A small fleet appears in an Imperial system, tearing the warp open as they break back into real space. They hail from the Night Lords Legion and are here to search for slaves and potential recruits to join their endless war. For only the greatest can serve in the Night Lords Legion.
In the fleet are seven ships, one Battle Barge, three Strike Cruisers, two Avenger class Grand Cruisers, and one Gladius Class Light Cruiser. Each one has the emblems of the Night Lords Legion, the 8th Legion, the terror legion, the one that brought death to billions upon billions in the galaxy and given fear countless more.
The Battle Barge is known as the Sangzes Reiben, a ship built in the great ports of Jupiter in an age long gone. It was as beautiful as it was powerful. With guns able to level cities and warships. In the halls of this vast warship lay the killers of the 8th Legion, the Night Lords, murderers, torturers, and hunters. Few of these once Legionnaires served during the Great Crusade fighting for the Empire it now burns… Ave Dominus Nox
I sit in a corner far from all the slaves working in the hanger bay, after 10,000 years. We still achieved nothing during the long war. Yes trillions are now dead and countless worlds have burned for our own desires and the worthless Chaos gods, but really nothing has been gained. Each one of us has lost everything in an attempt to fight this long war. I look back upon that cursed 11,000. I have lost all my brothers during that period, my homeworld was gone, my Primarch dead, and our legion shattered. Was it all worth it I still ask myself every single day?
No, no I cannot doubt myself. I know for a fact this war and the heresy was worth it. The Emperor was going to kill us after we conquered the galaxy for him, just tossed away to be another footnote in history. The Night Lords would have been dead in every single way. Not even in the stories and myths of the Imperium just ashes in the wind. The worlds we conquered, the souls that had to suffer from us would have been for not when we are forgotten.
I stop thinking about all of that and look around to see the figures of Astartes, servants, and slaves working around the hanger. The Thunderhawks being kept shined and the Stormbirds engines being prayed on keeping the corrupted machine spirits happy.
Looking at a Thunderhawk being cleaned I see a mutated mortal working on. He has two large horns coming out of his head, his arms seem to be buffed out and you could clearly see the vein and arteries with my enchanted Astartes version. Each one is just filled with blood, delicious blood.
I go back to thinking of my old squad before I go on a killing rampage again, and I could only give myself a deep sigh. For those memories is all I have left from the Great Crusade and the years afterward. So little to hold on to, if only if only.
I then get up leaving the hangar bay. As I walk down the corridors everything lays dark and only lights are from passing slaves from the dark hall I slowly walk through the battle barge to my quarters. Each step seems to last forever as time seems to stand still.
I look at a brother Astartes and nod to him. The corruption of the warp was strong with large horns coming out of his shoulder blades making the shape of a cracked heart. His bolter was given an almost reddish taint with it seemingly having screaming souls trying to get out trapped inside of the bolter. I then look away to not be drawn to him and continue on my walk.
When I reach my quarters I sit there silent removing my helmet and lay it on a table. Slowly I sit in the center of the small room I call my quarters and start to meditate, thinking of what is to come. This will be the planet, this will be the time where I will have to find another member to join my Claw. I cannot believe it myself. It has been 5,000 years since my last brother died against the Aeldari.
Continue the meditation in my room for the next few hours. The silence gives me an almost peaceful feeling as the screams of the mortals I have killed echo in my head. So many innocents killed, so many lives taken. I keep this up until a knock could be heard. That could only be one person, my personal servant.
“Come in,” I say then my servant Vesta, comes into the room. She is a 15-year-old girl, born from the bloodline of our destroyed homeworld. Nostramo, what a place that planet was.
“My lord” she does a curtsy. Her black hair and pure black eyes seem to just fade perfectly in the background of the darkened ships. I hear her breathing as well as she slowly closes the door. I could almost sense the fear in her, even after all of these years she is still afraid of me. I shake my head in disapproval. – “Hello Vesta,” I say my voice echoes the small room.
“It is time for the planetary assault master” I hear her quiet voice against my booming one.
“Fine, follow me.” I sigh and stand up and mag lock my helmet and grab my weapons with Vesta following behind me as I walk slowly to make sure she can keep up without needing to run. Just a small thing to make her life easier I say. As if it can be easier. This isn’t really the best of lives. Maybe I should just drop her off in a world we pass by in order to give her real life. I take more than a moment to think about this and find myself all of a sudden standing right in the middle of the path blocking a squad of cultist infantry.
Shaking my head I push my way through the group to meet with Vesta who is on the other side.
Vesta looks at me with a curious face, “My lord you are distressed aren’t you?” She then tilts her head a little to show a hint of confusion, or is it wonderful? I honestly lost track of those emotions over the years. –
“Of course Vesta, when am I not? I have done so much wrong, please be specific.” I would say.
