The Seraphim

Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim, dark future there is only war.

The Seraphim

Postby Grzelich » Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:17 pm

I bring greetings to the fair people of the Bolthole! In other way speaking: Hi ;)
I wanted to share with you mi first short story written in English. Since it isn’t my native language (Im Pole), I thought that some more experienced and native writers would be able to provide me with some feedback. The story comes from the fan made army book for Dark Angels successor chapter, that I’m working on for some time. But that’s not the case. I hope, that my language will be understandable and that you wont waste your time ;)

The Seraphim

An Unexpected finding
In the times of the Great Crusade, Lion himself organised the 1st Legion into six specialized formations know later as the “Wings”. Each formation originated from the most honoured of the Knight Orders of Caliban and used different tactics. In the 40 millennium, the Deathwing and the Ravenwing are still known, but the other formations are supposed to be long lost, due to the destruction of Caliban.

When the 13th Black Crusade broke out the Dark Angels were fighting the Crimson Slaughter renegades near Cadia. During one of the battles, Chief Librarian Ezekiel heard a sound through the Warp. The sound grew stronger with every slain Dark Angel, until it was clear for the Psyker, that it was a signal from times old lost. Master Ezekiel thought first, that it was a signature of the Fallen Angels, thus he ordered Master Sammael and his Black Huntsmen to investigate it.

When the Ravenwing approached the location indicated by their Astropaths, at first they thought, that they travelled the Warp just to return to their starting location and are closing in upon the Rock. A closer investigation proved their first impression to be not far from reality. When the boarding shuttles of the Ravenwing entered the proximity of the lone monastery floating in space, Dark Angels saw, that the asteroid lacked the engines and starports of the Rock, but beard the markings of the First Legion.

Master Sammael also received information about the force field barrier that was impregnable to the boarding shuttles of his brothers and was blocking all communication. Master of the Ravenwing ordered to surround the asteroid with sentry vessels and sent a courier back to the Rock.

As the Black Huntsmen awaited a response, the temptation to investigate the finding rose greater with every minute. Sammael, despite warnings of his interrogator chaplains and other aides decided to mount his landspeeder and went to take a closer look.

When Sabelclaw entered the close range scanners of the asteroid, Sammael was able to take a closer look on the fortress-monastery build upon it. He recognized symbols of the First Legion, that he saw earlier only in the Chapter Records. He saw the crossed Swords of the Deathwing, he saw a Ravenwings Sword-Wing, he saw, the Hour Glass Skull of the Dreadwing, and the Winged Skull of the Stormwing. He also saw symbols, that he couldn’t recognized, but was sure, that they resemble the long lost Knight Houses of Caliban.

His astonishment ended, when the signature of the Night Halo was recognized by the identification systems of the Keep. Sammael received a message through his comlink: “This is Brother Captain Mazelor of the First Legions Stormwing! We are fighting against chaos traitors! We’ve lost contact with Grand Master Lion and are in desperate need of help! The traitors are planning to destroy Caliban! If you receive this message warn the Emperor, warn Lion, warn the Dark Angels!”. The message kept repeating itself. Master of The Hunt tried to go pass the force barrier, that kept his huntsmen away, but he could not find a way to penetrate it. He took a closer look of the asteroid and returned back to his Ship.

The Ravenwings courier vessel arrived at the Rock with information about the finding and with images of the asteroid. Chief Librarian Ezekiel, with the aid of his librarians and the chapter inner records was able to identify the monastery as the Aery Keep, fortress of the Calibans House of the Storm. He advised Grand Master Azrael to assume, that they have encountered a Fortress of the Fallen.

Grand Master of the Dark Angels, despite heavy fighting in the sector decided to withdraw his forces and order Master of the Rock to prepare a warp jump to Aery Keep location. He left only a small detachment of his brothers lead by Master Balthasar to continue the fight. He also issued the Inner Circle Astropaths to inform all of the Unforgiven, that a Gathering Covenant will take place in the Cadian Sector, just next of the alleged Fallen Fortress and that the time is of the essence.

