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14552353 No.14552353 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

The end began with the Revenant Rex.
An interstellar beast. Bad omen of omens. A wanderer: she was a regular visitor to this part of the segmentum. The hulk was a drifting gravity well of twisted rock and metal. Vessels from disparate and distant races nestled, broken-backed amongst mineral deposits from beyond the galaxy’s borders and ice frozen from before the beginning of time. A demented logic engine at the heart of the hulk – like a tormented dreamer – guided the nightmare path of the beast through the dark void of Imperial sectors, alien empires of the Eastern Fringe and the riftspace of erupting maelstroms. Then, as if suddenly awoken from a fevered sleep, the daemon cogitator would initiate the countdown sequence of an ancient and weary warp drive. The planetkiller would disappear with the expediency of an answered prayer, destined to drift up upon the shores of some other bedevilled sector, hundreds of light years away.
The Revenant Rex beat the Aurora Chapter at Schindelgheist, the Angels Eradicant over at Theta Reticuli and the White Scars at the Martyrpeake. Unfortunately the hulk was too colossal and the timeframes too erratic for the cleanse-and-burn efforts of the Adeptus Astartes to succeed: but Chapter pride and zealotry ensured their superhuman efforts regardless. The behemoth was infested with greenskins of the Iron Klaw Clan – that had spent the past millennia visiting hit-and-run mayhem on systems across the segmentum, with abandoned warbands colonising planetary badlands like a green, galactic plague. The Warfleet Ultima, where it could gather craft in sufficient time and numbers, had twice attempted to destroy the gargantuan hulk. The combined firepower of hundreds of Navy vessels had also failed to destroy the beast, simply serving to enhance its hideous melange further.

>> No.14552371
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All these things and more had preyed upon Elias Artegall’s conscience when the Revenant Rex tumbled into the Gilead Sector. Arch-Deacon Urbanto. Rear Admiral Darracq. Overlord Gordius. Zimner, the High Magos Retroenginericus. Grand Master Karmyne of the Angels Eradicant. Artegall had either received them or received astrotelepathic messages from them all.
‘Chapter Master, the xenos threat cannot be tolerated…’

‘The Mercantile Gilead have reported the loss of thirty bulk freighters…’

‘Master Artegall, the greenskins are already out of control in the Despot Stars…’

‘That vessel could harbour ancient technological secrets that could benefit the future of mankind…'

‘You must avenge us, brother…’

The spirehalls of the Slaughterhorn had echoed with their demands and insistence. But to war was a Space Marine’s prerogative. Did not Lord Guilliman state on the steps of the Plaza Ptolemy: ‘There is but one of the Emperor’s Angels for every world in the Imperium; but one drop of Adeptus Astartes blood for every Imperial citizen. Judge the necessity to spill such a precious commodity with care and if it must be spilt, spill it wisely, my battle-brothers.’

>> No.14552401
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Unlike the Scars or the Auroras, Artegall’s Crimson Consuls were not given to competitive rivalry. Artegall did not desire success because others had failed. Serving at the pleasure of the primarch was not a tournament spectacle and the Revenant Rex was not an opportunistic arena. In the end, Artegall let his battered copy of the Codex Astartes decide. In those much-thumbed pages lay the wisdom of greater men than he: as ever, Artegall put his trust in their skill and experience. He chose a passage that reflected his final judgement and included it in both his correspondence to his far-flung petitioners and his address to the Crimson Consuls, First Company on board the battle-barge Incarnadine Ecliptic.

‘From Codicil CC-LXXX-IV.ii: The Coda of Balthus Dardanus, 17th Lord of Macragge – entitled Staunch Supremacies. “For our enemies will bring us to battle on the caprice of chance. The alien and the renegade are the vagaries of the galaxy incarnate. What can we truly know or would want to of their ways or motivations? They are to us as the rabid wolf at the closed door that knows not even its own mind. Be that door. Be the simplicity of the steadfast and unchanging: the barrier between what is known and the unknowable. Let the Imperium of Man realise its manifold destiny within while without its mindless foes dash themselves against the constancy of our adamantium. In such uniformity of practice and purpose lies the perpetuity of mankind.” May Guilliman be with you.’

