Prologue
" I heard them.

My infant mind could feel them as I lay silent in my metal womb, a pod, as I floated unborn through the warp. This machine embrace shall be the only mother I’ll ever know. But as formidable as her iron womb was, she could not stop the warp’s intruders from breaching her. I could hear them whispering things to me through her flesh. They tried to take me, but she did not let them. I could not stop them, but she could. I could only wait for mother’s arms to bear me to safety.

I left the warp and fell, a comet from the sky, inside me the power of a sun, onto a lost world far away from my Terra, just as all my other brothers had. I was found and raised, not living the life of a boy-god as my brother Sanguinius or the life of comfort beside the Emperor like my brother Horus. No, I ruled my new home, as so many of my other brothers ruled theirs. But the voices found me.

Even my fortress, lorded over my subjects, who feared my iron boot, I could still hear them singing. Those voices from the warp.

The Emperor came and I gave him my name and allegiance. He gave me 10000 names and 10000 allegiances and told me I could wield them in battle. And I did. And I conquered at the head of my legion. But never could I avoid those voices, those warp-voices, attuned to me, familiar with me, knowing me from the iron mother that floated undefended through the warp. On the dying fields or in the victory halls or in conversation with other space marines I could hear them.

One voice was different.

It told me of an ancient plague that destroyed everything and then vanished.

Then it told me the plague was returning. "

-XI