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Stories of the Broken Throne

Broken Throne A Broken Throne AU

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#1
Beren

Beren

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This thread is intended as a secondary archive for any stories we write for the project. Some of the stories written for the old project written by members of the current project for factions now within the Broken Throne will probably be repurposed at some point. 

 

I'd also suggest using the format outlined by Kelborn previously:

 

 


Author: Kelborn

Included Legions: The awesome bling bling guys, The bloody thousand, Berserks in underwear

Time: around 087.M31; Book XVI "The Never-ending Story of Madness"

 

[Story]

 

I'll also try to update this thread with an index by time period, as Kelborn did previously.

 

The Great Crusade

The Imperium carves its passage across the stars at the behest of the Master of Mankind. AT the forefront of the conquests are the twenty Legiones Astartes, cohorts of genetically enhanced superhumans equipped with the finest material their empire has to offer. As they conquer planet after planet the Primarchs, the original templates for each Legion, are rediscovered and rise to command their sons. In this age are reputations and rivalries first formed, for each Legion and each Primarch are vastly different in character. Here are the foundations of the Imperium's rise and fall are laid.

 

The Heart of Darkness - Cardinal Guard and Thunder Talons

 

Ipsyon -  Dreamwalkers

 

The Message -Dreamwalkers and Berserkers of Uran

 

Age of the Warmaster

Following the culmination of a campaign to overcome the Pharazon (placeholder name) Empire, a vast holding of once-human warlords steeped in the horrors of the Dark Age of Technology, the Emperor retires from the front lines of the Great Crusade. In his absence he appoints Yucahu, Primarch of the Void Eagles IVth Legion, to lead the Imperium's armies. Amongst all his brothers it is Yucahu who best represents the unfaltering determination required to carry the Crusade to completion, yet many see ill with his selection. Kozja of the Warbringers feels slighted that he has been passed over for the role, whilst Gwalchavad is aghast at the ideological implications Yucahu's tenure implies for humanity's expansion. Whilst the seeds of dissent are sown the madness-touched Socraes watches and schemes as opportunitites arise.

 

Age of the Regency

The Warmaster has been assassinated. The Emperor has gone missing from the very heart of Terra, leaving only destruction. The principle fleet of the Devourers Legion seems to have been lost to the warp along with their Primarch Aladren as they made haste to Terra upon receiving the news. Accusations and suspicion are rife, but through it all Kozja is able to manouver his way to the position of Imperial Regent and the, supposedly temporary, control of the Imperium. Socraes Travier is at his side, seeking to navigate the Regent's ambition to his own ends. Those Legions that in some way dispute or disagree with the appointment withdraw to their own territories.

 

The First Inter-Astartes War

Haedran and his Cardinal Guard return from a self-imposed exile at the farthest reaches of the Great Crusade to find the heart of the Imperium embroiled in the sparks of a conflict that will soon be fanned into the flames of war. Multiple Legions have openly declared their secession from the authority of the Regency, whilst others have simply ceased responding to demands for authority and have devoted their resources towards searching for the absent Emperor. The Devourers Legion seems to be slowly fragmenting and succumbing to madness in the absence of their Primach, whilst Kuranos of the Dreamwalkers searches for answers regarding the symptoms evidenced by his own Legion even as he attempts to reinforce Kozja's authority. Attempts from Terra to reassert control slowly escalate scattered skirmishes into an all out conflict with no firm borders and uncertain allegiances. Socraes, know known as Ixipatian within the Eagle Warriors, laughs as his plans of chaos unfold.

 

The Time of Retribution

The veil of deceit is torn asunder, and too late the dreadful truth reveals itself. Kozja is forced to flee Terra itself as the cancer that has festered at the heart of the Imperium claims its due, and Ixipatian the chosen of the Gods usurps the regency. Legions on both sides of the old conflict succumb to the madness of the Primordial Annihilator and on a thousand worlds cults rise up in open praise of the Dark Gods. Not all is yet lost, for the threat is great enough to unify even the most bitterly distrustful of the untainted forces to reunify and strike back. Even as the plans are laid, rumours arrive that the Emperor has returned...

 

Weakness -Dreamwalkers and Berserkers of Uran (conceptual)

 

Pyre Eternalis - The first Loxadon Primus (concepetual) 

 

The Age of Reavers

Both the Master of Mankind and the Arch-Traitor Ixipatian are slain. Terra has been reclaimed, but is a scarred and warp-tainted wasteland. Even as fleets are dispatched to consolidate the Loyalists beleaguered victory, the aftermath of Ixipatian's great ritual and the Primarch Raktra's fell intervention allow warp storms to break out across the galaxy. Imperial holdings are cut off and isolated, bereft of authority. Hardened by the long war and the memory of the Age of Strife, the holdings of humanity dig in as best they can.

 

The Age of Conjunction

Despite everything, worlds that call themselves Imperial still exist. Those that can reach one another have formed pacts of allegiance, forming hundreds of separate polities. Some, such as the vast Suzerainty, number scores of systems and hold themselves as successors to the Emperor's dream. Others are only single worlds that have held out against all odds. Every polity has developed its own methods of survival, its own interpretations of the Emperor's intent, its own separate cultures. Many of the strongest are held by remnants of the Old Legions, though not all Astartes warbands still hold to the structure and names they once did. Now as the warp storms lessen or alternative forms of travel are established, the polities begin to make contact with one another. Doctrinal disagreement and even all out war are not uncommon, but as even during the turning point of the First Inter-Astartes war, the threat of greater enemies takes precedence over internal disunity. Gradually, a wider Imperium is once again assembled from its former fragments, even if the polity lines are never truly erased.

 

Coming of the Chosen

The reborn Imperium seems under the threat of a far more permanent death. New xenos threats rise in strength and number by the day. Inter-polity feuds are barely suppressed. Yet it is not these that fill the hearts of Imperial vassals with dread. The forces loyal to the Primordial Annhilator, long a constant plague on the Imperial Polities, are uniting once more. A figure known only as 'The Chosen' has risen to lead them, seeking to tear the Imperium apart from within even as the xenos do from without.


Edited by Beren, 22 July 2020 - 07:12 AM.

