The Age of Dusk [60K] [SECTION 54 IS UP!]

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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K]

Postby Tyrant » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:46 pm

Colonel Mustard wrote:
The first was a giant amongst giants, and bore a mantle of wilting midnight feathers about his vast shoulders

I call Corax!


I say Magnus. But then only because I saw a reference to him wearing a cloak of feathers in one of the HH novels. I'm probably miles out! :lol:
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K]

Postby Sipahi Commando » Thu May 26, 2011 5:09 pm

So LordLucan, what's going on with this? I guess I'm being impatient, but I've been sort of wondering about the status of this story since it's been over a month since there was a post here.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K]

Postby LordLucan » Mon May 30, 2011 6:17 pm

Have no fear. It just takes time to plan and construct each update. I have to make sure it all fits together for the great big events building.

This isn't and won't die, don't worry.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K]

Postby LordLucan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:08 am

As promised, a new update:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Additional background Section 10: Raising the Siege.

Titan’s surface is barren and burnt, and daemons crawl across its surface. But the daemons never concerned themselves with the surface, which was constantly scoured clean of life by the regular sweeps of the Dragon’s Silver annihilators. No, the daemons burrowed and crawled, down and down into the dark catacombs and secret tunnels that perforated the Saturnine Moon like a honeycomb.

And there they died. In their endless droves. It was there, deep inside, where the psychic screams of ancient heroes reverberated, and where the sonorous ringing of talons against glinting plate filled the air. The Grey Knights and the Custodians still fought, with the tireless courage of doomed men driven beyond extremity by their prolonged test. Purifiers and Paladins formed chokepoints in the narrow tunnels, and they butchered every wave of daemons. Century upon century upon century had passed. The armour of Grey knight and Custodian were indistinguishable; each were pot-marked, torn and dull. Each warrior was coated in a hundred years of gore and bubbling nightmare spoors. They had long ago fired their last bolts, every psycannon was spent, promethium had long since been poured, burning into the faces of veritable tides of daemons. Even their power armour had run down, and the energy fields on power weaponry sparked and flared no more. Only the psychic will of the Knights remained undiminished by age or the crushing embrace of time. Nemesis weapons still flickered with soul fire, and the psychic counter attacks of the daemon hunters persisted.

Monsters of every patron came, from juggernaughts to winged furies, and more indistinguishable creatures loped from the gloom; pseudopods lashing and beaks scratching. The Knights held them off. But they were constricting and contracting. More and more of the valiant superhumans died every year; their armour stripped and blessed, their bodies anointed in ornate rituals, before being used as blocks in flesh ramparts and barriers to prevent daemonic outflanking in the narrow warrens of the inner sanctums. Only their psychic might sustained their bodies, and even this and their miraculous genetic form could not sustain them indefinitely. Slowly but surely, they began to fall.

Many fell to the ravenous maws of spawn and daemons, others collapsed under the strain of their armour against their ravaged muscles. Others destroyed themselves in psychic implosions, simply to buy time for their brothers to fall back into ever tighter and more dense defensive positions. Eventually, a mere hundred were left, led by the ravaged Custodian Chief and the Castellan known as Obex. Crowe had been lost a decade previously; his malevolent sword, sensing a crack in his resolve, failed him as he clashed with the blubbering Morass of a Great Unclean One. His armour split and broken was flooded with entities of the destroyer hive. After a horrifying moment of rigid resistance, his armour fell to the ground, empty.

But the Knights would not break. They could not break. The names of every one of the Million Martyrs of Titan were etched into their ceramite, and branded upon their skin. After long last, they fell back to the only chamber left unsullied by daemonflesh; the Vaults themselves, where all the most arcane and forbidden of artefacts were stored. Strange devices and structural masterpieces haunted the pitch black chambers, and the air was impossibly chill. At the very rear of the vault, the embalmed corpse of the Emperor sat, perched upon an Obsidian Throne, threaded with green-veined marble. While they still lived, the memory of his existence and his works would forever be preserved, and he could never truly die. They cared not what his deformed godhead had become in the warp. They were not ignorant however; they had felt his ascension just as the Astropaths had. But they were not duped by the Star Father’s apotheosis. The Knights and the Custodes knew what the Emperor was; he was no god of the warp. He was champion of humanity; champion of mankind’s dominion over the real, over the sane. The Star Father was a distortion; a monster borne in the minds of the deluded and the weak-willed. Not like the true heroes of the Dead-Imperium. For the true heroes knew that the creed was merely the rallying cry of all of man, and could not be undone by the removal of the greatest man amongst them. No man, no matter how great, could match the collective resolve of humanity united. The Star Father was a disgusting parody of this; a reciprocal entity which devoured its own worship, and created itself. He was not worthy.