“About this mission, are you reflecting about your…?” Her reply was sweet but you can tell there was a little worry about me attacking her. I tend not to do that anymore but I can understand her feeling. I wasn’t always so, nice. – “Yes,” I told her. It was a half-truth if anything, I am always thinking about them, but that is not my main worry.
She nods her head in respect, “Do you wish to talk about it?” The young girl would say.
“No, not this time,” I said.
After a slight pause Vesta would say “so everything is alright?” She could tell I am not saying the whole truth, but decided to not press the issue.
Us two continue to walk our slow walk through the Battle Barge of the 8th. We pass by the normal sort of characters you find on a ship like this. Each one all normal once you get used to being around here.
An example of this will be a mutated follower of Slaanesh we pass by. His arms are less flesh and more metal now. As for his legs or leg? It is merged to make him look like a Naga, one of the half snake half human people. The chest section is now covered with scales with the navel being a place where tentacles come out. Although the face might be the most mutated with it just being a painful mess. With the ear on top of his head, the lack of a nose, two mouths, and eyes. Damn those eyes, that are both bee and human at the same time. Everyone blink just seems to make it change from one or another.
From that point, my slave and I continue walking to reach the hanger bay. Always silence, it is almost perfect for me sometimes. The quiet is something I do enjoy yes, but it is still meaningless to me. It just does not give me the feeling as if doing it with brothers. We would always have a little fun on our way to the dreadclaw, or any other means of transportation from ship to whatever we decided to attack that day.
“I have another question master,” my slave then would break the silence. Her voice echoing down the hallways of the ship.
I do a low growl at her as if in anger, although really inside I am partly relieved that the silence has been broken. “What do you want, slave?”
“Do you wish to find new recruits, my lord?” Her voice was fearful after hearing me growl.
Finally, after a long moment of pause, I say, “If they are strong yes. This is a loyalist recruiting world after all slave.”
“Thank you for answering again my lord
Another five minutes pass and I take a large sigh. This is taking too long, “You walk slow slave.”
“Yes, I apologize, my lord,” she says looking at me. Damn those eyes, they are just. They remind me of something I just wish I knew what those eyes tell me.
I then after the moment passes groan, and pick Vesta up. Her weight being nothing to me as toss her for a moment to adjustment myself. Once I do I catch her and then carry my slave as a parent would do to a baby.
“Thank you for carrying me my lord,” she says to me.
“Like always Vesta,” I reply secretly doing a smile under my helmet. Now only if I could tell if that smile was real. They are almost never, but I hope that one was real.
Vesta looks down the hallway to see slaves and soldiers pass by many looking to see this odd picture. An Astartes carrying a mortal girl, always a sight to see. I then look down to see her face blush and an awkward smile comes out. “No matter how many times we do this I still don’t feel that this should be allowed, my lord”
“Well then maybe you should walk faster then, slave,” I say to her in a, what is that word? Playful? I am not sure.
After our “chat” I go to a run. With my slave trying to keep herself from getting sick and having another incident in the corridors of the Battle Barge. Now we are making real time.
I keep on this run until we reach near the hanger bay. The noise is the most obvious indicator of what is going on. From there I set down my slave on the floor her head still spinning from the ride she just had.
“Master, may I request a…” she falls as she tries to get up. “Master, may I request a warning before you do such an action?” She then tries to get up again this time making it and placing herself on a wall.
“No,” it is not as fun, I then add in my head.
My slave then finally manages to adjust herself and look at my helmet. She really does look like someone I know. Damn it, I need to stop thinking this. It is this all the time. My slave has been only with me 8 years out of 10,000. She has no rights and is nobody that I may know from before.
“Now let us get moving into the hanger bay,” I tell the girl. And I then go into the main part of the hanger bay, with Vesta behind me trying to keep up. With a look back I see her eyes wandering to all the surrounding. From the aircraft, to workers, to Astartes, the girl is always curious. Then I notice she pull out her necklace that tell that I claim her as my slave. On the necklace is an emerald with the carving of a crying wolf.
Vesta and I continue our walk into the hanger and we stand away from the main group of Astartes. From there we wait, see the eaguer faces, daemonic mutated faces, or just helmeted Astartes wait eagerly for their objectives. All eager to torture and kill on this feudal world, a world filled with weak humans. Now all we need to do is wait for the call of war, the call for murder. It makes their mouths water in what is to come.