In the matter of days the Ravenwing was joined by their brethren from the Dark Angels. Grand Master Azrael awaited with a decision until all of the Unforgiven would take place. First to arrive were the Angels of Redemption. Soon after arrived Angels of Absolution, Guardians of the Covenant and the Consecrators. Last arrived Angels of Vengeance and Disciples of Caliban. Each Fleet took place around the two monasteries, Angel Tower and Aery Keep. Gathering of the Unforgiven had begun...

The Gathering of the Covenant
Masters of the Unforgiven met in the Angels Tower first time surrounded by the full battle fleets of the Unforgiven. They couldn’t match the strength of a full legion yet, but were not far from that. And all of them listened to one man, Lions successor, Champion of Caliban, Grand Master Azrael. The leader weigh his words carefully, knowing the gravity of their situation.

“Brothers! We have gathered here today, because a sign from the warp has called us here. All of us are equal, and all of us know the horrible truth behind the fall of Caliban. Thus, I shall not speak about the obvious. I will say, that we’ve found Aery Keep. One of the ancient fortress of our lost homeworld. It seems to be protected with some sort of ancient statis field, that we haven’t met before. We also received a message dating nearly ten thousand years, that would indicate, that the defenders of the Aery Keep kept their loyalty to Lion and the Emperor and were trying to inform them of Luther’s acts.”

These words filled the gathered Unforgiven with excitement and fear. Some of them were hoping to find relics of lost Caliban, other were afraid to become tainted with chaos. They started to look upon each other and tried to communicate only with their eyes and nods. None decided to express their hopes and fears with words. Azrael was aware of that, but he remained silent for a longer moment. When the gravity of the situation reached its peak, he continued with vigour in his words.

“Brothers! By meeting here, in secrecy, all together, we broke one of the most important regulation of the Codex: Astartes. We are guilty of Legion building. Thus, we must act swiftly and without hesitation, because at any time a wondering imperial vessel may treat our actions as heresy. We can only do one thing! We must board the Aery Keep and make peace with our ancestors. If any of them were corrupted by chaos, than we will cleanse them of this corruption with the righteous fury worthy of Lion himself. Only after we investigate the fortress, shall we decide what to do next. Before that time make your prayers and prepare for incursion. I want only the most devoted brothers to accompany my on my this task. Now, I shall prepare as well.”

Azrael left the gathering and went to the only place, that could give him some answers, Luther’s statis cell. Grand Master opened the door with the key passed on to him from his predecessors and entered the room. He was watching the archtraitor in his sleep. Azrael knew, that he can’t wake him up, juts not yet. But he also knew, that here he could learn how to enter Aery Keep. When he was studying Luther’s statis field, he saw in the blink of an eye, a Watcher in the Dark crossing to the other side of the room. Mysterious creatures foot crossed the field, just as if it wasn’t there. That moment Azrael knew how get by the Statis Barrier of the newly found long lost fortress.

Grand Master Azrael ordered, that he will be accompanied only by those chosen by the Watchers in the Dark. The group of 21 Dark Angels Masters, three of each chapter, entered a boarding pod. All of them were accompanied by a mysterious hooded creature bearing a relic of old times. Three heavenfall swords, three winged helmets, three chaosbane maces, three angel shields, three ornamented censers, three sacred standards and three ancient hammers. All of them were glittering when brought together. The Masters of the Unforgiven looked at each other silently. All of them understood, that whatever lay inside Aery Keep was of greatest importance.

The shuttle pod engines roared for a brief moment, like a lion, that has spotted its prey. And moment later, just as a predator would do, the pod started to slowly and carefully approach its target. When the shuttle reached the statis barrier, Remnants of Caliban carried by the Watchers in the Dark started to glow brighter than ever. Masters aboard the shuttle felt, as the barrier lets them pass through, but the moment later their moves began to slow down and their eyes became weary. Grand Master Azrael tried to reach the comlink console as he saw his brethren fall asleep one by one. The last thing he saw was the Watcher in the Dark standing above him and helping him to lay down peacefully.