And so they fought on. Obax strode out into the arming hall before the chamber’s doors, flanked by the last two functioning dreadnoughts, Alaric and Tancred, to face the onrushing horde, which had swelled to an ever greater size, for the daemons knew the end would be coming soon. The rest of the knights followed them out, but just as ten of them marched out to join their liege Lord, Obax turned and uttered the Command ‘Terminus’. The vault doors sealed, and the majority of his knights were sealed within, leaving but a token force to hold the great hallway before Titan’s final vault. The Custodian screamed and yelled down his vox, pleading with his millennial friend and brother to open the doors, to let him aid in driving back the daemons.

“Together, we may face our glorious doom together!” the Custodian declared in a fierce yet mournful voice.

Obax’s reply was brief. “The tarot has been set, but the last cards are yet to be dealt. Stay by the Emperor’s side Custodian, as you were ever-destined to.”

With that, the vox link was finally severed, and Obax charged into the ravening mass of tendirls and oozing flesh that greeted him. His broken sword was raised, and he screamed the 666 litanies of hate as he fought. The dreadnoughts followed suit, smashing apart daemons with their claws and even with the barrels of spent-assault cannons and plasmaguns. Blades flashed and daemons died. Oceans of corrosive sludge pumped from severed heads and bisected maws. It was then that Tancred was hacked in twain by the black blade of a most dreadful of daemons; M’kar itself capered into the fray, at the head of the horde of horrors. The dreadnought Alaric was the first to notice this foe of long years past, and he instantly clashed with the Daemon Prince’s smoking blade. The two giants wrestled as the others fought with all their hearts and all their souls; they wielded their hate as shafts of searing faith, drenched in gore but cackling all the same. They were wild in their frenzy.

But, it was to no avail. Alaric banished M’kar, but standing over his disintegrating form was no victory. The daemon-thing laughed even as it was wrenched from reality. “Your time has ended. Your end was determined long before you were created,” it has hissed as the daemon perished. Soon after, Alaric fell, dragged down by thousands upon thousands of furies that wriggled through the constricted tunnels like maggots.

The tides of damnation flowed over the tarnished Knights and nothing could prevent what came next. The Custodian listened through the six metres of adamantium separating him from the combat. He heard them all perish, one by one. Defiant screams replaced by gurgling laughter spat out of inhuman jaws. Then, the mockery turned to a sinister murmur, as the daemons turned to the task of opening the vault. Boom after boom resonated through the door. The remaining defenders merely listened to the sounds with downcast helms, sitting amongst the antique items which had never been used, nor could be used. They sat awaiting their fate in a veritable museum of their own history, their own purpose.

It was then, as even the resolve of the greatest collective wills in the galaxy faltered, that something changed, and a sound which had not been heard for a very long time upon Titan roused them from their misery.

Bolter fire.

Masses of concerted bolter fire came from beyond the vault door. Now it was the daemons’ turns to scream. The Custodian located the few remaining techmarines, and demanded to know what was happening beyond the door. Eventually, the Astartes and Custodes managed to rig up a makeshift pict feed to a dead pict-servitor out in the hallway. What they saw confused them, for their reinforcements were Astartes clad in flaming black armour and helms that were the shape of grinning Chaplain death masks. They were the Legion of the Damned. A myth no longer. They killed the daemons in their droves, each silent as the grave as they killed.

So rapt were the Knights, that only the Custodian himself noticed that one of the ancient artefacts in the vault was reactivating. It was one of the ancient portals of the Eldar, and it began to shudder into life. As it grew in power and glowed with newfound vigour, the Knights and Custodians turned to face this new apparition. Had they not faced enough foes now? What was this new devilry? These questions plagued their war-ravaged minds as the portal, with a final lyrical crescendo, activated.

Out stepped two little girls. They wore their hair in pigtails, and their simple cream robes were the mirror of one another, as they walked from the webway gate hand in hand. Their power was unmistakable instantly. Every Knight in the room involuntarily shivered at their psychic presence; it was rare to be in such close proximity to one Apex level psyker, let alone two. The girls smiled at the assembled giants that surrounded them. One of the Knights managed to bite back his delirious sense of awe and spoke first.

“Why have you come?” was all he could manage.

“We opened the doorway which only we can open, to make uncle happy with us. You must all come along with us now. Uncle is ever so friendly. But he needs all his pieces if we are to play his game. We oh so like games. Come along. The mad one will wake soon; that’s when it’ll start. We don’t want to miss it,” they replied cheerfully, in unison.