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#2
Beren

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Author: SpeckledTrout

Legions: Cardinal Guard, Thunder Talons

Time: The Great Crusade

 

The Heart of Darkness

 

Then

 

The Calypso was, in Gaius Calignes’ opinion, a staunchly plain vessel. Aside from the minor Imperial insignia etched onto crates and above doorways, the ship’s interior was, like its exterior, bereft of ornamentation. As one who was ostensibly interested in the metaphysical qualities of the Great Crusade, the XIVth Legion’s aesthetic struck him as overbearingly pragmatic.

 

In the short walk from the ventral loading bay to the ship’s command quarters, Calignes was finding that the Legionaries of the XIVth were, like their barren ship, blunt and unadorned.

 

First Captain Amaran Bequorian towered above the group in modified Cataphractii Terminator plate, his armor’s impossibly heavy boots thudding the deck with each step. Past a curt introduction and a judging sneer, he had said nothing during the walk.

 

Trailing slightly behind him was Gareth Vautach, the Blackhand’s Equerry, his armor’s vox chattering incessantly. Obviously distracted with the resupply efforts of the muster, he had ignored his two guests as well.

 

Third Captain Kereth Duraddon, lastly, had been walking in step between the officers from the Cardinal Guard. Calignes had liked him, almost immediately. He was bright-eyed, bursting with energy, like pyrotech fit to burst at any time. His right arm hung uneasily at his side, unused to not bearing a power fist, while his left gestured through the air with every emphatic word he spoke. He was the only exception to Gaius Calignes’ observations of the Thunder Talons, so far.

“Perkenas, Raiden Athrawes, Redd, Tyr, and Xheoros. Hands down.”

 

The Stormsword laughed humorlessly, turning Bequorian’s head to the group. The group of officers stopped in the center of the causeway.

 

“Xheoros? ‘The Brazen Blade’?” Diomedes let out another chuckle. “Granted, granted, I have seen what the IVth Legion can do to a battlefield,” he spread his out arms wide, “level four hab-blocks in a single orbital barrage. But don’t stand there and tell me one of the Yucahu’s birds could hold a blade to Tyr of Mycenor.”

 

Duraddon stood facing Attico Diomedes, a questioning look in his eyes and a smirk on his face.

 

“Oh, and you’ve crossed blades with him before, Stormsword? I assume you bested him thoroughly, then.”

 

Diomedes placed a hand of the pommel of his longsword, reflexively. “I’m afraid we never had the chance. But I stand by it. Besides, duels settle nothing. Real war is the only true determi-“

 

“Going to lecture us on tactics again, Attico?” Calignes interrupted, turning to Duraddon and pointing a thumb at First Captain Diomedes. “Don’t waste your time with him. We all know who the deadliest man in the Crusade really is, anyway.”

 

Bequorian looked at the Clearch’s Equerry with a piercing stare. Vautach looked up, surprised by the Thunder Talons First Captain’s sudden involvement in the conversation.

 

“And who would that be, Sergeant Calignes?” He said, his voice laden with contempt for the Cardinal Guard Equerry, who returned a cocky smile.

“Whoever’s smart enough to bring a gun to your sword-fight!”

 

Bequorian, beyond all humor, turned away. Calignes felt Duraddon’s gauntleted palm slap him on the back, sounding with the dull clang of ceramite on ceramite.

 

“Vautach, you hear that? A Legionary after your own heart, this one! Perhaps you Cardinal Guard are wiser than you look!”

As they approached the end of the Calypso’s ventral causeway, the entrance to the command quarters glowed with the red light of the interior space, flooding out and filling the causeway with the same crimson radiance. Thunder Talons first, followed by Calignes and Diomedes, they entered to see both of their gene-fathers standing aside a hololithic display.

 

Both were the icons of strength made manifest. Haedran, the Clearch, stood in full military plate, his hand resting on the grip of his sword, his muscles tense and ready to explode into motion. His face, framed by graying hair and a statesman’s visage, was a tan mirror of the Emperor’s own features, worn by a childhood enduring the chemical sting of a frozen death-world.

 

Even with his myriad differences to Haedran, August Veramn was undoubtedly the Clearch’s brother, a more rugged copy of the Emperor, as if pressed into unyielding metal. His face, only broken by the presence of a deep scar running down its left side, was a monument to the temperance branded upon the Blackhand’s soul. In his clockwork panoply, his movements enunciated by the purring of servos and hissing of valves, he stood taller than Haedran, wider, fitting of his unforgiving strength. His eyes followed data charts and fleet movements projected onto the hololith with metronomic precision, switching from panel to panel with the regularity of a well-kept machine.

 

The room was both a general’s strategic nerve-center and an academic’s private study. Loose papers, detailing machine plans and schematics, covered maps both physical and digital. A aged wooden clock towered in the corner of the room, its pendulum swinging with a steady click click click.

 

It was August who turned to regard them first, before Haedran looked away from the planetary display, slowly regarding the assembled Legionaries. In admirable unison, all three of the Thunder Talons officers saluted the two Primarchs, fists striking their breastplates in the old Terran symbol of unity. Gaius and Attico both offered a short bow, the former partially baring Etnus from its scabbard in the Sessalan tradition.

 

Haedran, contemplatively slow, looked each of the gathered commanders and equerries in the eyes, radiating a rippling aura of promised glory and recessed threat. Gaius held his primarch’s gaze as it passed to him, his joker’s smirk fading into soldier’s dutiful visage. This was the being in whose form he had been remade - the same that had shaped his very fate on the Tibran Plane. His adoptive father, his gene-father, his general. A demi-god made in the Emperor’s light. When he spoke, his words excited the very molecules of Gaius’ gene-wrought form.

 

“We have surfaced from the Warp here,” he said, pointing to an illuminated sphere among the hundreds in the display, “48-29, known locally as ‘Gelmon-Catu’. As you know, we were immediately and independently hailed by not one, but two human civilizations, both capable of interstellar travel, and both eager to be welcomed into the fold of humanity once again.”

