it rested overtop his robe.

            Barefoot, he stepped forth from his chamber and into a baroque hallway of the Sanctified Rite. The vessel was a strike cruiser. From the exterior, it was a misshapen sword bearing a cathedral on its blade, trailed by streaks of blue nuclear fire that propelled it through the void. Dolore imagined it scything through the deep black of space like the fin of a shark through water. Effortless. Silent. Hunting. Always hunting.

            Mechanicus droids hovered and buzzed along its hull like flies. They were simple constructs, robots that tended to maintenance or a dozen stress tests ongoing at any moment to monitor for structural or shield overbearing. The former could be dealt with. The latter would have led to an agonizing and tortured end for all of the inhabitants in the vessel. Even for the likes of Dolore and his Sergeant, survival would be beyond impossible. They would die screaming like any man. It lent the Mechanicus a grudging respect among the Astartes that they rarely ever failed.

Yet, among the Lamenters martial order of warriors, their had been three incidents of such failures. All hands lost, consigned to the warp, and pray to the Emperor it was a quick death. They were deemed ‘statistically anomalous events’, and the losses were one of several such ‘statistically anomalous events’ that had come to claim hundreds of souls since the founding of the Lamenters. Some preferred the word ‘cursed.’

            The hallway was adorned by angels bearing swords, shields, spears and bows all clad in plated armour. Most were faceless masks of death like the Astartes helmets. A skull visage with burning eyes. The few with their helmets in the dirt at their feet were hauntingly beautiful. The angels looked on in memorium on the wall. Each was the face of a Chapter hero carved to be forever remembered.

There was Sergeant Sela who had led a last stand against an Ork Waaagh. The fighting had become so brutal that it attracted half the Warbosshost when he descended on the world and the Sergeant called for an orbital bombardment on his own position. The diversion blunted the Waaagh and saved countless civilian lives.

Halfway down the hall as he reached it, he saw the long hair and bared fangs of the Chaplain Borzia. On fiery wings of fueled thrusters, he had soared over countless battlefields, hacking apart the enemy with his Crozius. He led the purge of an entire system from Alpha Legion infiltrators before he was lost in the warp with three companies in the early days of the Chapter. One of those three incidents.

            At the end of the hall was the image of The Fiend. It was a massive dreadnought, carved into the door to the Great Hall of the Sanctified Rite itself. The mechanical behemoth bore cannons on its shoulders that streaked fire along the flanks of the hall into masses of Eldar and traitor Astartes. Its massive arms clutched a great hammer in one hand and a massive sword in the other. All around it and piled on the horizon of the carving were a field of corpses. The Fiend had been the Captain and commander of Dolores company millennia ago. He had led them with distinction and cold brutality. Eventually the infamous fighter fell like all eventually did. He had the dubious distinction of falling to a pack of Bloodthirsters and Daemon Princes during an assault on the Maelstrom. Whatever led him there was long forgotten.

            Looking at their faces and the victories commemorated in their honour, Dolore realized that the carvings had worn down. They’d lost their sharpened finish, and yet, the radiance of their image remained. The Emperor still shone through them, and there were angels here. They were forever His angels.

            Splitting the Fiend, he pushed open the massive doors of bronze. The room he stepped into was the Great Hall. Its walls rose so high that the ceiling was lost in shadow. Partway up the walls of the room, three rows of candles ran, vertically spaced about three meters and two horizontally. They stretched out to number several dozen in a single row from start to finish. They were poor substitutes for electric lighting, but in holy places sanctity must be kept. This room was one such place onboard.

            The walls were lined in images like the hallway he had entered through, but countless more persons were honored in carvings several times larger. Despite the gravitas of the adornment, the room drew attention away from them, and turned all who walked in towards the far wall. A stain glass window several stories tall towered at the end of the room, with a raised platform beneath it. A short flight of stairs led up to the base of the glass and a red strip of carpet ran from them to the opposite end of the room. The details were fine in the glass, and yet no one would have needed to be so close to know its splendor.

            The Angel. The Primarch. Founder. Hero. Father. Lord and Protector. Sanguinus of the Blood Angels and all their progeny. It was an image of him and him alone.