The fact I am aware of this story at all should suggest to you that the Knights and their allies took up the diminutive Apex Twins up on their enigmatic request, and at least survived long enough to tell other souls; other chroniclers of their deeds. So it came to pass that Titan was relieved, and the body of the Emperor was snatched from the jaws of heretical defilement.

Ha, heresy. Such an odd word to use now. Now that I know what is coming.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [UPDATED!!!!!]

Postby Gaius Marius » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:03 am

Good one LL, although I'd have to say that when given the option between staying on Daemon infested Titan and going with the creepy twin girls, I'd have stayed on Titan. :lol: The Shining has taught me much.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [UPDATED!!!!!]

Postby Tyrant » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:04 am

"The mad one will wake soon".....hello, Outsider! :o

Awesome!
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [UPDATED!!!!!]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:13 am

Wait, the Grey Knights and the Custodes took up with Mr Cowl? My word, they must be desperate. Or ignorant, perhaps, though I would think that of all the people to know of the Apex Twins, it would be the Knights. Hmm.

Also, I spotted a minor inconsistency here; you said that Stern was in a dreadnought in this chapter, but I remember you had him piloting a Dreadknight on that forge world that Abby conquered; you even had a bit of a jab at the helmetless model option by having him downed by a headshot from a lasrifle, if I remember correctly. Might want to change that name, in such a case.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [UPDATED!!!!!]

Postby LordLucan » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:42 am

Good catch Mustard. I'll change that.

However, the Custodes haven't shacked up with Mister Cowl. Mister Cowl is part of the Ophilim Kiasoz.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [UPDATED!!!!!]

Postby Colonel Mustard » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:51 am

I thought he had been referred to as 'Uncle' before. Or am I getting confused with one of your other, highly sinister apparitions? Probably.

Also, I can't help but wander what's been happening to Kaleb in all of this, you know.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [UPDATED!!!!!]

Postby Sipahi Commando » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:06 pm

I created a page for this on TV Tropes a while back, so if anybody is interested, I would like for some new trope entries to be added. (Sorry for self-advertising, by the way)
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [UPDATED!!!!!]

Postby LordLucan » Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:21 pm

Solar: no need to apologise. I find it awesome that someone likes my work enough to make a tropes page for it.

Progress update: I've almost completed the next section of this piece, covering the rest of the Solar system during its period of isolation.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [UPDATED!!!!!]

Postby Sipahi Commando » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:36 am

I wouldn't be surprised if the Void Dragon took notice to the stuff on TItan...
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [UPDATED!!!!!]

Postby LordLucan » Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:46 pm

Hope you all like it:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Additional background Section 11: The cradle of putrescence: Return to the Solar System.


Where once there was Terra, there was now the sphere. A great ball of unnatural colours and horrific warp-light that spread across a light-year of space, the sphere clung to the very borders of the Western Chaos Imperium like a vile malignancy. Even veterans from the eye feared this realm. Like the warp storms before it and since, it was a swirling mass of madness and warp energy, filled with daemons and degenerates living upon filth and bred on horror. But unlike all the others, this was a storm that had been manufactured by Abaddon himself, by poisoning the Oort cloud and seeding a self-consuming daemon-virus into the very atoms of the star system.

In the Age of Dusk, only those who had failed Abaddon, the banished, or those insane beyond all reckoning, ventured inside the Storm of the Emperor’s Extinction. For too long the warp had saturated the worlds within. Jupiter churned with a billion impossible colours, and coiling monsters writhed unseen within its endless banks of mutagenic cloud. Its moons were twisted into daemon worlds, that cast vile energies upon one another and warped constantly. Neptune, Uranus and Saturn suffered similar fates. This was a realm where even the Chaos Space Marines were near-helpless. No vessels could enter the sphere’s warp shell without being damaged beyond repair; they soon crashed upon the daemon moons, or were dashed into formless energies by the warp currents, and were there suckled upon by foul things of putrid geometry and biological abomination.

Terra was a dark crown rotting towards the centre of the horrific churning nightmare. It had consumed its sister Venus and Mercury; huge chains and hooked fronds had drawn them into the world and pounded them like clay, into new and dreadful forms. Luna was swallowed whole, before forming a giant lidless eye that wept oceans of pus into the void, which formed wailing pus-devils of nuglitch heritage that consumed themselves within moments.

