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Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 4:30 am
by Sipahi Commando
So Draigo and the Ultramarines duke it out in the next installment? We have to get Matt Ward to read this when it finally gets posted.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:13 am
by qah
Oh God this^

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:02 pm
by Colonel Mustard
Really should have seen Draigo being one of the Star Father's champions coming, though out of interest I do remember you mentioning an 'Archangyl Malcador' (or possibly Malcolm) in one of your Shape of the Nightmare to Come. Is Malcolm the big cheese, or Draigo, or are they both just highly favoured champions in this?

Still, an excellent, highly interesting part, and I enjoyed the account of politicking between the Chaos Gods a lot, not to mention it will be interesting to see Draigo and Sicarius duke it out.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:53 pm
by LordLucan
Colonel Mustard wrote:Really should have seen Draigo being one of the Star Father's champions coming, though out of interest I do remember you mentioning an 'Archangyl Malcador' (or possibly Malcolm) in one of your Shape of the Nightmare to Come. Is Malcolm the big cheese, or Draigo, or are they both just highly favoured champions in this?

Still, an excellent, highly interesting part, and I enjoyed the account of politicking between the Chaos Gods a lot, not to mention it will be interesting to see Draigo and Sicarius duke it out.

Imagine Draigo as being like a Star-Father version of Skulltaker, while Malcador is the Star Father's equivalent of a greater daemon of a similar power and scale as Skarbrand, Fate-weaver or one of those 'big' greater daemon characters.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:42 pm
by Colonel Mustard
Ah, I see.

Draigo vs Skulltaker, that would be a fight to see...

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:03 am
by Sipahi Commando
So what does the Grand Theologian Union think of the Star Father?

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:38 am
by Gaius Marius
Marius has question!

I've been rereading Shape of the Nightmare to Come, specifically about the Space Wolves. Is the Fenrisian Imperium still in existence by 60K? And do the wolves ally with Vulkan? and can I sooner or later write a short where the Fire Beasts try and find them?

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:36 pm
by LordLucan
Gaius Marius wrote:Marius has question!

I've been rereading Shape of the Nightmare to Come, specifically about the Space Wolves. Is the Fenrisian Imperium still in existence by 60K? And do the wolves ally with Vulkan?

I was saving up discussing them until the 'alpha wulfen' backgroudn section comes up. But yeah, they are around.

and can I sooner or later write a short where the Fire Beasts try and find them?

Sure you can.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:55 pm
by Mr Stereo1
I've been reading this for a while, and I'm just subscribing now, so I'll make a few predictions.

The Legion of the Damned disappeared long before the Star-Father arose, so I'm guessing they're working for the parts of the Emperor the gestalt threw out when they killed Horus, 'compassion' the remainder called it. The minor display of emotion on the part of the pigtails-twins suggest they might be sensei, but then whether they were working with the Legion or not was never confirmed, so they could have very different motives. If so, I guess they were the same faction which took Lion.

The Alpha-Wulfen is probably Russ, but I wouldn't rule out Grimnar as a candidate.

By 'Save us All' Ahriman has suddenly made himself a far more interesting character, and if he managed to recruit a Grey Sensei he's probably got something planned... and, by any chance, was the hole in the barrier approximately a kilometer squared?

Also, how powerful is the Genestealer Grand Patriarch compared to the Astronicom? Could he be powerful enough to act as a psychic beacon for the Vulkan Imperium?

Otherwise I can only offer inarticulate praise for the grim-darkness of the setting actually moving forward in an excellent plot. :mrgreen:

EDIT: And did any copies of the Cain archive survive this long?

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:50 am
by Sipahi Commando
To elaborate on my previous `mental soundtrack`, here`s a list that I complied together, though the tracks are re-named for thematic reasons:

  1. Dark Millenium (Inquisition Daemonhunt Theme)
  2. New Cadia (Abaddon's Theme) (Dies Irae by Mozart)
  3. For the Greater Good (Tau's Theme) (Mao Zedong's Theme from Civilization IV
  4. Ophelia (Sister of Battle Theme from Soulstorm)
  5. Nihilism (Oblivionate's Theme) (No Children by the Mountain Goats)
  6. Titan's Stand (Divine Crusade by X-Ray Dog)
  7. Litany (Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart*)
  8. Krieg (Bismarck's Theme from Civilization IV)
  9. For Russ and the All-Father! (Space Wolves' Theme) (Het Gelders Volkslied)
  10. OBEY! (Star Father's Theme) (Moonlight Sonata by ES Posthumus)
  11. The Nex (No link as of yet, but I'm thinking of the reversed parts of Au Fond du Temple Saint and Die Moldau from Everything will be OK [skip to 8:57])
  12. The Harlequins (Harlequins' Theme)
  13. Armageddon- A World of War no Longer (Hamsafar by Christopher TIn)
  14. Enter Valhalla- and never leave (The Sacred War)
  15. Requiem for a Solar System (Nocturne in C Minor by Chopin)
[*]The Angyl and the God-King (Vishnu by ES Posthumus)

This is far from perfect, and expect to see revisions and updates as this is updated.
*Not exactly a Litany of Hate, but I can still image the people of Titan joining together and singing this in defiance against the xeno and the heretic.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:42 pm
by 40kpoorly
A quick read of the teaser has me sucked into the 50K background you've created.


