Dialectics. 6k short about the lost XI legion an fem-Marines

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Dialectics. 6k short about the lost XI legion an fem-Marines

Postby TheSunIsActuallyCold » Tue May 08, 2018 1:56 am

Huh. don't get much room for titles do you? :D So. Thanks for having a look! I really appreciate your time and hope you like what you find. This is the first in what I hope to be a series of short stories about my interpretation of the XI legion. one of the two lost legions who are out of the picture by the time the Horus Heresy starts. It also features female space marines, I realise that's a deal breaker for many and I get that, but that's not where I stand.

Like all aspiring writers I want to emphasise I haven't written anything in 5 years, I'm slightly dyslexic and find the semi-colon a mystery, but Im quite proud of this story. Again thank you for your time!


Wendi lay dying on the sands of the arena. The bawling crouds had gone, the Fire Giants in their adamantine armour had gone, her dreams of success and acceptance had gone.

Her spear punctured her belly and pinned her to the ground, a thin trickle of blood ran from around the wooden haft. She had tried to pull it out, to end the suffering but had passed out from the pain.

The night sky overhead was full of slowly moving stars, the Fire Giant starships leaving orbit. Their holds would be full of the best the fourty-six realms had to offer, the fastest, the strongest, the best archers and sword dancers and spire-bests. She had earned a place amongst them, more than so, she was the best and they had no right to deny her.

Every three years the people of the realms travelled to the city of Old Guatemoc from their worlds, their moons and asteroid-halls, their Iron-pyramids, their barter-ships and hovels. It was a time of renewal and debt forgiveness and jubilee. Games were held, trials of accuracy, beast fighting, running, jumping, calligraphy, falconry, pugilism and bravery. She had won, not just the far-shot archery but the marsh marathon and the beast fight, she grasped the three golden laurels in her good left hand. She had been one of the dozen best this time, and yet she had been forsworn. She glanced at the giant hand-shaped crush marks on her mangled right arm with its crooked, broken fingers and anger flared within her.

* * *

She awoke with a scream, pain rippled up from her abdomen and triggered a convulsion of clenching muscles. Time had passed, several gibbous moons were in the sky, coloured dots marking their distant cities and ports. She must have passed out again, a hateful snarl curled her lip at that weakness. Someone had jarred the spear, causing it to shift in her guts. A single finger from an outstretched hand touched the wooden haft of the spear. The finger was attached to a large, muscular arm belonging to a dark hooded and cloaked figure. Instinctively she tried to reach for her finishing knife but it lay under her twisted and ruined arm.

“I feared you had died already” A voice said from within the shape.

Wendi panted a few quick breaths as the pain settled back to just agonising. Although, she reflected, it hurt less than it had when the sun was still up, at least meant death couldn't be more than a day away, maybe hours if she was lucky.

“If...” her mouth was dry, scabby blood and broken tooth shards inflecting her accented low gothic with a whispering hoarseness “If you care for my well being you would help me end this”

“That's not my role” The voice said plainly “I herald people to the great beyond. And listen to their stories. And judge their worth.”

“I dont... understand” she tried to turn her head to get a better look at the hooded shape, but the ruin of her right eye and pinned body kept the figure in her peripheral vision “are you a deamon of the underverse? ...an angel of Go'demp Aror? ...you dont seem like a winged serpent sent to take me to the Summerlands”

“I have been called a serpent in my time but I have kin who better answer to that name” The voice said wryly, as its owner moved a hand over the pouches at Wendi's belt and purloined a small package of lho and local tobaccos. Wendi thought to complain but realised she didn't much care anymore. The hooded voice began to roll long delicate cigarettes with dexterous and practised motions “Now, tell me your story and I will judge you. Tell you what, I will assist you in your death if I judge it so deserved” the voice lit two cigarettes and placed one carefully between Wendi's lips. “You may call me Coatl if that helps”

“No... I will neither call you Coatl nor satisfy your morbid curiosity” Wendi said, spitting out the cigarette. She laid their, in the darkness and quiet. Coatl sat, unperturbed and unfurled a gore splattered roll of knives. Nimble motions worked their viscous edges and gleaming surfaces in silence. Time went by, the moons continued to rise into the night sky, the cigarette smouldered away in the dirt, the occasional cramping pain racked Wendi's flank.