Mars was no longer red; it was silver and shimmered with arcing patterns of green grave-light. Endless forests of pylons and nightfield generators swathed the world in a cloud of soulless sanity that turned daemons into faded vapour within seconds of approach; for it was the world of the Void Dragon, and he was Oblivion itself, rendered in living metal flesh and pulsating starlight. His Necron Armada had been trapped there through the ploys of Abaddon, but he was far too powerful to defeat. He could only be contained, and contained barely. Every five days, his fleet would dart between every single world in the Solar System. His constructs would utterly scour every single world completely, leaving them as sterile balls of rock. His Necrons killed everything. Then, they would orbit Sol, drink deep of its ancient energies, before returning to Mars to feed their great C’tan master, who grew more powerful and more frustrated every single day. This was because, barely a day after killing every daemon in the Solar system, the daemons would return, and remake their worlds anew. These purges became known as the Dragon Tides, and are the only reliable means of time keeping inside the Storm of the Emperor’s Extinction. They are treated almost like tropical storms by the daemons and degenerates of the Solar realm. They hide before he reaches them. Some survive. Most don’t. But it matters little either way. Chaos always returns, feeding on the misery of those who yet live to fuel it to ever greater feats of madness.

Despite the horror of the Sphere, there are treasures to be plundered by those brave and deranged enough to venture within. Terra’s vaults were always warded with unbreakable seals, and they are filled with a wealth of knowledge beyond reckoning, perhaps second only to... this place I find myself within...

Ahriman was such a seeker of knowledge. He desired to finally breach the secret vaults, and plunder Terror’s heart. The great sorcerer gathered together Rubric Marines and fellow practitioners of warp magic from across the Chaos Imperiums; not only Thousand Sons, but many psyker cults from every creed and diabolical culture flocked to his Library vessel, formed from the captured hulk of a dea Void Stalker. His Cabal tried a hundred different rituals to breach the impenetrable cloud of warp storms that sheathed the Solar system in both the Materium and Immaterium; millions of their moaning acolytes perished in these attempts, but to no avail. The madness spewing forth from the Oort Cloud was too dense and too nonsensical. Even the most powerful mage’s minds were simply too mortal and too logical to truly perceive a safe route through the tundra of psychosis.

All, that is, save for one vessel. The Tersis, the fallen Black Ship had plunged into the very depths of the warp, beneath the undulating incorporeal realms where flesh ran fluid and matter was a myth. In the millennia since that time it had roamed the warp like one of the many warp predators that hunted alongside it. The ship was a living warp vessel, infused with warp energies in every atom of its being, some even claiming is stored a fragment of the pure, deepest warp inside its engine room, which powered the vessel indefinitely. Such was the potency of its corruption; it could remain in the Materium only for brief intervals of days to capture new crew to replace those daemonhosts onboard whose bodies had finally come apart under the strain of demented devilry, before returning to the warp. Ahriman had to use all his esoteric knowledge to predict when the Tersis would next rise to the Materium, and set a watch over the region.

When the living, writhing vessel finally did emerge, he instantly opened a warp portal inside the daemon-sub, and deployed his elite retinue within and lead the incursion force himself. The Tersis was a nightmare inside and out, and as soon as he boarded the vessel, he was attacked by the gibbering hordes within. Monsters with too many limbs and disjointed bodies wracked by taint drooled through the very walls themselves to attack Ahriman’s band, but his powerful spells managed to ward off much of the onslaught. The mortals of his retinue, protected from harm by the Rubric Marines, wailed and wept in agony simply through looking upon the fluid walls and raw madness that formed the structure of the Tersis. Geometry meant little to this vessel, and Ahriman’s loyal minions travelled for mile upon mile through the cavernous guts of the vessel, wading through bile and burning their way through bulkheads that gnashed and growled at them. Every step of the way, they were followed by loping daemonhosts and scuttling spawn-things. For days they travelled, and no matter how hard Ahriman’s scholars tried, they could not decipher a path through the maze.

Ahriman at last used a powerful spell to summon his patron’s own daemons, who managed to break through the cloying masses to send word to the Lord and Lady of the Tersis. They bore the message of the master of the Rubric; Ahriman wanted to parley with them, not to fight them. Instantly, a passage formed, cutting through the maze, directly to the central chamber of the Tersis, where the Lord and Lady presided.