Great stuff LL!

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:53 pm
by shadowhawk2008

Just read through all the 12 sections in one setting. I think I have a sufficient handle on things now to write a related 60k story.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:43 pm
by LordLucan
He he, awesome.

I'm writing an update for it as we speak incidentally. I apologise to your eyes in advance mister hawk :P

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:16 pm
by shadowhawk2008
1000+ words along on my piece for this :) Should have it posted in a few hours once I think it is fit.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [Section 12 up!!!!!]

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:44 am
by LordLucan
A big damn update. But it covers possibly the most epic part so far (I hope you agree). Enjoy:


Additional Background Section 13: The fall of Grand Sicarium.

Much occurred in the one thousand years that directly preceded the Vail-Fall of M56. Already I have gleaned vast reams of information from the archives here (though it is a challenge to decipher the many diverse and complex meanings of the ‘tomes’ written here), a fraction of which I have shown you so far. But I had to look to other historians and chroniclers for this tale. In an effort to glean the truth, I have merged to testimonials of loyalists, Star Cultists, as well as various sections from the galactically-famous ‘Chronicles of Telion the Grey-Hood’.

As previously iterated, the dreadful forces of the Star father remained exceedingly strong during this period; the warp was in turmoil as never before, and the chaos gods were almost obsessive in their desire to overcome their youngest and most abhorrent of siblings. But this was in the metaphorical apocalypse of the sea of souls. In the Materium too, the Star Father’s influence was expanding. More and more worlds within the most oppressive of regimes felt the intangible will of the God of Domination bearing down upon their very souls, and witnessed the grand Angyl armies descend upon their worlds, turning their planets into near-lifeless automations of life.

But this was not enough for the Star Father; it was never enough. So long as there was a will in the world to defy him, he was restless. His dominance needed to be final and everlasting. He needed something that the scholars of the long-extinct Thorian cult had predicted countless millennia ago; an avatar for his will, a means by which he could channel a significant fraction of his power into reality. If he could do this, he would be almost unstoppable. Thus, he sent forth an Angylic host, led by one of the Angyllic heralds, known as Draigo, while the Archangyls (including Malcador and the Goge-Lord) let the other hosts as they duelled the daemons in their hell-realms. Draigo was sent into reality with a mission, to find a being with a body sufficiently sturdy enough (physically and intellectually) to contain the essence of the Star Father, and to destroy or enslave any who sought to protect the avatar.

Draigo was more than enough for the task set for him. He was the Star Father’s champion and one of the most formidable creatures to step into the Materium. He bore the soulless mockery of Grey Knight armour, which had become an enclosing fluid skin of silver and grey metal flesh, animated by the churning soul of a warrior forged in hatred for all daemonkind. His soul was golden and luminescent, blinding to all who witnessed it. But brightness does not denote righteousness, for he was a nightmarish and profoundly destructive being. His vast blank shield could smash aside whole phalanxes of foes, and his sword drank souls as it obliterated flesh.

After centuries of searching and the destruction or enthrallment of billions of souls, the Herald found a potential avatar; one that he had overlooked for far too long. On the world of Varigen, after the world’s crust had been coated in angyllic steel-flesh, and all its inhabitants had been placed upon the ever-marches, Draigo found a survivor. He was an Astartes free Captain, calling himself a Warrior King of Ultramar-in-exile. He tried to resist Draigo, but he and his Oppressi-seers soon broke the man’s spirits, and demanded the Astartes give them all the knowledge he had. Yet, when Draigo spoke of avatars, the Marine spat.

“We need no avatars. Guilliman is the only Father we ever needed, or ever will!”

Draigo then obliterated him with a gesture, but the statement made the angyl ponder.

And it made him plan.

Several thousand lightyears distant from this, Grand Sicarium continued on as it had done for thousands of years. It was a hellish realm of cramped urban dwellings, fortresses, factories and propaganda offices filled with Astartes-worshipping sycophants and ideologues. The people starved regularly across this sub sector, but still they adored their superhuman masters, who in turn ruled over them like feudal kings. Each Astartes maintained a veritable army of retainers and warrior-retinues of mortals and advisors.