Every face carved in the room looked up to him, and the very walls angled to direct all attention onto him.  Light shone from his form and reflected off of blood red armour trimmed in the purest gold. Great wings of white feathers rose up behind him in full extension, spread as if he was landing or lifting himself to the heavens. A sword clutched in his right arm extended to the sky. It was crowned by a halo, as was his helmet. Streaks of light fanned out all around him and pierced the darker edges of the glass. In the background red shards fell like rain. Dolore could never decide if it was raining blood or simply the design.

            It was the most magnificent piece on the entire ship. Above all the carvings and all the tapestries lining other decks. It alone stood out to those who knew of it. An article so sacred was also a secret among the Astartes. Neither serfs nor crew were permitted to look upon the image. The room behind the window was even more secretive. Only Sergeant Benedrino and any visiting officers would be permitted to enter.

They called it the Battle Hall and what, exactly, was inside Dolore couldn`t tell. He imagined holo-maps and video feed links to relay and receive messages between commanders. He imagined a horde of treatises and data-slates and the Codex Astartes in divided volumes lining walls. He imagined trophies to remind the commanding officer of thousands of years of glorious campaigns in the name of the Emperor and the Primarch both those of the Blood Angels, and those of the Lamenters themselves.

            He didn`t realize that he was about to find out.

 

            Atop the platform, his Brothers were arranged and speaking amongst themselves. At least the six who remained. All of them were dressed the same. Coarse haired tunics ran from their shoulders to the floor and were pulled tight across their waists with a golden belt. Their feet were bare as his own and their hoods were down. Closest to him were his Brothers Rael and Mikel who turned to face him at his approach.

            Almost late Dolore.Mikel said. His voice was deep but smooth and his thin lips betrayed no emotion while he spoke. His closely cropped hair was still new to Dolore.

All his brothers had been shaved recently. After so many years of long hair framing their face it was still taking some getting used to. After a lifetime with the same faces it would take quite a while he imagined.

            Never late.” Dolore answered. Mikels face was unchanged and his sharp jaw kept the stern look he always had. His emerald green eyes were much better reflections of his emotions.

            First time for everything.Rael said. The smile on his face ran from ear to ear. I was beginning to wonder if you would wake at all.He said, extending his hand to grasp Dolore at the elbow. They shook arms as they held onto each other. Welcome back to the living.He said with a nod. His brown eyes seemed immensely pleased given the circumstances. His optimism was something that had taken Dolore a long time to get used to, and among the Lamenters it marked him out in their number.


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#5
GrimApostle

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An interesting start. Is Brother Dolore experiencing events his gene-seed's previous bearer experienced? Will he demonstrate psychic powers later?

 

Thanks! I'm wary of spoiling anything too much, but it will definitely come up again.


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#6
Bjorn Firewalker

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The tattered cloth he slipped over his naked form ran its course threads over his skin, and the flagellant wires woven in its fibre stung.

Are the "flagellant wires" built into the Lamenters' clothing, meant to inflict pain, like the "pain gloves" the Imperial Fists and their successors use?

The Fiend had been the Captain and commander of Dolore’s company millennia ago. He had led them with distinction and cold brutality.

I'm surprised a loyalist Chapter would nickname one of its own heroes "The Fiend," considering Merriam-Webster's definitions for the term include "devil," "demon," "a person of great wickedness or maliciousness," in addition to "a person extremely devoted to a pursuit or study; fanatic," the last of which was what I assume you intend. Perhaps you should lengthen the name to "War Fiend" (one extremely devoted to war) or "Fiendsbane" (slayer of devils and demons)?
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Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#7
GrimApostle

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The tattered cloth he slipped over his naked form ran its course threads over his skin, and the flagellant wires woven in its fibre stung.

Are the "flagellant wires" built into the Lamenters' clothing, meant to inflict pain, like the "pain gloves" the Imperial Fists and their successors use?

 

Exactly! That was my source of inspiration, although I imagined that the Lamenters would make the pain a constant presence when outside of combat as a means of atoning for a sin they assume cursed them, and the rest of the Cursed Founding. I didn't see them using a glove per se, and have always pictured the Blood Angels as similar to reclusive monks devoted to various creative arts, when outside of combat. Granted I don't know a great deal about them, but I thought working the pain into the clothe of their robes was elegant enough to suit them.

 

 


The Fiend had been the Captain and commander of Dolore’s company millennia ago. He had led them with distinction and cold brutality.

