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  1. #1
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    Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    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

  2. #2
    Veteran Sergeant senso's Avatar
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Very nice prologue, sets up the main story nicely.

  3. #3
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Nice start, interesting stuff.
    Creating your own stuff on one of the unknown legions can be abit risky, but I look forward to seeing where this heads.

    ElTanko
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  4. #4
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    CHAPTER 1: Introduction

    AN UNKNOWN CORNER OF THE GALAXY, SOMETIME DURING THE GREAT CRUSADE…

    The room was dark and round, half of its fortified walls hidden by choking shadow. The only source of light came from the central table, which was circular and bore a glimmering star-map in holographic form above its glimmering surface. The red markings showing the latest troop movements in the Great Crusade showed up on the chart, as red as blood spilt in battle.

    As miserable, perhaps sinister, as the room was, it carried within its darkened bowl five tremendous honours: no less than five of the Emperor’s primarchs. They stood lorded around the star map as still and proud as statues, as imposing as a mountain in midnight, as unbreakable as the galaxy itself. Their armored bodies caught even the minor light of the hologram.

    One of them abruptly leaned forward, into the light of the hologram, his slender arms supporting himself unsteadily against the table. The light caught his face, which was mostly shadowed beneath his silky hood. His hands trembled subtly even as he leaned against the table. His gaunt face set him apart from his brothers, who were the very paragons of humanity. Where they were the living pictures of bravery, this primarch always seemed to be on the verge of screaming.

    Guilliman looked across the table at his brother primarch and took a moment to consider his face. Though his thin brother was always unsteady, he seemed particularly afraid right now. Guilliman looked to the other three who shared the room. Horus, calm, looked at his unsteady brother, his face soft in the general darkness. Beside him was the winged giant Sanguinius, to whom no shadow clung for long. Across from them, beautiful even in the shadows, was Fulgrim. Of the five of them, the hooded one was the shortest of all. As much as he disliked himself for thinking it, Guilliman disliked his shifty brother.

    “Brothers,” the leaning man began in a jittery voice, pausing between words as though distracted, “I am glad that you…you are considerate enough to…to come out here from…from the Emperor’s…duty.”

    “Please brother, do not apologize. If this is important, you may have what time you ask,” Fulgrim said, brushing his hair from his eyes. The hooded one nodded, his head shaking. He raised his hand. Guilliman knew what he was doing.

    “You know what we have been commanded,” Guilliman warned ominously. He was ignored and a small jar floated out of the shadows, held aloft by unnatural powers. It set itself upon the table. Sanguinius leaned his height forward to squint into the glass depths of the jar at the tiny prisoner held within.

    It looked like an octopus of Terra, but it floated and appeared to be consulting each of the five maliciously.

    “Behold the enslaver, a creature of the warp,” the hooded one continued. “I…I…”

    “Naturally you would be acquainted with them,” Fulgrim remarked, his eyes regarding the hooded primarch’s body. Guilliman knew what his brother meant.

    This primarch had been scattered across the galaxy as the others were. But his capsule was damaged and it let the creatures of the warp upon him. It didn’t hinder his brother’s ability to command, but it did make him as he was: a man constantly distracted by the voices in his mind. He also had a very unhealthy fascination with the warp, so Guilliman fancied.

    “There is an alien text…a piece of text I found,” the hooded primarch continued. “I…I…I translated it.” He looked up at the enslaver.

    “So why have you brought this thing to us?” Guilliman asked. “My legion may need me. I have little time.”

    “Brother, my studies of the alien text have told me that this…this…this thing and its ilk have been across the galaxy…galaxy before, millions of years ago,” the primarch continued, patting the jar, disturbing its occupant. “Brothers, it seems they…flooded out of the warp…millions of years ago. They destroyed all life of the galaxy then in a vast plague of extinction. This one is passive, simple, a babe, but there are others.”

    “And you wish to warn us that it may happen again?” Sanguinius asked, eyes fixed on the ‘enslaver.’ The primarch shook his head.

    “It…it will happen again but in a very different…different way.” He gestured to the star-map. “Brothers…brothers. Have we not been to the furthest reaches of the galaxy? Have…have we not reunited? Have…have we…we not encountered opposition and damnable aliens at every turn?” He trembled. “I can see it…see it. The whole galaxy is rife with enemies. We cannot conquer it.” He tapped the jar. “Until now.” All four suddenly understood what their short brother had in mind.