All surplus trade produce and tithe payments were sent to the capital world of Grand Sicarium; Macragge. Here lay the incalculably vast Citadel of Sicarius. This fortress perched like a spider across the mountains of Hera, and was flanked by mile-high statues of King Sicarius himself. He was supposedly the Father of all Astartes, tasked by his own father, Guilliman, to create a race of warrior giants to watch over humanity. According to his propaganda, he cut the flesh from his left hand, and used powerful magicks to summon the Astartes into being, born of his own flesh. First he created his council of Elders, then they in turn brought forth their own Astartes, who then flourished and drove back the darkness that had fallen over creation. We can see that this is at least partially a corruption of the concept of geneseed transference, and the process of Astartes creation, but to the ignorant inhabitants of Grand Sicarium, they believed this tale wholeheartedly (even if some or most professional mortal practitioners knew the truth of biology and Astartes physiology, they paid lip service to this creed to maintain their own positions).

Sicarius himself grew ever more deranged and paranoid, locked in his towers scheming. His Praetorian Draconis (the title of his second in command), Titus, formerly of the Genesis Chapter, enacted the orders of Sicarius with an ideological zeal that bordered on mania. Potential enemies were executed regularly, before being spitted upon pikes outside the walls of administration buildings across the sub sector. Ever-tighter rules and laws were placed upon the populace each year, until Sicarius could not be named directly by anyone, on pain of torture. This was because he had a cabal of psykers and sorcerers in his court, who told him about the concept of true names and daemonology. He feared having his name used against him, almost as much as he feared dying. He had heard what the afterlife consisted of in these terrible times, and he had no wish to meet his fate, not when either oblivion or abomination awaited him. As to why he could conceive of fear, none can say for certain. His followers claimed it was some sort of venom which his foes had created. Others contended that it was merely his advanced age breaking down his psychological conditioning. Others go further. They maintain that Astartes could always feel fear in extreme cases; Sicarius merely had no reason to disguise his fear behind

He did, however, maintain Guilliman’s shrine, and the Primarch within. Ever since he had learned of Vulkan’s return and rapid spread throughout the galaxy, he had grown afraid of what the Primarch may try to do. He also resented the fact that it was not his Primarch uniting the galaxy. He preserved Guilliman in the vain hope he could use him as a weapon against Vulkan, but also because, deep down, he still loved his gene-sire.

But there was resistance. The mysterious brethren of the exile Telion were a constant thorn in Sicarius’ side. In the early years, the grey hooded mortals and Astartes in the brotherhood attacked factories, destroyed legal records and robbed from the estates of the Astartes-Lords, sometimes slaying the most abhorrent of landlords. But Telion’s allies, and Telion himself, lost the stomach for such radical rebellion when he learned of what it was doing to the citizens of Grand Sicarium. When bridges were bombed, Sicarius would punish whole hab blocks as an example, denouncing them as degenerates and rebels. When one Astartes was killed, whole countries burned in the ‘justice runs’ of thunderhawks. Telion could not bear to see the people of Ultramar suffer due to his petulant resistance. If he was incapable of destroying the real root cause of Ultramar’s woes (Sicarius and his coven), then what was the use in provoking the Space marine King to ever greater acts of paranoid horror? He had tried to assassinate Sicarius several times before, to no avail. Thus he changed tact; he used his underground conspiracy of rebels to protect those persecuted by Sicarius; snatching them from the authorities and inducted them into his cult secretly.

This changed when Telion learned (though information smugglers trading with the Realm of Fathers) about the existence of Vulkan’s new Astartes Commandaries. This kindled new hope in the ancient marine. He placed his most trusted Lieutenant, Folkar, in command of the Grey Hoods, before he raised his own hood, and vanished into the night, ignoring the pleas of his men for him to stay. Telion told Folkar to look after his men, and to be ready to strike at any moment, and at any time. He promised to return. When his men checked his simple quarters of his hidden bastion, they found only his weapons and a single scroll missing from his rescued archive of writings and treatises.

Around this time, trading barges from neighbouring petty Imperiums began to enter Grand Sicarium. When boarded by the navy of Brother-Captain Artegan, they found the crews all dead. None were butchered, or suffocated or in any way harmed. The ship’s air recyclers were functioning, as was every system. However, every single person on board lay dead. When examined by the Apothecary, Tyron Prince of Prandium, they found that everyone on board the vessels had died either of malnourishment or of exhaustion; muscles were torn through exertion, and every belly was empty. At first this was dismissed as one of the many dreadful mysteries of the galaxy outside Grand Sicarium’s safe borders.

Then came more. And more. And more.

Hundreds of ships, every year came bearing dead crews. But what was worse was that those few merchants granted licences by Titus to leave Grand Sicarium on limited trade missions, found that their warp drives were seemingly malfunctioning. They entered the warp; then they exited it a month later, finding that they had travelled only two light years. Something was making warp travel impossible. Navigators soon had an answer for the Space marines of Sicarium. The warp, usually rolling and tumultuous, was growing stale and static in a great bubble around the entire sub-sector, as if some great hand was squeezing the usually fluid into a solid shell.

