The First Disciple:
It is you, who are the aspirant. I can see it plainly in your eyes, Zurvan. I can see the Gods in your eyes. You, you will replace Kohn as the Champion of the Blessed Sight.
Those words continued to resonate within him even now. The writhing body of the centre of his world squirmed as the nails were run through his flesh and bones. With each striking of the hammer, metal met metal as the spikes were driven further in. His screams of agony and wrath fell on deafened ears however. The Apostle had been shown to be the false prophet he was the moment the Chosen One had been struck down by his own brother. The moment Ixion proved himself to be the true follower of the Dark Gods vision, was the moment which Zurvan knew that he had been betrayed. It was fitting that here, in the Temple aboard the Sacred Lie, in the dark halls of this sacred place, they were sacrificing this man to their Gods.
The Dark Apostle Varun Aghash had been the centre of everything for him since the time of heresy. He had been there as they watched Calth burn. He had followed his divine visions and teachings, every day pledging himself further to his service. It was Zurvan, who had spoken of a Chosen One, a messiah, to arrive and spread forth the Word of Lorgar beyond anything anyone could imagine. A creature born of uncorrupted flesh, but with twinned souls within it. That was to be their true leader, their future. He spoke of a time of illumination, where even if they would never see it, they had created the herald to a new era.
All Zurvan found, was the herald to its own glory. For the first time since the era of Heresy, perhaps, he had thought for himself, unclouded by the words of the one they had all called master, by one name or another. When he turned his eyes towards Ixion Apollek, their brother who had finally opened their eyes to the lies they had been infested with, his vision, one of organic sight, and one of mechanical origin, assessed him once more. As Apollek stared on, having ordered the sacrifice as a means of justice for all that they had suffered, as a means of asking for redemption, he could see the eyes of the man he knew would be their new leader. Whether he bore the title of Apostle yet or not, it did not matter. The dark haired Astartes had the hatred which Zurvan knew they all needed, hidden behind his eyes.
Perhaps, ironically, in that moment Zurvan could see in Ixion, what the man now screaming as the final nails entered his arms, had seen in him, all those years ago.
With one last swing, it was Zurvan who finished pinning the former Dark Apostle to the eight-pointed star. He had claimed to walk down its path, now he would meet his end upon it.
“Fools! Traitors!” Aghash shrieked. “You defy the will of the Gods! Their vengeance is already at hand!”
The empty threat was almost enough for Zurvan to strike the former Word Bearer dead. He ceased, knowing full well that striking now, and striking with ferocity, might kill him, and he had a place here… to be sacrificed, alive. Several brothers began to quietly begin hymns, venerating the Gods as sacred symbols were painted in the blood of slaves, surrounding the marking of the Gods.
Striding forward with purpose, holding his hammer in hand, the new symbol of his authority, the usurper stopped in front of him, keeping his keen eyes on him. A judgement had been made regarding their sacrifice.
“Zurvan,” Ixion said, his tone cold, yet not rejecting in its nature. It was remarkable to him how Ixion could speak in such a forward way, but have command over them as he did. Even those loyal to Aghash, who had not been slain in the bloodletting, now stood at the side of their new lord. “You will be the one to offer him to the Gods. You will be the one to open him, and take out his organs while he still lives, and offer them to the Gods.”
A blade was foisted upon him before he could respond, his Lord handing it to him. Unthinking, he took the hilt of the sacrificial dagger, staring at it briefly before looking back towards his comrade. It was an honour, to be certain, but it was more than simply that. In that moment, he had become more than just a warrior, more than a disciple to the Dark Gods.
When he turned towards Aghash, preparing to make his first cut into the astates flesh that lay below him, he knew the truth.
He had started his path towards the truth he now heard whispering in his bones.
This was but the first step, on his road towards being an Executioner…