    “You think that the way to conquer the galaxy is to damn it with a plague of these warp-spawned creatures?” Horus asked.

    “We need only weather the…the storm. I think…think I can control…control the enslaver’s course to some extent. Then when the enslavers go, when their plague is over, we will be free to repopulate the galaxy, to learn and rebuild as we…we please. No need for this,” he indicated the star-map. Sanguinius and Fulgrim disappeared into the shadows both at once.

    “I shall not have a part of this,” Sanguinius vowed.

    “Me also,” echoed Fulgrim. Their robed brother leapt back.

    “Brothers! Brothers! You do not understand! There is more to…to this! It will be different this time! No warp! No…” the primarch looked hopefully at his remaining brothers. “Brother Horus? Brother Roboute? Shall I have your legions in aid…aid? Help control…control the new enslaver plague? The enslaver…enslavers have changed…you don’t understand.”

    “I’m afraid they are right,” Horus sighed in disappointment. “You have wasted my time.” He retreated into the darkness.

    “Please brother! I…I can end this…this war. I can…can do it with the enslavers! One…one…one storm! One plague!” The primarch threw back his hood and Guilliman averted his eyes. “I beg you! I have endured…endured this war too long! We’ve already lost one of our brother primarchs, Lord…”

    “Do not say the name,” Guilliman interrupted, raising a boulder-hand. He extended a finger to point at his frail brother, not taking a look at his face. “You are a madman. You whisper of visions from the immaterium, you tremble and shake, you speak of this unthinkable plan as though speaking of food and you use unnatural powers against the Emperor’s will. This is the final stone my brother, I fear you have fallen.” Guilliman turned about and headed into the shadows of his brother’s headquarters.

    “You…you…you are the madman Guilliman! We cannot win this war! This is…is what must be done…done if we are to see the end of it!” shrieked the primarch. “Have you…you even asked yourself if these…these humans are worth fighting for!?”

    “The Emperor will hear of this brother, and of your defiance and your mad prattling,” Guilliman swore. “I expect he will strip you of your title and command. You and the Hornet Legion will be expunged from the record.” Guilliman instead heard a cold laugh from his brother.

    “No Roboute, I take my men with me…me. We will find…find the enslavers.”

    “You take them to their deaths, Apollyon, wherever you go. You will not find what you are looking for and learn nothing except that alien text found in the sand always tells lies,” Guilliman promised. Again the primarch laughed. Guilliman afforded one glance at him, thinking he’d come closer.

    The primarch was all but invisible in the dark, but Guilliman could still make out his face. The respirator from his incubation capsule has fused to his infant face during the travel through the warp. It was now as much a part of his face as his eyes.

    “Do as you…you will then Guilliman,” Apollyon sneered from behind the respirator, “but…but I will…will show you. When…when the enslavers arrive, I’ll send the first wave straight to Macragge.” Guilliman laughed and left.

    And the galaxy was covered by war.
    For 13 000 years there was death.
    And with each passing year, the galaxy fell closer to the Time of Ending
    Last edited by nicholasakira; 22-09-2009 at 01:11. Reason: add chapter heading

  5. #5
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Somewhere in the galaxy. M44 over 13 000 years after Horus
    The humming chamber was lit from the floor by fluorescent lights, which threw shadows at the ceiling. The sound of whimpering and the moaning of arcane machinery was all that was heard inside the chamber of the tiny laboratory. Lining the cold steel walls were many, many phials of coloured fluid, connected by thin tubes that drew out steam from the concoctions, of which, only a madman would understand. Dark brown stains pooled in the corners of the hateful chamber. Tables covered with heaps of notes scrawled on leathery paper lay about. The source of the whimpering was a thin prisoner, shackled to a table, eyes shut and ears covered by muffs.

    Fabius Bile stood by his scanner, pressed the machine, fed his latest subject more frequency, and recorded the result.

    “Interesting,” he muttered to himself as he absently took a small glass phial from a heavy metal arm he had mounted on his back. The fallen Astartes looked at the contents of the phial with his sunken, old man’s face and gave its red contents a swish.

