Story:The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k section27
- 1 Section 27: (In)famous Persons of the Second Age of Strife
- 2 The Shape of the Nightmare to Come: Section Navigation
Section 27: (In)famous Persons of the Second Age of Strife
While we talk of the grand dynasties, and marauding nations which ruled and suffered together during the period of anarchy and darkness, we must also remember that history is not just the deeds of the many we need concern ourselves in. Each individual experienced this grand horror in a different manner. Some fled to the the deepest reaches of their worlds. Some wallowed in villainy, using the unrelenting misery of the period to justify any horrendous actions employed by the callous, the cruel and the desperate. Some self-harmed, whipping themselves raw in mute horror. Some found solace in debauchery, some in heroic sacrifice. Some felt some kindling embers of hope, deep in their hardened hearts. For isn't the darkness darkest before the dawn?
This next section shall cover five such figures of importance, and chart their place within the bitter tapestry of this age of doom.
1) Yarrick, Hero of Hades Hive, Butcher of Betek
Commissar Yarrick was once the hero of Armageddon. Beloved by his men, and almost feared by the orks he made his enemy. Yet, he chose to abandon the world, in favour of chasing the great war boss Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka and his fleet, as it fled the Armaggedon system in the latter part of M41. He and a sizeable force of Guardsmen, along with regiments of PDF Steel Legion, desperate to join their hero in battle once more, joined the large Black Templar fleet of Helbrecht, as he gave chase to the green fiend.
In the madness and confusion of the period of the New Devourer, worlds were vanquished of life, and chaos became norm. Lost amidst a storm of fleeing pilgrims, xenos and refugee fleets, as well as the stifling shadow in the warp, the fleet lost their quarry. What was worse, after decades of fruitless, violent searching, the warp grew restless as never before. The astronomicon was faltering, and bit by bit, piece by piece and ship by ship, their fleet was separated and lost, scattered across the entire Segmentum Solar and Ultima. Of the Templars, we have already discussed, yet Yarrick's fate was to shape him as a figure of fear and loathing, rather than adoration.
Tossed upon the torrents of madness for three years, eventually Yarrick and his small collection of vessels were vomited back into real space, into the Dalinus system. This happened to be the sub-sector capital of the Mobian sub-sector. The Mobian sub-sector, unlike other tracts of Imperial space cut off from the wider whole by treacherous warp currents, did not become a petty Imperium in its own right. The sub-Sector Governor, Pilitaes, did not declare himself overlord, or Imperator, or anything as pretentious and vain as the other Petty Emperors. He maintained the title Governor, and instead set up his own council, known as 'the Interrim body'. He and his government considered themselves part of THE Imperium, an indivisible structure.
When Yarrick arrived, Pilitaes saw this as validation of his theory, that the Imperium had survived, and if he was patient, relief would come. However, the sight that greeted him was somewhat disappointing. Seven battered, battle-damaged troop ships, and an ancient Grand Cruiser, which listed to one side permanently, its flanks seemingly ravaged by years, nay centuries, of warfare. The naval staff were embittered and tired. Likewise, the Guardsmen who came with Yarrick were similarly weary.
Nevertheless, Pilitaes invited them to set up a sector base within his area of space. Yarrick readily accepted. His Guardsmen and fawning PDF followers set up a large base upon the Governor's capital world, known as Betek. Here, he was resupplied, and his troops drilled and trained, until they had regained some of their former elite lethality. Yet, all was not well upon Betek.
While Pilitaes and his interim body considered everything to be 'business as usual' in the Sector, his people did not. Rumours spread of the collapse of the Imperium, of how Betek had not received communication from the Adeptus Terra in countless centuries, and how supplies from neighbouring sub-sectors had not arrived in system in living memory. Food and patience became scarce. The deluded Governor continued to send his annual Tithes dutifully to Terra. When no word came back, the governor saw nothing wrong, and sent next year's Tithe out just the same, fearing possible retaliation should he not do so. This, combined with the lack of imports, began to take its toll upon the heavily populated worlds of the system. Most notably, Betek.
