This story begins in a time of paranoia, fear, and prejudice. The 42nd millennium, where there is only war. These were the cold bleak years after the 13th Black Crusade; the days when every human being alive knew the Imperium could be humbled. Abaddon was pushing further and further into Imperial territory each time he launched his damned crusade. How much further could they get next time? What if they did break our defenses? Could the Cadian Gate hold? These thoughts were on everyone's minds at the time. Yet one soul had forgotten the troubles of an uncertain future, for this very unfortunate and exceptional mind had found a new reason to exist. His thoughts were filled - no, he had been cowed into thinking of nothing but a new pantheon of gods he could never imagine himself. Could there really be other gods than the Emperor? He was more than eager to find out. Hanging at his side on a silver chain was a single insidious, vile, poisonous book.
This black leather-bound book bore an eight-pointed emblem on the cover. The sigil would seem so harmless to those who had no knowledge of Chaos: those few innocent souls. Yet it caused so much pain and despair for this poor man. The book itself was filled with forbidden lore, the likes of which was not meant to be seen by mere Guardsmen's eyes. It was more than a book; it couldn't have been just a book, for it did so much evil and caused so many terrible things. The man who had the misfortune of receiving this damned tome was nothing more than a regular Guardsman by the name of Lonam Reiter. Why had a normal, everyday Guardsmen been able to obtain this book? It was utterly taboo to read such books in the Imperium.
Fate would see things differently, though, for Lonam happened upon the book by complete accident. Far off from Cadia lies a sole world. A dead, wartorn wasteland in which nothing grows. Its people are all dead, damned for their crimes. Lonam was attached to the 516th Regiment of Cadian Shock Troopers, Company 2, Third Platoon. He was ordered to lead the platoon into a shelled-to-warp city. And it was there that he found the book. In the ruins of a fallen and disgraced church dedicated to the Dark Gods; there he found this single, seemingly simple forbidden book. Near that rubble something took hold of him. A desire to dig into the broken concrete. There was something there, he knew, something he just had to have.
After the campaign on the world was over, Lieutenant Lonam Reiter left the Cadian Shock Troopers in 002.M42. He returned home - to Cadia - so he could rejoin his family. These words keep ringing inside my head: if only, if only, if only. If only he did everything differently. If only he hadn't picked up that book! If only he had listened to his inner feelings and ignored the desire to find the book. If only he hadn't returned home, if only. A man can spend his whole life in regret with those two words: If only.
Still Lonam had no idea what he'd picked up on that blasted world. If only he knew the true nature of the thing he carried. What it truly was, what it was meant to do. Ignorance is bliss after all. So Lonam walked cheerfully back to his old homestead, totally unaware of the darkness creeping in on him. A large house built entirely out of strong timber, the wooden homestead towered three stories high and atop it was a flag bearing the words "Cadian 132nd - Red Eagles". When he looked upon it he should have been inundated with memories of running up and down the halls within as a child. He should have remembered his parents teaching him, remembered those cold winter mornings when he would talk to his Father as the sun rose. Of the times when bombs would explode in the distance, and their flashes would illuminate the night sky. No - all he could think of was that book. Of how he could learn more about the Dark Gods. Despicable, terrible, sad, pitiful, all these words and more he felt as he looked back on this moment outside his family home... How disgusting was he now? How much of a wasted human being was he at this very moment? Why did he cloud his mind with such thoughts? Why not think of pleasant memories?
Lonam turned the brass door knob hesitantly. Suddenly a gust of wind blew past him and slammed the door wide open. A loud, echoing bang rang throughout the incredibly large and spacious house. Then a familiar voice called out from a room not far away.
"Who is there?" the voice asked.
A smile formed on Lonam's face, and he answered, "It's me, Mother! I've come home!" Lonam heard the clattering of footsteps rushing towards the doorway from the living room. Rushing up to Lonam were his mother and father. His father was a tall, burly man with a well groomed moustache, a man who had aged very well. He held out his hand to his son. Lonam did not hesitate for a second, and grasped his father's hand gladly. Both men tested to see who had the stronger grip, but Lonam won in the end.
Smiling, his father asked, "What are you doing here? Your regiment doesn't give leave, does it?"
Lonam looked at the floor and sighed audibly. "No, they don't give leave time. We need to talk, actually."
He tried his best to explain his reasoning for leaving the Guard, but his parents would have none of it. His father was disappointed, his mother was concerned. After many hours of arguing between the three of them Lonam's mother gave up the fight and went upstairs to bed. His father backed him into a red cushioned chair in the corner of the living room. Lonam sat there, unheeding, thinking about the book. A fire crackled next to him; the sun was slowly descending behind him. Little beams of fading sunlight fell over his shoulder from the window. Next to him was a table with a waiting cup of warm recaff, which he never got the chance to drink after the argument began. This should have been a calming moment, would have been, if it wasn't for his father still yelling at him.
"What do you mean?!" he shouted in anger, "Resigned?! Last thing I heard you were about to be promoted! 'Our son the Captain' has a lot better ring to it than 'our son the fuckup'! You call yourself a Reiter?! Have you really earned that name?! My father lost both arms and still he kept fighting! And he kept on fighting 'til the day an Ork took his head!"
Lonam's mind drifted back to thoughts of other matters. He looked down at the hard wooden floor. He saw the cracks in its surface. The minute tears in the structure. Its age, how old it was. He was thinking about how it was slowly breaking down as it decayed; how all the planks in the floor would break down given time. Second by second it was all breaking down. Just how long would it be till it was all broken and gone? How much longer? A year? Two? Three? A thousand? It would all just rot and tear and break and burn. It would burn so brightly; that was quicker than waiting for it to fall apart. How long until that wooden floor broke down? His mind kept on thinking and thinking of just how long it might be. How many years, just how many years until everything was dead and destroyed?