Meanwhile, Telion alone had left Grand Sicarium just before this event, and was making slow progress across the galaxy. He hitched rides on transports and warships, and smuggled himself through border patrols and the various security forces of hundreds of diverse human and alien realms. The ancient marine, after twenty thousand years of existence, was a ruin of an Astartes, and was truly testing the limit of Space marine longevity. Every year he felt weaker. Every year his bones and body lost some of their superhuman vigour. But he persisted, and fought on, clutching a scroll to his heart.

Almost three years after the first ship entered Sicarium dead, the host came. The first world to fall was Tanesburg, one of the outer worlds of the stellar realm. The warp opened suddenly in a great torrent of golden and black light, like glinting metallic veins spreading across the fabric of space itself. Then, the fleet of the Adorants emerged in a storm of silver flames and oddly regulated warp tendrils. The Adorants were the mortal warriors who served the Star Father in realspace with unthinking loyalty. Their vessels were like blank slabs of grey and gold, blocky and vast. How these blank, almost featureless vessels navigated through the void was a fact nobody had time to consider, before they instantly engaged Artegan’s armada, which rushed to intercept them. Weaponry emerged from concealed gun ports along the flanks, dorsal ridge and prows of the blunt vessels, unleashing weaponry just as fearsome as Ategan’s battle barge and strike cruisers. The war in the void raged for days, with more and more vessels emerging to reinforce the Adorants.

But Artegan, despite his ostentation and pampered finery, was still an Astartes Captain, and a gifted naval commander. His fleet was relentless in its attacks, sweeping in to strike from unpredictable angles of assault, and destroying more than a few Adorant vessels. Each time, the fleet would return to Tanesburg to rearm hastily, before rushing to continue the assault. The people looked to the night’s sky with fear in their hearts, as they saw the stars themselves flaring and flashing in and out of existence. New constellations appearing and vanishing. To them, it truly seemed that their Angels were remaking the sky in their war against the Angyls. In a sense, they were correct, but their faith in their protectors was soon to be tested.

Artegan’s warriors constantly launched boarding actions against the Adorants, who always responded to attack in pre-determined ways (presumably on the orders of their masters), and initially, Artegan’s brother Space marines made good progress. The uniform corridors of the Adorant vessels were coated in the blood of the blank-masked army of the Star Father.

Then came the Angyls. They folded out of the walls like phantoms, remoulding metal and flesh into new, angyllic material which was neither. Forests of bladed wings and tendrils writhed amongst them, and they attacked the Astartes with terrifying speed. No armour could stop their attacks, and not even enhanced biology could save the space marines from dying in droves. Lightning and coiled silver bolts of energy were unleashed in response to bolter fire, and the latter was far less formidable than the former.

Not only were there the winged angyls, but the strange scuttling thrones; spinning creatures composed of bladed wheels within wheels, that breathed awful beams of fire that slew within moments of striking an unfortunate victim, as they burned not flesh, but soul-stuff. Then came Draigo himself. He walked through the combined fire of an entire company of warriors, his blank shield utterly unmarked as he deflected every blow. His sword destroyed life with every deft blow, drinking deep of the life force that sought to resist him.

Suddenly, the tables were turned. Artegan saw his ships falling, one by one, as Angyls of all varieties invaded them. To his horror, every defeated ships began to be covered in that same silvery agyll-flesh that clad the Adorant ships; every ship then began to lose all definition, until they were all near-featureless blocks of adamantine. Ategan, snarling, ordered his Gellar fields activated, for the first time in realspace. His barge, the Victorum Ultra, then powered itself into the enemy fleet, guns blazing in all directions as he forced the vessel into a corkscrewing manoeuvre. Even as the Adorant ships around him wallowed with the damage inflicted by his vessel, he knew he was doomed. His Gellar field finally faltered under the momentous strain inflicted upon it by the Angyllic incursions striking at it. Moments later, his vessel was flooded by many-winged angyls.

Sighing in resignation, the veteran Astartes drew his twinned power swords. He fought through the angyls that leapt onto his deck and slew his bridge crew. His blades shattered the unreal bodies of almost a dozen of the creatures. Each time, they’d shrivel into their true forms; uniform adamantine blocks, that fell to the ground, inert once more. At last, he was alone on his deck. His sword smoked from overuse, but the angyls were gone. Or so he thought. Draigo burst through the sealed portal to the bridge, and stood before Artegan. Draigo was almost eight feet tall, and his blank helm regarded his new opponent callously.

“KNEEL!” Draigo demanded with simple, brutal clarity.

Artegan stabbed him in the chest. Kaldor Draigo swept his shield across the blade, shattering it in one blow. Artegan raised the other, but he dropped it as his head fell away from his body, without truly registering Draigo’s lightning-swift blow.

Tanesburg was taken a few weeks later. The Adorants did not wait for surrender; they simply invaded, killing and chaining the entire populace. Those few soldiers and marines still alive resisted for a while, but soon even they knelt before Draigo, who killed them and pressed their souls into the ground with the force of his will. Then the populace were sent into motion; forced to walk across the face of the planet forever, for no other reason than the Star Father willed it, and he should be obeyed.