Lady Medeline and her nameless Witch-lord spouse presided over the vast throne room of ossified corpses that Ahriman’s Cabal found itself upon; the terrifying rulers of the Tersis seated upon a glowering throne of writhing beetles and fused bulkhead. Medeline perhaps had once been a Sororitas, but even the barest caress of the Nex [ACCOUNT CORRUPTED, SEEK HELP] beyond all recognition. She sat in her bio-mechanical daemon armour, perched upon the lap of the silent, hooded form of the Witch-Lord, the Psyker formerly of Cell Primus, who petted her multi-hued hair, which wriggled with inhuman life as his talons touched it. Medeline spoke for both of them as she asked for Ahriman’s terms.

Ahriman asked for passage on their vessel, as it passed deep into the upper pinnacle of the deepest parts of the warp’s non-existent architecture; the Thousand Son knew that the only way to bypass the Solar warp shell was to travel ‘beneath’ it. (I hesitate to utilise the term beneath, for the realm of the warp bears no such physical dimension. Forgive my colourful analogues. They are my only method of coping with such an impossible realm).

None are sure what Medeline asked for in return for her services, but it seems Ahriman readily accepted and gathered the remainder of his Cabal unto him as the frigate-scaled Tersis returned to its unnatural habitat.

(The journey through the deep warp remains unrecorded here. I have read pervious chronicles which attempted to depict such things, but this often renders said documents unreadable and, in some rare cases, unbearably sentient...)

Eventually, the Tersis emerged in a blossoming scream of darkest glare, and the firmament itself bled as its fins ripped their way into reality. Beneath them turned the hellscape of the Sphere, the nightmare which had once been Terra, the cradle of mankind. Ahriman deployed onto the surface almost immediately alongside his elite Rubric marines and one of his Acolytes; a young, ambitious woman known as Crolemere. The rest of his thousand strong Cabal did not land upon the surface. It would have seemed that the Tersis had its prize as it returned to the warp and left the Astartes Sorcerer to his own devices.

Ahriman instantly got to work, for he had no time to dally; he had but five days before the next Dragon tide, and he also knew he was not the only deranged plunderer who had come to pry the Emperor’s vaults open and sample the putrid fruits within.

He and Crolemere cast a runic enchantment about their retinue, which cast out the questing talons of passing daemons birthed in the sour wombs of the Storm of the Emperor’s Extinction. The place that was once Terra was a place much-changed. There were semi-organic citadels that crawled across its surface like impossibly vast hermit crabs. Whole civilisations of mutants lived and died in the span of hours. The surface constantly shifted and rolled like an ocean of swarming locusts, and it took a great force of will for Ahriman’s disciples to merely avoid being swept away into nothingness by these buffeting tides. Yet it was the woman Crolemere who discovered a means to navigate the blasted orb. Though it was an impossible wasteland, beneath the surface , the ancient passages and subterranean boulevards of Luna, Venus and Terra remained in a semblance of order, even if they were hopelessly ruined. Using this sanity like a divining rod, Ahriman moved at a brutally brisk pace.

Yet, he was not the only faction of power hungry travellers to reach the sphere of madness. The Mage Mistress Vaxigotsh, one of the most powerful chaotic warlords in the Segmentum Obscurous, had breached the Oort cloud through sheer attrition; sacrificing a fleet of fifteen thousand of her best ships. Only her burning flagship, the Delirium, pierced the veil, filled with her cybernetic legion known as the ‘Host Divine’; degenerate killing machines one and all. They too desired the secrets of the Revenant Vault; the Emperor’s Laboratories.

Her vessel crash-landed in a collection of fang-like mountains, and emerged on foot at the head of her vast army. She happened to land closer to the great heart of the Terran daemonworld, outside the palace itself, where the rift itself was ripped open and raw with the passing of innumerable daemons and nightmares from the very deepest descents of the warp. And it was she who had the dubious privilege to encounter the new master of Terra personally.

Where once the majestic Imperial Palace had crowned the Himalayas, now there stood a towering keep of dull stone and weeping brass which shuddered as if laughing as if laughing in mockery of its former glory. As she approached, she found the blood-filled moat surrounding this keep grew into a vast and terrible ocean, filled with sharks and betentacled things that gnashed and wailed in agonised fury. The only way across the blood sea was a narrow bridge formed from the ribcages of vast beasts. Her army ignored these omens and ploughed on ahead in their column of befouled armoured vehicles and super heavy tanks. Every step on their journey was watched by skinless shrikes, that instantly reported all they saw to the Prince of Terror; the regent of Terra.