‘And with you,’ Captain Bolinvar and his crimson-clad 1st Company Terminator Marines had returned. But the primarch had not been with them and Bolinvar and one hundred veteran sons of Carcharias had been forsaken.

>> No.14552424
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Artegall sat alone in his private Tactical Chancelorium, among the cold ivory of his throne. The Chancelorium formed the very pinnacle of the Slaughterhorn – the Crimson Consuls fortress-monastery – which in turn formed the spirepeak of Hive Niveous, the Carcharian capital city. The throne was constructed from the colossal bones of shaggy, shovel-tusk Stegodonts, hunted by Carcharian ancestors, out on the Dry-blind. Without his armour the Chapter Master felt small and vulnerable in the huge throne – a sensation usually alien to an Adeptus Astartes’ very being. The chamber was comfortably gelid and Artegall sat in his woollen robes, elbow to knee and fist to chin, like some crumbling statue from Terran antiquity.

The Chancelorium began to rumble and this startled the troubled Chapter Master. The crimson-
darkness swirl of the marble floor began to part in front of him and the trapdoor admitted a rising platform upon which juddered two Chapter serfs in their own zoster robes. They flanked a huge brass pict-caster that squatted dormant between them. The serfs were purebred Carcharians with their fat, projecting noses, wide nostrils and thick brows. These on top of stocky, muscular frames, barrel torsos and thick arms decorated with crude tattoos and scar-markings. Perfectly adapted for life in the frozen underhive.

‘Where is your master, the Chamber Castellan?’ Artegall demanded of the bondsmen. The first hailed his Chapter Master with a fist to the aquila represented on the Crimson Consuls crest of his robes.

‘Returned presently from the underhive, my lord – at your request – with the Lord Apothecary,’ the serf answered solemnly. The second activated the pict-caster, bringing forth the crystal screen’s grainy picture.

‘We have word from the Master of the Fleet, Master Artegall,’ the serf informed him.

>> No.14552447

Standing before Artegall was an image of Hecton Lambert, Master of the Crimson Consuls fleet. The Space Marine commander was on the bridge of the strike cruiser Anno Tenebris, high above the gleaming, glacial world of Carcharias.
‘Hecton, what news?’ Artegall put to him without the usual formality of a greeting.

‘My master: nothing but the gravest news,’ the Crimson Consul told him. ‘As you know, we have been out of contact with Captain Bolinvar and the Incarnadine Ecliptic for days. A brief flash on one of our scopes prompted me to despatch the frigate Herald Angel with orders to locate the Ecliptic and report back. Twelve hours into their search they intercepted the following pict-cast, which they transmitted to the Anno Tenebris, and which I now dutifully transmit to you. My lord, with this every man on board sends his deepest sympathies. May Guilliman be with you.’

‘And with you,’ Artegall mouthed absently, rising out of the throne. He took a disbelieving step towards the broad screen of the pict-caster. Brother Lambert disappeared and was replaced by a static-laced image, harsh light and excruciating noise. The vague outline of a Crimson Consuls Space Marine could be made out. There were sparks and fires in the background, as well as the silhouettes of injured Space Marines and Chapter serfs stumbling blind and injured through the smoke and bedlam. The Astartes identified himself but his name and rank were garbled in the intruding static of the transmission.

‘…this is the battle-barge Incarnadine Ecliptic, two days out of Morriga. I am now ranking battle-brother. We have sustained critical damage…’ The screen erupted with light and interference.