    “Your blood, my little friend, tells me there is something wrong with your DNA,” Fabius told his subject. “Your brain is…twisted and turned. Your flesh is coded with a program that was not meant to be stored by the human matrix. I see a great error in you my little friend. The Inquisition of Terra would call it…mutation.” He handed the metal arm the phial. “So strange that it should be you too. An inquisitor of the Emperor, one generation away from devolving into a slobbering monster.” Fabius nodded. “Mutation is unbelievable common nowadays. Is it not....” A buzzing noise was heard from the door.

    “Who disturbs us?” Fabius asked, walking over to the door as he gestured at a skull-shaped sensor and the door slid open, revealing the night-blackened sky on the little world. A single figure stood in the doorway, alone. Fabius stepped back from the door and pointed. “It is you? How did you find this sanctuary of science?” The figure walked in, his power armor beating the floor with every light step.

    “Tracking you was as simple as can be Fabius. My eyes are sharper than you could ever make them.” The figure craned his bald head to the table. “Ah, and there’s the missing inquisitor.” The newcomer walked over to the table, his maniacal lips leering with needle-teeth surrounded by a lipless mouth. His black and pink armor was emblazoned with symbols of chaos and riddled with screaming faces. The luckless prisoner saw, and recognized, the head that was scarred beyond recognition. On one hand a saber, around the other a fleshy whip. Here was none other than Lucius the Eternal.

    “So to what to I owe the pleasure of the…” Fabius began, wiping off his hands on a dirty rag.

    “He will assemble us soon, Fabius. You know to whom I refer,” Lucius sneered. “Ah, I see it in your eyes, in those wise, clever eyes, you know who.” Fabius grimaced.

    “What does the Despoiler want this time? Perhaps he hopes now to bring the war to Terra itself.”

    “That, Fabius, would be…perfection.” Lucius traced a scar with his saber. “Your talents are needed by the legions. And…your discovery about what is happening to humanity.” Fabius frowned and Lucius threw him a maddening smile.

    “How do you know?” Fabius asked, looking at the prisoner as if he would tell him, then back at Lucius.

    “Perfection,” whispered Lucius.

    “That doesn’t answer…”

    “The screams of battle, the sensation of it! Would you miss it Fabius? Would you miss the…” Lucius’ snaking toung licked the inquisitor’s forehead, “…sensation?”

    The whip around Lucius’ arm suddenly began to writhe and dance as if aflame. Lucius looked fondly at it as one would to a child in pain. He was only able to pat it twice when his head shot up and his eyes flashed to the door. His smile faded.

    “They’re coming. My fleet is under attack, my ground forces assaulted,” Lucius whispered to himself, or perhaps his whip. “They’re coming.” Fabius walked over to the door: the only exit from his one-room laboratory on this damned planet.

    “Did they follow you?” Fabius asked, “Imperial lambs?” The door flew off its hinges with astounding force. The door slammed into Fabius and sent him to the ground beneath its iron bulk. The sound of mad bolter fire echoed in and the night was now lit with battle’s flame.

    “BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!” roared the first World Eater as he leapt in. Fabius only had time to look up before a lashing chainaxe lopped off his head in a crimson spray. The slain traitor slumped loosely to the floor, head still rolling after the body had stopped. Lucius ducked forward, laughing, and drove the saber into the bezerker’s throat. He jumped back while the man died, bright blood spraying from his split neck.

    “Feel the thrill of death,” he whispered as the next one entered, but far larger than the other.

    “Kharn,” Lucius mumbled distastefully.

    “Abaddon summons the legions,” Kharn began, his iron voice bellowing up from his helmeted head like a thunder from an iron cauldron. He stepped carelessly over his bloodied kinsman. “And you will not answer! Death is upon you!”

    “I was afraid I would have to hunt you down too,” Lucius laughed. The two began to exchange furious blows. Howling axe met singing saber and lashing whip. Lucius was light and cunning, striking from the side. Kharn had more power, his blows strong and direct. Lucius’ only defense from Kharn’s chainaxe was a lithe dodge. They fought through the laboratory, smashing phials. Kharn bellowed Khrone’s superiority constantly but Lucius only whispered witty replies. Fighting Kharn, he was like silk dodging a sledgehammer.