 

The Blackhand spoke next, his Welessn-acquired accent cutting through each syllable. “But the situation in this sector, designated by Imperial explorators as ‘Catularis’, is not so simple. These two factions sit at the brink of full civil war, and heeded by our arrival, have already commenced combat operations: here, here, and,” he continued, pointing to a system closer to the massive warp storm that dominated the region, “here, on the local anomaly’s edge. The Felmar Union and Periclan League are utterly opposed, and will not accept the Imperium’s unity under the pretense of the other’s unification.” His face momentarily darkened, his features falling dour for a second’s time, before continuing. “My esteemed brother and I agree that a violent reunification is too costly; we must use our own military strength to tip the scales.”

 

“Assist an otherwise natural selection, my Lord?” Bequorian asked, clenching his gauntleted fists. August nodded in affirmation of his First Captain’s query, again displaying the same sorrow for a brief time.

 

“We could not possibly seek to broker peace between the two.” Haedran added. “Fundamentalists on both sides will stop at nothing to entirely destroy the other. A brokered peace would simply send the fighting underground, where it would continue to plague the sector for generations. The blight must be excised here and now, permanently. My Father’s light cannot shine in such darkness.

 

Attico Diomedes spoke next, addressing his primarch. “Then, who do we back? I have read the preliminary cultural primers on both factions, Lords. We are caught between revolutionaries and despots. The choice is unclear.”

 

Gaius raised an inquisitive eyebrow when Gareth Vautach spoke up, seemingly addressing the group for the first time since their conjunction. “It is our responsibility to determine those which would best fit the values of the Imperium. Their current military strength is of no regard - our combined Legions could turn the tables on a losing war, or push a winning fight to its bloody end.”

 

August smiled to hear his Equerry speak up, nodding along with the proven diplomat’s words. “What then, Gareth, does your judgement warrant? Our hosts on this world, The Periclan League, believe themselves the rightful heir to this domain. They are the former governors and military leaders of this sector, and well organized; strong potential allies to the Imperium. But it is a corrupt body, flagging in all things and slogged down by bureaucracy and greed.”

 

Haedran glanced towards his brother, adding his own opinion. “Their integration would require little in indoctrination or overhaul. They are practically Imperial,” he said smiling at his next words, “which is why this decision is so difficult. The Felmar Union smuggled in a representative to entreat with us. They fight for a worthy cause. They are the slaves and low castes of the old regime, brought to ascendancy under ideals of individual liberty and freedom. Their movement’s leaders are philosophical minds that strive for ideals beyond the material. They are admirable in their desire to cleanse this system with a new birth of freedom.”

 

“My brother and I,” August remarked assuredly, “have already come to an accordance. We both agreed that we desired the affirmation or dissent of our trusted advisors and commanders before such a choice was made. A valediction of sorts.”

 

Gaius spoke up first, proud and certain of his view. “Our victory is all the valediction we need, my Lords, but I cannot ignore the call of freedom again. I stood on the Tibran plane and fought for the forces of tyrants. The Emperor, Blessed Be His Name, can never rule where lesser men still hold pretense. Better that they be destroyed outright. The Felmar Union is our ally.”

 

August smiled, amused at the Cardinal Guard’s invocations of the Emperor. “And the rest of you?”

 

Attico Diomedes moved next to Gaius. “I stand with my brother, Lord August.”

 

Vautach and Duraddon both nodded, the latter speaking to his gene-father. “The Thunder Talons will always fight with the forces of freedom, my Lord.”

 

Bequorian was last, merely lowering his head in obeisance. He spoke in a low growl to the two Primarchs. “Your will is the Emperor’s made manifest, Lords.”


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#3
Beren

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Author: Beren

Legions: The Dreamwalkers

Time: The Great Crusade

 

Ipsyon

 

Ipsyon hurtled through the night air. Had he not been wearing his helm he would have felt the wind tearing at his face. Behind him, atop a pinnacle of rock, a temple-citadel was burning. The iridescent hues of flame coaxed forth by his Destroyer kin would scour life from it, blackening it’s halls. Before him,the edge of a darkened city rose. It encircled the temple-citadel, the centre of their culture and the nexus of their leadership. For years, perhaps centuries, its inhabitants would speak of this night. They would tell of how the stars rained down from the sky to fall upon that pinnacle of rock to burn away the false believers with such fury that life itself could not gain foothold among the charred ruins.

 

He cared not.

 

Let the peacocks strut. Let the Destroyers turn their trade into an art show to awe the gullible. That was not what was at the core of their Legion, not what their father wanted them to be at heart.

 

The True Face. That was what Kuranos wished of them to be beneath the displays and showmanship. What they were to show when they met a foe too wise and sharp of thought to be affected by the antics of the superstitious. That was what Ipsyon was tonight. No show, no display, no elaborately orchestrated plan dictating every move he had to make. Just the hunt, and the elimination of a threat.

 

Behind him a temple-citadel burned in iridescent flames. Before him loomed the edge of a shadowed city. Below him, racing from one to the other, was a small grav-craft.

 

Elimination must be total. The tale that must be told here is that none survived, none were even able to attempt it. There is power in the unknown. None who saw our forms can survive. By the time this planet learns our true nature, they will be Imperium.

 

The orders echoed in his head, half drowned out by the roar of the squad’s jump packs. In truth it galled Ipsyon somewhat that even free to show the True Face, it was shackled to the designs of deception. Nevertheless, it would be done.

 

The craft was armed. Hard projectile shots spat past him, some clipping T’Thusis and sending the fellow Legionary streaking towards the ground. Mayarka followed, ready to lend assistance or safeguard the body. Ithyon on the other hand slammed feet first into the craft, metal buckling under the impact and the vehicle juddering in the air. He swayed sideways, mag-locks keeping him affixed to the roof. He reached for the hatchway with one hand, frag grenade in the other as Sergeant Lyenik landed and the impact threw the transport’s passage askew again. No sooner had he landed than the Sergeant was half swung over the side. An armoured gauntlet disappeared underneath the vessel for a moment before Lyenik hauled his bulk back on top of it. Seconds later, Ipsyon could see smoke and flame streaming behind them and feel the heat of a melta detonation. He was checking that his own was still locked to his armour when they hit the ground.