Looking around I see an Astartes walking towards me, Clawmaster of 10th Claw Vagisenza Răeni.His armor marks him as a worshipper of Slaanesh, if his munitations did not already give it away. His armor has completely fused to his body, with his left hand turned into a claw with his fingers somehow still able to grip his bolt pistol he is holding, it radiates salt. While his right is a metal tentacle that gives off a fishy smell, though I do not believe for a moment it is fish, something more vial, more femminne.
“Samuark Kononcde, the Clawless one,” he says to me as he slowly inched closer to us. “Are you prepared for murder and pleasure brother?”
“I am prepared to fight and kill Legionnaires, if that counts.” I cross my arms together. “Now I do not want to waste time, what the hell do you bloody want.”
“Very simple,” Vagisenza says. “I request one thing, I want to join your attack on the loyalists outpost. I want to taste the blood of the Emperor’s “greatest” warriors.”
“You know the answer, you know I do not care. Join me, or don’t, it will just make it so you won’t collect as many slaves on the raid.” I say, the real reason of course is geneseed, as if it had to be any more clear. This outpost has been isolated for years now thanks to the splitting of the galaxy.
“Good, good,” he begins to laugh, a laugh of a thousand souls and walks away.
“Just do not worry about it slave, let him be like that. Some think scheming is everything everyone does.” I say, “don’t cut yourself m, hate to have to toss you because you get a Nurgle infection.”
“I won’t! You can trust me my lord. I just need more practice. It is not the same as working with corpses is harder than living bodies. They just don’t scream you know?” She protests.
“You and I both know live victims are not easy to simply replace. It is a process to pick one,” i now kneel down to get a better look at her. “To find someone to torture, kill, eat anything. It is more the just find one and go. Meat is cannot be tender, it does not have the same taste, nor would their screams be as pleasing to the ears.” I pulled my gladius and placed it next to her neck in one rapid motion causing her to flinch.
“Master… please don’t,” her breathing begins to slow down, and eyes both my gladius almost touching her neck and my shoulder pads. She also begins to grip lasrifle sling, as if pulling it out would make any difference here.
“See you for example, would be perfect. Your flesh is soft and sweet the perfect to consume, imagine all the different ways one can cook it. Your blood runs thick with youth. The sacrifices made to the four would be more then plenty.” I say as I take the gladius away and smile under my helmet.
“Yes but you would not do that right?” She said nervously pulling on her lasrifle. –
I don’t say anything as pull my gladius back to it’s sheath. Noticng also another Astartes walking towards me. Is everyone just trying to bother my me? The Astartes walking towards us in a custom power armor. With armor studs all over the arms, legs and both shoulder pass With two bat wings on his helmet and a cape going down to his knees.
“Captain Erisrosh, Felard,” I say as he approached with his twin power axe on his back.
“Sergeant Samuark of the 2nd Claw, the brotherless,” he replies, “and the slave…” his helmet cover his disgust.
“What do you want?” I raise my left arm and tap my chestplate with three fingers. “Very simple, I just want to talk.” He is now only two meters away now.
“Your demand for my hunt for a brother? I am not doing this for anyone’s own steak outside of my own, brother.” I put my hand down now. –
“No of course not, it was just my idea after five or was it six thousand years brother? Since the last time we decided to take part on the failure which is the Black Crusades. The pity actions of our cousins to wage a fruitless war.” He says.
“Yes, yes it was yours then brother. All of it, now well you leave me alone with my thrall. You know I do not have the mood to spend conversating.” Crossing my arms.
“Yes of course, Samuark.” He places three fingers on his chest plate and leaves.
As he walks away. “Why did you decided now is the time my lord?” Vesta ask but I bush the question away. I honestly cannot answer the question myself. Not just any brother as well. A brother of the Templars of Black, I am more or less like we used to corruption the most religiously loyal to the Emperor, but with what I have in mind it should be easy. Or at least that is what I have been asured by our Apothecary.
I was about to say something to Vesta now but decided not to and without even looking back I left to prepare for the fight. A brother, an Imperial Fist of all Legions. They were my cousins, by all means, even the heresy won’t change that. It just seems so strange still, I would rather not do this but I think I am trapped in a corner now. Never was ordered like this before, maybe with the Eye opening and times finally changing I should change as well.
Without saying anything she got herself up again and had a frightful sort of look. This is what I get I guess. I can never understand these mortals. So many emotions that seem to have so little meaning. I always hear emotions like happiness, excitement, envy, and love. Oh, love that one truly does disgust me. Love is meaningless, for only the ones who ever need such a thing are the ones who fell. The irony of it is that they should have been loved long before they have died. For only after death are people truly loved.
After she got back up I took a look at her again. “Vesta we will be here on the planet for a few days if not weeks and will be setting up a camp. I need you to get on one of the first landing ships the cultist is going to take and set up camp,” I say.