>> No.14552456

Then: ‘Captain Bolinvar went in with the first wave. Xenos resistance was heavy. Primitive booby traps. Explosives. Wall-to-wall green flesh and small arms. By the primarch, losses were minimal; my injuries, though, necessitated my return to the Ecliptic. The captain was brave and through the use of squad rotations, heavy flamers and teleporters our Consul Terminators managed to punch through to an enginarium with a power signature. We could all hear the countdown, even over the vox. Fearing that the Revenant Rex was about to make a warp jump I begged the captain to return. I begged him, but he transmitted that the only way to end the hulk and stop the madness was to sabotage the warp drive.’

Once again the lone Space Marine became enveloped in an ominous, growing brightness. ‘His final transmission identified the warp engine as active but already sabotaged. He said the logic engine wasn’t counting down to a jump... Then, the Revenant Rex, it – it just, exploded. The sentry ships were caught in the blast wave and the Ecliptic wrecked.’

>> No.14552463

A serf clutching some heinous wound to his face staggered into the reporting Space Marine. ‘Go! To the pods,’ he roared at him. Then he returned his attention to the transmission. ‘We saw it all. Detonation of the warp engines must have caused some kind of immaterium anomaly. Moments after the hulk blew apart, fragments and debris from the explosion – including our sentry ships – were sucked back through a collapsing empyrean vortex before disappearing altogether. We managed to haul off but are losing power and have been caught in the gravitational pull of a nearby star. Techmarine Hereward has declared the battle-barge unsalvageable. With our orbit decaying I have ordered all surviving Adeptus Astartes and Chapter serfs to the saviour pods. Perhaps some may break free. I fear our chances are slim… May Guilliman be with us…’

As the screen glared with light from the damning star and clouded over with static, Artegall felt like he’d been speared through the gut. He could taste blood in his mouth: the copper tang of lives lost. One hundred Crimson Consuls. The Emperor’s Angels under his command. The Chapter’s best fighting supermen, gone with the irreplaceable seed of their genetic heritage. Thousands of years of combined battle experience lost to the Imperium. The Chapter’s entire inheritance of Tactical Dreadnought Armour: every suit a priceless relic in its own right. The venerable Ecliptic. A veteran battle-barge of countless engagements and a piece of Caracharias among the stars. All gone. All claimed by the oblivion of the warp or cremated across the blazing surface of a nearby sun.

>> No.14552473

(Is /tg/ interested in reading moar? I didn't realize how long this story was. I've posted about 1/10th of it. Jesus).

>> No.14552536

I am. Keep posting, anon.

>> No.14552562

I will keep posting for as long as I am able.

‘You must avenge us, brother–’

Artegall reached back for his throne but missed and staggered. Someone caught him, slipping their shoulders underneath one of his huge arms. It was Baldwin. He’d been standing behind Artegall, soaking up the tragedy like his Chapter Master. The Space Marine’s weight alone should have crushed the Chamber Castellan, but Baldwin was little more than a mind and a grafted, grizzled face on a robe-swathed brass chassis. The serf’s hydraulics sighed as he took his master’s bulk.

‘My lord,’ Baldwin began in his metallic burr.

‘Baldwin, I lost them…’ Artegall managed, his face a mask of stricken denial. With a clockwork clunk of gears and pistons the Chamber Castellan turned on the two serfs flanking the pict-caster.

‘Begone!’ he told them, his savage command echoing around the bronze walls of the Chancelorium. As the bondsmen thumped their fists into their aquilas and left, Baldwin helped his master to the cool bone of his throne. Artegall stared at the serf with unseeing eyes. They had been recruited together as savage underhivers and netted, kicking and pounding, from the fighting pits and tribal stomping grounds of the abhuman-haunted catacombs of Hive Niveous. But whereas Artegall had passed tissue compatibility and become a Neophyte, Baldwin had fallen at the first hurdle. Deemed unsuitable for surgical enhancement, the young hiver was inducted as a Chapter serf and had served the Crimson Consuls ever since. As personal servant, Baldwin had travelled the galaxy with his superhuman master.