Upon the planet, mass movements and demonstrations began to spring up, across the entire world. Some were movements in favour of the planet being run by committees of civilians. Most simply demanded representation. In their eyes, the Imperium had fallen, and they had no obligation to a dead god. The Governor had failed them, and these degenerate 'equality' bands, began preaching of the prospect of representative governance of their planet, in the hope that such a government would redistribute resources, and relieve the growing economic misery Pilitaes was inadvertently inflicting upon his own people. These protests were suppressed violently by the mauls and tear gas of the grim-visaged Adeptus Arbites Precincts across the world cities of Betek. Yet, their actions merely fueled and fanned the outrage and disgust of the protesters.
Pilitaes requested Yarrick's aid in ending the riots and disruptions. He claimed the equality bands were undermining Imperial ideals. Something had to be done. Thus, Yarrick and his soldiers collaborated with the few Arbites forces upon the world, spreading the propaganda message of obedience and submission. Yarrick orated to the crowds. Was he not the hero of Hades Hive? Beloved by all?
However, he was not their hero. Why should they listen to this warmonger, they began to argue, and their protests became more blatant and defiant. Hidden amongst the population, a people's rebellion began to develop. If the Governor could not grant them liberty, then he was not their Governor, in their view.
On the fiftieth Candlemas of the 200s of M46, over seven million men, women and children, emerged onto the streets of the main city, within sight of the governor's palace. A more blatant provocation could not be made. As the colourful banners and chants filled the vast courtyards before the palace, a great rumble resounded, drowning out the defiant challenges of the populace. The titanic gates to the palace ground open painfully, and from this grim portal, rolled the monstrous form of the Fortress of Arrogance, flanked by two whole armoured companies. Yarrick, riding atop the tank like some heathen king of old, echoed the blaring roar of the Arbitrators across the city, howling through a loud hailer built into his Baneblade: "Disperse of be destroyed!"
Then something terrible happened. A single rioter, hidden amongst the bustling mobs of civilians, fired upon the force. It was an ineffectual shot, the single las bolt impacting harmlessly into the hull of a Leman Russ.
Yarrick, his patience and nerve stretched thin by multiple antagonistic riots, finally snapped. His tanks rumbled forth, pouring death into the packed together crowds. Screams and startled yells rose up from the aghast group, the chilling collective scream soon drowned out by the roar of auto cannon fire, and the hiss of las cannon and multi-lasers. The Capital city became filled with confused and terrified crowds of civilians, who fled through the streets, crushing many of themselves amidst the chaos. Thousands more were mown down by the violence volleys of the tanks and accompanying Armoured fist squadrons, who executed countless protesters with a callous efficiency. Just as the armed forces seemed to have relaxed, that was when the rebels chose to strike. Missile launchers and plasma projectors suddenly began to stream from houses, sewer entrances and various other buildings. Tanks were upturned and damaged, soldiers ambushed, even more civilians caught in the vile cross-fire which now developed.The Leman Russ squadrons patrolled the wider avenues, leveling any building which seemed to harbour fugitives. Hellhounds moved through the smaller streets, their flaming main armament spearing fire directly into enemy held buildings, roasting all those within with searing promethium. Windows burst with the over pressure, the anguished cries of those within signalling their demise.
Yarrick was at the forefront of this massacre. This was a war. He knew how to fight wars. As he howled Imperial rhetoric from his lecturn aboard the fortress of Arrogance, the titanic tank ground through the streets. Smaller buildings, and people too old or crippled to evade his vehicle's monstrous tracks, were driven over entirely by the bane blade. Its heavy bolters, las-cannons and demolisher cannon, pulverised anything within range. Men, women, insurgent rebels, buildings, children: all were treated with the same heartless distaste. It was claimed that Yarrick himself took his storm bolter to many of the fleeing 'combatants', screaming hateful litanies as they were burst asunder by his butcher's tool.
Within six hours, three million civilians and rebels, and six thousand soldiers, were dead, with over four million more unarmed citizens fleeing the city in disarray. Even as the men cheered their 'victory', Yarrick was perturbed. He kew that it was far from over.
Even as Yarrick and his fellow Commissars held mock trials for the captured rebels before executing them, word was spreading to every other city across the planet. Native media spread the word. Revolution. The Butcher of Betek must be punished.