The story recurred across the realm. From multiple angles of attack, on several fronts at once, the eerily precise armies of the Star Father invaded. Every soldier was brought into battle to defend their God-King’s realm from its greatest threat. Even Folkar’s men were attacked by the Host, and only just managed to escape the world they had hid upon before the angylls remade it into an angylworld like Tanesburg.

Yet, for the most part, Draigo’s host seemed impatient. They did not take the time to convert every world. They simply smashed aside the fleets of most, and pounded their militaries into ash from orbit. Only Prandium, the second largest fortress world of Sicarium, held the fleet up significantly. This was because Prandium had a planetary shield of intense power, built from the scavenged remnants of an alien vessel which had crashed in-system two thousand years previously. Their fleets could hold of the Adorant fleet indefinitely; even the largest shipbound weaponry simply rippled across the energised skin of the Prandium forcefield harmlessly, it’s generators barely even taxed by the bombardment.

Yet, the greatest threat of the Angyls came not from their mortal arms, but from the hollow, heartless essence of the Angyls themselves. Upon seeing their will denied, the Angyls began their chanting, gathering together their will until their litanies carried through the void, and echoed across airless vistas across the system. Draigo, in all his blinding majesty, rose from the lead Adorant vessel, soaking in all the power of the Host, focussing and channelling all that raw authority and megalomaniacal power into a tight column of psychic force, thin as a laser but with all the awesome power of a collapsing sun.

He screamed once, his blank helm rippling into a great maw in order to give voice to the unnatural utterance. The blast struck the shield on the equator, and for a few minutes, Prandium had a new star in the sky, as radiation and rolling banks of fire flooded the heavens. In that single blast, the shield was rent asunder. Across Prandium, shield generators exploded with the force of the psychic blow, erupting like volcanoes across the skin of the armoured planet. With the defences spent, the Adorant vessels could enter low orbit, and deploy their lethal cargo. Legions of soldiers and rolling superheavy tanks stormed across Prandium, and battle was joined between the faceless Adorants and the defiant armies of King Malfodius alongside the Prince of Prandium’s forces. Caught in this crossfire, millions upon millions of men women and children died. The Adorants were the mentally-dominated inhabitants of an entire system full of people, and they knew no mercy. They were like automatons as they calmly moved from city block to city block, exterminating anyone who raised a weapon, before they dragged off those who surrendered, and shackled them to strange multi-limbed constructs. None knew whether they were angyls or some sort of machine-creature, but everyone who witnessed them had their own names for them regardless; dissent-leeches. The towering, tracked edifices rose up like trees, and each limb was bound a human. Their brains were plugged into the device, that coldly drained their minds of the will to resist. Once they were dained, the machine simply let them go. The victims filled the streets, wandering around aimlessly, mumbling wordless prayers to something they didn’t know nor could name. These zombies could never again feel rage, hope, despair or any desires, beyond a desire to serve.

After three weeks, Prandium was pacified, and only Macragge stood in opposition; all the worlds spared the angyl attack lacked a fleet to come to Sicarius’ aid (despite his furious demands and panicking couriers).

As this fight raged, Telion neared his destination. He came to a world called Fenkic, when he finally keeled over from exhaustion, old bones almost totally ruined by fatigue and age. The natives were savage and fierce mutant creatures, with crimson flesh and bony spines, and looked almost like devils to Telion’s weary mind. They considered killing him and drinking the powerful blood within his flesh, but more sober minds prevailed. These stone-age savages on the world took him bodily to their ‘Star Chief’ at his great tent-city to the north. Their chief was, in fact, a delegation of Ryza-Catachan soldiers. Their leader was known as Morn, and this cyborg super-soldier recognised the inverted Omega sign emblazoned upon the old marine’s pauldron; a symbol not seen in the Vulkan Imperium for countless millennia. As soon as possible, the warriors abandoned their recruitment mission on Fenkic, and took Telion directly to Armaggedon on the next earliest voyage. All the while, he clutched his scroll tightly in his vice-like grip.

Back in Grand Sicarium, the long shadows of the Adorant fleet swept over Macragge. Ancient defensive structures unfurled at the approach of the enemy, and unleashed gigatons of firepower into the approaching vessels. The skies turned red with fires burning in the hearts of ruined naval vessels, and earth was thrown up into the sky as kilometre long vessels plummeted to the ground and detonated spectacularly across the landscape.

