It has become apparent to me my idealized Heresy write-up is going to be far too long for a single post. In light of that, I'll go by legion. My goal is to provide each legion with a mono-author series that can be read on its own, with a clear arc for the characters involved. I'd hope for easter eggs between books so the most rewarding experience is reading them together, but I hope to avoid the really significant events for a legion happening off-screen.
I also hope to give the saga a bit more restraint than what we ended up with. The point-of-view characaters are those with uncertain fates, and the only looks into a primarch's head are those they confide in the cast. I've also tried to radically cut down on in-person primarch duels. While I won't be outlining most of them, I hope for each series to have a significant baseline human element, be they navy, army, remembrancers, etc.
The outline I'm using is the lore from the original Visions of Heresy books, with expanded elements based on the parts of the novel series I most enjoyed. If I highlight a battle in bold, it means that books would be an in-depth look at the surrounding campaign. For example: many legions were at Isstvan V, but the battle itself will only be the focus of a few select legions for whom it is most important. I hope to have at least 2 legion POV's for these events.
I don't pretend this is anything beyond my personal fan fic, and obviously it is written with hindsight. I acknowledge most of my criticisms of elements in the Heresy series we got probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
So, on to the I Legion:
Dark Angels – Chris Wraight
POV Marines: Zahariel, Nemiel
The Arc: The Lion is great at everything he does, his only weakness is his unstinting belief in his ability over his advisors, and rarely entertains non-unilateral decision making. He handily outdoes every challenge he encounters in the first two books, but near totally unravels in the third, when he discovers he’s failed to reach Terra on time and learns that Caliban is in rebellion. Zahariel allows for POV with Luthor, and Nemiel allows POV with the Lion.
1. The time period is around Ullanor, the Lion is frustrated with not being named Warmaster, but dutifully continues role as Emperor’s xenos exterminator against the Khrave. Flashbacks to the glory days on Caliban. The Lion finds that the veteran Terran legionaries are a better fit for his command, as they obey his orders without council. He sends Luther, Zahariel, and select other Caliban veterans back to their homeworld to ensure recruitment produces a more duty-bound legionary. The Lion takes Astelan as one of his few advisors, and at the end of the book learns of Isstvan V. Zahariel and Nemiel's relationship develops similarly to their arc in Descent of Angels.
2. Parallel storytelling a la Fallen Angels (but good). A bitter Luthor returns to Caliban, but finds everything he valued about their culture has been subsumed by the Imperium while he was away, Chaos influence is only hinted at. With the Lion, Astelan unceasingly councils they move directly in support of Terra. The Lion dallies at Thramas, as he doesn’t know how quickly the Heresy is moving, and wants the chance to handily defeat the Night Lords so they aren’t an issue in the future. The Night Lords fleet is all but destroyed, and the Lion makes way for Terra. He sends Astelan to join the others on Caliban, as he was getting tiresome. While this goes on Nemiel ascends to chaplaincy, and Zahariel is brought into Luthor's more arcane inner circle.
3. The Lion arrives in the ashes of Terra, and broods for a while. He considers redeeming himself by becoming Imperial Regent in place of Guilliman. When he learns of Caliban’s rebellion, giving into his anger is his only means of ignoring his personal failures. On arrival at The Destruction of Caliban, he finds a Luthor who has been corrupted, but seems ignorant of it. Zahariel and Nemiel face off, Nemiel is killed and Zahariel’s death is ambiguous (a possible Cypher?) The Lion and Luthor have their climactic duel and the planet explodes.
How legions and primarchs deal with failure is going to be a running theme in these.
EDIT: I suppose I should give some reasoning for a few of my decisions.
I really like the idea of the Lion being "the First and the best," the big brother figure who may have even been designed as Warmaster before the scattering. I don't really subscribe to the idea that all legions are equal, so I don't mind throwing the Night Lords under the bus to show his supreme competence. From that, I like the idea that "the guy who always wins" fails for just that reason; in a 7-year Heresy he would have absolutely made the right choice and saved many lives, but the timeline is much more compact in my vision for it. Even the most intelligent people can miscalculate when overwhelming success is dangled in front of them.
Additionally, I like the idea of the Lion's mistrust manifesting in a less 40k-flavoured way. Ignoring the council of his men makes him a far more reasonable, though flawed, leader in my eyes, as opposed to all the knightly order layers upon layers of secrecy that even in the actual series I'm not sure why he maintains.
To this day, I don't understand why the Lion sent Luthor back to Caliban at the end of Descent. Here, I tried to come up with a situation that grew out of the Lion's unique trust for Luthor, rather than whatever happened at Sarosh.
Astelan is a character I frankly find insufferable, but I do like the concept that he believes he knows best for the sheer history he's got with the Imperium. I'm happy to use him and put him where he needs to be, so long as he doesn't start to consume the plot.
Edited by Roomsky, 26 April 2020 - 08:56 PM.