I'm surprised a loyalist Chapter would nickname one of its own heroes "The Fiend," considering Merriam-Webster's definitions for the term include "devil," "demon," "a person of great wickedness or maliciousness," in addition to "a person extremely devoted to a pursuit or study; fanatic," the last of which was what I assume you intend. Perhaps you should lengthen the name to "War Fiend" (one extremely devoted to war) or "Fiendsbane" (slayer of devils and demons)?

 

 

I like this suggestion a lot! I had intended the first definition and may stick with it though, if I may explain - my idea was that The Fiend adopted his nickname from one given to him by his enemies and that he was much more sinister than a traditional Astartes is perceived. He put down a lot of mortal revolts in the Imperium (mainly over discontent, lack of food, inequality, and all the dystopian aspects of the Imperium) in addition to the Xenos and Chaos he fought. The nickname was used enough by his enemies, and his terrified mortal allies, that he adopted it. It was a useful tool to reduce enemy morale. However, an assassination attempt confined him to the dreadnought, and while his shattered mind remained brilliant, he bordered on insanity and The Fiend became his identity. If he had had time, he may have fallen to Chaos, but he died a 'hero.' He is revered by Dolore's company and the Lamenters (who ignore his less flattering aspects), but is a much darker character than a traditional hero.

 

I came up with a backstory to every part of what I'd written in case I could tease it out in the story, and as a thought exercise. Most of it won't really come out in the story unfortunately (or at least not as far as I have written up to).

Will try to update tomorrow!


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#8
GrimApostle

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BLEEDING HEARTS

Part Three

 

 

Atop the platform, his Brothers were arranged and speaking amongst themselves. At least the six who remained. All of them were dressed the same. Coarse haired tunics ran from their shoulders to the floor and were pulled tight across their waists with a golden belt. Their feet were bare as his own and their hoods were down. Closest to him were his Brothers Rael and Mikel who turned to face him at his approach.

            Almost late Dolore.Mikel said. His voice was deep but smooth and his thin lips betrayed no emotion while he spoke. His closely cropped hair was still new to Dolore.

All his brothers had been shaved recently. After so many years of long hair framing their face it was still taking some getting used to. After a lifetime with the same faces it would take quite a while he imagined.

            Never late.” Dolore answered. Mikels face was unchanged and his sharp jaw kept the stern look he always had. His emerald green eyes were much better reflections of his emotions.

            First time for everything.Rael said. The smile on his face ran from ear to ear. I was beginning to wonder if you would wake at all.He said, extending his hand to grasp Dolore at the elbow. They shook arms as they held onto each other. Welcome back to the living.He said with a nod. His brown eyes seemed immensely pleased given the circumstances. His optimism was something that had taken Dolore a long time to get used to, and among the Lamenters it marked him out in their number.

            The Sergeant has not returned?Dolore asked, his voice raspy from disuse. He cleared his throat and realized how dry it felt when Mikel answered.

            He will be returning shortly. I imagine he gave you an extra few moments. A long sleep can slow you down.

            Dolore was puzzled. How long was I out?

            Three weeks.Rael answered.

            Throne. That was unimaginable. Although he kept his face still, his brothers knew him too well to think he wasnt surprised. The medicae were almost raised a few times.

            “-and the Chaplain.Mikel added. Rael almost scowled at him.

            Dolore was quick to change the subject. How has transit been?

            A lot of waiting. We expected orders before we went to rest and not having them until now, we have had much time for private pursuits." Mikel smiled. "I finished the collections from Terra.” He added. The collections were among the most widespread of literary relics from Terra's old history. All were written by authors so long dead their bones were no longer even dust.

            And I finished another painting.” Rael added.

            The Mountains of Baal?Dolore asked eagerly It was a favourite of his by Rael, but the Astarte never finished it. He spent hours repainting and returning to add new detail, before wiping it away and beginning anew. War was also a constant interruption. Rael shook his head.

            The Burning of Nostromo.

            Dolore felt a burning in his gut at the mention of the name. We spoke of this.He said.

            I know.Rael answered. He could be stubborn.

            You said you would stop.

            I said I would consider stopping.Dolore struggled to smother the fire in his blood, and grimaced. It was difficult for him to hear his brother was painting a scene from the history of their enemies. The truth of the matter-

            Hear we go.Mikel interrupted. Rael shot him an icy glance as he continued.

            Is that Nostromo rebelled against already corrupted masters. You can argue it was a rebel world all you want, but a rebellion against heretics makes them a loyal populace.