 

Gravel was spraying into the air, a torrent of them flinging themselves against Ithyon’s armour only to clatter of. A hand now securely affixed to the rim of the hatchway, he pulled. Two more of his kin landed, besides the door now. Space marines and battered grav-craft alike skidded to a halt as Ithyon heaved on the door, pulling it up inch by inch. Others were ready with their bolt pistols, aimed at the growing gap.

 

A streak of crimson light seared out through the half open door. It leapt between two of the Assault Marines, but hit nothing. It’s answer was a handful of bolt shells back along the same trajectory, detonating with a muffled roar inside. Ithyon’s frag grenade followed, and a light spray of scarlet misted out of the half-melted half-torn aperture. The silence.

 

With the crew and passengers dead or dying, the rest of the squad emptied their own melta bombs into the compartment, simply striding towards their downed brother as it burst into molten fury behind them.

 

Atop a pinnacle of rock, a temple citadel was dying. It’s walls grew red before bursting, spreading flaming debris through the night sky. Soon they would fall upon these slopes, and the site of their struggle would be just one more debris filled crater among hundreds.



#4
Beren

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Author: Beren

Legions: Dreamwalkers, Beserkers of Uran

Time: The Great Crusade

 

The Message

 

A world burned. Once mighty cities lay in ruins, alight with leaping flames. The sky split open, and from it fell the hosts of heaven and hell alike, to enact their judgement upon the sinful.

 

Or so a flawed mind might conclude mused Kuranos. This had been a world of flawed minds, and now those flaws would chain them tighter, but this time to something that would eventually benefit them. Too few mortals could make that decision free of manipulated thinking. Too few of the Emperor’s chosen.

He could see them, here and there amongst the flames. They prowled like predators of the worst kind, the type that likes to maul before it killed. Gore slicked blades and roving eyes, seeking for more prey to butcher. Ash caked them, glued to still congealing blood that painted their armour, and cloaking their heraldry. Occasionally he saw one of his own gene-born, stood aloof and unmoving as if observing judgement. They were clad in gold, lightning spitting from their bodies, radiant among the carnage. Kuranos felt no pride in their appearance. That would be to evidence the very weakness he exploited in others. Once they had returned, discarded this visage in favour of the ochre and mustard heraldry of the Legion, then he might congratulate them.

 

Another step, through the ruined city. Another step through judgement. His own arc-projectors and lumens were dimmed. There was little doubt that any survivors who saw him would still fall in awe or shock, but for what he was and not what he portrayed himself to be. Around him, arrayed in a loose circle, were the Sleepless Guard. Young Sathlus, recent to their ranks and still uncertain of the surety with which he could now perceive his surroundings. One could almost feel the coils of the warp roiling off him, kept clenched tight in place. To either side of him were Leysson and Baudas. Both were warp touched themselves, though the sensation was weaker and more relaxed. The others drifted further apart from one another, if never from their gene-sire. Isellos with his sniper rifle raised, Kaytak with both of his axes dangling at his side. The others, equally silent as they followed their path. Each was skilled, though skill was not the reason for their presence.

 

A shattered bridge crossed their path, casting flickering shadows across the rubble wrought from its body. Without words the Sleepless Guard shifted, fanning out to the flanks or shifting to the rear, weapons raised.

 

The hulking shadow didn’t so much as twitch. It’s eyes, level with Kuranos’ own, glared hatefully at him and seemed to ignore the Sleepless Guard utterly. Rigid, like a beast laying in wait for an ambush. Kuranos met the gaze, knowing what it sought and what it saw.

There were few injuries that could leave a mark upon a Primarch, not even those inflicted by another of their own kind.

 

“Raktra.”

 

The White Devil did not shift, neither to acknowledge its name nor to reach for its weapons. Kuranos might as well have addressed a statue for all the response even the curt greeting garnered. Nor did the Primarch of the Dreamwalkers move to take up his blade, and Daoloth’s Gaze remained inert on his hand. Still, he waited a moment longer before continuing.

 

“You deceived me.”

 

In the span of four seconds Raktra had moved forwards so that the two ‘brothers’ were less than a metre apart. If before he was the predator waiting in ambush, now he was the one that moved brazenly. Only when directly in front of Kuranos did he speak. “You’re one to talk. Tell me, you piss-sodden tongue-biter. How did it feel when you cracked that termite mound to find all its book-licking excuses for warriors waiting to meet you? Expected our corpses to clog their guns first?”

 

Air left Kuranos’ lungs. A sigh, though one mistakable for a gust of wind. “Our forces were supposed to arrive in tandem. Light and darkness in unison. Do not do me the disservice of pretending you are ignorant to my methods, despise them though you may.”

 

Indeed. The Beserkers knew how to send a message. The same message, screamed again and again until their throats were raw and bloody. Then they wrote it in blood and ash, again and again. It was inflexible, repetitive. Rather than adapting the message to its purpose they simply hammered it in until it was all that remained. Still, they knew how to tell it well.

 

The city burned with the flames of that message. The children of Uran had struck first, bombarding even areas the Dreamwalkers had already pacified. The message hadn’t been for the city. It had been for the Lord of Ochre. A display of strength, against what had been a prior implication of weakness by the XVIIth.

The Berserkers of Uran did not care for the distinction between implications or outright accusation.

 

They did not speak of  strength of body, nor speed or skill with a blade. Not alone. It was a matter of philosophy. Of what constitutes weakness. One sought to purge it, another to manipulate it. The Dreamwalkers were weak because they relied on lies. The Berserkers were weak because they believed them. So each party believed.

 

“Then do not do me the disservice of pretending that you did not grasp the point. Unless you really are that much of a simpleton.”

 

Kuranos’ response was a simple gesture. An arm raised towards their surroundings. The corpses, the ruins, what had once been a mighty city. “Your point is made. None of the things I place such importance upon matter, as long as the victor stands tall over the battered corpse of their foe. Still…”  His arm fell back to his side at this point, as he considered his next words carefully. For all his callousness and cruelty, the White Devil was not a beast known for letting itself be ruled by anger. If he wanted to inflict harm, whether to prove a point or to genuinely damage, he could be patient. He could choose the right moment to strike. Kuranos had no wish to suffer an incident months or years from now for what he said today.

