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The Mighty Fallen: The Chronicle of the Sixth Grand Company of Legio III
Includes: Ronus of the Great Ship
*Yet To Come: Augustus the Fell-handed One, Erus the Golden Handed, Adonak the Eld Slayer, Trucido of the Burning Lance, Daestin the Throne-Touched, Apono the Fallen-The Rise of the Mighty-
Throughout the history of the Great Crusade, there are legends a plenty of Space Marine heroes beyond compare doing valorous acts, and always there is some sort of test, often which they do not even realize they are in the midst of. Their mettle, their very destiny and how history remembers them and their Legion. Most of the stories you hear in these days are of tragic Sanguinius, bold Leman Russ, or the enigmatic Lion El’Johnson. Fables of the heroic, noble, and loyal Primarchs of the First Founding Legions of the Adeptus Astartes.
This tale, however, is not of some artificers statue of gold. It is instead, of a hero fallen. A man who was the very awe of his brothers, until he unwittingly erred in his test of destiny. A man who the remembrancers swore would burn through history like a Sun, and is now naught but a glimmer of lore for the most obscure archivists.
In a routine cleansing mission on the brink of the forward most wave of the Great Crusade, the Adeptus Astartes Legion III, designated the Emperors Children, were experiencing more difficulty than they had anticipated. The reports of their intelligence indicated a planet of mere artisans and crafters, a world rich in ores, rare woods, exotic plants and food. A world of decadence and pleasure, once one of the many worlds occupied by the now broken Eldar Empire.
The inhabitants of the world were humans, but had evolved in a divergent way. Not enough to be cleansed as mutant, though their use and adaptation of Eldar technology made the One itch. Though the Guard he had on board with him were famed and proven for their stealth and intelligence guidance, all of them Chemos born and bred but just no quite up to receiving the Lord Fulgrims geneseed, something in the back of his mind whispered to beware.
With a grunt, the tall and lordly marine merely turned from his traditional spot behind the ships Captain, a former officer and Marine, slapping what served now as his shoulder lightly. Ronus had been one of the Legions finest marksman, and a deadly expert of heavy weaponry. Then, one day a green skin charge had managed to flank them, and in the midst of the fighting Ronus performed an act of honor enough that the Lord Commander Erus had inscribed his very name on his vambrace in memory. An ork mek boy had rigged together what amounted to five of their primitive explosives and lobbed in into Ronus’ squads midst.
Rather than watch his hand picked and trained men die in vain, Ronus grabbed the bomb, nearly the size of his helmet, and charged the green skin with it held to his chest, bolt pistol spewing his wrath in a hail of exploding skin and death. With but seconds left on the fuse, the Sergeant leaped with all his might, brandishing the bomb like a club, landing on the very back of the Big Mek leading the flanking attack. With a tremendous explosion heard over the din of the battle even, smoke and fire clogged the squads sight the Big Mek vanished from even their auspex, and not much other sign of life existed on it either, and certainly not enough to tell friend from foe.
As the smoke began to clear, the squad was amazed at what they saw. Many cried out, fists beating upon breastplates in salute. For though battered and mangled, atop the wrecked heap of what they guessed to be a Big Mek, sat the upper half of Ronus, wedged and melded into the metal of the ork machine, weak with bloods loss, but still screaming defiance and curses, his bolt pistol a howling fury soon joined by the hum of las fire, the thud of missiles, and the staccato bursts of an auto cannon. By the time what was left of the ork squad had been brushed off, Ronus had long since collapsed. Only the amazing skill of the Legions Apothecaries kept the man alive.
Whilst in a stabilizer, waiting a dreadnought sarcophagi, Fulgrim himself visited the valiant officer, whose heroics had inspired the forces of the Emperors Children that day. During audience with his Primarch, Ronus is said to have requested a boon which Fulgrim gladly granted. Rather than lock him in the cold steel of a dreadnought, doomed forever to the hell of battle, fuse him to the new ship being crafted for the just recently promoted Lord Commander Erus. ‘Let me command the Legions biggest guns, and I will never falter again’.
After several weeks had seen Ronus almost fully recovered, except for his crushed and fused together legs, the flagship of the newly formed 6th Grand Company of Lord Commander Erus, was christened with all due pomp and ceremony. At its helm, commanding some of the biggest guns known in the Imperium, was a Space Marine from before the Age of Primarchs, a Marine that was blessed or doomed to see the rise and decline of the Imperium. He was to be a witness to acts of amazing heroism, and at last unspeakable horror, and to finally commit deeds far worse.
As the golden haired man turned away, his pale skin contrasting his simple artificer armor of deep purple and golden trim, his visage like a star in the void of space, another face entering the bridge caught his eye, another memory seizing his conscience in a flash of nostalgia uncommon for the usually reserved and taciturn man. Something about his first command must be bringing on some emotional well he had thought was bred out by the process and training of becoming an Astartes.
Stepping through the polished and simple doors, and here the man reflected how like unto himself the ship was - ornamental, but in a simple elegance that was a contrast to most of his fellow commanders- walked an Astartes most knew. Erus himself had handpicked him from the Legions tank commanders, for the mere fact that he favored the often lighter but more lightning quick predator battle tank to the lumbering land raider. The flashy tactics and heavy armor shocks of the other commanders did not seem to affect him.
