Title: The Founding of the Fifth
Description: My own little Crusade-era tales...
Vinnie - January 28, 2010 12:13 AM (GMT)
Consider this the Tweet-style assemblages of my creative mind, recording and developing my interpretation of the founding of the White Scars Legio Astartes. Basically, 1000 odd words of narrative, every week or so, that at some point I may collate, but probably won't... meh, whatevs.
I guess I should say that this is all my own, original writing, using of course the substantial narrative universe of Warhammer 40k, as owned and copyrighted by Games Workshop etc etc... It's just a fanfic.
C&C welcome, especially if you spot any glaring canonical errors. I've tried to be as accurate as I can.
Well, here goes. I couldn't resist starting witha big 'un... xD
The run from the shuttle bay was a hectic gallop. The bulkheads and grille floors of the battle-barge swept past in a blur, and blast doors, emergency access gantries, and crew compartments had been cleared and held open for him as he raced through the ship.
As he approached the upper decks, the decor and dimensions of the ship began to change. Corridors became broad boulevards, stretching under vaulted ceilings; doorways were huge, masonry arches made from the brightest alabaster; view ports became vast glasteel galleries, facing down onto the majestic, temperate orb of the planet below. Finally, after what seemed an age, he found the Stairway. A great carved marble staircase, splaying down onto the flagged floor of the Atrium like some tide of liquid pearl had been frozen and adorned with flute-columned handrails. He took the steps five at once, his power armoured legs working like pistons.
Agape at the summit of the Stairway was the huge arch, surrounded by depictions of majestic, armoured figures picked out in relief and filigreed with all the precious metals in the galaxy. Ten guards stood to either side of the huge portal, all in the same gold, segmented armour portrayed around the arch way, and each carrying a colossal, gold-bladed halberd. He knew they had moved aside for him. His armour, the mirror of theirs, was more than enough right of entry, but even if he had been the lowliest serf menial, the news he carried would have given him free access.
Through the arch lay the Forum. The gleaming white and gold room was more cavernous than the largest gladiatorial arena, and higher than the tallest fortress tower. A dozen huge tiers encircled the entire surround of the room, each adorned with kilometres of data-banks, cogitator units, and logic engine drives. Nearly ten thousand souls interpreted and manipulated the vast amounts of information that coursed and roiled, like a physical entity, through the digital structures arrayed on those tiers. Golden columns, each several times the width of a battle-tank, reached high into the misted firmament where, somewhere, there was a ceiling. It was said that a hundred murals intertwined on that ceiling, great works that had taken a century to complete, that each told a portion of His story; and so consequently, a portion of humanity’s story. He had never seen it. The titanic manpower at work in the room, the heat exchange and the swirling air currents, gave it a climate all of its own, and the cloud blotted out the highest reaches of the vault.
He ignored all of this. Arrow straight, he sprinted down the pathway between the two centre-most rows of columns, light reflected from the mirror-smooth white granite floor and the golden pillars scorching his retinas. At the centre of the Forum was a huge dais, upon which were twenty-one thrones in a horseshoe shape.
In the centre of the dais, he stopped. Bred and engineered for extended exertions, he was nevertheless short of breath. The path from the shuttle bay to the Forum was nearly ten kilometres.
“Catch your breath, brother,” The voice came from everywhere and nowhere at once. It was unbelievably deep and resounding, but light and welcoming at the same time, as if spoken by a good tempered mountain. It sent shivers up Custodian Gaius’ spine. The golden armoured super-warrior’s chest heaved, his three lungs inhaling enormous gulps of air. The figure who had spoken shifted. He was stood behind the central throne, his back to Gaius, staring at the monumental pict-screen that was the forward wall of the Forum. The huge screen displayed a planet; the planet above which they now rested at high orbital anchor; the planet Gaius had been stood on not forty-five minutes ago.