When the army was halfway across the bridge, the Daemonic legion struck. Bloodthirsters soared overhead, landing before and after the army, trapping them upon the colossal bridge. Meanwhile, veritable tides of Bloodletters charged along the bridge, growling and snarling with eager bloodlust, while juggernaughts stampeded in their midst. Battle was suddenly drawn, and both sides fought with savagery; one warp born, the other induced by cybernetic implants and slaught infusions. Vaxigotsh’s champions were beheaded one after another by the Skulltaker herald of Khorne. Meanwhile, daemon engines of truly colossal scale rose from the depths like legendary leviathans, and ripped the bridge itself apart, tossing both sides into the boiling torrent of scalding blood. When the skull taker finally took Vaxigotsh’s head, he was bidden to keep the severed organ quite alive, so the master of Terra could witness her destruction in close proximity.

Ahriman chose a different path through the hellscape. He travelled beneath it, hugging sanity like a crutch. All the while he weaved his sorceries, and the realm above was in flux, changing according to conflicting whims. The Thousand Sons Marine summoned daemonic allies and entire warp portals on the surface, instigating titanic wars and conflicts that sundered the mountains themselves with their fury; all this was to distract the Daemon regent of Terra. Doombreed, the first and eldest mortal daemon ruled terra with the bloody claws of a tyrant, but even he, most powerful of daemon princes, was not omnipotent.

Yet, even as he grew more and more frustrated with the sorceror’s feints and illusions, Doombreed knew Ahriman was there.

“Do you think to confound me Astartes whelp? This is my world; my home. I tainted this planet’s soil with blood and pain long before the Anathema’s folly of an Empire arose! I arose long before he bred his sons, and their polluted little mongrels; mongrels like you. I shall swat you as I have swatted all who came before you little mortal. You and your race of posthumans are not worthy of the fruits of the Gods’ power!” he bellowed, his dread voice carrying to every corner of the world.

Crolemere cowered at the din, but Ahriman dismissed her fears; he would ensure her safety, until she had completed her part of the bargain.

The image of the Doombreed was burned into Ahriman’s mind as he silently fought a battle of wills with the Khornate daemon prince. The daemon appeared as a terrible mirror image of the Emperor; where his armour was gold, the Doombreed’s was brass, and wept oily pus and stinking venom, and where the Emperor’s shining features (for all his faults) had appeared majestic, Doombreed’s face was a contorted mask of patchwork flesh and burning charcoal eyes, topped by a crown of obsidian spines.

But Ahriman’s mind, while weaker than the ancient daemon’s power-glutted essence, was by far the more agile, and he avoided Doombreed’s fiery gaze. After four days of battle and stealthy infiltration, Ahriman’s band reached the catacombs of the Dark palace. It was here that Ahriman needed his minions more than ever. He was drained from his relentless mind war with the prince, and only his Rubric marines could defend him from assailing daemons and maddened degenerates that assailed them from every angle; each new wave was gunned down dispassionately by the undead automatons. At long last they reached the desired vaults. At the foot of the vault doors, dried husks marked the manifest failure of previous tomb raiders.

Only Crolemere’s touch could open the vault, for she was of the purest blood, and an innocent who was immune to the effects of warp taint; one of the few grey Sensei ever to have existed. Only the Emperor’s blood could open his most secret vaults, and part of his blood flowed in her rebellious veins. Her touch opened the bio-coded seals, and granted Ahriman access to the shrouded labs.

As it opened, the stasis field inside disengaged. As Ahriman stepped inside, he was staggered by what he found. Mortal scientists, clad in pristine white robes of plastic and rubber, and towering machines of unique and intriguing designs, most of them alien in nature. It was then that he felt his powers suddenly leave him, and he staggered to his knees. From behind a cable-veined column stepped a woman in ornate armour, clutching a wickedly sharp silver broadsword in her delicate fingers. Her mouth was covered with a grill, which only a veteran of millennia long past could ever recognise; she was a sister of silence. The Rubric marines were slain as further Silent Sisters cut down the giants as they slowly reached to this new menace. The Emperor had planned against plunderers a long time ago.

But Ahriman was not so easily cowed, not when he was so close to his ultimate goal. Slowly, he rose to his feet, snarling with indignant anger.

“I am the Outcast of the Cyclops God, and the scion of the Rubric! I shall not be denied that which shall save us all! All is Dust, but from dust rises... everything!” he declared in a loud voice before the Sisters descended upon him.

He and the Sensei battled them furiously, ignoring cuts which would have slain lesser men a hundred times over. His staff was hacked apart, and his helm ripped away. His own blood ran freely, never getting a chance to clot as he threw himself into combat. As the last Sister of Silence died, his powers flooded back to him with a vengeance like an ethereal gale, which blew the vault closed behind them.