When Grand Master Azrael opened his eyes he noticed, that he was sitting on a large, ornamented chair carved from a single block of granite. He was sitting at an enormous round table, and on his sides he saw other Dark Angels Master. They looked like if they are waiting for something, but were still deep in their sleep. He tried to move, but he could not. He noticed, that on his left was an even bigger chair, capable to fit a Marine in Tactical Dreadnought Armour with ease. Also, he noticed, that some of the smaller chairs were empty.

“Fear not brethren, because I sense the Lions Mark upon all of you.” The sound came from the back of his head, but Azrael felt it pouring through his ears. The voice continued: “I shall show you the story of the Aery Keep. Then, you shall be granted an opportunity to decide its fate..”. Azrael closed his eyes and saw things, that he only heard about before from his predecessors. He felt, that all other Unforgiven Master saw the same images.

A walk among the shadows
“As you may guessed already, not only the Orders Monastery known as the Angels Tower survived the destruction of our Homeworld. On the other side of the Caliban lied the Aery Keep, home to the House of the Storm. It was a bastion of the loyal Dark Angels during the Hours Uprising. The bold members of the Stormwing, aided by their brothers from the House of Fear, known as the Dreadwing and the House of Iron Steed known as the Ironwing were trying to warn Lion of Luther’s strife, but a Chaos Warp Storm blocked all astral communication with the planet.

The very next moment hordes of warp tainted beasts, swarms and monstrous creatures believed to be eradicated by Lions Crusade appeared all over the continent. Accompanied by demon spawn of all sort and lead by our treacherous brothers of the Fallen Order they wreaked havoc across the planet and besieged Aery Keep.
The defence lines prepared in haste by the Dreadwing tacticians and Ironwings tanks and artillery were able to sustain the first waves of assault. Members of the Stormwing launched a series of counterattacks in order to take down enemy commanders. But the enemy grew stronger with every minute, and the ranks of the defenders were decreasing drastically.

We were fighting to save the relicts of Caliban from the warp taint of chaos. Outnumbered forty to one, unable to contact the Dark Angels fleet and unaware of its presence in the orbit above the Planet, Protector of the Aery Keep, Master Malloc, Lord of the Stormwing was faced with a horrible news. The traitors from their own Chapter had begun a ritual that would destroy their Home. The Fallen have started to open series of Warp Gates, that sucked the materium into immaterium, and released horrible creatures on to the surface of Caliban. The destruction of our Planet was now only a matter of time...

Master Aradiel, Lord the Stormwing assuming the worst, convinced Master Malloc, that the only way to preserve the heritage of Caliban Knight Houses and the First Legion itself, was to connect all of their Power Fields, Displacer Fields and Power Field Boosters with the Aery Keep main reactor creating a powerful Statis Barrier. The Calibans Records of the Statis Barrier dated back to the Age of Strife, and since those long forgotten times none have tried to build it again. No one really knew, would this barrier work, nor how would it affect those inside it. It was a desperate act, but with no other options left, the Dark Angels hand no choice.

Master Malloc knew, that all of his brethren left outside the Keep will be left to a horrible death with no hope of any rescue. He also knew, that in order to set up the Statis Barrier he needed time.

With severe grief he asked for volunteers among his brethren, who would join him and sacrifice their life in order to save the Calibans Heritage and leave a slight chance of regaining the Legions honour. Brother Captain Azad of the Ironwing third Company decided, that his vehicles would take too much space in the Aery Keep, and their firepower could earn the time needed for salvation. He order only few of his brothers to enter the keep with the most precious of their Iron Steeds to be left inside. Together with Master Malloc they’ve launched a massive suicidal counterattack in order to draw the attention of the chaos incursion.

Lord Aradiel took command of the defence of the Keep to make sure, that the sacrifice of his brothers would not be in vain. Demons and beasts succumbed to the plan of Captain Azad, but the heretics from the Fallen Order kept their assault. The fight was different from any other, that we took part during the Great Crusade. Our enemies, our former brothers, gave us no false hope to their intension. They wanted us dead. They outnumbered us. Their push got stronger and stronger with every slain Dark Angel.