Within scant months, every city across the world was revolting. Though there was no single leadership of the disparate and disorganised revolutionaries, they were united in one thing: utter contempt for the butcher Yarrick, and the Pilitaes, who they considered to be a puppet of Yarrick (even though this was not strictly true). Arbites precincts were besieged by millions upon millions of vengeful rioters, and the less numerous, but far more deadly, equality bands, who had developed into a semi-professional para-military force.
Yarrick's Guardsmen, and delusional former-Armaggedon PDF, moved from site to site, battling and destroying whichever foe rose up to engage them. While the Imperial forces were near-invincible in open battle with the rag-tag para-military armies, they could not handle the guerrilla campaign, which was underway across seven continents, and in conjunction with constant pitched battles and uprisings. Over that decade, Yarrick and his men fought near constantly. The rebels, armed with improvised explosives, captured armour and armaments, and fanatical devotion to their cause, took a heavy toll on their oppressors. In some cases, the Betekian PDF battalions found they could no longer murder their own people, and the record of desertion was unbelievably high.
Soon, the situation was untenable . Pilitaes and his 'Interim Body' decided to flee the capital world, and found their capital on another of the worlds within the Sub-Sector. Yarrick cursed them, decrying them as cowards and pacifists. Nevertheless, in 264.M46, the transport bearing the rulers of the Mobian sub sector, began to rise from the star port. Disgusted and betrayed, the ancient Commissar ordered his Fortress of Arrogance to fire upon the transport. Though the treacherous barrage severely damaged the transport, it managed to escape the world.
Yarrick, who was by now so very old, even his bionics weren't keeping him flushed with vigour, began to truly go insane. His forces destroyed the star port of Betek, in order to prevent any further 'cowardly retreat' as he said.
265.M46. The capital was once more besieged by dissidents. However, this time they were well-trained, well armed, and hungry for vengeance. All but three of Yarrick's battalions were destroyed over that year. The Arbites were all dead or in hiding. Most of the native PDF were part of the massive revolt now. Only the palace, besieged on all sides, remained in Yarrick's hands.
Surrounded by foes, even his fellow allies began to realise Yarrick was a failure. Yarrick, never known for despair, called for a final, glorious charge. Most of his men refused, but he still managed to persuade his bane blade crew to join him in this final act.
As dusk fell on Yarrick's final days, a great roar arose from behind the great gates of the palace. Out surged the Fortress of Arrogance. Its weapons were spent, its fuel low. Nevertheless, it charged, its loud hailers blaring the 'Emperor's Glory' a well-known Imperial battle-hymn of the 41st millennium. It ploughed through the masses of enemy soldiers, as an evil amount of ordnance and weapons fire impacted the dying leviathan. Engines ruptured, sponsors toppled off in flames, and the crew died, one by one. Yet still the vehicle ploughed forwards, scattering the enemy before it.
No one knows who killed Yarrick, such was the confusion. All the same, a single las bolt struck Yarrick in the throat, blasting his head from his shoulders, causing his stiff corpse to pitch itself from the chassis of his battle tank, to be torn apart by the baying hordes of enemies (so romantic revolutionary writers, writing about the glorious revolution after the event, claim the las bolt came from the same anonymous shooter in the summer of 250.M46, making up for missing the butcher originally. However, there is no evidence to support this).
Thus, in infamy and dishonour, Yarrick, hero of Armaggedon, and Butcher of Betek, met his end.
2) Honorin Sung, Grand Master of the Order of the Tempestrian LeagueThe Segmentum Tempestus was divided into many different Theocracies between 209-999 of M49 and well into M50. The Ophelian Imperium continued to bitterly oppose the Tallarn Imperium, even after the destruction of Ophelia in M50. As well as this conflict, these two large Theocracies fought multiple individual wars with numerous other, far smaller Imperiums. Many were merely one of two seperatist planets banding together. Yet, several, such as the Balcull Imperium and the Matriarchy of Meledore, were powerful and influential petty Imperiums in their own right, and engaged in wars with each other, on and off, throughout the period. Yet, these Imperiums also had to face countless Heretical cult uprisings, piracy and repeated xenos surges at the same time. So concerned with theological and territorial dominance, these Imperiums often found themselves ill at ease to cope.