            “It rebelled before they fell.”

            “They were lost before they purged that planet.

            “Youre both wrong. They fell because the planet was lost. Both of them were traitorous. Only one survived to prove it.Mikel said. His voice was cold as he spoke.

            The doors at the far end of the hall swung open as Sergeant Benedrino ended their discussion. He marched in full armour, clutching his helmet at his waist. The armour made him larger than the others, clad only in parish robes, but despite its bulk he moved like it was a second skin. Countless gyros, gears and fabricated muscles hummed to echo his movements as he made them. It was a near perfect system save for the amount of energy expelled from the power pack on his back.

            The armour was lemon yellow and scarred from a hundred engagements. The most prominent of the scars was a deep gash in the helmet, though Dolore imagined Benedrino could point to each and make a story of it. In the centre of the helm's forehead was a red heart and a drop of blood. It echoed the symbol on his left shoulder, set on a checkered backdrop. A trio of red jewels in a droplet shape sat in the center of his breastplate and his right grieve bore the carved form of an angel. Rael had gifted it to him after he had saved his life. One of the many times he had saved all their lives.

            “Brothers!” his voice boomed from across the hall. As he drew closer, Dolore could tell that it was not quite a scowl on his face, but disgustBrothers we have our orders. Captain Lona relayed them to me from the Chapter Master.” His head was shaved and his skin plastered with scars and wrinkles. His deep hazel eyes watched his squad as he approached.

            “I will not put my voice to what has happened.He paused as he topped the stairs and surveyed his team. Looking man to man as if was trying to find words for each of them. He looked down and continued. The trial of our chapter has concluded. Captain Lonas transmission will explain.He brushed past them to the base of the stain glass window. There was a hiss, and the floor parted beneath him. The platform beneath Benedrino lowered and the squad filed down the unveiled flight of stairs to enter the Battle Hall.

            Passing down the stairs and through a narrow corridor they emerged into a circular room with a single light beaming down from overhead. The ceiling was not as high as the Great Hall. The walls were a dull grey and the floor was steel grating. No trophies hung on the wall. No bookshelves were lined with tactical and strategic advice. The left wall was bare save for a rack of bolters and ammunition. The far wall housed a suit of Terminator armour, power fist and assault cannon ready for arming. The right wall however was crowded. A large tube of bubbling green chemicals was hoisted against the wall on a machine that lined the sides and base with tubes and cables and plugs. At the top of the vat a mass of cables plunged into it like a tentacle. Within, a malnourished and gangly figure rested in the pod. Its arms were crossed over its chest and its legs bent and raised up towards the torso. Its mouth was sown shut, its eyes covered in white bandages and its skin was a pale grey from a lack of sunlight. It was a telepath.

            Given the distance between fighting forces and the impossible futility of light speed communication, telepaths were the only means of speaking across the vastness of space. The cables, Dolore guessed, would record and store the messages for playback. It was a remarkable piece of engineering and the science behind it was long lost. So much for the golden age of man. Dolore thought to himself.

            “Gather here.The Sergeant called to the men gesturing to a holo-projector at the centre of the room. They fell into a semicircle around it. Ritehe called to the Machine Spirit of the ship itself. Play last transmission from Captain Lona.Two high pitched beeps acknowledged his command and the light above the room dimmed. Before them a red image of the Captain’s upper body was displayed. He was fully armoured and wearing a haloed helmet. His helm was crowned with a laurel wreath and an angel wing spread from his right shoulder. An iron halo was mounted on his power pack and chains of oath were wrapped around the chest plate of his armour. On his torso, a winged drop of blood was plain as day. It was the armoured equivalent of Dolores own honour he bore now. Unknowingly he took it in his hand and began rubbing the stone around his neck between his fingers. The voice when it came was a deep growl. It sounded almost more animal than human as it spoke.

            “Captain Lona, Fourth Company, Lamenters Chapter of the Emperors Adeptus Astartes. This message is priority one immediate. I report at the direction of Chapter Master Daeloth that the trial of the Lamenters Chapter has today concluded. The presiding board of Inquisitors and Chapter Masters have deliberated our actions on Gorodda V at the request of the Fleet Admiral Naras. Under the charge of blasphemy against the Emperor brought by Captain Malle of the Death Strike Third Company we have been found not guilty.

            The squad was silent as the charges and verdicts of not guiltywere read aloud.