From the burning mountainsides came armoured columns of Predator tanks, whirlwind artillery vehicles, and all manner of fighting machines, all clad in the midnight blue of the Sicarian High Guard; the God-King’s personal bodyguard. As the surviving Adorant soldiers and tanks stumbled from the ruins of their many fallen craft, they were destroyed by the contemptuous barrages of Macragge’s finest warriors. Yet, those Adorants who escaped the bombardment, sacrificed their souls in order to animate the perfect metal cubes lying in their ship holds. Just as it seemed the Sicarian High Guard could carry the day, Angyls emerged from the flames, screeching in dreadful tones that spoke of an eternity of servitude. These were vast creatures, easily the match in scale of a stormbird or thunderhawk, and they soon turned the tide back in favour of Draigo’s forces. Tanks were tossed like toys across the plains, while others were hacked into blazing segments by the angyls’ unnatural wings. Even High Guard aerial units struggled to contain the flying abominations, and slowly but surely the Space marines fell back in an orderly fashion, forming ever tighter and tighter rings of defence. As they retreated, they destroyed any passageways and access routes through the mountains, hoping to slow the faceless monsters that hunted them.

Sicarius himself witnessed events form his vast bank of pict screens and cogitators, eyes wide in disbelief and hate. This was the single greatest seat of Space marine power on the Eastern Fringe! How could his empire be sent reeling so swiftly? Rage overcame his suppressed fears, and he rushed to his armoury, arming himself with his Talassarian blade, and the sole surviving gauntlet of Ultramar, ripped form Calgar’s poisoned corpse long ago. For the first time in over seven hundred years, he threw off his Donorian pelt cloak, and armoured himself in the mantle of the Suzerain, donning his ornate crested helm once again. He was Cato Sicarius, and he recognised only one master of Macragge!

Soon enough, the corridors of his own citadel echoed to the din of gunfire, and the toneless screaming of the angyllic host. Regiments of Men at Arms, Sicarium Serfs and the Honour Guard themselves duelled with the rampaging monsters, blade to bladed wing, bolt to arcing beam. The relic blades of the Honour Guard sang as they shattered angyllic essence, as they denounced the winged things as abominable daemons and false idols. Titus, clad in his crimson armour, left his master’s side, vanishing into the citadels labyrinthine expanse.

Sicarium watched as his mortal followers and Astartes brothers alike fell to the blades of the angyls. In particular, he noted Draigo’s presence with particular loathing; the Herald looked like a blank-faced mockery of an Astartes warrior, yet he found with a speed and power that shocked him. Everyone who faced him died. Even after the dreadnought Cassius ripped away the silver warrior’s shield with his energised claws, Draigo returned the favour tenfold, carving the venerable war machine asunder with the force of a dozen searing blows.

Sicarius grew desperate now, and fled from his throne room, ordering his Librarian coven to eliminate (or at least weaken) the rampaging angyl-knight. Solemnly, the psykers, mortal and Astartes, agreed, and they faced down the host with all the warp-spawned magic they could muster. No one living was present for their confrontation with Draigo, but it is said that a hundred angyls were banished in the battle, and the tower of Librarians exploded spectacularly, a sight which could be seen from orbit apparently. Sicarius did not notice, but rather fled to the only place he considered safe, in all Macragge.

He fell at the feet of Guilliman, who remained frozen at the brink of death behind a shield on azure energies; unchanging and impassive, like some living statue, a monument to all Ultramar stood for. Sicarius asked for guidance, even though he knew his father could give him none. He prayed for forgiveness, but knew he did not deserve it, not truly.

The heavy footfalls of Draigo’s metallic form were ominous as they were sonorous, heralding his arrival as surely as a triumphal fanfare. The doors to the chamber were blown off their hinges, as if ripped up by a sudden gale that blew every artefact across the room with the force of Draigo’s entry. Shivering, Sicarius rose with weapons raised in challenge. Draigo bade him kneel, but Sicarius defiantly demanded Draigo kneel, for;

“I am master and king of all Space marines. Though you have cast aside your humanity, you are still Astartes, and you! Will! Kneel!”

With that, Sicarius charged into battle with Kaldor Draigo. The two blades were quicksilver and fire in their hands, and the blows exchanged set alight to the tapestries and murals lining the temple, wreathing the immortal combat in flame. The gauntlet of Ultramar was the only weapon capable of blocking Draigo’s blade, and Sicarius used this to his advantage, swatting aside the blade before chopping at Draigo with his ancestral Tempest sword. But Draigo was empowered by a fraction of the will of the Emperor-ascendant, and no blade crafted by mere men could truly slay the fiend. Plus, Sicarius was a very old man, and though he fought with indignant fury, he was weakening. At the height of the battle, Draigo suddenly lashed out with his sword, and hacked the Gauntlet of Ultramar from Sicarius’ arm, before smashing the Astartes King upon his back with the back of his hand, almost dismissively. Sicarius crashed to the ground, his helm spinning away into darkness.

Surprisingly, Draigo then spoke to Sicarius (it is claimed).

“I COME ONLY FOR THE AVATAR. THERE NEED BE NO FURTHER INCIDENT,” he declared in a clarion clear voice.

Sicarius replied through bloodied lips.