Wendi clenched her teeth “I will not... I.. am not a... fine... I am fated by blood to follow in my lineages foot steps, to be changed by the flesh weaving, to be a space marine... My grandfather, Cuah'Wenda became one before his fourteenth Terran year”

Coatl was the first person she had ever met who showed no reaction to that claim. She'd fought tavern boys in fights when they doubted, she'd lurred lovers to her bedroll with it, she'd told the grayhairs huddled around nightfires and they'd all agreed it was a sign of superior stock. Coatl simply gestured she should continue, like the fact were something common place. She picked up the discared cigarette, this creature frustrated her.

“He saved a noble from a highwayman in the northern pass of my families lands. The noble sponsored him to become a sword dancer...” She took a drag on the cigarette and coughed like it was her first. “Do you have some water? Thank you.” Coatl put a flask of some sour acidic tasting fluid to Wendi's lips “A... sword dancer and he won the jubilee games, not one cut upon his skin... they took him on their aether-ships, their 'star-ships' as offworlders call them, to the summerlands and the hall of Go'demp Aror to guard him and fight the devils of the nightlands. To be a Fire Giant... to be a Space Marine”

Coatl listened attentively and took a deep drag on the other cigarette, the dim red glow illuminating a large framed person with a shaved, stubbly head and narrowed eyes. The night and the red glow washed out any colour. Coatl looked down at the cigarette “Disappointing” Coatl said “No noticeable stimulation or altered perception. And yet, I still want them. Please continue”

Wendi's head swam slightly, she suspected she was brewing a fever, which is nothing else might at least make her final hours bedevilled by hallucinations and sweating. “So my grand father left my mother with my grandmother and she never knew him... I never met my father, my mother traded with the ratling tribes of the plateau and while travelling met a caravan guard from New Eztli. She says he was brave and strong and very comely to look upon.... She never met him again but his picts were displayed on the posters sent to the villages from the games guild masters. I grew up with stories of the Fire giants. True giants, their flesh woven by the divine magic of The Go'demp Aror.”

It was an unlikely story, she had introspection enough to recognise maybe her mother had elaborated on a simple story, perhaps to explain her unwed pregnancy. An unexpected pregnancy was far from unknown in the village and had not stopped her finding a goodman of the village council to be bound to her. Two space marines from a single family, she was the genetic union of two angelic bloodlines. Most recruits to the Fire Giants where taken too young to sire a child. Her fate was chosen for her the moment of her exceptional birth.

She bit her lip till she drew blood to stop the tears welling in her eyes “I knew the folk lore, they... the Fire Giants had never taken even a single women from the games... I just thought there had never been one strong enough... I was the best today, fastest, best shot, fearless... by what right would they deny me?!” She spat a glob of broken tooth and clotted blood but it did little more than roll down her chin. She raked the sand of the arena with her good left hand.

“Its all I ever wanted” She said.

Coatl listened, loading thumb sized bullets into a long magazine. Their cigarettes burned down to stubs, thin smoke running off them in slender upwards trails. Wendi had always been entranced by such technology, Old Gutamoc was the capital city was home to a small warren of machine-men, they made such wonders but they mostly went off world. She had seen the night watchmen loading auto-arquebus and stub-pistols before, but their weapons where as to nothing compared to Coatl's hand cannons. Also the night watchmen had loaded their thin little bullets in the manner of a cleric; kissing, blessing, oiling each shell in the rites of the machine god. This Coatl creature loaded bullets like they were stuffing a bird for the pot; without ritual or rite, just precise, practised motions.

“I took my place upon the stage with the others, my laurels in my hand, an offering for them.” Wendi said “The Fire giants came forward, a trio of them, they were so big up close, their armour made this noise, like it had a purring sabre-cat was inside, deep and throbbing. Their was something slightly off about the leaders head, too big, too muscular, too stiff. Not quite... real. On his chest he had a golden laurel atop his Golden eagle...” She tapped her breast bone, showing where she meant “He had been one of us, at some point, an athlete of the games, that gave me hope... In turn he took the golden laurel reefs the winners offered, those who wished to join the ranks of the space marines stepped forward.” Her lip began to quake as she reached the part of the memory with the most pain. “...and... and the one next to him with a skull face anointed them with something like blood, but with an oily texture... and when they came to me he reached out and his fingers brushed against my offering... but he looked me in the eye, he sniffed and listened like I was prey, and he could smell the inferiority of... he went to move on...”