            “Under the charge of reckless endangerment of civilian life brought by Captain Url of the Black Guard we have been found not guilty. Under the charge of disparaging the Inquisition and its personnel brought by Inquisitor Beck we have been found guilty.

            It did not bode well but was not nearly as serious a charge as those already dismissed. Dolore was tempted to exhale as the worst must be behind them.

            “Under the charge of-Captain Lona’s voice faltered. He raised his head and cleared his throat to continue speaking. Under the charge of conduct unbecoming Adeptus Astartes brought by Inquisitor Beck, Captain Malle, Captain Url and Captain Galen of the Consecrators…” Lona paused again. Dolores eyes grew wide. We have been found wanting under the watch of the Emperor. We are pronounced guilty.

            The room was silent but Dolore could hear his heart clearly pounding in his head.

            Guilty.

            He had to fight the urge to pump adrenaline and combat stims into his blood. Mikel beside him dropped to his knees and uttered prayers beneath his breath. One of his other brothers leaned forward and braced himself against the holo-projector. His knuckles turned white in his grip.

            “Punishment will be announced in two months standard Terra time. All Lamenters forces are ordered to make immediate rendezvous with the Mater Lachrymarum in the Yuon system in the interim. The Emperor Protects.

            Dolore was silent. His whole body felt numb. It was not possible. Benedrino tapped into the projector and the image faded. The light brightened and for a moment they stood in silence.

            “We are already en route to the Fortress Monastery. For the next month and a half we will train harder than we have ever trained before. Simulations will be harder and combat drops will be conducted when possible against soft and hard targets. Were closer so we have more time to prepare. At rendezvous minus six days you will sleep and rest to full capacity. At rendezvous minus two days you will wake, you will make yourselves combat ready, and you will make your peace with the Emperor. On rendezvous we will join with the Chapter to hear our next move.he barked.

            There was silence for a moment when Rael spoke. Sergeant the Chaplains.He spoke in half formed thoughts.

            “We have none onboard but I hear the Serfs have several if you find your battle-brothers wanting.”

            Dolore found himself speaking before he knew what he was asking. Sergeant what are we likely to face?

            “I don’t know.” Benedrino answered with a steely look. Nothing good I can guarantee. Theres talk of a penitent crusade.

            “Of our chapter alone? We lost half our forces at Gorodda...Dolore said in disbelief.

            “Not just us Dolore. We arent the only Chapter theyve tried and condemned.He frowned at the Sergeants answer.

            “Not just us? What have I missed?He asked.

            “Brother theyve condemned three other detachments who fought at Gorodda. One other Chapter as well.

            “Who else?” Dolore managed.

            “The Fire Drakes were the first condemned.” someone said. Dolore could understand that at least. Their first and third companies had been removed from the campaign before it had concluded. Actively interfering with the work of the Inquisition was a step too far for any Astartes. Despite their conviction over disparagement, the Lamenters had been careful enough to avoid confrontation.

            “Next we heard of the Angels Grievant. Their bombardment of the capital manufactora station cost millions of lives, and invaluable mechanicus research.” Rael continued.

            “No matter that it killed twice as many orks.” Mikel interrupted.

            “No matter.” Benedrino noted, turning sharply to face him.

            “The seventh of the Astral Pyre and the third of the Panthers Rampant as well.”

            Dolore was dumbstruck. How could this happen?

            The room was silent. Dolore thought he heard his two hearts pumping blood in a panic.

            “Steel yourselves brothers. Whatever lies ahead … The Emperor Protects.” Benedrino said, marking the sign of the Aquila across his chest. He kept his head bowed longer than usual by half.

            The rest of the squad followed suit and bowed their heads in turn. The Sergeant broke the brief silence. “We begin training immediately.

 

            After training and two months of transit it was a relief when they arrived in Yuon. It was there they learned a further four detachments had been condemned in other conflicts with over a million guardsmen for their conduct. There would be a Penitent Crusade after all.

            Worse still for their sacrifices, Gorodda V had suffered the ignominy of exterminatus. Like those who had fought and died on its surface, the planet was condemned. 


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#9
Bjorn Firewalker

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This is well-written. You make me FEEL for the Lamenters.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#10
GrimApostle

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This is well-written. You make me FEEL for the Lamenters.

 

Thanks! We're going to be switching perspectives a fair bit through this, so I hope I'll be able to help you connect with all the characters.


