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Be warned: this is a long one, and I'm still writing it.
I posted the prolog a few months ago but I wasn't content to just leave the story as it was, (ya, I know, as if it wasn't long enough already) and after a time all the ideas I had floating around began to form a coherent and 'realistic' story line in the 40K universe I thought was worth writing. While I'm not quite sure how I'm going divide out the rest of the story into parts I can tell you that the story is finished, just not written down, and that I expect part II and III to be roughly 1.5 to 2 times as long as part I, and the eplog/conclusion to be about the same as part I, but what do I know; I thought Part I was going to be twice as long and the Prolog 1/4th the size.
As a last note, I wrote the Prolog as if it were a informal imperial report (limited) but the rest of the story is omnicent, and while I wanted to rework the prolog to be omnicent to include more detail and creat a less abrupt transition to part I, I just don't have the patence, so I'm sorry about that. I hope you enjoy the story and I encourage you to give me your thoughts as it progresses.
Also I wasn't sure weither this belonged more to the Army Fluff section or fan fiction section of the forums.
There was once planet not far out into the Eastern Fringe, former home to a long forgotten chapter of Space Marines -The Red Tears- who stood as a pillar of the might of the Imperium against the renegades and heretics who would strike deep into Segmentum Solar and the enemies of the Emperor who fled into uncharted space after the failure of Horus's heresy. It came to pass that a man, his original name long forgotten, came to the service of this chapter along side his maternal brother. The two were said to be inseparable from each other, and together they won many victories against the common enemy and gained many decorations for unshakeable faith and bravery, both achieving feats together that one of them could not hope to undertake alone, but the fate of every Astartes is to die in battle, and these marines were no exception. The personal army of a priveteering Rouge Trader came to pass too near the Chapter's home world, and they held to their duty to exterminate the traitor and his renegade marines who would put their personal greed above the edict of the Emperor. This was nothing that the two marines hadn't faced before with life on the Eastern Fringe, yet with every new battle the encroaching doubt that their lives may end grew. Our protagonist, being the more pious of the two simply shrugged off his brother's worry, being recorded as to saying "Blessed is the mind too small for doubt, brother, we've done this a thousand times before and we shall do it a thousand times again. The Emperor does not allow his finest soldiers to die in vein."Adequately reassured, the brother fallowed his kin into battle. However, during the ensuing boarding action many casualties were taken as loyalist marine fought against renegade, the casualties only mounting as the strike-force approached the starship's bridge. Through surviving vox communications as well as many holo-recordings and eye witness accounts salvaged from the Chapter's data bases we have pieced together that during the fight for the ship's control room the protagonist was grievously wounded, and rendered incapacitated he could only watch as his brother and the tattered remains of his squad charged into the vastly out-numbering forces of the renegade marines who had taken up defenses there. The loyalist Astartes fought gallantly, but against the weight of enemy numbers they were losing, and as the fight wore on our protagonist slowly dragged himself closer and closer to the conflict in an inhuman effort, watching his comrades slowly fall until only his brother remained battling against the tide of enemy soldiers. The protagonist, all his strength finally gone and unable to reach his brother screamed out for the Emperor to save his oldest friend - just as a killing stroke plunged through his brother’s armor and through his hearts. From then on we can tell that our protagonist, now in a seemingly catatonic state, was taken prisoner for a short time before loyalist reinforcements stormed the bridge and took control of the ship, after which point he was returned to his home world to await re-assignment. He remained unresponsive for three full days after his wounds were tended to. He refused to eat, clean his armor, or talk to anyone about the incident, he simply remaining in his chamber staring at the door - almost as if he expected his brother to walk through it at any moment. When he finally reemerged he was said to have lost a piece of himself by those who knew him. Where he once shared comradery with all men of his order he was now quiet and reserved. Once devout in the Imperial Cult, attending every mass and even gaining nomination to aspire to the rank of Chaplin -which he declined, as it would place himself above his brother- he now in passive aggressive ways seemed to deny the divinity of the Emperor, although he was never recorded as openly stating blasphomy at this point. It was from here that our protagonist began to walk down the darkest path of all: heresy.About a month