* * *

She awoke again with a single convulsing twitch, a thick plug of bad blood bubbled out from the wound as she twisted around the spear pinning her. She gasped a few deep breaths. She was racked with sweat, her clothing soaked, she turned a fever maddened eye towards the stars. The moons where beginning to set in the west.

Coatl had made a fire, and stood tall before it. Her outline shifted shimmered in the rising heat of the fire. For a moment Wendi thought the Fire Giants had returned to finish her for her brazenness. Coatl looked to be seven, maybe eight foot tall, her body built of vast slabs of muscle. Her head was shaven and her flesh decorated with bands of geometric tattoos. Black plug-like sockets, sub-dermal cabling and data-ports marked her skin routinely. She wore a heavy auspex bracer on her right arm that trailed a cable socketed to her back. Her clothes were ancient denim work garments with leather patches, like something a manufactory worker might wear on some smoke stained industrial world. She stared back at Wendi with dark eyes and heavy features. Wendi thought she might found her attractive but for the hundreds of scars and burns and knots of roughly healed tissue that criss-crossed every inch of exposed skin.

“...mutant” Wendi rasped. Unable to comprehend the not-quite-human thing standing before her, too muscled to be human, to tall to be gene-modded slave stock, there was expense layered into this things creation, technology and surgical hours and training. “twisted creature of the night lands! Only the powers of the bedlam night princes could create something to inhuman!”

Coatl came close, her gait was that of a gene-jacked spire-best, all unhurried confidence and terrible intent. She came close and squatted down on her haunches. “I am not offended” Coatl said, matter-of-factly. “I am no mutant, well not as you know them, nor am I part ogryn as some have suggested. I am however a twisted creature of the night lands and have much work to do. You still owe me an ending to your story, little gladiator. How did you end up broken in the shadow of the arena? Did the crowd lynch you for your hubris?”

“I... swung for him with my spear” She said. She raised her chin defiantly, daring Coatl to call her a liar.

Coatl barked with amusement, a huge grin split her thick lips. “No!” It was the first time Wendi had witnessed anything but professional emotional distance in the strange creatures comments.

“I did.” Wendi said, insistently. “he grabbed my arm before I even knew what I had done. I don't even think he meant to hurt me, just... reflexes. I broke like a bundle of twigs... he hauled me up by my arm... he discarded... he threw me, I must have flown twenty spans and rolled. I don't know if he threw the spear with me upon it or I got caught up in it when I landed... Go'demp Aror it hurts.”

Coatl was cooking something upon the fire. Meat spitted upon long metal spikes. After a while Coatl seemed to have made a decision about the story. “Your rationale for wanted to become a space marine was piss poor. Pride heaped on pride. Your arrogance crippled you long before Sargent Itzli of the Ninth company of the Fire Giants finished the job. You thought you deserved a space aboard a recruiting ship by dint of blood, that you just had to make them see the error of their ways.” Coatl turned the meat slowly, letting the fat drip into the fire. “And I suspect it wasn't even the truth”

“You fucking- you monste- I... every word is my experience now put me out of my damn misery like you promised!” Wendi exploded at her, the fever had her now, she laughed with a manic horror “Do it! Kill me! Do it! Do it!” In her frustration she lashed out at the only thing she could reach. She grabbed the forsaken spear and wrenched it upwards. White-hot, blinding, logic fracturing pain burst from the wound as she pulled the spear upwards. It made a horrible sucking noise as it slowly slid up and out, thick blood spilling forth. She screamed long and hard, she hadn't thought it possible that she had any reserves left but she found them and channelled them into the scream after scream.

At long last, her voice ruined and tears carving clean rivulets across her dust caked cheeks the screaming came to an end. She grasped the spear loosely in her good arm. She wanted to point it at the she-creature that bedevilled her, to stab it through Coatl's heart and watch the rich red ichor ruin her clothes.