We lacked arms and bolts. We needed men to fight and brothers to set up the barrier. Every brother on the gun line was a brother lacking at the construction sites. Lord Aradiel knew, that if nothing would change, than we would be overrun before the barrier could be set. And so the brave Master took two thirds of his most experienced man and ordered to blow the main entrance behind them. All of us knew, that they had no chance of survival. We only hoped, that they could earn us as much time, as they could. They gave their lives to save ours.

The Statis Barier was raised only a moment before the dark rituals of the Fallen had torn Caliban apart. The Statis Barrier of Aery Keep withheld the impact of the Rift and saved the lives of the remaining defenders of Caliban. But our salvation came at a price.

The Keep itself was torn apart from the planet forming an asteroid. The Statis Barrier allowed the brothers inside to survive, but took away from them the flow of time. The Dark Angels fell into deep statis sleep. All of the those left in the Aery Keep were frozen in time and drifted away in the unknown depths of the Warp. But not all of us were granted the right to rest. For three of us were to remain awake in order to take care of our brothers.
We’ve learned that truth the very moment the grim sound of the Statis Barrier field the air of Aery Keep.

The Watchers in the Dark started to appear all over the keep, just as if they’ve been there all the time. We knew them front Caliban, but never suspected, that there were so many of them. They never said a word, but we know, that they will help us look after our brothers. Brother Librarian Gabriel of the Ironwing was our link with them.

Watchers in the Dark constructed a special beacon, to shroud ourselves from chaos and to hid in the shadows of the Warp. But the beacon required, that Brother Gabriel would be entombed in it, and let it slowly take his life from him. He accepted he’s faith with honour. Other two brothers were left to assist the Watchers in the Dark in their endeavours. Mysterious creatures carved in stones new passages, hallways and cells, in which they laid our sleeping brethren. They never allowed any of us to work, but instead guided us through the monastery’s newly build catacombs, teaching us their layout.

All of the surviving marines were placed to rest in quarters of the Monastery and newly carved cells beneath the foundations of the Aery Keep. Those, that have fallen during their heroic stand were buried in the Chapel of Martyrs. The heritage of Caliban, it’s libraries, unique weapons and wargear were sorted, maintained and kept ready to be used at a proper time. The defenders of Caliban, deep in their static dreams awaited the return of their Fleet.”

Although we were Space Marines, emperors finest and sons of the Lion, we still were men. The test of time took its toll. First, brother Gabriel left us. But before that, the Watchers in the Dark woke brother Zadkiel, Codicier of the Dreadwing. He replaced our fallen brother Guardian in his black tomb. Then, brother Malachai who was the First Protector, passed of age, so as did brother Ceznan, the first Cantor, singer of the litanies. Brothers Gradiel, Luciel, Hanniell, Evial, Maratiel, Wiwar and twenty others, Guardians, Protectors and Cantors, whose names are carved in the main hall attended eternal service to the Emperor, Lion and Caliban.

Watchers in the Dark maintained the Keeps generators, upholding the Statis Barrier in place, but we knew, that this won’t last forever. We were hoping to reach a signal from Terra or from our fleet. But we could not do that. When our last brother blessed by the emperor with the gift of touching the warp, Lexicar Stefrial passed away, we know, that it won’t be long. We left the Warp just next to an asteroid field that used to be our precious Caliban. Brother Boliel, the Protector before me, have passed away minutes later. And so I was awoken.

Watchers in the Dark did not woke a new Guardian. That moment the Cantor and I knew, that we have to wait. The days passed on, as we watched over the Eye of Terror, and then, suddenly the Watchers in the Dark have hid in their tunnels. And then you came."

An unforeseen reunion
Grand Master Azrael opened his eyes, but still saw the images of the terrible battle of Caliban. He found himself capable of moving again, thus he stood up. To his surprise he saw that other Chapter Masters were still deep in their dreams. He walked by them and checked, if all of them were all right. The moment later, two Marines entered the room. Both of them wore winged helmets, symbols of the First Legion Captains. One of them seemed to have wings growing out of his back, the other had a standard on his back with Old Caliban writings on it. They approached Azrael and stopped within ten paces of him. They removed their helmets and knead on one knee, giving honours to the Grand Master. The winged one had short dark hair, dark as his shoulder pads. Others hair was silver, just as his maintained, but impressive beard. One young, one old. Both of them wore caliban green armours, but their knee pads and shoulder pads were obsidian black.