after the incident, from which he was still recovering, our protagonist began to be receive lucid dreams about an entity which he said was simply named ‘The Shepherd’ who told him that his faith would be restored one day, and that he would lead his company and chapter to salvation. Troubled by these dreams he sought the counsel his company’s chaplain, with whom he had been a close friend, describing the entity he saw as a shapeless mass, it’s silhouette was rendered undistinguishable from the surrounding darkness by it’s eyes that burned like stars. He said in the creature’s eye’s he saw a hint of something that was ‘undeniably divine in nature’. He reported such visions to be coming in closer and intervals, lasting longer then they had before each time. The chaplain and what friends the man had left took this as a good sign, encouraging him that whatever inner meaning these dreams held would surely be revealed to him in time, and would be for the good of the chapter, that this Shepherd he saw was the messenger of the Emperor himself. Three months after his initial report of his visions the chapter’s Fortress Monastery came under direct attack by renegade marine forces in numbers the likes of which The Red Tears had never encountered before. The siege drew out for weeks in a bloody battle of attrition, but The Red Tears were losing. Imperial reinforcements, though still some distance away, escalated the engagement; desperate measures were being taken by both sides to try and throw off their enemy. The Red Tears Legion honor at stake they fought with legendary strength and courage to hold back the invading forces, who redoubled their efforts to seize their prize before the arrival of the Imperial Navy. In an effort to end the conflict the rebel leader and his personal retinue took to the field of battle, hopelessly slaughtering a bloody path through the loyalist marines driving down the very gates of the Monastery. A last stand was being prepared in the Monastery’s inner sanctum where the bulk of the surviving marines had gathered, a grand hall in which stood an elaborate statue of the Emperor amongst the mounting piles of munitions and wargear. It is recorded that as the final preparations were made for their last stand every marine knelt at this statue to pray, and as our protagonist did so he went into what was described as ‘frenzied spasms’, tearing off his helmet and leaving deep gashes in his armor with his bear hands. It was thought by those who knew him that he was being blessed with a powerful waking dream from The Shepherd, one with an intensity they had never seen before. So powerful was the vision that the marine’s left eye began to bleed profusely, leaving a trail of blood down the chest plate of his armor before he began, what was described as, a ‘an insane, manic laughter’ screaming that he ‘saw it’ – the face of the true Emperor, and he understood what had to be done now. Gathering his armor and his weapons he led the grim congregation of marines from their fortifications and out of the Monastery, taking them to a direct confrontation with the renegade commander and his retinue. It was said by all who witnessed it that he fought with the strength that no marine had ever possessed – swinging his weapons with such force that they shattered against enemy power armor, snapping apart enemy blades with his bear hands, crushing any part of an enemy he could get his hands on – crying out it was all in the name of the True Emperor and his messenger The Shepherd. In the final confrontation in which he fought unarmed against the enemy commander in single combat it was recounted that he was impaled through the stomach as just after their duel began. Unwilling to allow his enemy to withdraw the blade from his body our protagonist grasped his opponent’s hand where it held onto the weapon and crushed it, bones snapping as the ceramite armor bent inward. Fighting against the pain and shock as no mortal could, he grasped the Chaos Lord’s neck with his other hand and did likewise, slowly closing the armor until the renegade could no longer breath. Our protagonist then savagely pummeled the commander before leaving him to a slow, agonized suffocating death, struggling and clawing against the ceramite gorget bent into his neck which he did not have the power to remove. Drawing the blade from his own body the protagonist then preceded to cut swaths through the enemy lines, fighting with such ferocity and zeal that even the loyalist marines came to fear him, standing back in awe rather than risk being mistaken for a traitor. Eight hours later as the blazing sun touched the horizon and darkness began to fall the last of the renegade ground forces had retreated. Standing alone on top the rock said to be where Imperium of Man first landed upon the world, of marines gathered silently around him. He shouted down at them to fall on their knees and beg the forgiveness of the True Emperor and his Shepherd who had sent him to save those who had gone astray, who had granted him power to prove that he was the chosen prophet, and who had entrusted to him the sacred task of showing these lost souls the true path. Almost all of those present fell do their knees immediately and began to pray in reverence of such an