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#11
GrimApostle

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Aside: I am going to work on timing my posts to actually keep with a consistent schedule. Life has been a bit turbulent the last few months and is settling down again (hopefully).

 

ROUTE

Part One

 

 

Whispers. Mad, mad damned whispers filled his head and his skull echoed with the writhing crawls of ethereal daemons trapped in his mind. He saw them slowly coalesce and take shapes before his sight that were too familiar and too painful for his waking mind.

 

 

            His brothers were spread thin, firing on the enemy. Firing on themselves, even as the confusion of the moment set their truest of brothers against them.  Bolter fire raked their right flank and Meridorus took a shot to his side, falling to his knees at Odens feet before collapsing in an expanding pool of blood and organs. Straining his eyes he saw the fire of his comrades, their Iron Skull far in the distance, streaking towards his men. His left flank burst into flame as he lost himself in the moment, green armoured and black skinned daemons clawing through his men with flame and chainsword. His training, his oaths and his very spirit had taught him to stand against all odds and against all enemies, but he was conquered. Not by the treachery of his brothers, nor by the ignorance of his cousins but by something far more terrible.

 

  

          The whispers grew again as the shapes began to take a new and terrible form. A giant in green and flame, wrapped in a scaled cloak walking slowly towards him.

  

          He let out a heavy breathe, sounding as though a gust of wind had rushed through a pipe, and his eyes slowly refocused from his thoughts to the world around him. 

            "Did you expect to run today?" came a muffled voice somewhere beside him. The sounds of heavy breathing filled the air. It was too organic to be his own.

 

           Running. He remembered that. Bolter fire jarring his world and eruptions of fire knocking him senseless. Caverns dripping blood and a floor covered in shrapnel and scraps of armour. He crawled forward on his hands and knees, cursing his brothers who had refused to submit. Cursing his mentor for betraying the Legion like this. Damn youhe whispered to himself, slamming his sword into the ground and pushing himself to his feet. He stumbled to the wall and felt his way along the hall, towards the-

 

            "Did you?"

            "Captain?" asked another. That voice was familiar.

            It was Pyrrhus sitting across from him. The battered warrior clung to his combi-flamer in both hands across his chest like it gave him comfort. As far as the Captain knew it did. The Rhino jumped as it barreled over a trench, and inside the warriors shook with the turbulence. There were eight of them. Across from Captain Tullaris, Pyrrhus was the first he recognized as his vision cleared. The tan-leather skin on his face was worn and cracked with wrinkles that could have been mistaken for scarring, save for around his mouth where the white stubble of a trimmed goatee masked his age lines. His eyes were brown and bloodshot. His helm was clasped at his side and two horns starting to protrude from its brow were marked by cracks and splinters of the ceramite.

            Tullaris wished he’d wear the damn helm. Without it the expression on Pyrrhus’ face gave voice to the weariness they all felt.

            “I’m fine.” Tullaris answered, ignoring the question.

            “That’s more than Behlen can say.” Aralan grunted, his teeth almost clicking the words out like mandibles. Tullaris could see he eyed the corpse strapped into the seat closest to the driver’s compartment door.

            Looking at bloodied Aralan now the Captain realized he would have a new scar running from his right ear, across his cheek and the corner of his lips. It didn’t look like any scars he had seen before. It almost looked self-inflicted. He would have to watch him more closely. Worse still, he had let the legion mark on his left shoulder fade and rust. Punishment would be necessary.

            “Why did we drag him here?” came a voice down the line.

            “He was a member of the command staff. He is our responsibility.” Tullaris answered.

            “But here? We could have dropped him in another transport.”

            It was Arean. The man was the newest to the Captain’s inner circle. He tended to think himself important for it. The man was new, relatively speaking, recruited in the last decades before Horus' revolt, but he'd proven himself. Few others could boast the strength that he did and he knew how to use it unlike many of them. A warhammer was clasped to his back while he clutched a bolter in his hand. Simple, brutal, effective. It was the way of the IVth.

            “Such a duty is below us.” He growled from metal teeth, all filed to a point. With his bald scalp and large dark eyes he fit the profile of a shark. He lacked the cunning of such a creature.

            “You will have the honour of bearing the body with Apothecary Tyr when we disembark. Behlen’s geneseed must be returned to the Legion.” Tullaris answered with a scowl.