 

“You have your Ashen Kingdom. It is strong by your principles, and strong by the material measures of others.” Vicious might be a better word by the opinions of others.. An extension of the hellscape prisons of Uran, inflicted upon neighbouring planets. “There are however, others. Domains which might be said to be larger, and more industrious, than your own.”

 

“Weakness spreads like cancer. It grows, and grows. Useless tissue, multiplying ever more and serving no purpose but to gradually cause the host to wither and fall. Unless you cut it out.”

 

“Perhaps. Though if the weak are ever doomed to die, I would rather have them blunt the enemy’s blade rather than my own.”

 

For the first time, Raktra broke eye contact with his counterpart. Instead he glared at the members of the Sleepless Guard, eyes focusing on each one before switching to the next.

 

The question in Raktra’s gaze was unspoken, but unmistakable.

 

In defiance of the heat that washed over them, a patina of frost had developed over Sathlus’ armour that seemed to glimmer with faint and drifting lights. Were it not for his Sire’s presence, an encounter with the King of Ashes would likely have had lethal repercussions for the psyker and any others in the immediate vicinity. The rest still kept weapons poised as they had since the conversation had been initiated. They showed no signs of reacting either to the passage of words or the predator’s gaze.

 

Perhaps there was a better way to prove a point here. To triumph over the weak proved little. To triumph over the strong… “Three sectors away, the Expeditionary fleets are falling back. They have encountered a foe of great thre…”

 

“We know. We go to kill them.”

 

“As do we.”

 

The noise hacked through the air, spitting its way through a torn mouth. It was something born in the mirth of murder, a bitter joy for when there was nothing left to laugh about. That was what it was. For the first time, the Primarch of the Dreamwalkers heard the White Devil laugh. “We do not need your kind there. This is not your type of war.”

 

“You wish to know what we are? Behind the lies, behind the stories we tell to the rest of the Imperium? Then we will show you. The True Face. Against an enemy with no weakness of mind to be exploited. With nothing but hate to drive it.” He wondered if the White Devil smiled. Hard to read with his mouth concealed. Of course he would not deny one of his kin a chance to be humbled, a chance to be ground down and broken upon the anvil of war. Their words here were done.

 

Kuranos turned away, openly regarding what he had noted on the edge of his vision. His brother’s packs of murderers had drawn closer, lurking in the shadows cast by roaring flames and crumbled walls. A handful seemed at ease, comfortable amongst the ruin they had wrought. More moved as if they were still stalking prey. Not packs. Squads. A dangerous misstep to make.

 

Further back, golden figures stood shrouded among the smoke. Far enough away to respect his earlier request for privacy, close enough to intervene if they needed to. The ashes beneath their feet, the detritus of thousands of years of accumulated culture and history, lay entirely forgotten.

 

“They were weak.”

 

There was silence for a moment, as Raktra pondered upon that one point with which they could both agree.

 

“Yes, they were.”



#5
Beren

Beren

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Author: Beren

Legions: Beserkers of Uran, Dreamwalkers

Time: The Time of Retribution (the Siege of Terra)

 

Weakness

 

Perhaps a web would be the best way to describe it. Perhaps not. Language was so… arbitrary. Words attempted to define something, when in truth nothing was definable. It was a.. Mist. Nebulous. Indefinable. Constantly shifting. A hundred strands of starlight, reaching out into the past and future, everywhere and nowhere to connect every sensation and imagination into one ambiguous whole. Sometimes it was a rising crescendo of epiphany, sometimes a plummet into cold terror. One could not be appreciated without the other. A thousand experiences, unmarred by the constraints of reality.

 

There was a scar though, an ugly and jagged thing running through the whole, resolute in its determination to remain unshifted. Parts of it were fragmented, where the dream had been allowed to flow into it. Sometimes it forced its own impressions upon the dream, echoes of something he vaguely remembered imposing upon his wondrous travels. They loathed it, but in a realm where they could loathe and love at will that meant precious little.

 

Today a part of them dreamed of the city of Melenek in a thousand glories. One ‘moment’ it was built of finely wrought crystal, slender spires reaching up to literally piece the sky, their needle-sharp tips drawing blood from the realm above that ran down the crystal surfaces in great waterfalls. In another it was built in marble and gold before a green sunset, hosting impossibly lavish banquets of food never seen by the mortal eye as artists laughed and diners cried. Now it was a single vast theatre, every building part of a play which its inhabitants acted out ceasely, every breath and gulp of water and mournful cry and savage thrust of a blade part of a pre-determined script that its actors did not deviate from through birth and through death. There it was a city of science as it had been in the scarred dream, but now its science liberated it rather than chained it and the scientists wrought themselves and reality daily, ever selecting a new and more improbable avenue of discovery to experience. Here it was nothing concrete at all, a city of mist and light, structures only appearing in moments as rays shining through the dust before they dissolved again to reform in some other manner.

 

The web twitched. A ripple pulsed through the mist. They felt something.

 

Pain.

 

The errant thought brought them to a version of Melenek built from bones, where the air was alight with a thousand screams, where the lower streets were flooded with blood and tattered banners of flayed skin fluttered from the upper spires. They lingered there a moment. That wasn’t it. Here, pain was just a spot on a spectrum of experiences to be sampled, without risk of threat of danger. That was what it was. Not the sensation itself, but the thing underlying it. Threat. Danger. Fear was yet another spot on the spectrum. A few days ago, sometime next year and last month, they had traded seven vials of fear to a trader from Korriley. There was something underlying it though.

 

The web twitched as they drifted along it, leaping and lolling, growing closer and closer to the scar. There was one specific point on it. Normally it shone, and somehow hurt them. A part of them had basked in that, or would, for a while. Now, or in this specific version of now, the light seemed to have dimmed. A tendril of the web was already there, it was along that that the sensation had passed. They could see other dreamers there as well, though those were stunted and strange things. Little motes of light, his dream-bound fluttered to and fro. Some were vanishing. Curious, they reached towards the binding point of the strand…

 

...and everything collapsed. Infinite cities, mountains, sea, forests, skies worlds shrunk in on one another and folded up, suddenly hurtling beyond their reach. Vivid colours were suddenly bleached of meaning, riotous sounds deafened. It was like hurtling into a tunnel that was constantly constricting, glass panels on the side and elegant murals in different dimensions replaced by stark granite. Even their own substance was coalescing, bound into form and vision again. A name… not the thousand monikers and titles he had taken in the plays and curts of the dream. One name. A first name.