    “The battlefield belongs to Khorne and you peacocks will not pollute it. Khorne will drink deeply of Imperial and of Slaaneshi blood. Yours first. I will break you and feed your living corpse to a bloodthirster. We shall see then if your pink god can protect you then!” Kharn laughed. Lucius knew what he meant: everyone who killed Lucius turned into him by the Prince of Pleasure’s will.

    Then a blow struck him.

    Gorechild, Kharn’s chainaxe, cut off Lucius’ whip-arm. It fell the ground, the whip flopping around like a beached fish. Gorechild lashed around and bit into his opposite shoulder, then cut deep down into Lucius’ body. A shower of rose leapt up from the deepening wound.

    “Death is upon you!” snarled Kharn. “But you will not possess me. Terra’s blood will call and I will answer.” He prepared to take Gorechild out and drag Lucius away.

    “The Emperor’s Children are defeated…” interrupted a bloodied World Eater, stepping inside as he moved to remove his helmet. Kharn blasted the man’s head off with his pistol. Lucius grinned and gasped in pleasure as the axe cut deeper. Blood flew into Kharne’s face. He could smell it. It was intoxicating.

    “Blood…blood…blood!” Kharn yelled as the insanity of bloodlust took him. “Blood for the blood god!” Lucius laughed as Kharn drove Gorechild into him. The ancient villain died with an ecstatic laugh. Kharn threw him back and knew he had made a grand mistake. His head began to spin as Slaanesh fought for control of his soul. He had doomed himself.

    “Kharn! Are you a dead man? The slaughter of captives awaits…” a second World Eater bellowed as he stepped inside.

    “Blood for the blood god!” Kharn yelled, lunging at the man, desperate for one last chance at sacrifice to Khorne. He drove himself outside and into the night and, howling, at the survivors who stood arrayed outside. Kharne’s world was lost beneath a tide of spraying blood. He could taste it’s tang through his mask. Soon, every World Eater from his band was dead except him. He was now ready for one final betrayal.

    “I can hear you Lucius,” Kharn said to the empty air and the piles of giant corpses he had made. “I can hear you! Death is upon you!” Gorechild roared to life and Kharn cut open his own throat with it. Blood dribbled down Khorne’s chest. His final betrayal…

    A team of stormtroopers found him and the only survivor: Fabius’ prisoner. They found Lucius dead in two places. One as himself in Fabius’ lab next to the headless body of the madman himself. Lucius also lay dead outside, his throat cut, his armor drenched in red, his body dressed in Worldeater armor. On his forehead was a single, distinct scar.

    It was shaped like the symbol of Khorne.

  6. #6
    Chaplain Pvt. Ratt's Avatar
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Alright you may want to re-read through this because there were several words that weren't misspelled but ended oddly or did not fit. Just give it another edit and I think your first draft chapter may just be complete.

    I am rather curious as to how you are going to connect the Hornets in with everything. But I suppose 'all in due time' shall suffice.

    Waiting for chapter two.
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    "Correction. Hot Space Nuns!"

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  7. #7
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Chapter 2: The Inquisitor and the Conscript

    Many years later, somewhere else in the galaxy…

    It was a paradox. A major shrine world of the Imperium of Man, caught in the bloody typhoon of a mutant uprising of such scale that not even the intervention of the Astartes could save it. Ships, fat with refugees, fled the world of Macharia in pods, carrying millions of people to other corners of segmentum Pacificus, to places free of orks and mutants, or, Emperor forbid, worse. They passed through the lanes of space away from Macharius, disappearing into the stars to wherever they would go. Iron whales of all breeds: merchant ships, passenger ships, even a few navy ships refitted for esteemed refugees, such as priests.

    Inquisitor Rarend looked dumbly as the approaching planet from the observation deck, staring menacingly out from beneath the rim of his dipping cloak. He was an unassuming man, four hundred years old, but still with the sharpness and beauty of a thirty-year old. His ageless face was pale, thanks to the nutrient slime that had replaced his blood. He wore a black cloak, emblazoned with the Inquisition’s chilling insignia. A pair of short rapiers were sheathed by his waist. A henchman, which looked like a large baby fitted with metal arms and spider-legs, offered him a saucer, upon which stood a cup of tea.

    ‘Rest at last,’ Rarend thought, putting the cup to his lips and sipping the bitter liquid.