“I asked around about you Wendi” Coatl was saying “I spoke to Talaka of your home village. And Grenc your trainer. So, your what now? Somewhere around sixteen Terran standard? Little old for the Fire Giants tastes. The gene seeds interact with puberties hormonal changes, ideally you should have come last jubilee. But you weren't training then, where you?”

Wendi tried to rebut the allegation but only a dying wheeze came out. “aa...” she grunted

“So, girl who believes she is descended from angelic stock. What changed in the last three years?” Coatl tore lumps of flesh from the spit between sentences “Puberty. Womanhood. Men. Your mother took a good dowry for your hand. You were to be wed in just a few weeks. The terrors of adulthood, living in a strange home, sex, pregnancy, labour, motherhood, an unknown man in your life, loss of control, becoming a signatory to a social contract you had no hand in crafting and no idea if you wanted any part of, disappointing your mother. Its very common, very boring, very... 'human'” Coatl grinned wolfishly, threads of bloody charred meat stuck between her teeth. “Your mother, by the way is worried about you and wants you to return home”

With all her strength, her fury and hate she raised the wavering point of the spear at Coatl “...s-stop”

“When I was growing up I wanted to be an actress” Coatl sucked the grease from her fingers and used the sharpened end of the metal skewer to pick at her teeth “Do you know your Shakespire? I used to love Amulet, Prince-De-Mark and his opera Sonnets but most of all, I loved the play Peter the Pan”

Wendi's vision blurred with the effort of holding the spear up.

“It's the story of a mischievous goat legged creature, who can fly. And his adventures in Neverworld with Wendy and her brothers, the lost boys, the tiger Lily, and the rogue trader Captain Hyok. Peter takes children to a lifetime of childhood adventures. They can never grow up. They never have to worry about adult relationships, about children and responsibilities beyond their own honour, incapable of feeling the fear of old age creeping upon them or the satisfaction of a life well lived” Coatl advanced on Wendi with her hands outstretched “Its my favourite tragedy.”

Coatl let the point of Wendi's spear press against her neck, at the jugular notch where the skin was thinnest, the veins and trachea achingly vulnerable “A space marine can know no fear and that robs them of perspective. A space marine will never die of old age and that robs their decisions of meaning. A space marine has no home, no family, no children, no wives nor husbands and that robs their life of consequence! A space marine stops being human the second they run from adulthood, the moment they choose Peter the pan over holding their ground and fighting the only battle that ever matters, the daily one for their humanity!” She took a step forward, eyes closed, the spear-tip drew a bead of blood and a heartbeat later would have been driven into the naked flesh of Coatl's throat. Wendi dropped her spear, it clattered onto the sand of the arena. Dawn light began to lighten the night sky with hints of pink and gold.

Wendi wept. She wept with the pain and the sadness and the horror of her experiences. She wept until she was numb, until her eyers were as pink and red as the sky, until she was so empty and devoid of feeling that she no longer thought she understood joy or sorrow. She would die soon, she knew, and finally she didn't care.

“That was a foolish thing you did today” Said a male voice. “brave, bold, extraordinary, but stupid”

Coatl had gone, how long she had been gone Wendi didn't know, so lost had she been to her grief. The fire was embers and ash. A Fire Giant stood before her, his glistening armour beetle black with the traditional colours of the chapter limited to a single shoulder pauldron. His helmet bore a yellowed skull design. Along side him a machine-man in long red robes stood, his arms ending in dozens of snake like mechadendrites.

“those are attributes the chapter could mold... in another. In you? It just causes strife. This is Xerx-Rho-4G. He is a journeyman biologus. He will set your bones, treat your sepsis, pump you with enough steroids and medicine to expedite your recovery. Better medicine than exists almost anywhere on this wretched world” He said, his voice distorting through the armours external amplifies. He seemed to be reviewing the arena, like it was something he had seen long ago and forgotten.

“...why?” Wendi whispered in her ruined voice

The space marine tilted his head, in apparent surprise. He paused before replying “This world is one of three primary recruiting grounds for the chapter. Here, the phase-life deathworld of Ticonderoga and the trans-jovoid belter slice gangs. Honour, endurance, ferocity. Together the three seed worlds provide the chapter with the 'humors' we desire in our recruits. We want the jubilee games to continue to deliver unto the chapter the best this solar system and its fourty-nine colonies has. There were many in the arena today who would have seen Recruiter-Sergent Itzli's actions as... unjust. This is an act of restitution. The chapter must be permitted to take its harvest”

“No... why... why cant a woman be-” She began to ask.