What happened within with the Emperor’s surviving scientists cannot be fully known for certain, but it was known that Crolemere and Ahriman bore extensive tomes and texts with them into the vaults. Ahriman drained the vaults of their knowledge some say, while others claim he merely completed the incomplete knowledge which resided within those hallowed halls of learning and research.

All that is known is that, Doombreed registered a sudden surge in warp energy beneath Terra’s crust, which alerted him to Ahriman’s presence. However, when his legions reached them, they were nowhere to be found. Not only had Crolemere and Ahriman vanished, but so too had the entire vault, leaving a perfect, square kilometre cube of empty space in its place.

Doombreed howled his frustration to the bruised skies, even as the Dragon Tide swept in and scoured his world clean of all matter once more.

What Ahriman couldn’t have known at that time, of course, was that his dramatic exit had punched a hole not only through real-space, but also pierced the Oort cloud shroud.

The prison walls broke on that year; a year forever known as the year of the Dragon, which would be the catalyst of all that was to come.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 11 up!!!!!]

Postby Tyrant » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:01 pm

"Save us all".....hmmm, Ahriman sounded almost altruistic there, how unlike him. And I wonder what purpose the Emperor had in preserving the scientists who had worked with him before the Imperium was even forged.....what did He see coming?

Very intriguing, can't wait for the next update!
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 11 up!!!!!]

Postby Gaius Marius » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:08 am

Very interesting stuff LL, and it seems somewhat in keeping with Ahriman's portrayal in A Thousand Sons. I'm sure the Dragon getting out won't be any big deal or anything though. ;)
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 11 up!!!!!]

Postby Sipahi Commando » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:40 am

I've been making a whole soundtrack of this in my head. I never really shared it, but when I read the description of the chaos-ravaged solar system, this was the only thing that came into mind.

Also, about this quote:
Medeline perhaps had once been a Sororitas, but even the barest caress of the Nex [ACCOUNT CORRUPTED, SEEK HELP] beyond all recognition


Wouldn't it had been sufficient to say "even the barest caress of the Next had corrupted her beyond all recognition"?
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 11 up!!!!!]

Postby Gaius Marius » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:07 am

I don't presume to speak for Lord Lucan, for I am not one of his thousand befanged mouths, but I believe the Nex is supposed to be so unspeakably, horribly unreal that even writing down its full name is impossible. Thus the chronicler is unable to even write down the word Nex (which i assume is just the first three letters of a longer name) without his computer shorting out.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 11 up!!!!!]

Postby LordLucan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:38 pm

Lord Solar Macharius wrote:I've been making a whole soundtrack of this in my head. I never really shared it, but when I read the description of the chaos-ravaged solar system, this was the only thing that came into mind.


Awesome. I really like that.I like how that Chopin piece is rather soft and mournful. It is rather inspiring. Cheers for the link :D

Also, about this quote:
Medeline perhaps had once been a Sororitas, but even the barest caress of the Nex [ACCOUNT CORRUPTED, SEEK HELP] beyond all recognition


Wouldn't it had been sufficient to say "even the barest caress of the Next had corrupted her beyond all recognition"?


Ah but you are assuming that is all the account referred to... how many pages of blubbering ranting did the in-universe narrator have to edit out? That is the question.

The Deep Warp doesn't want to be recognised... :D
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 11 up!!!!!]

Postby LordLucan » Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:33 am

Not a long section, but hope you enjoy it anyway:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




Additional Background Section 12: The Warpish Tumult.

The sea of souls is not a place of form or structure. We gaze upon it through a distorting lens of sanity and analogy which conjures up the false images of alien vistas and towering edifices; mythology and metaphor become stark and real in our minds, for this is the only way we can perceive it. This... repository of information which I find myself within likewise records events ‘within the warp’ in this same legendary and somewhat baroque style. Therefore, I shall use a similar style to explain the far-reaching effects of the expanded warp between Pantheons which had been building ever since the birth of the Star Father, the paradoxical master of order within madness.

Older accounts depicted how he fought the chaos gods into a stalemate, and became par tof the great game, but his legacy went further. Throughout the realm of chaos, the forests of decay constantly shifted and groaned as Nurgle’s power waxed and waned. Likewise the sensory vistas of delirium conjured by Slannesh easily faded or flourished depending upon which god was master at the time. The same went for the crystalline Tzeentchian mazes that shattered and constantly realigned themselves, and the war industries of Khorne.