The Captains motto was, as he said the ceremony of promotion: “Let the rhinos do their job of moving things and my men will lay down a hail of fire no land raider could match, and quicker as well.”. Perhaps it was that, or perhaps just the offhand ease of the mans demeanor that made Erus ask him to command his Company’s armor. Trucido was a man who knew each of his tanks by heart, sometimes better than the Tech-Adepts, and seemed to squeeze every ounce of power from them.
He had risen from merely a transport command, to the great power of a land raider. Upon that tanks destruction, and his valiant leap out of it and the subsequent destruction of the enemy who were responsible, Trucido was given a predator, as per his request, and eventually commanded what came to jokingly be known as ‘Trucido’s Fleet’, a company of predators and a few rare land raiders and rhinos, along with whatever guard was operating with them planet side.
Snapping a crisp salute to his Lord Commander, Trucido clapped Ronus respectfully on the shoulder, and walked to one of the ships gun sergeants, no doubt telling the man where and when his tanks would be throughout the battle. Trucido was not one to let a forgotten detail endanger his men or his ‘fleet’. Indeed, the only time a smile seemed absent to his face was when he heard the Death
Scroll read aloud, and heard a name of one of his men.
Turning, the tall figure clasped his cloak tightly and stepped down from the marble and gold dais of the bridge. He made his way, stopping to pass on instructions every so often, to the set of gold leafed doors set in the side of the raised bridge. Each door was carved by master smits from the Salamanders chapter homeworld, and presented to Erus as a gift by the Captain Xerxes upon his promotion. Grasping the handles, glittering silver hoops set in the stern beaks of eagles. Erus pulled open the doors and descended down into darkness, the heavy portal way remaining open for a bare second before servo motors slid it close with narry a sound.
Augustus strode through the bridge doors shortly after, passing carved mosaics of past battles the Legion had fought, straight across the command deck and down, into the inner sanctums where the relics of the Company’s history. In the heart of the ship, where few non-Astartes dare tread, lay the most hallowed room to be found on board. A massive room daring to rival one of the Imperial Palaces on Terras room, or so Daestin claimed, this was where Erus often sought his solace. Here were kept mighty relics, badges of honor and ‘membranes of victories hard fought and won, float-suspended in mighty display cases.
There the claw of the big mek Ronus had defeated, and there the enigmatic crystal pried from a mighty Eldar fire-prism tank that Trucido had bested. Here too, were things carried from the field by Erus himself. Swords, hammers and axes of great opponents, the cloven helm of a Warrior-Priest from the shamanic led people of Darix II. However, the most recent edition to the hall was won by a fairly new man to the then fledgling company. So massive it required the innumerable strength of one of the Company’s dreadnought to lift, it was the very fiery sword of an Eldar Avatar.
Though none knew how he did it, Martel had emerged from one of the battles in the last engagement, one with the enigmatic witches, with his beautifully crafted sword shattered. Stumbling into the command bunker, bloodied so that his left sides armor seemed red rather than purple, Martel collapsed next to the knee of Fulgrim himself, managing after careful care, to relate a harrowing tale of a duel with a massive creature that seemed made of molten metal and fire. Most thought him delusional, but a scout squad was dispatched under the watch of Augustus, the Ancient of Rites himself, to see.
Upon return, all were stunned save for Fulgrim. For strapped to Rylanor was a massive sword, scorched as if by a great heat, and also what appeared to be a skeleton segment, made of the enigmatic bone like material of the Eldar race. The sword was granted birth in Fulgrims flagship, and later transferred to Erus’ as Martel was recruited into that company. From that day forth though, Martel had his armor changed. Rather than the deep purple of old, his right vambrace and gauntlet were carved and painstakingly shaped of the bone retrieved, and presented to the Astarte upon his promotion and acceptance to Erus’ company.
Finally, Augustus came upon the one he sought. His Lord, the Commander of his Company, the man who made him his Lieutenant, sat in silent thought. Before him, resting in a highly tooled belt of leather, rested an elegant and shapely axe, gleaming the legions colors, the head carved to resemble the eagle’s wing and claw all officers wore on their shoulders. Augustus unconsciously shifted in his new armor, eyeing the flared wing on his left shoulder subconsciously, sensing rather than really feeling the weight of his own rank.
Without turning, Erus spoke, “Augustus, my trusted lieutenant. Tell me, my oldest comrade.. What think you of the word that we are to hold back until the full might of the Third Legion is mustered? Ahhh… I see by that tick in your eye that the order chafes your pride as well. But, who are we to question or know the mind of our Primarch, son of the Emperor? We must trust in him. He has never led us wrong, and never will… Right?”
Without a thought, Augustus nodded, and his commander seemed to become more himself, less withdrawn and worried. More like the days of Eidolons company, both merely rank and file sergeants, filled with the heady joy of the Crusade in its infancy, though in truth Augustus and Erus had been with it since nearly the beginning, before the Legions parenting to the Luna Wolves. The armor he wore was sealed with Crusaders oaths as it had been since his rise to Lord Commander, some of them but a waxen seal daubed on them armor, with a burnt shred of parchment below it, or even a half-melted seal with naught of the oath remaining.
His own armor was without ornamentation, and fairly patch-worked with different marks, reflecting the time he had spent in the line. Erus had risen quickly through the ranks, whereas Augustus had remained commanding the rank and file, always doing his best to prove himself worthy of more, yet rarely accepting the accolades for his deeds.
Very W.I.P. here, but it will be added onto and modified as I get the inspiration to, though it needs a cleanup first.