>> No.14552569

As the decades passed, Artegall’s engineered immortality and fighting prowess brought him promotion, while Baldwin’s all-too-human body brought him the pain and limitation of old age. When Elias Artegall became the Crimson Consuls’ Chapter Master, Baldwin wanted to serve on as his Chamber Castellan. As one century became the next, the underhiver exchanged his wasted frame for an engineered immortality of his own: the brass bulk of cylinders, hydraulics and exo-skeletal appendages that whirred and droned before the throne. Only the serf’s kindly face and sharp mind remained.

Baldwin stood by as Artegall’s body sagged against the cathedra arm and his face contorted with silent rage. It fell with futility before screwing up again with the bottomless fury only an Adeptus Astartes could feel for his foes and himself. Before him the Crimson Consul could see the faces of men with whom he’d served. Battle-brothers who had been his parrying arm when his own had been employed in death-dealing; Space Marines who had shared with him the small eternities of deep space patrol and deathworld ambush; friends and loyal brethren.

‘I sent them,’ he hissed through the perfection of his gritted teeth.

‘It is as you said to them, my lord. As the Codex commanded.’

‘Condemned them…’

‘They were the door that kept the rabid wolf at bay. The adamantium upon which our enemies must be dashed.’

Artegall didn’t seem to hear him: ‘I walked them into a trap.’

>> No.14552580

What is a space hulk if it not be such a thing? The sector is safe. The Imperium lives on. Such an honour is not without cost. Even Guilliman recognises that. Let me bring you the comfort of his words, my master. Let the primarch show us his way.’
Artegall nodded and Baldwin hydraulically stomped across the chamber to where a lectern waited on a gravitic base. The top of the lectern formed a crystal case that the Castellan opened, allowing the preservative poison of argon gas to escape. Inside, Artegall’s tattered copy of the Codex Astartes lay open as it had done since the Chapter Master had selected his reading for the 1st Company’s departure. Baldwin drifted the lectern across the crimson marble of the Chancelorium floor to the throne’s side. Artegall was on his feet. Recovered. A Space Marine again. A Chapter Master with the weight of history and the burden of future expectation on his mighty Astartes’ shoulders.

‘Baldwin,’ he rumbled with a steely-eyed determination. ‘Were your recruitment forays into the underhive with the Lord Apothecary fruitful?’

‘I believe so, my lord.’

‘Good. The Chapter will need Carcharias to offer up its finest flesh, on this dark day. You will need to organise further recruitment sweeps. Go deep. We need the finest savages the hive can offer. Inform Lord Fabian that I have authorised cultivation of our remaining seed. Tell him I need one hundred Crimson sons. Demi gods all, to honour the sacrifice of their fallen brethren.’

>> No.14552604

‘Yes, Chapter Master.’

‘And Baldwin.’

‘My master?’

‘Send for the Reclusiarch.’

‘High Chaplain Enobarbus is attached to the 10th Company,’ Baldwin informed Artegall with gentle, metallic inflection. ‘On training manoeuvres in the Dry-blind.’

‘I don’t care if he’s visiting Holy Terra. Get him here. Now. There are services to organise. Commemorations. Obsequies. The like this Chapter has never known. See to it.’

‘Yes, my master,’ Baldwin answered and left his lord to his feverish guilt and the cold words of Guilliman.

>Part 1 is done. 4 or 5 more to go

>> No.14552623

I'm really enjoying this OP (and you should be proud, I've read Black Library stuff far worse) but I have to go out. Please keep updating and I'll F5 when I get home in an hour or so.

>> No.14552661

Thank you. Also, this isn't mine. Its actually Black Library. But its fucking awesome, and I felt the need to post it.

Unfortunately, I've been called away from my computer. If you do like this though, the story is called the The Long Games and Charcharias. Check it out.

Sorry I can't finish /tg/, I know thats lame as fuck. If this is still here later, I'll post moar.

>> No.14552679

>The Long Games at Charcharias.

Derp. Sorry.

>> No.14552950


Its just Alpha and Black Legion killing Ultramarine Succesors, Continue :D

>> No.14556371


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