 

Kuranos.

 

A devil was stood before him. A devil, and something behind it. A white skull blazed from a midnight body, eyes of hate searing into him. Both it and the thing behind it seethed of hatred, unravelling the dream by presence alone. He blinked, and he could see again.

 

The devil was still there, though its colours were not as stark. Its hatred seemed undiminished, and the thing behind it was still there if faintly now.

 

“So, the Ragged Lord has awoken at last.”

 

Raktra, Primarch of the Beserkers of Uran and once-brother to the Primarch Kuranos Hasthtir, raised the battered and bloodied chainblade grasped in one of his hands and gestured to their surroundings.

 

“Did anybody ever tell you that you walk, talk and scream in your sleep?”

 

It was a battlefield, At least part of one. In the distance the sonorous cries of giants at war boomed. Infernal flames licked back and forth. The pain of the light was still there, though more like an unpleasant ache now. They were on a rampart, the stones beneath their feet shattered and twisted. The essence of the dream clung to the air here. The essence of his dream as well. The Ashen King’s armour was rent and torn, and Kuranos could faintly remember the sensation of his limbs tearing through it.

 

There were corpses as well. Some were in the black and white of the Beserkers, jagged spikes and rings of barbed wire stained with blood. That wasn’t what made them grotesque. It was the way they were contorted and twisted, sometimes as if something had pulled itself through them without properly entering or exiting. Wounds that slashed improbably deep. Or places where armour and flesh alike had cracked like china. The other corpses were familiar. He could feel his essence, the spirit of the dream, on them. It had fled now, and what was left were empty husks. Their armour was drowned in vibrant hues, their weapons strange and unwieldy. Their bodies had been torn apart in a far more mundane manner, blood and other substances pooled across the floor. Their helmets seemed without eyepieces, or sensory receptors of any kind.

 

“They died blind you know.”

 

Kuranos returned his gaze to the Ashen King. He had stepped closer, never wavering. The sire of the Dreamwalkers moved his mouth, trying to remember how to form words.

 

“Do you remember Kelvis? You promised me a battle where your Legion would show its ‘True Face’, against an enemy without the flaws of remorse or delusion. I could see the rot i yours Kuranos, even then. Do you know how many of your sons wore the ‘True Face’ as just another cracked mask?”

Another step, then another. All the inevitability of time and malice itself.

 

“There were a few that fought well. The Shattered Storm, the Silver Gate. Those lodges, they at least shared your conviction.”

 

The devil laughed now. Evey burst like a shard of pain. The Ragged Lord could feel whispers on the edge of his consciousness, some revelling in it and some abhorred by it.

 

“Look what happened to that.”

 

The Dreamwalker’s body twitched as he felt out every muscle, remembering how to use them again. Daoloth's Gaze was still on his wrist, but was lightless and inert. His sword… when had he last seen his sword?

 

“I tried to tell you. You thought you could analyse me, and yet you still managed to miss the point. When I said that it you and I, and any of our sons, fought together without weapon or armour it would be wine that came out on top. Weakness isn’t about pretty words. It isn’t about philosophy or rationalisation. It’s much simpler than that. It’s about what survives...”

 

Kuranos blurred into movement. A limb of one of his fallen gene-born was nearly wrenched free as he hurled it at his enemy. The Primarch was springing forwards, the jagged remains of Daoloth's Gaze raised to plunge into Raktra’s face.

 

The corpse was simply knocked to one side, because the other Primach was already charging. From the same moment as Kuranos in fact. A sweep of the chainblade knocked Searer to one side. Elbow and sword pommel slammed into Kuranos’ chest plate at the same moment, the momentum enough to send him crashing to the ground. Akarro slammed to a halt, one boot on the wrist bearing Searer and blade already swinging down. The ragged Lord’s free hand spun out, clutching one of the strange weapons grasped off the floor. It half splintered and half embedded itself in the Ashen King’s leg even as the chainblade rammed into Kuranos’ chest.

 

“...and what dies.”

 

---

The web shivered, a strand cut. Briefly the word pain murmured through the mist again, before fading again into the constant singing and wailing. For a moment a thousand shards wondered of the death they had dreamed.

 

Some dreams surpass the bearer, and such imaginings are not so easily killed. The messenger may be slain, the written word burned. In the warp the dream lingers, and slowly the strands reach once more towards the scar.


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#6
Beren

Beren

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Author:Beren

Legions: Sons of Solstice, Eagle Warriors

Time: Time of Retribution (Siege of Terra)

 

Pyre Eternalis

 

Words flickered back and forth across the chamber, both flesh made and audio-emitted, gestures made in full presence and through the visages of hololothic displays of varying complexity and quality.

 

Primarchs, Archimandrites, Admirals, Priceps, Imperial Army Generals and a hundred more besides gave voice to this council of war. For weeks they had discussed the path of the campaign towards terra, of the blood that would be spilt, of the steps necessary to ensure that what was once called the Imperial Palace was breached before the accursed could enact the ritual he had spent decades planning.

 

The war they would bring to Terra would accelerate the ritual, of that they were certain. The alternative was leaving the corrupted thing that now ruled there unopposed, until his reavers and despoiled servants could bring him the blood required to complete the ritual anyway. The assault would be a risk, but only through it could they close upon the source of the infestation that gripped the Imperium to tear it from their civilisation’s heart. Every day they delayed, was a day that more flesh-hulks dragged their way into Teran docks bearing a cargo of sacrifices and devoted soldiers.

 

It was during the flow of discussion that the Primarch Azothastra received an independent notification from the Speaker of Ataginak, a Forge World that had long been aligned with his Legion, and thus now the Loyalists.