The ship had the system’s sun to its stern, and the whole roundness of the planet in front was lit, bright as a new pearl. Gaius observed the thick dark green region that stretched its tendrils from the planet’s equator; the huge ocean that sprawled and sparkled across a third of the southern hemisphere and a fifth of the northern hemisphere; the white and grey polar regions and their bordering mountain ranges. All of it was liberally scattered with twists and flutes of cloud, slowly weaving its temperate ballet.
“We have made many planets our own, Gaius,” said the voice again. It was beautiful and cathartic. “Bent and manipulated their vicious climates and poisonous atmospheres so that we may inhabit them.” The sigh gave Gaius gooseflesh. “But I would surrender a score of those planets, to have one more such as this.”
Gaius was not sure he understood, but that was the way with Him sometimes.
“You have news for me, Brother Gaius?” The voice had a knowing smile in its intonation. Gaius’ hearts fluttered as he thought once more of the reports from the mountains.
“Yes, Lord,” he could not keep the excitement from his voice, an admonishable slip of demeanour given normal circumstances. But these were not normal circumstances. “About one hundred minutes ago the coterie of Iterator Ulyssieux was introduced to the leader of the provincial mountain tribes, the so-called Great Khan, to begin consultation regarding compliance. Ulyssieux himself came straight to me, and I in turn came straight to you, my Leige.” The figure facing the image of the planet contemplated Gaius’ words quietly for an instant. Then He inclined His head and Gaius had the impression that the figure’s head had turned and was looking at him.
“This Khan,” the figure visibly swelled. “Is a lost son of the Imperium?” The thrill of it nearly cost Gaius his composure.
“Yes, my Liege, that is so.” Brother Gaius closed his eyes and relished the moment. “He is a Primarch.”
“And there can be no doubt?”
Behind the marble throne, the figure turned fully and stepped out to face Gaius. Backlit by the glowing image of the planet below, the figure was an enormous silhouette. Gaius got the impression of long, dark hair and intricately decorated golden armour, after the fashion of his own, but on a scale and of a finish a hundred times greater than his. The figure was head and shoulders above Gaius. The lord-commander of all mankind stepped close to Gaius and, grasping him by his shoulders, looked deep into his eyes.
“You have given me a gift, the likes of which I have only received four times before.” The Emperor of Terra, true inheritor of the galaxy and king of humanity, wept, and embraced Gaius like a brother. “Today you are my equerry, and none save me shall command you. Go to the planet and prepare for my arrival.”
Gaius stood, eyes wide. The immensity of the Emperor’s brotherhood had robbed him of his wits. There was no doubt or apprehension, no thoughts of shuttles and grand tidings, no consideration for men or women, planets or Primarchs. There was only the Emperor. Gaius wished for nothing more than to fall to his knees in supplication, and spend all eternity as the Emperor’s right hand.
After a heartbeat he recovered, and stammered out a response.
“At once, Lord,” Though he could not see precisely, the reflected light of Mundus Planus still shrouding the Emperor, he somehow knew innately that the Lord of Terra was smiling; grinning.
With a formal salute, then a deep bow, Gaius took his leave. He had entered as a Custodian of the Imperium. He left as the voice of the Emperor himself.
Vinnie - February 15, 2010 04:03 PM (GMT)
Ten’ji threw himself from his horse at the last second, the raking arc of automatic fire dicing the panicking animal into moist chunks. In the freezing mist he scrambled across the solid mud and dead brown grass into a furrow that had been left by one of the enemy’s streaking projectiles. Ten’ji had fought the Palatine a hundred times over, and been at the Khan’s side when the palace of the emperor finally fell. The Emperor’s Guard had been armed with black powder rifles and all sorts of esoteric interpretations of the term ‘projectile weapon’, but Ten’ji had never fought an enemy such as this before; an enemy who could seemingly command the thunder and lightning of the skies, and appeared to take wing like the harriers of the mountains. Chances are, he thought dismally as he unslung his trophy powder rifle from across his shoulder, that I won’t get the chance to again.
Most of Ten’ji’s raiders were dead. Of that fact, he was absolutely certain. Fire and noise had swept up their horse charge and cast it to the four winds, before ten giants had sown destruction with their thunderbeat rifles, as the raiders called them.