The figures stood still kneeling in front of the Grand Master awaiting his words. Azrael ordered them to arise and introduce themselves. First to speak was the winged one. “My name is Nathaniel Mazelor, Battle Captain of the third company of the Stormwing current Protector of Aery Keep. Next to me stands the Cantor, Battle Captain Uriel Sigmaan of the second company of the Dreadwing. Since the death of Master Malloc, Master Aradiel, Battle Captain Azad and their successors we are acting as commanders of the garrison of this keep. We see, that you bear the honours of a Chapter Master, and in your eyes we see the Courage of the Lion, thus we pass the command of this fortress to you Brother.”

Azrael took his time to analyse the words he just heard. He looked upon the young vigorous faces covered with battle scars, that bear the experienced eyes of this ancient warriors. Warriors, that by all means could be traitors to the Dark Angels. But also could be the First Legions salvation. As he was watching his long lost elder brothers, other Chapter Masters of the Unforgiven arose. They approached their Grand Master and surrounded their newly met hosts. Dark Angels were looking at each other awaiting Azraels decision.

“I would be a fool to trust you on sight, but it would be both arrogant and foolish, not to trust you by prejudice. It is not my decision to make alone. I need the advice of the Inner Circle to proceed. Until that time, you shall be detained in the name of the Lion. Do you have a problem with that Battle Captains?” Uriel Sigmaan looked at Nathaniel Mazelor and for a brief moment they’ve communicated in silence. Anyone with just a bit of battle experience would tell, that these two had been together in many fights and trusted each other just as a battle brothers trusts each other.

Cantor Sigmaan put his hand on the hilt of his sword, but before he could draw it, all of the Unforgiven Masters pointed their arms at them. He did not stop, but only slowed his moves. He released his blade from its sheath and pointed its hilt at Grand Master Azrael. At the same time Protector Mazelor did the same thing. When the both swords hilts were pointing Dark Angels Warlord, and their tips hearts of the newly found legionnaires, two Battle Captains knead once again and bowed their heads. Azrael knew the ritual of self-sacrifice, and was truly touched by the authenticity of this moment. “Arise my brothers. I see now, that you are truly the defenders of our lost home world and descendants of the Lion himself. I am not the one to judge you. If any other of my brothers thinks apart, than may they speak freely know, or be silenced until the next Gathering.” The Unforgiven stood still and soundless.

Battle Captains rose from their knees and sheathed their swords. Moment later they shook hands in fashion of old Caliban. The same sign was now used by the Senior Members of the Inner Circle, thus this gesture put a smile on some of the Masters Faces. Grand Master Azrael ordered his brothers to sit at the great stone table in order to finish the Gathering of the Unforgiven.

When the Dark Angels approached the table, they saw their relics placed next to their chairs. One fourth of the places, including the main chair, were empty. Right of the Lions throne sat Master Azrael, left of it Protector Mazelor. All of the unforgiven understood the message from the Watchers in the Dark. Without hesitation two veterans of Caliban were granted the rank of Master. When all of the gathered became equal, they started to exchange information and discuss the future of the Unforgiven. They agreed, that their chronicles and chaplains must investigate each other’s records.

Master Mazelor and Master Sigmaan have learned the horrible truth about Luther and his strife. They also learned the outcome of the Horus Heresy. They were shocked, but still faithful. When they’ve learned of the regulations of Codex: Astartes, they could not accept the fact, that their Legion has been cut to pieces. When they’ve learned of the Covenant of the Unforgiven and it’s true nature, they've breathed a sigh of relief.

The Gathering decided, that a new chapter must be founded. A chapter based on the merits of old Caliban. Master Sigmaan proposed, that the new Chapters Master would become Master Mazelor, since he is the one chosen by the Watchers in the Dark and was the one protecting the Aery Keep during the battle of Caliban. The Covenant agreed on that. Due to his age and experience, Master Sigmaan was granted the title of the Protector of Aery Keep and was issued to help his brothers learn the calibanian ways.