“Silence child! It is heresy to even ask! The female frame cannot endure the transformation, you lack the gene-structures for the changes to work upon... In this universe there are untold billions of potential male candidates we do not need... female space marines. Never again ask me.” The space marines fist clenched tightly around his rod of office as he spoke.

“you...” She coughed and spat a gobbet of blood. “know this? You've asked your machine men? Your guild medics? You've heard of rumours? Seen failed experiments?”

He seemed to stare impassively at her, though it was hard to read body language through his armour. Eventually he spoke again “I can make arrangements to have you transferred to a scholae progenium. You would have a childhoods worth of education and training to learn in just a few years but you seem capable of it. Your prowess would make you a great candidate for the Soriatas, perhaps an ordo hospitilliar”

She laughed, then cringed at the pain. “you dont know... you dont, you've never even thought to ask. Do you not want to know? Or is it just... inconceivable to you? Is that why it upsets you so?”

“Tread lightly girl. You know not what you speak of. If you were... any other I would put you out of your misery. I offer you service, honour, life. Take what your offered and ask no more!” He said.

She remained silent for a long while, processing his answers and the vitriol and hate that attended them. Eventually she looked up. “no” it came out as a whisper.

“Dont be stupid girl. You'll die. Think of your mother” The chaplain said, his voice devoid of surprise but thick with scorn.

“No.” She said. Though a whisper, it came out stronger, backed by increasing surety.

“I do not- I- knew a man by the name of Cuah'Wenda who came from this world. Your choice today would shame him” The chaplain said.

“Is he here? On this world” She said.

“He went away a long time ago. Only his memories remain. I am told he did his service great honour through his duty, his submission to the will of the emperor. ” His voice grew hoarse, as though through clenched teeth. He seemed to emphisise the word submission more greatly than the sentence demanded.

“Then go, leave me to die in peace, space marine” She said, voice leaden with finality. “ The answer is no.”

* * *

The sun rose, erasing most of the stars from the sky. Dark clouds chased the dawn and promised thunderstorms rushing in from the from the west. Wendi propped herself up against the arena boarder, determined not to die on her back. She trailed black and dark crimson blood, she had no idea she had contained so much fluid. A smile twitched the corner of her mouth at the thought.

The first serfs and servitors of the day began to toil in the boxes and seating zones, cleaning spraying, brushing. A young boy and his master pulled a cart in through the big main gates. They started to distribute a fresh layer of sawdust and sand over yesterdays blood pools. As they did so they collected the little bits of bodies and chunks of beast flesh that scattered the grounds, putting them into an old iron bucket. The master drew close and cocked his head at her. “You dead girl?” He said, one finger inspecting the contents of his nose.

She looked up with a weak smile “Give me a... moment”

He didn't seem to like that answer and made him self busy with the sawdust. The boy had to empty an entire hempen sack onto the mess she'd made of her little corner of the arena. She watched him work as creeping numbness spread up from her legs. “You happy... boy? With this... lot in life?” she whispered at him. The boys eyes were as wide as saucers, his face paler than hers. He nodded.

“I never would... would... have been...” Wendi's words where but the softest rustling, dead before the breath finished leaving her body.

* * *

All was darkness and silence. Time unwound without meaning or measure. A single star blossomed in her perception, a flash of light, appearing then gone. She became dimly aware of shadowy shapes moving in the dark, like monsters in the inky blackness of an ocean deep. Another blooming of light, a lance of light cutting from left to right, it hit something in the darkness. Fire bloomed distantly.

“Beautiful... and terrible.” A voice whispered “You cannot have one without the other. In my experience”

Instinctively she drew away from the voice and found herself light and phantasmic, without form or weight, her motions slow like moving through molasses. A figure floated in the void, seemingly sat on nothing. It was androgenous, beautiful, a third eye in its temple. Long flowing hair floated behind them, as if they were underwater. It wore the strangest clothes she had ever seen; a tall top hat, a face festooned with piercings and glowing tattoos. A grox-leather jacket with a bandoleer of knives, torn pantaloons, an auto-pistol tucked into the waist band. A sword like a spike of steel with a complicated basket hilt at their waist.