Luckily for them, by chance, a new force was in the process of being created.
Honorim Sung was a Cleric from Damasr, a world on the embattled border between Tallarn and Ophelian interests. His Monastic order, the Divine Sculptrists, were on generally good terms with the two Imperiums, and thus were largely left alone. Of course, the rest of the world was Tallarn dominated, with a large Ophelian population. War was commonplace on the world.
While on a justice pilgrimage, It was said a man, armoured in perfect grey armour, studded with scripture, appeared before him, guiding him to a data-vault, deep within the eastern hemisphere of his world. There, he discovered a vault, filled with information and documentation, written in ancient, pre-second strife era Gothic. As a learned scholar, he soon translated all the documents, and deciphered the meanings of many of the artefacts. He learned of this ancient Order of Warriors. Soldiers of the faith and champions of the rule of the Eccliesiarch. They were known as the Frateris Templar. He returned to his order, and brought them into knowledge of his discovery. He formed a following. Sung's new movement converted almost all his fellow clerics, and within the year, his beliefs became widespread and popular, across the entire world. Patronage by local power magnates and religious backing by both Ophelian and Tallarn canons (each eager to use the movement's popularity to gain them oral high ground over their theological foes), allowed the order ot rapidly expand and develop. Honorin, though he himself was a skilled warrior and orator (due to his role of battle-missionary of his order), he knew most of his brothers and sisters of the faith weren't so skilled. Luckily, several prominent Sororitas patronised his order, and their battle orders soon began to aid in the training and recruitment of his developing force. He eventually allowed the various suits of Frateris Templar armour to be examined by serf-Tech Adepts and other mechanics of the Imperial cults of machine, allowing more suits to be built. It took many years, and much blood and money, but eventually, the 'Reborn Fratrnity' was forged. Ships gifted or built for the Order, spread throughout the sub-sector, then sector, then segmentum.
Using a revolutionary tactic of way station and 'leap-frogging' warp transit (which this chronicler maintains was a tactic stolen from early Tau fleet tactics, despite the venomous retorts of the many major League Masters I have encountered), the order managed, over a decade, to establish order houses across the Segmentum, with Grand Master Honorin Sung lossely in charge of all of them, from his Monastery upon Damasr. His Order was tasked by him to defend any Emperor-worshipping faction's vessels, as they travelled through the void, defending them from marauding xenos and any pirates that chose to attack. Similarly, Honorin, who often sallied forth from his keep upon Damasr, called for his brothers and sisters to:
"Cast aside the chains of segregation and division. Division is weakness, a heresy the Imperator ascendant would never permit. We are children of the master of man one and all. Let our tremendous wrath and hatred turn upon those that truly deserve our murderous wrath. Let the ad humanist taint be expunged from our collective realms. Let the heretic and the unclean beast-man and children of mutant filth be our foes. Let the anti-human, the cursed xenos, be our foe. Let hate be directed outwards. Let the outer-dwellers fear us, the children of Imperator! Ave Imperator!"
This 'Tempestrian League' as it was now called, was readily joined by elder Battle Sisters and deranged zealots, who dimly recalled the ancient days, where the Sororitas performed similar roles. Not only this, former mercenaries and converted pirates, eagerly joined these various Orders of the league. They offered a path to salvation, and many of the superstitious and brutal men knew that this was the only way to both fulfill their violent urges and get into paradise. Many were said to have been merely warmongers and butchers, who merely wanted to kill under the guise of legitimacy, but nevertheless, the ranks of the faithful expanded rapidly.
Honorin's order refused to fight in inter-Imperial conflicts, and instead committed itself with butchering worlds of heretics and exterminating xenos infestations. The Velten beings, pale and frail witch-aliens living on the borders of the Segmentum, were utterly killed by the hate-filled League's crusading elements, all in one week.
With every pasing year, and every victory, the Tempestrian League's reputation between the warring theocratic Imperiums of Tempestus grew massively. While Inter-Imperial war could not be stopped, even by the league, the orders were essential. In fact, when Ophelia was utterly destroyed, and its Imperium looked as if it would be torn apart by war between the two rival Eccliesiarchs elected in the aftermath, and the expansionist Tallarns, it was the League (and the powerful oratory of the now-ancient Sung) who held together the broken realm, and served as neutral arbitrator in the many conclaves and councils that conveyed to decide upon the true ecclesiarch (which was eventually decided to be Eccliesiarch Gregorin III, of Teteheim, elected in 005.M50), and prevented the Tallarns from utterly shattering their ancient foe.