“You wish to take our Father, and make him a puppet of a mad daemon god? You wish to destroy the minds and souls of MY men, and MY mortals? They shall be further incidents! Guilliman is not a prize to be captured! Titus!”

At his signal, Titus emerged from the shadows, detonating the charges placed around Guilliman. Sicarius would rather destroy Roboute than let him be used against him. The blast blew the roof from the temple, and burned away Sicarius cloak and most of the left of his face. Even Draigo rocked backwards from the force. Machinery lay shattered and sparking across the floor, ancient forgotten technology destroyed forever, never to be re-learnt or rebuilt. Yet, Guilliman’s body remained. Sicarius groaned miserably, as Draigo stood over him once more. Sicarius raised his blade, Draigo chopped away his other arm. Sicarius spat venom at the herald, he ignored it, and stabbed Sicarius in the chest, piercing a heart and two lungs, and burning his other organs additionally. Sicarius howled in pain, and he fell upon his back, smoking, arms cut away and flesh smouldering. In a surprising and fleeting display of emotion, Draigo gloated, thanking Sicarius for his assistance. Guilliman’s body would make a fine host for Him on Terra. However, Sicarius, due to his repeated defiance, would not be permitted an audience with the Star father reborn, Draigo declared.

His blade did not fall. Perplexed, Draigo turned to look at the vast blue gauntlet that held his silver wrist in a crushing grip. Draigo raised his other hand, energies already building from within him, crackling in arcing bolts across his hand. Another fist connected with Kaldor, but this one punched through his chest, and ripped out his beating human heart, heedless of the molten metal that ran from it like blood. Draigo staggered backwards, but did not fall. He raised his blade again, but this time another blade connected with it. Guilliman’s golden sword shattered Draigo’s in a single blow. Dumbstruck, Draigo had nothing to say before the Primarch beheaded him. Body broken, the being simply melted like wax.

“I... decline your offer...” Guilliman is quoted as stating bluntly, before falling to his knees. Already the Anathame’s poison, used by Fulgrim in their duel, was finishing its task of killing him utterly.

Sicarius had nothing to say. He simply looked upon Guilliman, tears in his eyes. The Primarch looked across the burning temple, and the bejewelled Astartes before him, and his superhuman mind assessed what his world had become and the state of the Imperium with astonishing speed. He stared upon Sicarius for a long time, burning through the old man’s mind, and seeing the truth of him as only a demi-god could know.

Weeping, Sicarius begged Guilliman’s forgiveness, but Guilliman was not a sentimental man. He spoke quietly but forcefully, forcing air through his ruined throat as he did so.

“This... is incorrect. I had... contingencies in place. Follow the... contingencies. The scrolls...”

That was all Sicarius heard, before Guilliman’s voice became a strangled gargle, and he fell to the ground with a dull clang.

Guilliman, the Primarch of the Warrior Kings of Ultramar, and founder of the Imperium Secundus, was dead. Sicarius was soon to follow. Titus stood over his dying lord, overcome with emotions. He took up Sicarius’ sword, plucking it from his severed arm gingerly. He listened to Cato’s last words, but he ignored them.

“We were not wrong my lord. When my reign starts, I will prove it,” Titus promised his master, even as Sicarius finally perished.

Draigo’s destruction had sent a feedback wave across the angyllic host, unbinding them and turning them inert once more. Finally, the Astartes were triumphant. However, Titus emerged, clad in the mantles of the God-King, bearing the sword and the seals. His face was a pious and concerned mask that disguised his inner ambition and scheming. He bore the news of Guilliman’s death to the battle-weary survivors, but added that he had been granted leadership with Guilliman’s dying breath himself. However, a voice amongst the crowds challenged him. Folkar and his men appeared from the assembled group. Instantly, the High Guard raised their bolters, only lowering them slowly when they saw other Sicarian Astartes and their retinues from other besieged worlds in the subs ector march at Folkar’s back. As Macragge had been besieged, Folkar had moved amongst them, preparing and paving the way for this moment.

He declared the rule of Sicarius and his associated regents and coven members was invalid. Titus sneeringly decried Folkar as a malcontent and a trouble-maker; who was he to challenge him? Who dared contradict the words of Guilliman himself?

Unfortunately for Titus, Folkar explained exactly who; Guilliman himself. The Nocturne contingent, the ancient scroll kept safe by Telion, had finally been delivered to its intended destination, after thousands of years of neglect and more pressing events. The scroll had been written by Guilliman, in the event of the complete death of the Emperor, and of his own incapacity. In the document, he ceded control of Ultramar to the Lion, but in the event of the Lion’s incapacity or death, the realm then passed to Vulkan, for it was believed a single Primarch could unite the Imperium. Any more Primarch regents, and they would simply squabble (as brothers are wont to do), and would bring about further strife. Therefore, Ultramar would become a vassal state of the Vulkan Imperium, and become part of this new empire of prosperity and hope.