 

Azothastra could see the Speaker in full view, seemingly engaged in conversation already. Of course, one could never tell how many different conversations a high adept of the Mechanicum might be having at once, or how many different fragments they had partitioned their mind into to do so.

 

He routed the signal through closed comms to his helmet, and at first the conversation seemed oddly banal.

 

+++Sire, are you familiar with the Category Loxadon  of Titans and Ordinati?+++

 

“I am. Every Forge World that answers to the Emperor will be deploying their Legios and Ordinati in this campaign Speaker. The battle for the Beta-Garmon Cluster will be costly in the extreme for them all, and I suspect many once in the Sol System will attempt to land and contest the heretek grip on Mars. Your contributions are appreciated to the utmost by me but…”

 

+++Intention misunderstood. Loxadon lineage is derivative of Loxadon Primus STC theoretical. Resources+Logistics+Technological Limitations+Limited Purpose=Prior production unfeasible. Inter-Forge World Cooperation+Requirement for rapid breach of Terra’s walls=Within range of necessity for construction.+++

 

Azothastra paused for a moment.

 

“What exactly are you proposing to the war council?”

---

The Siege of Terra- Date Uncertain

 

Xacotzal T’Pish saw through the eyes of the Neverborn, yet still he could not make sense of what he saw. The Kheyvik region, though not far from the Great Work’s northern quadrant, was a barren wasteland. They had built no ritual sites there, no fortifications. It’s strategic value was low, yet he saw it blossom with fire. The flare of melta warheads, discharged into an empty landscape.

 

With a shudder, Xacotzal wrenched his sight back into his body, and opened his eyes within the small command chamber.

 

“Have we identified the source of the bombardment.”

 

Display consoles were flickering banquets of colour, leering faces and screaming figures briefly hurling themselves between the lines of data. The personnel stationed there seemed to read them well enough though, despite the fact that their eyes had been sewn shut.

 

“We have. Four Ordo Reductor Galleases. They’re in close proximity to the XX-3 vessel. Siege Barques and bombardment frigates are still suppressing any of our batteries within striking range. Aerthic interdiction has proven unsuccessful.”

 

Mechanicum then. The behemothic craft the divinely attuned had designated as XX-3 was of unknown purpose. Despite its potential firepower it had hung at the back of the intruder’s fleet, with a defensive convoy that could have constituted a front line battleforce. So why was it so close now? Many of the Mechanicum on both sides were warring on Mars, where those who had opened themselves to the Primordial Annihilator worked on their own great projects, enough of both were here to constitute a significant factor. Other locations were under bombardment of course, sometimes simply to drive the Neverborn back so that the unblessed could establish staging zones. Yet, why would no less than four Mechanicum vessels devoted to the so-called Unmaker God be applying their renowned skill to a barren patch of earth.

 

The instant the eagle Warrior’s mind found the answer, he felt the whispers of the Neverborn shift in tone.

 

“They’re creating a landing zone.”

 

---

Siege of Terra-Date Unkown

 

What had once been the Imperial Palace was now a sprawling mass. In places it seemed to bleed, or the encrustations of weapons batteries could not be distinguished from pulsing nodules of blistered flesh. It loomed over the landscape, and where it’s shadow fell the very earth seemed to rise in revolt, twisted beyond recognition. Closest to the walls infernal flames roared, denying access to any form of infantry that might march those routes. On a vast plain scoured clean of taint by the heaven’s fire, a hundred different armies waited. Mortals from a thousand worlds, in chainmail and carapace armour, armed with everything from pikes to Kalibrax las-rifles. Tanks sat in ordered rows. The silent servants of the Machine-God, forms bizarre but still grounded in reality placed in patterns according to divine calculi. The strength of the Legiones Astartes, their transhuman forms seeming an unbreakable rock amidst a teeming mass of mortal disparity, regardless of which Legion’s colours they bore or none at all.

 

The proximity of the Palace took its toll on all of them. In its direction one could hear the sound of fighting as vanguard elements and hastily arranged fortifications held roving daemons at bay. Loyalist Mechanicum automata and Astartes Seeker Squads prowled constantly through the assembled forces in case any might have slipped through.

At the moment, none of them were looking at the Palace.

 

One by one, steady peals of thunder seemed toroll across the marshalling site. Below it was a lower and more frequent rumbling. Donjon pattern Siege Engines brought up the rear, carrying their cargo above where the flames would lap. An honour guard of Titans, not drawn from any one Legio but rather the exemplars of many, strode along the flanks. Their forms towered over their observers.

 

Yet no one was looking at them either.

 

They were looking at the single figure that toweere over even them. Quadrupedal like the Donjons, yet armoured heavier than even the Warlord Class Battle Titans. It’s body was more akin to a building, fortress that on its own would be the pride of many a world had they sought to build it, and above its back shimmered the discharges of vast void shield arrays. From the front jutted a monstrous head that alone rivalled a Warlord in size, colossal armour plates forming a vast battering ram. Below it a flexible boarding chamber lay unfurled, and from either side of that jutted colossal cannons, as if to resemble the mythical pakyderms of Ancient Terra.

 

These were features that were familiar - barring the sheer size - to those familiar with Ataginnak’s Loxadon based constructs, but here the glory was not in its artistry.

 

The ceramite armoured plates that adorned it came from the forges within the Mycenean Domion, the vast cannon from those of the Three Fires. Each leg had been commissioned from one of the four forge worlds of the Acathioan Circuitry, diminishing their overall output by a quarter. Ataginak itself had provided many of the components that now lay in the creations head, but arcane technologies sent from a dozen other forges had been needed to make it work. More industrious worlds yet had provided the shield generators, reactors and overall frame of the body. It was a feat of such cooperation among the Mechanicum that was allowed only be acknowledgement of an impending doom, and a feat that might never be seen again.

Somewhere, amongst the teeming mortal masses that gazed upon this figure, someone raised their weapon. They cried the great beast’s name. They did it again, and again. Other’s joined. The chant spread, until it was a thunder to match the beast’s own. Astartes too raised their weapons, adding their voices to the roar. Only the servants of the Omnissiah seemed motionless and silent, but through noosphere and infosphere alike they sang their own binaric praises. The great behemoth’s name spread before it, until even upon those dark walls distant the traitors could hear the name of what came for them.