Wendi had had quite enough of mysterious strangers for one day, talking nonsense philosophy, demanding stories and telling her what to do with her life-

“I died” she said. It was a startling revelation.
“You did” The spirit agreed

detail was creeping into her surroundings, she wasn't sure if she was getting used to her new ghostly form or perhaps her surroundings were growing out of nothing. She could make out the hulking form of some giant machine behind the spirit, it seemed to be sitting on one of its outstretched palms.

“are you dead?” She asked

“I am” He conceded. She was sure he was a boy now, no older than his nineteenth year, but with a face that had lived those years hard, the attractive eyes had tight, anxiety ridden corners. He had three eyes, she thought. She had never seen a person with three eyes, except the machine men with their inhuman, bulbous additions to their forms. But his eye was natural, dark blue, like the other two, full of humour at some joke she didn't quite get.

“Are these the summerlands? The realm where the departed good go?” she felt cold with growing anxiety that her inauspicious death, and the strange creatures that had beset her might mean she was going to one of the other places the priests spoke of, perhaps the nightlands or the underverse? She wished she'd paid attention to the pontificating old men who went on and on about the Go'demp Aror and his nine sons.

“No” He said, pointing to one of the dark shapes, a cathedral like shape moving in the void. “That's the summerlands. Assault barge of the nineth company of the Fire giants”

She realised that she stood before a masive window of thick glass and black iron. She could see the outlines of the aether-ships now, moving slowly through the void, the stars where flashes of laser light and the explosion of gunfire on a scale she could barely comprehend. She stood upon a starship.

“You said... I was dead. That you where dead, but this is some trick!” She said. Cold anxiety began to warm to anger and red hot frustration. “I don't understand! Where is that Coatl bitch? What have you done with me?”

The figure slipped off of the robots giant hand and landed on the decking of the ship, his motion slow, fluid, like time slowed down. His ridiculous hair brushed against the decking, so stupidly long was it. She decided she hated this androgynous spirit and his lies.

“You may call me Ilin. Thats the name I was born to; Ilin the wayward, of House Groch, noble navigator house, bonded by the paternova of Terra.” He said with a flourish and a bow. “Though I am dead, I regret to confirm, and you did die, though only for a few minutes, so you will find I have been quite truthful to you”

He pointed again, this time at the robot. Its front carapace was opened and archaic machinery inside moved in languid slow motions, fluids bubbled, pistons pushed and stranger things throbbed and whirred with technology unknown to her. “That's me, in there, at the back, not so pretty any more I'm afraid” He said, gesturing at a mummified shape sealed in layers of plastic and saturated with strange chemicals. The normal eyes were long since given over to dessication and age but the third eye remained dark blue and clear. It looked at her.

“I dont...” She said weekly. She would have thought her knees would have given way, but her translucent form seemed to lack that kind of instinctive response to this strangeness.

“We didn't have much by way of advanced medical supplies aboard, so we had to improvise. You truly where on the edge for a few days, I had to keep your soul bound to the flesh with some not inconsiderable difficulty”

“...Improvise?” She said. A bundle of tubes and cables trailed out of the open front of the robots body and snaked their way to a bed where she lay. She looked upon herself, the cables went into ports dotting her arms and abdomen and the back of her head. She could perceive the slightest fall of her chest, the slightest whisper of warm air leaving her body.

“I dont understand” She said.

“Big day” He said, nodding in agreement. “Lots of new concepts.” His form began to change, growing older before her eyes, his waifish build bulking, getting taller

“I was a young tear-away, I ran away from home, from my seer-brothers and my parents, from the high walled palace I grew up in, I became a ganger, Three-eyes of tha Sou' Stre' Swords” he slipped into a hiver accent when he said the gangs name

“I was scum, but I was saved by a recruiter for the Legions.” His hair became shaved, his clothes a simple tunic, the muscles and height continued to build.