            Arean cursed under his breath as he leaned his head back before slamming it into the hull.

            “Tyr, how many did you recover?” He asked, turning to his left.

            The Apothecary was almost unrecognizable to his position. His lower legs and up to his forearms were stained red from the blood of incessant fighting and combat surgery. The removal of a geneseed was grisly work yes, but the splatter on his breastplate was of lesser crimson. Much more blood had covered him in the slog through dozens of worlds and in his desperate efforts to keep the Seventh Grand Company at fighting strength. Somehow his efforts had pulled off a miracle. In no small part by the work of Tyr and his brethren, almost half the casualties of the 4th Line Company were returned to fight – and it was all that had sustained them.

            “Tyr, how many?” Tullaris asked again. He disliked repeating himself.

            The Apothecary sat with his head lowered to the floor as they rode away from defeat. “Not enough.”

            “Give me a number.” The whole transport was silent now. Even Arean had ceased his complaining.

            Tyr hesitated.

            “Thirty.”

            “Thirty?” the Captain asked. Tyr turned to look at Tullaris. In the dark his soulless red lenses still managed to reflect the despair in his voice. It cracked as he spoke.

            “Maybe less.”

            For a moment there was no noise. The world felt numb to each of them. Until Meeran spoke.

            A raspy, worn voice spoke from the dark across from Behlen. To a mortal it would have sounded ancient – far older than should ever be heard in a battle, let alone in the midst of the heaviest fighting.

            “From iron cometh strength, from strength cometh will, from will cometh faith, from faith cometh honour, from honour cometh iron. That is the unbreakable litany. May it forever be so.”

            As one, the squad repeated. May it forever be so.

            It took Tullaris a moment to realize Tyr had not spoken with the rest. Meeran beat him to raising the issue.

            “Despair not for the dead Tyr. They have gone to Olympia.”

            “Olympia is a barren rock.” Tyr spat, quickly turning his gaze at the Apostle. In the new hierarchy of the Legion, Meeran was what passed for a chaplain of a new religion. In truth it wasn’t very different from his old, albeit secular, role. “We made it so.”

            “No.” The Apostle began with awe in his voice. “Olympia has been reborn under the Primarch and there they walk forever more in the Eye of the Four Gods. Our Lord Perturabo will commune with Behlen and all the fallen. He will see them to their homeland made again.” Tyr grumbled his agreement. It was a half hearted thing.

            Meeran leaned forward into the glow of the overhanging floodlight. Tullaris had seen him without such rudimentary help through his genehanced sight but even so it sharpened his features. The preacher had sky blue eyes that were deceptively endearing. His hair was blonde and had fallen from its top knot into a shaggy mane that met with his beard. His unkempt features were offensive to Oden Tullaris but an exemption had been granted by the Warsmith of the Seventh Grand Company. Why was beyond his imagination. Less offensive was the patch of raw flesh on his cheeks. Meeran scraped it raw daily as a sign of his new devotions. Tullaris was reminded when he spoke that his voice was far older than his face.

            “His being walks with the Primarch in the realm of Gods, Tyr. That is something we should all envy. His death was in the thickest of fighting against the Dark Angels. To die bathed in the blood of the Emperor’s servants is something to envy too.”

            “Something to envy more.” Arean interrupted. Meeran ignored him.

            “His death was good Tyr. His life was lived among brothers waging war across the stars. Pray that we are all equally blessed by the Gods.” Tyr was silent. Maybe it was contemplation. Perhaps it was contempt.

            The Captain took the opportunity to vox him privately. A muted click signaled an open channel and he spoke. “Speak with the rest of the company. Find out if the other apothecaries faired any better with their recoveries.”

            “Acknowledged.” The answer was routine. Half registered and half spoken.

            Tullaris looked back up the line to each of his men as his gaze neared Behlen. They were ragged and their armour still slick in blood and ashen mud. His head turned and he sighed through the device clasped around his jaw. It was dark, but as with Meeran’s features he could make out the details of his brothers. Their armour was like his. The colour of worn iron with a trim of gold decorated with hazard stripes. Each bore a skull emblazoned and garish on their shoulders in bright silver on black or the stripes.

            The skull didn’t quite grin like it used to. Now it grinned like it mocked them.