The great irony of chaos’ game was that for the most part, between their realms, there was utter formless howling wilderness; only the most bitter of furies could maintain their forms within the fluid border regions; no god laid claim to them, for no god could. Thus, when the souls of mortals were tossed from reality into the churning sea of souls, they mostly dissolved; their component parts being then picked over and parcelled off into the bellies of opportunistic daemons, or eventually coalesced into the great form of the chaos realms; disembodied anger washed onto the bloody shores of Khorne’s realms, and formed the foundations of his factories of annihilation, for instance.

But the Lord of Order disrupted this imbalance. He had great spires which never changed, but rather they loomed over all like heavy steel turrets in a fast flowing river. Great rigid bridges joined them like a box web, as unchanging and horrifically deranged as any hellscape conjured by his rivals. Upon these bridges, souls were trapped; they never moved nor did they so much as scream in torment. They whimpered and mumbled mindless praises to the living embodiment of Domination. The Star Father would roar ‘OBEY!’ and they would chime their approval, while the Angyls flitted amongst them, slowly draining them and feeding them to the Star Father. This denied them to the chaos gods. It was but a negligible drop in the vast intake of souls the chaos gods constantly gorged upon (and, contrary to the belief of some, even if all life was erased from existence, the chaos gods would still persist, for the souls they had already consumed would sustain them indefinitely. How I know of this warp metaphysics cannot be related here at this moment. I fear you may try to emulate me when the time comes, and that should never happen...)

In the Materium, the effect was in anything, even more horrific. Some mortals, when they died, remained conscious, for their soul was trapped and fixed in position; becalmed in the warp. Thus, as their bodies died, decayed and were buried, their souls and minds remained, screaming silently in the worst kind of horror imaginable.

However, this denial of souls to the other gods did not go unnoticed by the rival powers. Slannesh grew petulant at being denied even more sweetmeat morsels, and chased his daemon princess concubines from his palace, before demanding answers from the most ancient serpent daemons; Shaimesh, Lhiemeth, Fulgrim and others too numerable and profane to name. He gathered his most beautiful of creations, the daemonette Illuria, and infested her with a fearsome venom crafted by Shaimesh. The dark prince set her out to the Star Father’s bastion, in an attempt to seduce the monolithic God-King. Those he was a God of oppression and control, his molten Gold flesh bore emotional chinks, too small for all but the lord of perversion to see. Illuria playfully submitted to the Star Father, begging to be bound and dominated, all the while hiding a venomous bard beneath her flesh. As he bound her and dragged her before him, she struck. Though she was immediately obliterated by his merciless power, the poison took effect and distracted the Star father for long enough for the other Gods to gather against him.

Tzeentch gathered them together to decide upon a means to rob the Father of his sedated souls, but Tzeentch himself was of little use; his plans were too complex, contradictory and multifarious to have a lasting effect. Khorne favoured a frontal assault, but he only desired a war if he could face the full might of the Star Father, with all his Angyls at his side; he wished to pit his daemonic herald Skulltaker against the Angyllic herald Draigo, the faceless champion of the grand Star-Gate. However, Draigo was not present then for he was in the Materium on an errant for his master which he hardly disobey(his story shall be related later in this history).

Yet it was a most unusual ally who devised the most cunning plan. Malice, the outsider God, approached Nurgle’s spouse, Isha the mother, in the form of a black pinioned raven, and whispered to her many dark and dreadful secrets. Isha, at the secret behest of Malice Isha proposed a most radical of ways to denying the Star Father his captive prizes. She, lover of life, pleaded with Nurgle to unleash a warp infection into the Materium which would raise the helpless souls from their living death. They would not die, they would live. And Nurgle did so, through his mortal agents. In the Materium, the decade of the fifteenth zombie plague was the result; billions upon billions of mortal creatures who had died but not passed dragged themselves from graves and funeral pyres in a single great epidemic of horror spanning light-years. In the warp, the Star father howled in frustration as his bridges collapsed for it was no longer supported by the mass of souls beneath them. This frustration made Khorne swell in power, and led to his great war against the Star father, or so they say. Khorne may have won that war if it had not been for the theft of his great black sword by Malice, who tossed the Sword into the wilderness.

The reason for the absence of the blank visage of Draigo in this calamitous war may seem strange, until we access another one of the accounts that linger in this great place.

We must look to the Chronicles of Telion, and the mythological cycles surrounding this account. Particularly, we must look to the most important sections of his Chronicles; those that depict the fall of Grand Sicarium and its deranged Astartes King.
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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

Postby Gaius Marius » Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:23 am

Excellent, Warp political/metaphysics/fighting at its best. Also, interest for Draigo kicking ass across Grand Sicarum is definetly picked. Although I do want to see him fight the skull taker.
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