A lesson about life
A young marine scout overlooks the shattered battlefield, awestruck at the sheer devastation.
Here the Mourning Sons grappled with the forces of Chaos, a nameless splinter fragment of World Eaters who had whipped the population of this small world into a frothing frenzy of hatred and blood.
Here it was that a great sacrifice was made, and a powerful daemon was summoned, cleaving its way through the planet's largest hive spire as it sought to build for itself a throne of skull and sinew to emulate and please its dark master Khorne.
The crusading fleet received the vox-calls and cries for help, and dozens of Space Marines descended from the sky on wings of fire, eager to crush the Imperium's enemies.
For three weeks the struggle ground on, and the losses on both sides were great. 5th Company dropped first, and were beaten back with nearly 25% losses, and as many injured. Reinforcements drawn from 2nd and 8th Companies fared better, but not by much.
It became evident that the planet was lost, and the Mourning Sons withdrew to their fleet, chanting a funeral dirge for the planet they could not save. As the entire chapter prayed for forgiveness, the mighty fleet unleashed its terrible weaponry and blasted all life from the infected cities. Perhaps some vestiges and refugees lived on in the wilderness, but the fires and ash clouds would make life difficult at best.
Into this seething wasteland strode the men of the 4th Company, backed by enormous quantities of mortal men and machinery kept safe aboard the fleet's support vessels. Their labors were herculean, but after a few weeks, the skies cleared and the golden sun beamed down on a rapidly developing infrastructure, made from old wreckage melted down and recycled according to ancient writ rescued by the Mourning Sons long ago.
An older marine joins the young scout, asking him if his survey of the terrain has turned up any lingering contamination. Seeing the shocked look on his face,the older marine rests his hand on the scout's shoulder, and shows him a seedling, transplanted from the orbiting hydroponics vessels.
"Life is eternal, young one. There are those who would tell you that men are fragile, that they are unworthy, that we do not deserve our place in this universe for there are forces so much greater than us that seek our demise. There is but one way to prove our worth, and the Emperor has shown us that way through his sacrifice aboard the Golden Throne. Live, and keep living. When you die, ensure that your people live on. When your people die around you, live on to rebuild, and grow stronger for it. Here, on this planet, we have overcome our enemies, though we failed the people of this world. And we will rebuild."