The sound of snapping fingers brought Lonam back. "You even listening?!" shouted his father, so angry that he was becoming red in the face now.
Lonam said regretfully, "No, no sir I'm not."
His father reached out to grab Lonam by his collar. He lifted him up out of the chair. Staring his son in the face he said, "You don't have the privilege to call me sir anymore. You don't have the honor, the respect to call me anything. You have failed to give me one reason why you left the Guard. I guess you just couldn't take it. I guess you just didn't have the balls to stay."
The most idiotic thought in his personal history sprang into Lonam's mind. This would definitely convince Father! "Dad - Dad, just listen," he said with renewed vigor. "I found this book. It will explain everything!"
If only he had said something different.
Lonam breathed a bit more freely after his father let go of his shirt collar. He was already judging what his son had said. "Really now," his father replied condescendingly. "What book is this? Show it to me, now." Lonam quickly reached around and pulled out the simple, black, leather-bound book. With a little click he had taken it off its silver chain, and he handed it to his father. His father's eyes opened wide in fear when he saw the cover. That emblem he had seen a thousand times before. He flipped through the pages frantically, an expression of horror clear across his face. Daemon summoning rituals, how to worship the Ruinous Powers, details of all the lesser beings of the Warp, the names of famous traitors and heretics set up as paragons of excellence to follow and adore. It was all in the book. Mr. Reiter was not a forgiving man, and he was not a slow man either. He came to a horrible conclusion. His son was a traitor. No: he was a heretic.
"This... this is far worse than I could have conceived of in my worst nightmares, Lonam. I've seen books like these, I've seen them on pyres as we burned them. I've felled dozens of men who bore this same sigil of Chaos. Barren and lifeless the land lay when they were through with it. On every world. A kingdom of lust, a field of blood, a hive of plague. I've fought in them all. You sick waste of a man, you don't get to be called my son anymore. You aren't a Reiter, and I doubt you ever were."
Lonam's heart stopped for a brief second. How could his Father not have been enlightened by the book, as he was? Why wasn't he accepting these wonderful facts about Chaos? Why couldn't he see that there were other gods than the Emperor?
Lonam's father knew exactly what this book was and what to do with it. "We're done with this thing," he said. He looked at his fireplace. It couldn't have been closer. He threw the book into it nonchalantly. It landed open, caught light and began to slowly burn away into ash. The pages curled as it was consumed in flame. Lonam tried to grab it before too much damage could be done, but his Father smacked his hand away. "What are you doing?!" his father shouted, "Are you mad?! Your hands will burn!"
Lonam could only say, "I must have it! I need it, I need it!"
"No you don't!" replied his father. Lonam struck out. A hard fist punched Mr. Reiter in his elderly face. "How dare you strike me!" he shouted.
Disgusted, his son watched the last of the book burn to nothing, only its blackened cover yet to be completely destroyed. "No, no no no you old fool! It was all I had, it was all I was! That book was my life! And you ruined it!"
If only he hadn't said that.
Lonam's father struck back at his rebellious son. One punch to the face brought Lonam to his knees. Blood leaked from his nose; the punch had almost broken it. "I'm going to call someone to take you away, and I don't really care where they take you," his father told him coldly. Finally Lonam snapped. Anger overtook him as he lunged at his father. His father got one good, solid punch in before being barraged by hits from his son. For every punch that the elderly Reiter landed, Lonam hit him five more times. His hands moved in a flurry of jabs and hooks, faster than most men could probably move. Reiter did not see his son anymore - he was gone. His eyes were empty, without a soul at all. He had been replaced with a monster now, that was clear. What ungodly rage was this? Such reckless hate? Where had it come from? Of course, in all the chapters that Lonam had read in the damned book there was one he had gone back to read several times over. The chapter detailing the blood god Khorne. Something had rooted itself in Lonam then, and now it had grown into a thing made of pure hatred. Perhaps it was always there. It only took Khorne to make it come to life.
Lonam's father could not hold out against the relentless beating. His old age had weakened him. He fell to the ground, felt the back of his head hit the wooden floor hard. Before the elderly Mr. Reiter could even attempt to get back up, his son descended on him. Mercilessly Lonam pounded his fists into his own father. Again and again he kept going. Like some kind of beast, an animal made of pure anger. Now his knuckles were painted red with blood. His fists hurt after a while but he ignored the pain. The floor had a thin layer of crimson wash over it. His father was dead. Beaten to death by his own son; what a terrible way to die.
Then Lonam heard something come down the stairs. He was done with his father now. The old man was defeated - yet there was still more prey. He lifted himself from his father's body. Blood dripped from his face and his hands. He knew it was his mother coming down into the room, and Lonam wanted to surprise her. He picked up the spilt cup of recaff and waited for her to come through the doorway. All he had to do was wait. She turned the corner warily, and gasped at the scene. Lonam jumped into the doorway. He stared her down with his soulless eyes.
This is where I shall end the story.
Oh, if only, you may say. If only he kept that dark book away from his mind, his heart and his soul. Perhaps this wouldn't have happened. Perhaps, but still I can feel my inner daemons bursting forth. I am the author of these events. That desire to kill, to burn, and to maim flows strongly now. The bestial desire for death and blood. To smell blood on the battlefield again - the thought of it simply drives me mad. So while I still possess the skill to use my pen I shall write this down: remember, no good can come from Chaos. I am Lonam Reiter. Learn from me. Please.