The newly founded chapter was named The Seraphim, which in old Caliban tongue meant “the Oldest of Angels”. Thus, the Dreadwing, Stormwing and Ironwing were finally reunited with the First Legion. The Covenant decided, that the Founding of the Seraphim shall be reported to the High Lords of Terra, when the Chapter would become fully functional. Until that time, the very existence of Oldest of Angels was supposed to remain a secret of the Inner Circle.

All of the Unforgiven undertook a great effort to make the Aery Keep fully functional. Each of the successor chapters donated one eight of its fleet, so the Seraphim could regain their flight capabilities. The new ships were issued to guard the immovable Fortress Monastery, as it was decided, that it will be left on its current position near the ruins of Caliban. The Seraphim volunteered to watch over the Eye of Terror and act as bulwark to chaos incursions.

Also, each of the Unforgiven Chapters transferred one eight of its brothers to help the newly funded chapter regain its strength, until the Seraphim could proceed with their own recruitment and training. Newly founded chapter kept the icons of the First Legion but painted their armour in a different fashion. Black in the memory of the 1st Legion and its glory, Green in memory of Caliban and it's defenders and Gold in the memory of Lion and his sacrifice for the Emperor and his Legion.

Thanks for reading, hope you've liked it :)
With best regards from Poland,
Grzegorz "Grzelich" Hellich
Last edited by Grzelich on Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:44 am

Re: The Seraphim

Postby kurisawa » Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:55 am

Hello Grzelich!

First of all, I'd like to congratulate you on writing a story in a second language. I'm always astonished and humbled at how well non-native speakers of English here can do that.

If it's OK with you, I don't want to be an English teacher and go through correcting all the little grammar mistakes. That's no fun :) . Let's just say you communicated your ideas successfully.

However, one technical point: When you copy & paste from Word, the paragraph indentations are lost, leaving your story as a Big Block of Text (BBOT). This makes it hard to read. I got through it, others won't. If you want more readers you might want to take the time to put clear lines between each paragraph.

Onto the story itself. The premise is very interesting, and very brave to tell such a tale central to the DA's mystique. But, in my opinion, your execution lets you down.

There is a principle for good stories that the writer should try to "show, not tell". Your story reads like a piece of data from the DA codex, or a Wikipedia article, directly communicating events as a lecture, or telling. I recommend that you choose a focus character and take the reader inside the story, through that character's point of view (POV).

You can trust the reader to know a bit about the Dark Angels history already, so you don't need to dump all the information in the opening. The story starts with them finding the floating monastery. That would be my opening moment. So, using the "show, don't tell" principle, you could open like this:

"COULD IT BE?" Master Sammael feared to give voice to his suspicion.

The gigantic fortress floated silently in the black womb of deep space before his starship. There, peering through the armourglas screen he spotted yet another familiar device, the hourglass-skull of the Dreadwing, etched upon an ancient tower.

"It can't be."

From here you can use dialogue and inner thoughts of the character to convey the importance of this discovery, and what happens thereafter.

Hope this helps... :?

PS. I'd love it if you took the time to return the favour and check out my latest short story (number 4 in my signature).
My short stories:
1. Extraction = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2127
2. Intoxication = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2188
3. Desecration = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2294
4. Indoctrination = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3172

My novel:
BLACK SHIELDS: INCOGNITUS = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1901
Posts: 352
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:39 am

Re: The Seraphim

Postby Grzelich » Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:42 am

Thx for the feedback :)

As I mentioned: it's a text from my fanmade supplement for the DA ;)

I wanted to share my idea with some larger group to give me some more motivation to work on the fandex :)
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 10:44 am

Re: The Seraphim

Postby kurisawa » Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:12 am

As I mentioned: it's a text from my fanmade supplement for the DA

Oh, well, missed that, sorry. :oops:

In that case I suppose the text achieves its objective.

[That's the second time I've misconstrued something in almost as many posts! Must improve my reading skills haha...]
My short stories:
1. Extraction = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2127
2. Intoxication = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2188
3. Desecration = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=2294
4. Indoctrination = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3172

My novel:
BLACK SHIELDS: INCOGNITUS = viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1901
Posts: 352
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:39 am

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