    “I hope the master is pleased,” the henchman asked, shakily taking the saucer back.

    “I’ve been so swamped with business…” Rarend sighed. He saw the world approaching, faster and faster. Somewhere down there was an important conference, organized by Segmentum Command. The Inquisition had sent Rarend to represent them. He was a very experienced man of the Ordo Xenos, one of the oldest surviving inquisitors. Hundreds had lost their lives to the mutant rebellions, which were sweeping the galaxy. He tapped his foot on the black marble of the floor of the observation deck.

    “Patch me through. I want a readout on the situation on the ground,” Rarend ordered nobody. A servo skull drifted in front of him and projected a small holographic screen into his lap. Rarend lowered his hooded head and watched the scenes play out. A voice spoke into his ear from the earpiece implant he carried.

    He beheld a scene of a shrine to Lord Macharius. The fifty-meter statue in front of it of the great man had been split in half and fallen on the shrine. He could see crowds of deformed mutants battling PDF troopers over the blood-slick stone of the shrine. Lasbolts and autogun rounds punched men off their feet in rose showers.

    “Macharia is currently flooded with 2252 outbreaks of mutant revolt,” said the voice in his ear as the video changed to a video of a gothic city, its mighty buildings all looked like cathedrals. They glowed with the light of fire and smoke choked them under their grey cloud. Squads of Arbites, PDF, and even three squads of Astartes of the Dark Angels chapter battled a flood of mutants that had them outnumbered ten times. The Astartes did not flinch, each individual trooper moving down waves of mutants with each weave of their bolters. Bullets bounced off their hides like flying sand fell off concrete.

    Eight more times it changed and eight more floods of mutants in holy places flashed across Rarend’s eyes. He squeezed the hilt of his rapier and snorted. Mutants! And he thought orks were bad.

    “Take me to the Segmentum fortress,” Rarend commanded the room as the servo skull buzzed away from him.

    “Yes inquisitor.”

    ‘The ancient inquisitors of the 43rd Millennium would never have let this happen to Macharia’ Rarend thought sadly.



    One of the ships fleeing from Macharia was small, a merchant vessel. Upon its bridge sat another man in a hood, but it was white in contrast to Rarend’s black one. This person was bigger than most men, and armored too, in the distinctive suit worn only by Astartes, coloured dark-green: the colour of the Dark Angels. He did not wear a helmet, but his face was mostly hidden underneath his drooped hood. On his lap was a sword, ornate and build with fantastic craftsmanship. Two pistols sat in his belt: one a plasma pistol, one a bolt pistol. He hadn’t wielded the sword in battle for 130 centuries.

    Most people called him Cypher.

    “Set a course for Terra,” Cypher commanded the navigator.



    The room was spherical. One half was occupied by rows and rows of seats that echoed the position of the person sitting in them. The Administratum data officer, for instance, sat in a chair that looked like it had been torn from his office. The admirals of the fleet all sat in navy-style chairs, while the governors sat in small thrones. Nothing less than a high official was seated here. It was rumored that one of the High Lords of Terra was here, in secret. If a bomb went off amidst the seats, the Imperium would endure a blow unlike anything felt since Age of Apostasy. The other half of the chamber was a stage, in front of a huge screen. A decorated Imperial Guard officer strode back and forth across the stage, eyeing the crowd with raptor eyes from beneath his cap. He was nothing less than a Lord General Militant for the whole sector.

    ‘Is it safe to bring so many ranking officials to a planet besieged?’ thought Rarend, looking from ancient face to ancient face. He looked up at the officer on the stage as the conference began.

    “Lords of the Imperium, officers, inquisitors, governors, kings, and generals, I have brought you to this holy planet. I know that you all crave to hear good news from me. Unfortunately, it shall not come to pass,” apologized the Lord General Militant. He looked up at the screen behind him. On cue, the screen lit up to show the galaxy.

    Ultima Segmentum was mostly shaded red, giving way around the strongest Imperial strongholds, to represent space that the Tyranids had swept through. Bits of Tempestus, Solar, and Obscurus that neighboured Ultima Segmentum were also red. Everywhere else was covered by thousands of tiny orange or green dots. Each represented a pocket of heavy conflict. Each of those thousands of dots represented one world or star system nearly swept away in war. Only one circle of space remained unaffected, one point in the middle of Segmentum Solar. In the center of this circle of bliss was a tiny Imperial Aquila.