unmistakable sign from greater forces. Those who did not hesitated, but quickly fallowed suit as not to be left out of the majority. They were skeptical as to why The Prophet kept saying ‘the true Emperor’ and accusing the present marines of losing their way, were they not the Emperor’s finest and most trusted soldiers? Had they not defended the Imperium against renegades and traitors for all of their lives? Thus a great schism was drawn across the chapter, one which would lead them to their damnation. It has been noted that since this battle The Prophet’s left eye has bled continuously, said to be the sign of his holy office granted by the Emperor himself by the faithful, but it’s true origin and purpose was to be a much more insidious tool against the chapter than any would have guessed.Broken and damaged in every chamber and component after months of siege, the only part of the Red Tears Fortress Monastery that could be considered intact was the inner-sanctum holding the statue of the Emperor, while far above in orbit the Chapter’s ships underwent repair by their Battle Barge, few other operations were possible. Many men suffered in the Medicae Temples unable to obtain advanced help by their brother apothecaries deprived of proper tools and sterilize operation theaters. Furthermore, long range communication with Segmentum Solar became impossible, leaving the fleet en-route unaware to their comrades current condition and victory. As lengthy repairs to every facet of the Chapter were underway the Red Tears became enthralled with the new spiritual leadership of The Prophet, but soon most Red Tear chaplains became concerned with his adaptation of the imperial creed. While thus far he had only changed minor aspects, ones not warranting heretical accusations especially with so many under his sway and after such a thematic blow to the chapter, be became bolder with his unique interpretation each passing day. Although it was true his strength and utter faith were astounding they were not sure if it could really be divine intervention. It was decided amongst them once they made contact with the imperial fleet they would send for an inquisitor this settle the matter. However, one chaplain present did not deny the Prophet’s claim, and hence this deliberation was brought to the attention of the Prophet himself. The Prophet assured the chaplains in league with him that all those faithful to him and the true Emperor would soon receive his ultimate blessing, those whose souls could not be saved would be judged by the True Emperor himself. While the Prophet seemed completely untroubled by the conspiracy against him his followers were not put at ease, the involvement of an inquisitor could easily mean the death of each and everyone in the chapter, it was here that a portion of the Prophets followers defected back to the side of the skeptics, urging them to take more serious action to stop The Prophet, ranging from simple imprisonment to death by torture, forcing him to admit his prophesy as a lie before laying him to rest. Three days later, as the balance of power had shifted from the followers of the Prophet to the skeptics, came the first sign. A man known as Deavon, known to be most fervent of the Prophets followers, suddenly fell into seizures similar to that undergone by the Prophet himself during the siege. When he arose, his right eye bled out down his face, unlike the prophet however, the bleeding stopped and only started again periodically short times. He claimed, in a similar manner to the Prophet, to have seen the True Emperor and urged his brethren to recant, as they had lived wrong all their lives. Only a few hours after this, three more similar incidents were recorded (not all triggered by seizures it should be noted), all resulting in the marine’s right eye to bleed and for their faith to become what was described as ‘all encompassing’. They were said to now bear the Prophet’s mark. This caused two immediate effects, the first being the balance of power shifted once again slightly in the favor of the Prophet, and the skeptics began to more carefully consider the use of more drastic measures to stop him. Sixteen hours later a small congregation of skeptics assembled to confront the Prophet on friendly terms. One, an apothecary, asked if he could medically inspect those afflicted with what technology he had. The Prophet and those bearing his mark refused, explaining that should they be inspected medically and a reason found they would only believe it as the Emperor working through scientific means to bring this gift to them; alternatively, if no clear reason for the mark could be found it would only serve to fuel the questions of the skeptics rather than the faith that the Prophet and his followers were the chosen. The Prophet spoke in such a reasonable and logical manner the apothecary was actually swayed by this argument and joined with the Prophet, infuriating the rest of the congregation. One man, a Chaplain on the side of the skeptics, proceeded to openly accuse the Prophet of heresy against the Emperor while insulting him and cursing his name. The man was suddenly stopped, open mouthed and aghast, he fell to his knees and screamed out in pain, beginning to spasm uncontrollably, flailing about and