Three days after this election, Honorin Sung himself died of an infected battle-wound. His place was taken by Grand Mistress Ducarf, who began a long line of Grand Masters and Mistresses in the league.
In the fiftieth millennium, the order was nearly destroyed, by a combination of greedy local petty Imperiums seizing their assets, and the growing menace of the Star Father's Angylic hosts, who becalmed massive areas of the warp. Yet, amazingly, they survive until this day, though they are much weakened. Many heroic and influential Masters of the Order have existed since Honorin's passing, many of whom deserve their own legends. However, none were as influential or as well loved as their founder, Honorin Sung the pious, the man who created the first of the Trans-post-Imperial organisations, Leagues not bound within the social and/or geographical framework of a single restrictive petty Imperium.
[Visual: Five heavily armed men (elements of Ober Vik's Combat group). Running towards pict-imager. Weapons discharges into darkened far corridor. Blue flashes of luminescence return fire. Three fall, splattering bio matter across hall. Strobing autogun fire.]
[Audio: "Get the warp in-boys, lads! Gush 'em! (heavy drone of heavy stubber discharge)"
"Frag them! Frag them!"
"Imperator, eva Tetrinas!" (rushing sound. Query: Flamer?)
(Unidentified language. Non-human?)]
[Visual: Flashing weapons fire. Lumen globes damaged. Switching to dark-sight…]
[Visual: Humanoid figures. Engaging mercenaries. Single intruder cut down by autogun exchange. Remaining figures engage. Mercinaries extinguished.]
[Audio: (unidentifiable screams)]
[Visual: Humanoids turn device towards pict feed. (Query: Weapon analo-
[echoing detonation. Muffled by roof]
3) Belius, the Barter King
Belius, colloquially known as 'the Barter King', is an enigmatic figure, famous across much of the Ultima Segmentum, throughout the centuries of the forty ninth millennium. His world is located on the border between not only the twin juggernauts of the Thexian Trade Empire and the Tau Empire, but also five overlapping Petty Imperial borders, not to mention the World-Weave of the Reek. Yet, rather than a subjugated realm, his world (known as 'free geld' by most scholars of the age) was a haven of trade and enterprise, a sort of 'neutral ground' where Empires of differing xenos, and innumerable free, independent traders, could trade technologies, secrets, knowledge and produce, such as the vibrant slave trade functioning throughout the Age of Strife, or the corrosive trade in the Narcotic 'Psyconot', which was gradually, somehow migrating from the Savlar realms, many lightyears from free geld.
How he survived (and indeed, thrived) in such a time of misery and monstrosity, is testament to his ruthless intelligence and shrewd cunning.
No one knows the origins of Belius. The vast being's visage is hidden behind many veils, and only his closest guardians have seen his true appearance. Some claim he is a rogue Thexian, or possibly an outcast and decadent Eldar (a mythic race by this point). Others claim darker origins. Records from M42 suggest there was a gene stealer infestation upon the world, due for purging. Since records beyond M42 for the Imperium are simply non-existant, we cannot be sure the infestation was destroyed. It is possible that the departing of the Tyranid hordes soon after this point could have killed off the infestation, we cannot know.
Whatever it was, Belius built up an effective system of catering for the struggling Traders and merchants, which plied their trade across Governor(?) Belius' world. Warp travel could only be undertaken via multiple short warp jumps, which made journeys across even sector-sized areas decades-long affairs. Belius provided rest, refuge and re-fuelling for these weary travellers, in exchange for minimal fees, and the chance to cut into these various trades. Uniquely, Belius allowed not only humans of various political affiliations acess to his world, but also all many of xenos and bizarre creatures, defying exact decriptions. All paid the fees, all shared in the trades. Eventually, Belius' world began to be well known as a trading post, and merchants flocked to the world, rather than using it as a stopping off point. Traders, couriers, envoys, usurers and ambassadors began to fill the system near-constantly, and Belius became very, very wealthly. Numerous banks and semi-corrupt casinos (many of whom were secretly owned by Belius and his ruling family, who gained even more profit) sprang up to deal with monetry and physical capital. Inevitably, across the crowded and bustling cities across free geld, criminals and brigands were drawn to these rich targets, like lice to a canine.
