Story:The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k section14
Section 14: The Star Father Incarnate
By the dawn of the 50th millennium, almost eight thousand years since the death of the Emperor, the galaxy was like a shattered mosaic. Thousands of Imperiums, of differing creeds, beliefs, and ever technology, were spread across light years, each weak and alone, compared to the glory of the old days long since passed. Aliens and madmen dominated worlds, and countless corpses of worlds devoured or scoured clean by war, lay scattered across every corner of the galactic disk. There was no rule, no law, no mercy.
And, amid all this carnage and mayhem, one thing never changed. The blind, desperate devotion of the masses, as they prayed and begged the dead emperor to save their souls from this galactic anarchy. Blood was sacrificed, people denounced neighbours, friends, children, to the roving witch hunters and lunatics, who eagerly brutalised and slaughtered those sacrifices in wild religious glee. From the most isolated and backwards of villages, huddled around their preacher, as he crushed the skull of an unbeliever with a crude cudgel, to the great, industrial-process of witch burning, which became a near constant feature of the dreadful Ophelian Imperium, the majority of humanity were crying out for order, for protection.
On 000.M50, they received their wishes, their prayers. And they regretted it, with all their putrid hearts. As, on that day, the Star Child, fermenting in the womb of the immaterial, was born.
To define the origins of this Star Child, we must look to the Horus Heresy, so many millennia ago. In the instant the Emperor struck down his gene-son, all his good will and benevolence was driven from him, into the ether, leaving only a bitter, dying husk of cold oppression. This husk was placed onto the Golden Throne, thus sealing the warp from Terra and keeping him alive. Yet, the Throne's purpose went beyond this. This throne was once fashioned, to help draw in all knowledge of the universe, drawn from the immaterial. And so it continued to do so. For thousands upon thousands of years, the misery of the galaxy, the heartache and the desperate pleas for protection and submissive pleas for oppression, filled the Emperor's mind. Every event, every death, resonated within the Emperor's mind. Every senseless murder, every despairing tear of a bereaved mother, screaming out for someone to save them, pulsed through the throne, even as millions of psykers were fed into the Emperor, amplifying and intensifying these thoughts of anguish and misery. It drove Him utterly, irreversibly, insane. Trapped inside his own corpse, he screamed silently, though no one could hear him, and those that could were mad zealots themselves, and could not understand his babbled, confused words.
All the while, in the warp, the Star Child grew and matured, as yet unborn, but waiting for its moment. The Star Child was a being formed from the most seemingly positive of emotions possible: compassion, and the will to protect everyone. Of course, fed and nourished within the warp, these emotions were twisted and stretched, to gargantuan and monstrous proportions. The Star Child became fed upon all forms of protection, and this protection was taken to its extreme. To protect everyone, repression and domination was required, and these emotions fed into one another, until they were as one. Compassion turned to jealous love. In the twisted aspect of the Star Child, love for humanity was love for the Star Child, and no other. It became a dark and dreadful force, lurking in the hidden folds of the warp. Waiting.
It was not until the forty second millennium, that these two forces, one of utter oppression, the other a cold being, fed upon slaughter and murderous sacrifice, would merge once more. When the Emperor, strapped to His chair, looked into the cold eyes of His killer, swathed in a deep hood, He did not resist him, but merely muttered, as the blade was poised over His heart:
Terra fell to chaos, but the great spirit of sacrifice surged free, into the warp, and the waiting coils of its counterpart. It took mere instants within the warp, as the two great energies fused and moulded into something far, far worse than the sum of its parts. In the materium, this fusing took thousands of years, the Imperium shattering and the galaxy falling apart in the meantime.
The birth, unlike the birth of Slannesh, was not some great spilling warp storm explosion, but rather a mighty implosion. Centred around Ophelia, the dark heart of the Emperor's bloody worship, space rippled, as Ophelia was swallowed whole by the warp storm, before warp space merely returned to normality, leaving the Ophelian Imperium without a capital world. It survived (barely), but Tallarn took advantage (but that is a separate tale).
Warp storms suddenly flared into life, galaxy wide, as the entire galaxy felt… something. It was as if two ocean behemoths fought beneath the waves of a great sea, and caused the boats above to toss and turn as a result. The Chaos Gods, that great behemoth, wrestled with this sudden resurgent force for order. No one could possibly describe the conflict, because, in effect, it was not a conflict in any conceptual sense. Realms overlapped, folded inwards, cursed and shifted into different emotional states, and reason and lunacy sifted and pulped emotions of befuddlement and anguish, and despair and murderous lust, as the warp churned as never before. Nurgle seized upon the empathetic despair of the Emperor aspect, but was twisted off course by the hope of dominion and protection, which was surrounded by the hope for more hope, and the urge for change. Daemons, whose concepts and feeding emotions switched sides as much as their patrons, flickered between devil and ordered angel, as the great game played out, confusing and insane as the warp ever was. Yet, the warp was as much a process as a distinct entity, or entities and, like always, the process was the same.