“Yes master,” She said.
I now walk away to the Stormbird where both 6th and 9th Claw are waiting for me. The 15 Astartes cheer in their standard war cries as they see me approach them. I hear things like, the clawless has come, Samuark Angst champion of the 14th has come! I have gotten used to this sort over the years. The younger ones love me for some reason. I can never truly understand why.
Walking inside the Stormbird I hear the alarms go off saying that we have are now preparing to make planetfall. A planetary raid, which number is this again? Thousand? Ten thousand? Hundred thousand? I have lost count over the years. I then seat down on one of the many seats inside as the other two Claws slowly enter as well.
Waiting for a few minutes as the tech priest makes a final pray, I listen to the sounds of the Stormbird. Inside you could, of course, hear the two claws. The loud chatter of blood, victims, and battle always make the young ones happy. I use to be like that as well. Although my old claw use to talk of honor, glory, and doing the right thing.
Ignoring the claws you could also hear the engine of the Stormbird. During the Crusade, we called this one, “Draining the Light.” Now, of course, we do not call it such a thing anymore. For names on these machines have slowly become pointless when they are slowly being mutated. I could already feel the chair being almost flesh, not the metal it was originally made out of. It would soon change into something else, something alive and daemonic.
After spending more moments listening to the sounds around me I then hear the alarm inside the Stormbird ring. Ready for blood, ready for war. The engines then suddenly flare too life as the Stormbird takes off. A second was all it took for the beauty to go into the void and slowly make its way onto the planet,
Now the most painful part of it all. Waiting. I took another moment to check my surroundings under my Mark IV Helmet. The sounds echo in my ears as I catch the chatter of the two claws. Well, chatter might be a hard word to use for the mindless screams and rants the two units ended up doing. Blood for the Blood God seemed to be the most common thing said for some reason. Shaking my head I decide to turn off all sound in my helmet preventing me from hearing the pointless rants.
I really wish I could say it worked, all it did was block out half of the sounds coming from the Astartes. I wonder now if Ezrath only did this to annoy me? Why out of all the Claws I get a Tactical and Raptor Claw? Why not 5th Claw, they are a Havoc and Tactical lead by the same Clawmaster as in the days of the heresy. I would rather have them than any other one. Even the 10th a now Slaanesh worshipping Claw would be better than this.
I do my best to ignore the mindless chatter until I hear the alarm going out again. The talking now stops as the Raptors of 6th Claw stand up as the door opens. First, each one readys their chainaxe, chainsword, or whatever else they are using as a melee ready.
Next as always, their range weapons. The Raptors go by the process of checking their bolt pistols, plasma pistols or bolters, grabbing whatever ammo they can from the Stormbird. The careful procedure would make you think these are Loyalist and not the Traitors that they truly are.
Third the most important of all, the jump packs. 6th Claw grabs the jump packs from inside storage compartments inside of the Stormbird each fitting them on one by one. These jump packs are all given a different look. From your basic horns to beautifully well-crafted pieces of art that must have taken weeks if not more to complete.
Fourth, the seven Raptors lineup for the jump doing final checks to their gear. The words ready could be heard six times as the Clawmaster demands his men to prepare for the jump. Each of the sevens’ voices booming inside the small Stormbird.
Finally, now you can hear the sergeant yell the orders to jump. I now watch as the Raptors jump in their twos. The first two almost gracefully jump as you can hear the sounds of their jump packs roar to life to adjust for air current. The next two do the same as the true perfection of their art is shown off. The same goes for the 5th and 6th Raptors of 6th Claw. Then you had the Sergeant, who of course made his over the top. He decided to walk back and slowly fall down the Stormbird letting gravity do its work.
I check my clock to see how much time it took them to do the whole process. Ten seconds, little slow but not too bad overall I would say. I have seen Loyalist taking twice as long, having to follow their ever so faithful “Codex Astartes” as if that would ever do them any good. Just an excuse for Guilliman to flex his power, not like I haven’t seen him do it before the heresy. And with his new Empire, I feel he will want to do another show of power over all.
The alarm then goes again as I feel the Stormbird slow down for the landing. Standing up now I walk to the still open door, gripping one of the handlebars. I let my filters open as I feel the rich in oxygen air. Now, this is a planet I would want to stay for a while in. Not like that industrial hive from the 13th Black Crusade we had to burn down for the Warmaster.
“AVE DOMINUS NOX!” I then shout at the top of my lungs as I the Stormbird comes to a sudden halt. “WAR FOR THE CHAOS GODS,” I jump out of Stormbird, landing upon the concrete of the small Black Templar outpost. So it begins, my hunt for another brother.