begging for help. His right eye began to bleed a thick black ichor. The Apothecary present attempted to help the man, injecting painkillers and trying to calm the man down, both failing miserably. After thirty-two seconds in this frenzied state the chaplain died. The Prophet did nothing except look sorrowfully down on the deceased man and say “His soul could not be saved”. An autopsy of the body revealed that the marine’s brain had simply ‘fell apart’ inside his skull, parts of it liquefying and traveling down and out of the optic channel, but the cause of this could not be revealed. It is at this point that the Red Tear data bases become unclear as log entries become an un-detailed hastily thrown together mass, but it would seem that civil war began to break out amongst the Red Tears Legion between the skeptics who now fully believed The Prophet had to be killed and those faithful to The Prophet who slew those who would not convert to the new faith. It is said repeatedly; however, that when The Prophet charged into battle all those unfaithful near to him would be struck down by the same wailing agony; manic, desperate behavior; and black tears running down their right eye that killed the Chaplain who accused him of heresy, now known as ‘The Mark of Agony’. It was from this that the Prophet earned his second name – Cryagony. It was also said that not all who contracted the Mark of Agony died; rather they rose to the servitude of The Prophet until they had absolved themselves of their sins, earning the Prophet’s mark as sign of forgiveness and a return to servitude. The last log recorded entry tells of massive fires braking out all around the Fortress Monetary as ‘holy fire’ rained down upon those still against The Prophet. We infer from this entry that the Red Tear’s traitorous fleet defeated its loyalist half and began bombardment of the monetary, but from that point on all we know is when the Imperial Navy arrived to relieve the Red Tears siege all that was left of the monetary were ruins and ash, only the lowest halls of the once-great Citadel survived.It was only after the destruction of the Monetary that the chapter’s dedication to the chaos god Nurgle was fully revealed; reports from the nearest Imperial settlements describe Plague bearers attacks and marines with a single bleeding eye striking too far away with numbers too large to be from the Eye of Terror to be of the Death Guard. The Prophet’s legion as it is now most commonly called remains as a double edged blade in the Eastern Fringe, attacking and destroying Imperial settlements just like the pirates they once protected it from, claiming to be spreading the word of the True Emperor, yet they engage renegade and xeno fleets just as often in similar attempts to convert them. From the information we know they have received at least minor aid from the Death Guard Legion, their fleets containing ships that were out of production even before the time of the Red Tears Legion’s formation. However, being a more modern legion to have converted to chaos the Red Tears bring to battle armaments and vehicles more advanced and well maintained then would be seen in a pure Death Guard attack force, on the other side of this is operating so far from the Eye of Terror daemons are an exceptionally rare sight in this legion, all except for one. The Shepherd, who later revealed himself to be an enormous, ancient Great Unclean one of immense power is just about the only daemon sighted in this sector powerful enough to remain stable so far from the Eye of Terror for vast amounts of time without requiring sacrifices or rituals to maintain it’s presence after the initial possession of a host, although the reason for this uncommon stability is still unknown. The aspect of the chapter under the most controversy is as to why the Eastern Fringe was chosen to be the starting point of this newest plague of ‘The Prophet’s Mark’. While it is commonly suggested that Nurgle chose this region out of the sheer pleasure he gets from causing havoc and destruction on an unsuspecting populace so far from the normal area of his influence it seems too tactical and precise a move to be the action of this chaos god. Mortarion’s direct influence to this matter is suspected, likely with his express permission was this plague released by the Shepherd and under his orders Death Guard ships were sent to join the Red Tears Fleet. Each year the number of reported attacks grows, and more marines seem to be converting to the Black Faith under influence of this new epidemic. Insignias and decorations of the Dark Angels, Alpha Legion, and Crimson Fists have been seen to remain upon Legionaire armor, a testament to how wide spread and powerful this new plague has become.Whether it was Mortarion or Nurgle The Prophet and his followers referred to when speaking of seeing ‘the True Emperor’ is still unclear.Part I:One of the things that puzzled the Inquisitors the most upon their arrival was that the rock mentioned in the Chapter’s records said to be where the Prophet first stood proclaiming the ‘True Emperor’ was gone, despite being roughly half an acre in size. In it’s place was a crater twenty feet deep, not made by any ordinance or orbital weaponry, but it was determined that the entirety