Like so many of his Talaskar brethren, Ten’ji had grown up training to shoot with looted powder rifles. He was educated among his tribe, and knew a little of such things as rifles. He knew, for instance, that the hammer struck a fire in the rifle’s throat, and that the black powder burned quickly, not slowly like wood, and that this fast burning fire excited the metal ball, as a cooking fire does a pan of water. He knew intimately the roar and kick of the rifle. He also knew that the thunderbeat rifles carried by the giants worked on the same idea for they sounded and smelled the same.
He knew all of this, but that did not make the site of the cold metal weapons in the fists of the armoured monsters any less primal and terrifying.
At the mouth of his yurt, with all his nomad brothers and sisters attending, Ten’ji had spoken of how the ivory-armoured trespassers would pay for their ignorance of the Khan’s domain. They had cheered. The settlement was now full of widows and orphans who did not yet know it. They would be moving now, Ten’ji thought as he rammed the rod down the end of the long barrel, jamming the rifle ball tight against its cloth wadding. In a few hours his village would be up in the relative safety of the foothills. As Ten’ji cocked the rifle, he prayed that the trespassing white giants would not go after them.
He followed the giant with his sight. The sloping grassland was quiet again now, after the heartbeat of fire and death that had been the enemy’s response to Ten’ji’s charge. The giant had shouldered his thunderbeat rifle, and drawn a thick, single-edged blade. In the white warrior’s hand it was a knife, but had Ten’ji wielded it, he knew it would be the size of a shortsword. A loud crack and a flash suddenly cut through the mist. In the instant of illumination, Ten’ji had seen Xhian, his youngest brother behind the sight of a bucking powder rifle. Xhian, who had barely seen his fourteenth winter, was missing his legs. In their stead he trailed a ropey mass of red tissue. The white warrior had seen him too.
With almost preternatural agility the giant bounded over to the boy, and with one fluid motion, slit his throat. Xhian had not cried out. Ten’ji was proud. The boy had, however, flicked a handful of circular blades from his hand as the giant bore down upon him. Ten’ji was even prouder. Most of the throwing discs had dinged off of the giant’s armour, but as the invader stood from his killing blow, he reached a gauntleted hand to his neck and removed one of the small weapons.
Ten’ji saw an unmistakeable red shine of blood on the disc’s edge. With barely a breath, he raised his rifle from his prone position in the freezing mud. The target was near; otherwise thanks to the mist he would not have been visible. There was the smallest breeze from the east, down across the sloping hill. One afternoon Ten’ji had left the rifle side-up in the sun and the wood had warped, causing a massive right-side spin on any shots. Ten’ji knew it all, as he knew many things. The giant turned, opening the front of his bulk to Ten’ji’s sight.
About a foot to the left and a handspan above the giant’s shoulder.
The giant hit the deck with a spurt of blood from his neck. The shot would have decapitated a normal man. The giant writhed and rolled, groping for his thunderbeat rifle. Ten’ji was running, crouched low into the dips and rises of the hillside. A bitingly cold wind began to pick up, blowing down from the mountains. Any second now the whickering shots would come pounding from below to rip him apart.
They never came. After ten minutes of flat-out pace, Ten’ji took cover behind a rocky outcrop and caught his breath. He wanted to undo his heavy coat and throw the furs from his shoulders as he wrestled with the icy fresh air, forcing it into his lungs, but he knew that in this cold it would cost his arms and legs their blood, and him his life.
Apologist - February 15, 2010 04:14 PM (GMT)
Fantastic stuff so far, Vinnie – easily the quality of the Horus Heresy series, and very fitting. Loved the Emperor's reaction, and the 'thunderbeat' rifles (and general demeanour) of Ten'ji is very believable. :)
Vinnie - February 15, 2010 07:49 PM (GMT)
Thanks for the feedback dude... It's so encouraging!
More is on the way :P
Provost Dylanof - February 18, 2010 04:50 AM (GMT)
Ten'ji won't be eager to reconcile with the Imperium. Not after what they did to his brother.