Fences, pick pockets, theives, con-men, nuttilian soul-snatchers and bounty hunters of various genders, creeds and races, flocked to the world to take advantage. Pirates and crime syndicates sought shelter from authorities in the free-trading mire of free geld, seeking to avoid prosecution or execution, or simply coming to the world to purchase weaponry and supplies, in order to continue their destructive and despicable actions. Prostitutes, actors walked in the darkest alleys, actors and their play companies performed in the streets, or in dedicated playing houses. Assassins left discreet advertisements in ale-dens and public conveniences, their adverts making only one stipulation: 'no hits upon the Barter King'. Gladiatorial pits sprang up, sating the hateful bloodlust which all the cowering masses of the galaxy felt during the Age of pitiless misery. The bloody combat of these chrono-constructs gave release to the futile, pent up rage of the masses, who bayed constantly for blood.
Though numerous private paramilitary, security groups and bodyguards flogged their services to clients wishing to avoid being disembowled by vagabonds across the world, Belius had two main groups of 'state' owned forces under his direct control. The first were the Suftem, a group of warrior abhumans, who had a strange desire to perfect their martial abilities using cybernetics and mechanical engineering upon their bodies. Their goat-like physical bodies were enhanced with claws, built in weapons and digital lasers, and their flesh interwoven with various metal plates, tri-weave flak fibres, and minute force fields. These beast-men had been shunned by most societies, due to their violence and their strong lusts (for both violence, and intercourse, incidentally…). On free geld, they found plenty of both. They guarded the main holdings of the barter King, who paid them in slaves and ale, all of which were very abundant in the cities. The other security force was far more secretive. The hooded brotherhood of Han, were speculated to be made from the deformed relatives of Belius, who formed a secret police force. They would discreetly remove any troublesome guests, without incriminating Belius in the slightest.
free geld was barbaric, murderous and chaotic in the extreme. Yet, somehow, it worked.
Of course, as the many, many divergent empires of the galaxy expanded their ragged borders, there was bound to be trouble. One would have expected the brutish empires to tear free geld to pieces, each side fighting over who owned the planet, or destroying any resistance on thep lanet. However, the Barter King avoided this, in a very simple manner. He joined them all. The Tau entered his system, and demanded he join them. He joined them.The Thexians sent emissaries to his realm, suggesting an alliance. He accepted (and thus removed the need for the Thexians to impose their own ruler upon the system) and joined the trade Empire. The Pan-Haritic Imperium entered the system, their dread vessels swarming with stolen Necron arc-weaponry. They threatened invasion. Belius sent envoys, saying the King surrendered. The Imperium accepted, and didn't interfere with the world (as it provided a lot of income revenue to them). Each time a force came, he became a subject to this force. Handily, while it made him technically subordinate to these empires, it also meant that many of these empires granted him treaties, 'research' grants, and various other funding. He then used these grants and loans, to pay his tithes to his other Imperial overlords. He played each realm off one another, without them ever realising.
Though it seemed like free geld was invincible, it was evidently not the system which held it together, but the influence of the Barter King himself. When he died in his sleep, in 800.M49, his realm collapsed within seven decades. His tithes became delayed and mismanaged, by blundering underlings, and this angered the empires that ruled the realm. Civil wars between rival successors to the throne of 'Barter King' led to his private forces becoming rather more violent and public. In one incident, a merchant was killed in the crossfire, and his White Scars hired goons turned their gleaming bolters and scimitars upon the native forces, causing anarchy and confusion, as thousands of different mercenary groups, bodyguard units, and criminal gangs, turned their guns upon their rivals and their apparent foes, each believing their clients and brethren were under threat from a hostile force. 'The War with no enemies' was a baffling and senseless engagement, which cost over seven million lives in the two years it lasted. Afterwards, merchants came less and less frequently to the world. Profits dropped, and tithes were not paid.