            His eyes fell on Behlen. The body was limp and strapped tight into its seat. Behlen’s left arm hung by his side – the right arm was severed at the elbow in a sheared stump that dripped crimson blood onto the floor of the transport. Two bolter holes had punched through the armour in his chest. One bore into his primary heart and the other had blown out his gullet. Organs hung loosely in the gaping holes in his body. His helmet seemed undamaged. It would at least make looking at him easier when the time came to remove his armour.

            A muted click cut him off from the squad as the so far silent Mortez spoke with him.

            “He died well. Even after he lost his arm to an Angel, he kept killing.”

            “He was one of the few.” Tullaris answered.

            “We’ll avenge them.” Mortez responded without hesitation.

            “Will we? We don’t have any idea how they found us. How would we find them?”

            “It doesn’t matter. We know where Caliban is.” Oden laughed and despite the privacy of the vox link, he knew his squad could tell.

            “You are brave Mortez but we do not all move as quietly as you do. Arean would never get within a hundred light years of that planet without screaming his challenges to the Lion himself.”

            Mortez sniggered in agreement. Oden could practically see the sneer on his face as Mortez  glanced at the champion. Without taking his gaze away he continued. “Can we trust him? He’s already disgraced himself.”

            “Over Behlen? The dead won’t weep.” Oden answered. “But he is rash. And stupid.” He did have to concede the truth to that.

            “Behlen was at least reliable in a fight. You ask us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the young blood though, and none of us can tell anymore if he’s about to break into a charge for glory.” More doubts.

            “He will do as he is told. Trust in me.” Mortez turned to face Oden from his seat between Pyrrhus and Behlen.

            “Always, Captain.” He inclined his head in respect and the shape of the Corvus–pattern helmet seemed to exaggerate the movement. The rhino shook again, careening off rubble in the flight from their burning fortress. The chainmail dangling from Mortez’ waist and shoulder pad clinked in response. The knife and combat pouches strapped over his right pauldron did not. They were solidly clasped to his armour.

            A simple auditory click severed the vox link. He returned to the conversation of his squad to find Aralan and Arean arguing about who was the better killer. Was it Aralan, who danced with his short blades slicing and stabbing in neat, graceful strokes at the weakest spots of the enemy – or Arean, who swung wide, fast and strong with a hammer that crushed the guard and armour of any foe? Tullaris kept his opinions on the matter to himself. Who was better between didn’t matter. Neither was the best.

 

            Oden saw Pyrrhus clench his teeth to trigger a vox network without his helmet. He expected a report was due. “Captain, I’m getting a role call from the company.”

            “Speak.”


Edited by GrimApostle, Today, 01:55 PM.

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#12
Bjorn Firewalker

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Excellent work. Your Iron Warriors speak with such conviction, it's inspiring.

Wolf Scout- Catachan barking toad eggs+ Thousand Sons Marine= Fun! (Wolves of Catachan)
Sisters of Battle+ Fenrisian Beer- Inhibitions- Sanity= Trouble! (Order of the Blazing Heart Rocket Punch Pimp Magnet She-Wolf)

 

Reasons to use the Steel Crusaders ('Codex: Space Marines' supplement): Because you think giving Sternguard Veterans a heavy bolter wtih special issue HEAVY BOLTER ammunition is ALMOST as much fun as shoehorning an Earthshaker cannon into a Land Raider.

 

Reasons to use the Iron-hearted Angels ('Codex: Blood Angels' supplement): Because you think the Librarian Dreadnought needs Furious Charge AND It Will Not Die to beat down a Chaos-worshiping punk and his Defiler, while a Stormraven needs a Vanquisher cannon to beat down this punk's Heldrake.


#13
Tarvek Val

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Route is the only segment I have read thus far, but I am very impressed. The character development of the different Iron Warriors is excellent thus far and I'm intrigued by the storyline. Looking forward to the next installment. 


"Our holy hatred will make us free!" ~Nameless Dark Apostle

 

"Though my guards may sleep and ships may rest at anchor, our foes know full well that big guns never tire." ~Huron Blackheart

 

"You shall stand in midnight clad, your claws forever red with the lifeblood of my father's failed empire, warring through the centuries as the talons of a murdered god. Rise, my sons, and take your wrath across the stars, in my name. In my memory. Rise, my Night Lords." ~Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter

 

"So... How are you?" ~Cyrion, First Claw

 

 






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Lamenters, Iron Warriors, Dark Angels, Custom Chapter, Chaos, Crusade, Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Xenos, Pennance

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