“The XI legion, the lilithkin accepted me, I became a space marine “Armour bloomed out of him and he stood in front of her tall and proud, still beautiful and androgynous but muscular and confident. I had the gift, not just the navigator gene but I was a powerful psyker, a telepath and a diviner.” His voice faltered slightly as his flesh withered and the left side of his body crumpled

“I died at the battle of Sour Creek. I battled a Ork weird and he won, his mind burned my flesh and killed me” His body began to subtract as surgeons cut away unnecessary and charred tissue, organs were vacuum sealed and his head sprouted a network of needles and access ports. The iron flesh of the dreadnought formed around him and his shade grew to the full size of its form.

“I am thousands of years dead, I sleep nine years for every week I wake. My iron form animates me, I have leant you strength, given your body time to heal and adapt to the changes. But that time has come to an end” He said

The vast dreadnought shaped spirit pointed to the rooms entrance. The room they where in was larger than any she had ever been in before she had died. Thick iron pillars supported its roof. The armoured glass that ran around three sides seemed to make the room some kind of observation chamber. There where space marines in the room, they faced away from her and towards the door. The door she realised was exploding inwards in slow motion, liquid like fire rushed towards the space marines in their marble and copper coloured armour. They where fighting she realised, or about to. The room was being breached by some opposing force. Time was trickling by, slowed by some unknown hand.

“five seconds ago I disconnected my life support from you, In another few seconds the support lines will blow their explosive bolts and the armour of my sarcophagus will slam shut. I will be able to join the fight and maybe save some of the recruits and my fellow marines.” his shade lost its bulk and seemed to blow away in a wind she could not feel, leaving only the teenage boy with his long hair and pretty face “I didn't want you awaken, useless and unknowing of your danger. I wanted to give you a fighting chance. Where in a spell, telepathy with our perception of time dilated. I use a similar witchtime in battle”

“Why a boy, I mean why that form?” She asked

“Its how I see my self.” He said with a shrug “Its how I was when I became a space marine”

“Coatl... seemed to think becoming a space marine was a form of... suicide. An ending of your human life. Is it?” She said.

“I didnt think so. But if we survive this skirmish you can ask her” He pointed again at one of the space marines. Her armour was the most ancient ceramic and metal, the heavy plates yellowed and pitted with age. The metal was brass and bronze, grease and verdigris maring its sheen, betraying the industrial, mechanical nature of the hulking form. In one hand she bore a long pole arm with a huge chain blade topping it out like some monsterous chain-spear, in the other she bore a strange and arcane looking lantern, its aperture revealing a ball crackling light that danced even in the slowed witchtime. Coatl's body faced the door, but she was looking at Wendi's physical form out the corner of her eye.

“She... an... giant? A space marine?! There.... he said their weren't any!” Wendi said. Her emotions swam, in confusing knots and combinations. Joy and heat rushing into her, she threw her head back and laughed, clutching her phantasmic body to itself. Ice and loss bubbled through her. “What of me, if her then why not me? Will I become a giant too?” Hope welled up unbidden, unwanted.

“Maybe” The waifish boy said. “There is much to say and only a little to say it in. I couldn't possibly even begin to explain the universe to you... In this universe there are forces of chaos, forces of the imperium, of xenos... out, beyond the galactic rim, where we operate, potentiality colapses, strange might be things scrable to gain purchess on actuality. Their is a greater war coming up the cosmic stack of realities, from the ancient ones, their escaping from the heat death of their realities, there are... The Lilithkin are almost unique amongst among the legions. Only the I and XI still march as a single legion. Only the XI loosed itself from the shackles of tyranny. Only the XI's primarch and her brothers and sisters from the black cells can lead us all to a better future-”

He turned his head to watch the slow motion explosive bolts fire on the the cables and the carapace begin to slam shut in slow motion. “Just a few seconds now. Time will return to normal for you. You will be back in your body you will feel the worst you've ever felt in your life. There's a gun in the footlocker at the base of the bed, when you wake; flip the bed on its side. It may provide you with some cover. Take the pistol, use it with both hands, its designed for an astartes, it might break your clavicle to fire it but we can deal with that later, protect yourself and the other recruits. I cant promise you you'll survive the next few moments, I can't promise the Primarch will accept you, I cant promise you'll survive the training. I can only promise you that you'll have a chance” His form blew away and the room began to become blindingly bright.

“Thats all I need” She said. Her astral form collapsed into the physical, her hearts pounding in her chest.
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