The part about the paintings on the Emperor's ship really struck a cord too. That guy does things in style.
Administrators, could you arrange an option to make the pages narrower? Novel width is much easier to read.
Lucius - March 2, 2010 10:37 PM (GMT)
Good Work Vinnie,
I enjoyed both parts, you really captured the excitement of Gaius in telling the Emperor the news of Khan. I like second installment where it's a case of the locals doing their best with the equipment they have to defend their home world. A small victory for the tribe with the felling of the giant.
Vinnie - March 29, 2010 03:38 AM (GMT)
“An arduous undertaking, Iterator and no mistake,” said Avilan Moncroe as he gazed up from the silk folds of the bed at the slender, curvaceous form of Iterator Ulyssieux.
“Yes indeed, Avi,” said Ulyssieux airily. The iterator rolled her eyes as she pulled her robes over her head and flicked out her long auburn hair. She turned to the full-length mirror and set about her face with pale powders and vivid cosmetic paints.
“I saw that look,” said Moncroe.
“What look, sweetness?”
“The look that says ‘Oh no, he’s talking again,’” In the mirror Ulyssieux saw him pout a little. “Sometimes I don’t think you take me seriously.”
“Oh, come now!” said Ulyssieux in a placating tone. She turned to face him. “We both know that you take this ‘relationship’ too seriously.” Ulyssieux knew she was being astoundingly condescending. She had to suppress a giggle. “All that matters between us,” she knelt on the edge of the bed, reached out, and took a firm grasp of Moncroe’s crotch. “Is right here!” She actually did giggle this time.
“Fine!” Moncroe withdrew further into the sheets, flushing bright red and pulling a sour, hurt expression. “You really do enjoy casting aside my feelings don’t you!”
“Please!” Ulyssieux snorted. “Nothing I say is ever for or about you. Don’t delude yourself that you are that important to me.” She turned away from him.
“That’s not what you said before.” Moncroe was sulking. Again. Ulyssieux had had enough.
“Honestly Avi, I’m old enough to be your grandmother!” the iterator stood once more and applied herself to her makeup.
“Yes,” conceded Moncroe with a sigh. “But you don’t look it.” He looked her up and down from behind. Ulyssieux observed in the mirror that he clearly appreciated what he saw. He had a point, she supposed. Ulyssieux was turning seventy next month, but she didn’t look twenty. In fact, she mused, the teen with whom she shared her bed could pass for older in a certain light. The thousands of creds spent on cosmetic surgery were not for nothing then, thought the iterator with a vainly gratified grin.
“I am accompanying the Custodians to the surface today,” the transformation from giggling lover to imperious mistress was abrupt. Moncroe’s expression fell. “You will attend to me with the rest of the Coterie. Is that clear?”
Moncroe rolled from the bed, collected his clothes dejectedly and left the opulent quarters with a muttered grunt of affirmation. Once he had closed the shutter door, Ulyssieux giggled again.
“You nasty bitch!” She grinned to her reflection, and smeared a dab of green eye shadow on it playfully.
“I-thirteen tower, I-thirteen tower, this is imperio gulf niner-niner requesting landing confirmation. Come back.” The dropship bucked and vibrated; shuddering like it was clamped in the fist of a palsied giant. Moncroe and the rest of the Coterie, late-teen boys all, vomited into paper bags and squeezed at taught safety harnesses. Ulyssieux examined her enamelled nails.
The vox-hailer in the cockpit blared fuzzily to life. “Imperio gulf niner-niner, this is I-thirteen tower. Landing confirmation cleared for north-east pad, repeat north-east pad. Come back.” The enormous pilot sent an acknowledgement blip back across the vox-net. His huge and ornate golden armour thunked and whirred as he turned to the passenger compartment behind his seat. Ulyssieux looked up and gave him a winning smile. Filio Xsandus Petrovar Emoritii Granovaughn Haefestus simply nodded.