of the rock had been dug from the ground. In the very center of the depression was said to be the Prophet’s first prophesy describing the Shepherd and the True Emperor, written in blood, before the heretical scripture was utterly expunged by the Inquisition. Unbeknownst to the Imperium on the eve of the Legion’s first victory the rock was extracted from the ground and enshrined in the Legion’s largest orbital lander the Contemplation of Silence. From that day forth every vision of the Prophet was written upon the ground he stood upon before the divination was copied onto the rock, both written in the blood of the Prophet’s sacred eye. Thus did the great missionary set out upon the universe, sending his fleet in seven directions to spread his word. However, due to Prophet’s Legion only consisting of 628 marines and 137 neophytes (in addition to the thousands of men, women, and servitors taken from their former home planet‘s fortress monastery and population, all infected with The Mark and loyal to his cause), and greatly weakened from it’s civil war, the Prophet understood the need to conduct his mission as subtly as possible, for the time being. He instructed his Lieutenants about the beginnings of the True Emperor‘s grand plan for them all, how it should be undertaken, and then gave them each a name of a planet, granted to him in visions from The Shepherd, that they were to strike. Precisely one month later seven developing Imperial planets were attacked in exactly the same way: a small child infected with the mark would be dropped just outside major city bounds in locations patrolled by the stationed Imperial Guard. Finding them with a bleeding eye the Imperial Guard acted to rush the child to a nearby medical center inside the well guarded city. Infecting all the people the child came into contact with who in turn began to infect everyone else, many civilians and guardsmen found themselves stricken with the mark within mere hours, and as the entire force of stationed guardsmen and swarms of civilians were struck with horror by the agony of those rejected by the mark and the growing multitudes contracting the bleeding eye the Legion would descend upon the world amid the chaos, taking what they saw fit as to serve their Prophet and rallying the populace to join them in their fight against the False Emperor before leaving the unfaithful abandoned in their ruined cities; and as each strike returned to the Prophet successful he gained another vision of his Emperor‘s Grand Plan. Of course with these sudden carefully organized strikes against the Imperium the involvement of the loyalist Space Marines was an inevitability, as well as the further investigation of the Inquisition into this strange legion preaching new heresy. With the retaliation of the Imperium came the Legion’s first true test of faith; as the Prophet began a new campaign against a imperial world, the majority of his fleet of ships beginning their decent into the world’s atmosphere, squadrons of loyalist ships translated from the warp on an intercept course. While many ships were damaged in their venerable decent, the Prophet’s vassal was left untouched as imperial boarding torpedoes and assault craft pounded into the hull. While his marines seemed confused by this seemingly unwise assault the Prophet understood perfectly: the inquisition had come to end his life in front of his Legionaires to break their faith in his prophecy. As fighting broke out on every deck of the ship Legionnaries were forced to consolidate their defense around the ship’s vital systems, and as more and more loyalist marines poured into the Contemplation of Silence the Prophet’s men seemed to lose hope of repulsing each new attack. The deep within the ship’s bridge, amidst the constant sounds of gunfire and vox chatter Prophet underwent his greatest vison yet. Word spread immediately around the ship of their leader’s declining state: “I knew not what the True Emperor was telling him through the pain he seemed to be experiencing, while the lieutenants were planning to take new defensive positions across the ship our Prophet suddenly tore off his helmet and nearly fell onto the tactical overlay, barely seeming to support himself he clutched his head with both hands and was clearly resisting an urge to cry out. Though we immediately came to his side he refused our offers to help him; violently pushing all who came to close away. When his vision finally ceased almost one-fourth of the overlay was covered in the blood of his eye, with which he agonizingly wrote out his newest portent on the glittering screen before reciting it on open channel across the ship.”I see before me the sacred Rock,
It’s light illuminates the souls of my Legion,
Rallying those who will join our cause to us.
But comes another who no light is shed upon
He wishes to take the light from us.
He wishes to defile the word of the True Emperor.
He wishes all we have strived for undone.
He must be destroyed,
There mabey no I in team, but there is an I in victory. Remember that.
Resurved for part II, I'll start writing this tomarrow if I have time.
Resurved for part III, I hope to have this finished in 2 weeks.
There mabey no I in team, but there is an I in victory. Remember that.
Resurved for the eplog.