The seventeen empires which apparently ruled the system, came to collect. free geld was destroyed over a period of two centuries, as fleet after fleet of militaries came, bombarded, and looted the decaying world. Eventually, with no ruling government, and no laws in particular, the now increasely barren and sickly world was abandoned by its ruling empires, and it fell into disarray. By M50, it was still a realm of meetings and trading. However, it is almost exclusively criminal in nature, with grimy thugs and robbers roaming the streets murdering and stealing, while large bands of pirates and reavers met to trade stolen goods, and plan further atrocities in other sectors, or simply to get drunk and violent.
In 103.M50, by Ethereal degree, the 400th phase Expansion fleet of Commander Blueheart, cracked the planet by directing seven hundred asteroids into the planet, until it broke up, killing any rogues and crooks stupid enough to still be on the planet when they did so. This was to 'deter' piratical assemblies, and hence keep Tau shipping safe from reavers.
So endeth the realm of the Barter King. Yet, while he lived, it was possibly the closest to a functioning society capable during such a turbulent period of genocide, extortion and the death of a God.
4) Festielle, the BrokenAfter so much devastation and death across so many millennia, our universe is a realm made hollow and heartless by necessity and misery. Great tracks of space, thousands of lightyears across, lay barren and destroyed. Wilderness space makes up the vast majority of the realms of the galaxy, the few areas of lucrative or habitable territory fought over, like scraps of fresh meat clinging to the bones of a corpse, being pecked at by ravenous vultures. Petty Imperiums, alien empires and monolithic societies of abominations, all cluster around these decadent and murderous tracks of ironically named 'paradise space'. For there is nothing but wilderness beyond it and between it.
Yet, even the wilderness space is inhabited, by countless pirates, mercenaries and obscene monsters. The same cannot be said of ghost space. In some place, where the warp was weak, and the death toll from invasions, the new devourer and the death of stars was 100%, the destroyed and murdered souls are said to cling to existence.
Such a being is Festielle. Knowledge of the Festielle, the broken one, is scant at best. Some call him legend, others myth. Yet, the stories are too many and too similar to discount entirely. On an orphan world, drifting in the deep dark, where no light falls, resides the Festielle.
Amidst a world of corpses, where the entire world was dead and rotten to ash, the Festielle roams. Some say he is a corrupted Night Lord, driven into insanity and bitterness by despairing lunacy. Others claim the fiend is a fury, tossed from the realm of the warp during the conflagration with the Star Father, to be trapped within the material realm, taking the body of a fallen man, filling him with bitterness and rendering the man incorporeal. The stories are countless, and futile. He simply is.
It is said the realm is utterly silent. Unnaturally so, as if the planet is cursed with silence. Creeping things, with their orifices sewn shut, and their flesh wasted and thinned until their dry bones can be seen, crawl and scrape silently. Furies flutter from crumbling towers, snarling soundlessly in futile dislocation.
The rogue planet appears in the void, when vessels are forced to drop out of the warp, short of their destinations. As they ready themselves for another jump, the dark planetoid appears, a black shape against a black void. The vessels inexplicably break down, their engines bafflingly non-functional, despite the best efforts of captured tech priests or serf-Demiurg engineers aboard. They simply stop. Then the silence comes. The whole vessel becomes silent. Panic ensues, as men desperately scream to be heard, clawing at their heads and ears furiously. Before long, the beleagured crews either enter the orbit of the void world, or are ensnared (the accounts differ). Desperate for a solution, they send shuttles to the surface. No one returns. Soon, the vessels begin to orbit closer and closer.
In most accounts, the planet crashes, yet somehow they survive. They are dragged before the silent one. His mouth like a rotting cavern, Festielle screams in their faces, no noise erupting from his lips. He rips apart most of the men with his claws, in frustration. The survivors (those to relate the tales) claim they were spared for a purpose. Festielle wants to be heard, wants to be known.
Though undoubtedly horrific to hear, these stories are nothing compared to simple existence in this accursed universe, and so-
As I write this, I am disgusted. I cannot be dispassionate any longer! I sit in the darkness of these Vaults, cowering from the Reavers above, who even now slaughter our defenders to a man above us, and I talk about legends and ghost stories, as if they matter!