 

“Pyre Eternalis.”

 

---

 

Through hellfire it and it’s escort strode untouched. Every gun arrayed against it saw their fire broken upon it’s shields. Corrupted Titans that sought to flank it were forced to weather it’s auxiliary flank batteries until their shields dropped and the Loyalist Titans smote them even as they duelled the guns upon the walls. Swarms of bombers that soared towards it were torn from the sky by its flak batteries, or else pounced upon by Loyalist fighters lying in wait.

Still its forward guns did not fire.

 

There was no forewarning. No ominous hum permeating the air. No sizzling discharge around the barrels as it powered up.

One moment there was nothing. The next there was blinding light, and a roaring sound that ruptured the eardrums of the defenders.

 

Then the portion of the wall in front of it was gone. Pieces of debris could be seen scattering backwards, doing further damage as they were hurled into the further walls. For a moment all seemed silent, as if the weapon had torn sound from the world. Then, the battlegroup advanced.

 

The Colossi and the Donjons seemed to blaze with light. From the latter, Oniscarii Drop Tanks and short ranged ‘hurlers’ thrust their way into the air to crash down upon nearby walls, forces leaping out to engage a scattered enemy.

 

From the former, it was the light of hundreds of jump packs. Destroyers, Assault Marines, Imperial Amy Jump troopers, Thallax, Ursurax. Like a thousand embers they seemed to drift, and burn the foe wherever they landed. Further flares of light revealed themselves, terminators teleporting from the construct’s bowls. From its feet and dropping from its trunk a hoard was disgorged, Infantry Cohorts of the Solar Auxillia, Astartes Breachers, tactical and Heavy Weapons Squads. Above them further still, the sky grew black with gunships and transports that sought to take advantage of the enemy’s disarray.

 

The first breach in the walls of Terra had been made.

 

---

 

Siege of Terra-Date Unkown- Loyalist Command Centre communications retrieval.

 

“The other breaches are being secured. The orbital bombardment point in zone theta, the Mole incursion at epsilon, the Ordinati and Titan bombardment at Gamma. The Legions seemed to have gained a foothold on the southern palisade through blood alone.”

 

+++Statement: The latter would not be possible unless hostile forces were being directed elsewhere. Conclusion+Data Analysis: Hostile forces focusing upon initial breach. Conclusion: Initial breach is in danger of being overrun.+++

 

“They’re correct. Almost all of them, they’re focusing on the Loxadon. All of our infantry there has either withdrawn within the construct itself or been slain.”

 

“Then we’re going to lose it. Authorise final protocols.”

 

---

 

Siege of Terra, date unknown. Initial breach site.

 

It was in pain. It’s princeps cadre felt it too. It was bleeding, burning.For a second it was tempted to lose itself in the memories from beyond, when it had felt the praise of an army run through it. From before, when its guns had first roared and it had bright ruin to the foe.

 

No. It’s purpose was now. Born for this, to die in it if necessary. Princeps and Machine Spirit flowed as one. To die in fulfilment of Omnissiah given purpose was the greatest honour. A God-Machine was not meant to sit silent while war passed it by. In death they would live on, through the ruin they had wrought upon the enemy.

 

That meant facing the pain. The Donjon siege engines had burned first, torn apart. The last of its closer kin, it’s noble handmaidens and hunter-wards had fallen an hour before, fighting valiantly against the foal things that now tore at its hide. It could feel their guns plunging its flank, claws raking its skin whilst Megabolters pummelled its defenders at close range. Some had fallen to the bravery of Astartes and Machine constructs that had leapt from within it, like hornets on a hive, to land upon the tainted engine’s faces and claw their way into the foe-machine’s skulls. In doing so they were exposed. In doing so they were killed.

 

That wasn’t the worst of it. It could sense the enemy, like a whirlpool centered on itself. Below it the ground was littered as much with the corpses of those loyalists that hadn’t been able to draw themselves within itself as the enemy. It was now seething with the living foe. Fire dropped upon them from above, but more came. Tanks shot up, targeting and disabling the under-batteries. It could feel the seething horde forcing its way inside it’s legs. The fore-starboard leg was near overrun with daemons, sanctified isolation protocols rendering it numb to the machine-spirit’s senses and only the efforts of a score of Nullificators was the taint kept from spreading. The things were even crawling up the outside of the legs, scuttling daemon and mag-locked traitors, oblivious to the number of corpses that hung limply like parasites where they had died.

 

The forces that had departed its body as embers earlier were being repaid tenfold, and with them came winged fiends to gorge themselves and glut upon souls of flesh and steel alike. Entire craft, gunships and cargo barges dove with flaming engines to smash into its body. Many saw their cargo killed on impact. Many more saw unnaturally resilient foes pull their way free from the wreckage.

 

It was dying. Slowly. The minds of the Princeps reached for words. They came back with poison, infection. Spreading through its veins. A slow and agonising death, unbecoming for a war-machine such as it.

 

Pain cut through, sharper than anything before. The rear-port leg, the last for the defenders to have majority control over, was gone. A hostile Warhound, crippled to near death, had detonated its reactor. The whole thing seemed to lurch. It could feel attackers and defenders alike topple inside it, thrown against each other and crushing bulkheads.

Something else cut through. A message from afar. Permission.

 

The God-Machine let go.

 

---

Siege of Terra, date unknown, initial breach.

 

It had been born for one purpose. It’s existence had been short. There could be no greater pyre for it, its own fury unleashed to the utmost in one final act.

 

For a little while, a sun burned on terra. It shone upon the palace far brighter than the system’s sun ever had before. It’s light seemed to drive away the shadows, consuming mortal frame and warp phantasm alike.

 

In time, seconds distilled into hours in the eyes of those who watched, the light faded. The breach made in life had widened with death. An army, a vast army, had died with it. The pyre was not for them. They were motes of dirt, too insignificant to name. The pyre was for the thousands of embers that had gone before it. It was for the god-machines that had perished at its side. Most of all, it was for the Loxadon.

 

So they entered the Chime of Aeons.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Broken Throne, A Broken Throne, AU

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