“We will arrive presently, Iterator,” said the Custodian, his sonorous voice raising Ulyssieux’s hackles. She found she could only nod at the Custodians dark-hair framed and noble face. The golden armoured giant turned back to the controls of the craft. Monsoon rain pounded the vision slit and hundred kilometre per hour winds threw themselves at the flanks of the dropship, desperate to cast it from their sky.
Ulyssieux squinted out of the tiny window next to her head. The surround of the Volatus class dropship was a swirling grey morass that writhed with elemental ferocity. Ulyssieux could almost convince herself that they were travelling underwater, such was the weight of the precipitation on the glasteel. Suddenly the craft punched through the cloud-line into the clear sky above I-thirteen, or Mundus Planus as the Astronomarchs of the fleet astrogation division had designated it.
Ten thousand feet below was the green and brown washed-out hash-marks that delineated an abandoned city. Ulyssieux had seen many on her undertakings with the Emperor’s expedition, and the grey criss-cross roads and blocks meant nothing more than desolation and barbarism to her. It was likely, she judged, that a civilisation had risen here, perhaps the most recent of many, only to be cast down by rebels and dissidents. According to the reports Ulyssieux had already read concerning I-thirteen’s natives then ‘rebels and dissidents’ seemed to fit the bill neatly. Ulyssieux sighed. These compliances were always the hardest. The populace was invariably spread far and wide in small clans or villages, and as iterator she would have to visit each one individually, bending her every expertise to the task of converting the chief clansmen (the women never seemed to be in charge, she thought bitterly) so that they would agree to compliance before she moved on to the next shanty town of ill-educated and suspicious half-people. So the cycle continued, often requiring second or third visits before they would even trade with the expedition. Compliances like I-thirteen’s took months. Ulyssieux sighed again. Moncroe tried to ask how she was, but didn’t seem brave enough to open his mouth yet. He was still faintly green.
“Brace yourselves,” rumbled Filio Haefestus from the cockpit. The ground was rushing towards them at astonishing velocity, and only the esteemed rank of the Adeptus Custodes pilot reassured Ulyssieux that they were not going to plummet, meteor-like, into the flooded and overgrown city streets. At what seemed like the last moment Haefestus levelled the steep descent of the craft and eased off the throttle. Gradually air resistance and gravity reasserted themselves and the Volatus lander eased to a more sociable pace, flitting over the crumbled ruins of the once-city.
More vox traffic bounced back and forth, confirming approach vectors and aligning complementary trajectories. Imperio gulf niner-niner was landing on the north-east pad and Imperio gulf eight-niner was landing on the south-east pad, a kilometre and a half away. At least there would be a pleasant stroll, thought Ulyssieux, before she had to once again labour under the oppressive scrutiny of the Custodians; not including Filio, of course. Ulyssieux had become quite comfortable in his presence. He just seemed more human, was her reasoning.
A sprawling complex of landing strips and warehouses, situated on the outskirts of the ruined city, had been constructed in the two hundred odd hours since the first imperial had set foot on the surface of I-thirteen; Mundus Planus. Heavy lifters were on constant runs, delivering building materials and garrison troops to the base. At each corner of the complex was a tall tower that sported a wide VTOL pad. Imperio gulf niner-niner banked and pointed toward the north-east tower. Out of the glasteel viewport Ulyssieux watched as Imperio gulf eight-niner hove into view, a misty contrail chasing it south.
The landing was as abrupt and anticlimactic as usual; the gentle bump barely registering before the engines disengaged and whined into silence. The passenger hatch lowered and the howling elements surged into the craft, soaking Ulyssieux and her Coterie within seconds. She took the steps down to the pad quickly and then ran to the open door in the wall of the tower. She wrung out her hanging sleeves while she waited for her coterie to catch up. Moncroe slid comically on the wet surface of the pad. Flight crewmen wrapped in waterproofs laughed at his lack of surefootedness as they dragged fuel lines and charge cables to the steaming engine manifolds of the lander.
Filio Haefestus unfolded himself from the cockpit hatch and the flight crew stood respectfully aside as he strode sedately through the torrential rain and into the tower.
“Well,” he said, standing close to Ulyssieux. “Shall we?” He motioned to the elevator cage.