The Star Child rose up, and the chaos gods (nominally) united against it, overthrowing it at some point amongst the non-causal realm of mind-numbing density and dreadful insanity. After the overthrow of the Star Child, Nurgle rose in its place, only for the Star Child to unite, however fractionally, with the other gods, in overthrowing Nurgle. And hence, the great game continued, as it ever had. It became one of five main facets of the Warp.
Of course, in the materium, the Star Child (or 'Star Father' as it became known) made itself felt far more profoundly.
The Star Father's influence was almost as insidious as the chaos gods. Tendrils of essence would infest the minds of the rulers and devout priests of a world. They only wanted to protect their flock, as the Emperor had wished. The cold, commanding voice of the Star Father, seemed to whisper and bellow in their minds at once. To protect, one must enslave. But more than enslave. Dominate entirely. Thus, a web of influence spread across the whole world, unseen but powerful beyond measure. Priests and preachers performed sermons, which opened up people to the possibility of 'the ultimate piety'. Chaos was emotions, the sick twisted emotions at the heart of sentience. To remove thought of chaos, one must remove thought. Unconsciousness and servitude eternal, was the only fully secure protection from chaotic corruption. Thus, they all, slowly, began to come around to this way of thinking. Those that didn't, were sacrificed in the name of submission to Him, to the Star Father, the great patriarch of all existence (in their minds). All the while, they were the ones corrupted, as they sacrificed more souls to the Star Father, until it was powerful enough to break down the barriers of reality, and allow his daemons (which we shall refer to as 'angyls' from now on, just to differentiate these from daemons, or spirits of chaos) to walk upon the surface.
By that time, the world was entranced by these angyls, who set about reshaping the world. Buildings melted down, and reformed, as uniform, silver and gold monuments to the Star Father, while the population was forced to walk across the surface of the world for the rest of their lives, for no particular reason. However, should any of them leave the perfectly straight lines marked out for their walks, they would be instantly destroyed, and their souls dragged into the warp. Men, women and children walked and walked, until they could no longer walk. These people were then either killed, or died of exhaustion. Such was the way of the Star Father. Worlds such as these, sprang up across the galaxy, especially around worlds where devotion to the Emperor had become completely senseless. Unlike daemonworlds, angylworlds becalmed the warp directly around the world, rather than churning it. These were worlds of horrifying, self-defeating order.
The Sensei, the progeny of the Emperor, managed to, for the most part, resist domination (their tragic stories are told elsewhere though, so we will not dwell upon it here).
The Angyls, the dread avatars of His Will, were powerful and as cold as their master. Faceless, the most common form of the Angyls was of winged beings, with androgynous, silver and gold shapes, neither man, woman, or any other natural form. Dozens of wings arched from them, each devastating and bladed, and the long, blank faces protruded from within these wings. They blazed permanently with intense white light, and left trails of sparks behind them, as they floated ethereally wherever they went. Some say the Angyls are formed from the spirits of all those astropaths, soul bound to the Emperor while still clothed in flesh. None can prove this, but the theory is prevalent. Of the greater Angyls, only one is known to have a name, and a face. The Malcador, the great Dominion. The great dominion has a harsh, stern, humanoid face, amidst all the folding robes and razor-edged wings. It is the greatest of them all, the first soul bound to the Star Father, so long ago. It is often the voice of its patron during wars, and he only ever offers one option to those enemies of the Star Father:
For, in the grim nightmare of the the 51st Millenium, there is no righteous or good path. That was murdered, along with the Emperor, long ago. Tyranny, oppression, or anarchy and doom, are the only options left to the faithful. All is dust, and there is no salvation!
Of course, the above statement isn't quite accurate…
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 05: The Adamantine Worlds: The Adeptus Mechanicus, The Awakening, and The War of Two Spheres
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 07: The Crusade of Insanity: The Templars on the Rampage
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 08: Ravagers and Rogues: Piracy in the Second Age of Strife
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 12: Warriors of Fortune: Mercenaries in the Second Age of Strife
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 14: The Star Father Incarnate
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 15: The Dying: Biel-Tan, the Eldar, and the Lord of the Dead
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 18: The Xenos Resurgent: Alien Empires of the Second Age of Strife
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 20: The Hammer Shattered: What Happened to the Imperial Guard?
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 21: The Psychic Apocalypse, The Black Ships, and the Nex…
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 22: The Blood and the Sword: BloodKnights of Baal, and the Legacy of Mephiston the Undying