Titus, feeling his authority slipping, argued that he was still acting Master of the Ultramarines, and until Vulkan himself came in person to confirm this, he would not bow to him. Folkar cursed Titus, but Titus was correct.

However, Folkar had one final ploy. He challenged Titus for the right to rule Ultramar as its regent. He put himself forwards as a candidate. The rule would be decided by a duel. Titus called for the Chapter Champion to slay this fool, but Hektor stood back, sheathing his dagger and sword in protest. Titus cursed, as he threw back his cloak and hefted the Tempest Blade between his gauntlets. Folkar took off his grey cloak, tossed his bolt pistol away and drew his combat knife. There was to be no interference, no firearms, and no quarter. These were wordless rules the crowd abided by, and unconsciously stepped backwards to form a rough circle around the two warriors. Folkar was a talented scout and guerrilla fighter, but he was only in carapace gear, and was dwarfed by Titus in his power armour, with the vast sword of Sicarius clutched in his hands. Both were of course consummate warriors, but Titus was at heart a politician, not a born killer. Still, his blade made him formidable.

The crowd were silent as the two clashed. They were cautious, swinging and jabbing at each other at first, as they circled around the impromptu arena.

Then, they clashed. The power sword struck nothing as Titus leapt into combat, swinging furiously. Folkar stabbed him behind the left knee joint, then the hip joint, then beneath the armpit, cutting into the weakened rubberised areas between armour plate. Titus staggered away, bleeding. Folkar could not relent, not now. He charged in cautiously, ducking back to avoid a fearsome swipe of the Talassarian blade, that cut a shallow grove across his breastplate. He side stepped another lunge, before he pounced again. He sliced behind the knee, severed a cable in Titus’ power pack, and hacked through the other shoulder joint. Titus fell to his knee, and Folkar rammed home his combat blade into Titus’ left eye, impaling his brain. Instinctively, Titus swung his bald eup, and hacked Folkar’s arm off at the elbow. The scout staggered backwards in agony, but the end had already come. Titus fumbled pathetically at the blade in his brain for several moments, before he keeled over and died.

The regime of Grand Sicarium was ended. From the ashes rose Ultramar once more.

This was not the end of the woes inflicted upon Ultramar, but it was the end of woes inflicted upon its people by its supposed protectors. Only an uneasy unity with Vulkan’s empire remained; an alliance that would be tested in the dark days ahead.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [SECTION 13 up!]

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:55 am
by Gaius Marius
Awesome LL, Gulliman freaking shone for those five seconds he was alive.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [SECTION 13 up!]

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:07 am
by shadowhawk2008
Brilliant. Truly brilliant LL. I almost had some hope of Sicarius making it out alive, returning to the warrior he had once been. And Guilliman, poor Guilliman. A great finish for him.

just a nitpick, but you mention the Anathema's poison when you talk about Guilliman dying. He was poisoned by Fulgrim-Daemon wasn't he? And Anathema is a term used in reference to the Emperor pre-Heresy by daemons.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [SECTION 13 up!]

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:41 am
by LordLucan
shadowhawk2008 wrote:Brilliant. Truly brilliant LL. I almost had some hope of Sicarius making it out alive, returning to the warrior he had once been. And Guilliman, poor Guilliman. A great finish for him.

just a nitpick, but you mention the Anathema's poison when you talk about Guilliman dying. He was poisoned by Fulgrim-Daemon wasn't he? And Anathema is a term used in reference to the Emperor pre-Heresy by daemons.

Wasn't Fulgrim gifted the anathema blade by Horus at the end of 'Fulgrim'? Sure he was. I am making the assumption that the anathema is the only weapon capable of poisoning a Primarch properly.

Also, yeah, that is confusing about the Anathema. There are two anathema. One is the Interex sword, the other is the title given to the Emp by chaos (because he is their anathema, being a being of order).

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [SECTION 13 up!]

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:10 pm
by Colonel Mustard
An epic part with a suitably epic ending, not to mention that Draigo vs Sicarius was somewhat of an amusing situation (let us hope that Matt Ward never reads this). I'll admit, however, that I'm oddly dissapointed that the Grand Sicarium is now gone, as it seemed one of the most brilliantly grimdark parts of your universe, but on the other hand, as I'm rooting for the Vulkan Imperium, so it's a good thing that they've got some more muscle behind them.

Re: The Age of Dusk [60K] [SECTION 13 up!]

PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:39 pm
by shadowhawk2008
LordLucan wrote:Wasn't Fulgrim gifted the anathema blade by Horus at the end of 'Fulgrim'? Sure he was. I am making the assumption that the anathema is the only weapon capable of poisoning a Primarch properly.

Also, yeah, that is confusing about the Anathema. There are two anathema. One is the Interex sword, the other is the title given to the Emp by chaos (because he is their anathema, being a being of order).

A common mistake :)

The Emperor was called the Anathema by the daemons.

The Interex sword used to poison Horus and then given to Fulgrim was an anathame.