I contemplated destroying this log, just to stop them from corrupting it or defiling it. Then I realised. This log is more important than this whole facility. This log is evidence. It is proof. Thoughout the millennia of my existence, not once have I found another history of this Age. Nothing so complete.
I would not be so arrogant as to say this history is anywhere near a complete log of this period of abomination. I cannot depict everything, for I am only human… [bitter laugh]
But I am the only one left. The only one who has a … continuity of vision. I was there before, during and after. The human race needs to know what it once was… and what it can be again.
This Order, the Order of the Recollectors, brought me here to collate a summary of the universe from the billions of source-materiel they have hoarded in these vaults over the millennia of degeneration, to store here as a permanent record of all the gods to see. I have done as you asked, but I must break our contract.
I built a device. This world was naturally linked to the web. Perhaps this is how the Recollectors first got here? It doesn't matter. There was a Gate. I studied it. I took it apart, and rebuilt it. It took me centuries, but I did it. Originally, I tailored the Gate as a getaway system for myself, but I know now that it is this log, this record, which needs to survive this. I can't let my legacy be destroyed. I have already lived too long. Done too much evil.
I suppose then this should be my last declaration… First, to organise.
Use the initial twenty-seven as the hash index for the package salt. Use the rest for interspersed obfuscation code using quantum-algorithim delta5. Collate, then package.
I am an evil man. Perhaps never intended. No, never intended. This changes nothing though. My actions may very well have doomed us all.
I tried to stop them. I tried with all my cunning, my might and my intellect. There was nothing I could do. Everything I did just made things worse. Hopefully, this log can be of some use to those that go on after I am dead (and I will die, there's no doubt about this now). Alongside this log, I have attached all the weapon, vessel, and technological blueprints I could lay my hands upon from the recollections' librariums. I hope they are of some use to those I am sending this too.
I send this to Armageddon, the planet of battles. I know what happened there, and I know who leads the Imperium growing there. If you are indeed reading this 'hermit', I know your name, and I have one thing to say to you:
Save us. Please save us Primarch. Save us Vulkan.
So, I commend my soul to… (laughs softly) I almost said God-Emperor then! He's not worship of that title. Not now.
I commend my soul to the Imperium. May it rise again.
- ---Lord Inquisitor Kryptmann
[Author concludes log.]
[Log locked and secured. Stasis field engaging in 10 sec]
[Humanoid figure bursts into room. Author turns to them, obscures image of figure]
Author: Too late. Your realm will fall!
Humanoid: The Templates. Where are they?
[Author spits at silhouetted figure. Gunshots. Viscera obscures pict lens]
[Figure advances. Author falls. Figure strikes dataslates from desk. Spectromatching initated via proximity trigger.]
[Figure focuses upon log device, lunges for log device. Spectromatch found. Figure=Subject #2352. Codename designation: Bile.]
Colours, swirling and blistering and monstrous. The cogitator brain cannot identify the realm it slides, like a bullet through the concept of envy. Oily shapes, milky white eyes in the side of twisting, snarling figures. Vague structure, shifting along smooth walls.
More colours splash into view. Waves at a beach. Cross-referencing fails, as the images before the cogitator unit shift constantly. The temperature fluctuated and flexed, forming ribbons around the capsule, as it flew through the frictionless realm. Hot, cold, hot, all formed spider-like structures on its flank, before they dissolved in logic.
Eventually, perhaps before it set off, the capsule finally stopped, with a hiss and a gargle.
[Two figures, located in room. Room analogus to bunker system.]
[Figure 1 taps controls at side of log device. Figure 2 remains motionless, transfixed by device. Spectromatching indicates: humans.]
[Human 1 continues adjustments.]
Human 2: Are you supposed to do that? It's techno-magic. We should burn it.
Human 1: No! He said we weren't to burn techno-horrors anymore. We bring it to him when we find them. He'll know what to do.
Human 2: Devil!
Human 1: Nah, nothing heathen 'bout it. Go! Go get the Hermit! Go, go tell him, or one of the Angel-fire warriors. Go!
- 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 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: Blood Knights of Baal, and the Legacy of Mephiston the Undying
- The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 27: (In)famous Persons of the Second Age of Strife