    “It has been confirmed,” began the Lord General Militant, gesturing to the map, to a flashing dot in Segmentum Pacificus that represented Macharius. “Macharia now lost to us. The mutants have every corner of the world infested. They’ve writhed and squirmed into even the most holy places of this world. Behind him, the screen showed them dozens of images.

    Mutants, mutants MUTANTS! Everywhere, swarming over fallen Imperial barracks, walking through the cities of Macharia, and forming dark oceans of bodies with their march. Grinning with fanged maws, holding guns with their twisted arms, watching over columns of chained slaves.

    All across the galaxy this was happening. The once stable Imperium was now seeing a skyrocketing mutant birth-rate. One in five, so it was whispered. Their uprisings made their homeworlds vulnerable to ork invasions, and they too had increased substantially. Rarend knew the standard scenario that was presently playing out one million times around the remainder of the Imperium that had been spared by the Tyranids.

    Mutants grew in number until they could rebel. Blood ran in the streets, millions on both sides were exterminated. Cities burned. Mothers butchered newborns that showed mutation. The PDF and Imperial Guard were pumped into the cities and countryside to try and stem the flood of rebellion. There were no battle-lines or objectives in these stalemates, just grinding quagmires of chaotic death: an excellent target for an ork Waaaagh!!!

    The orks were showing more unity for some spontaneous reason. They spent less time fighting each other and were now hurling bellowing battlefleets of mammoth warships into every hostile planet. While Rarend sat here, thousands of ork invasions were playing out. Heroes fought against the green tide, fought and died, while the great Inquisitor Rarend sat here!

    In the end, the once proud Imperial worlds were locked in a war of man against mutation and alien. In some places, mutant and human fought as one against orkish invaders. Two thousand years ago this would have been stopped, but not today. The inquisition was overworked. There were simply too many inquisitors to see to the blood-soaked Imperium. Not even Rarend knew all the details, but some of his peers spoke of Warmaster Ezekiel Abaddon uniting the forces of Chaos for an apocalyptic raid on Terra never seen since Horus.

    There was no doubt the forces of Chaos were excited by the outbreak of one million genocidal wars being fought across the remains of the Imperium. Though Ultima Segmentum was all but gone, the savagery of these wars was generating enough negative emotion to excite the Chaos gods to new heights. Rarend heard stories of daemonic incursions all across the Imperium.

    As if mutants and orks weren’t enough.

    And then there were the Tau…

  8. #8
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    SOMEWHERE IN SEGMENTUM OBSCURUS…

    Afennor ducked down as an explosion pulverized the building he stood near. Tonnes of debris was thrown into the air, rising up and slashing down onto the ground with the killing power of the explosion that had taken them into the air. They clattered down onto the tortured earth of the planet’s capitol. Falling rubble crushed bodies. Clouds of settling dust coloured to the shade of a tombstone coated every smear of dark crimson that lay in the city block. Layers of dust coated the soggy bottoms of craters blown in the middle of the road.

    “Guns up! Out of the trenches!” sergeant Yuel Roshin barked, his bloody hand wiping gray powder that had settled in his beard. He looked out of the trench they huddled in. Afennor didn’t think of the crumbly gauge they had carved into the naked road as a trench. It was a rip, a dusty wound slashed in the dying city to hasten its inevitable demise. The gauge was four meters deep, but with slanted edges to lie on. From beneath his flak jacket, Afennor could feel the rough skin of the ground on his thin chest. His cold, shaking fingers gripped the trigger of his lasgun unsteadily as he looked through the settling haze of misty dust that seemed to cover everything in a powdery film. He wiped his young face and wheezed. He wasn’t healthy enough to cough.

    Beside him, his school-mates whispered to one another fearfully while they looked out. He could not easily hear them over the gunfire and bursting shells that rocked the city. One explosion sounded nearby and shook Afennor’s teeth. The boy looked through the haze and watched for the orks.

    “Remember boys,” segeant Yuel Roshin really did mean boys. Fifty years of constant warfare had taken its toll on the populace. It was said that no man here lived to see fifty, “remember...your fathers before you are watching.” He swallowed and adjusted his helmet. Conscript-sergeants wore morbid black helmets with shades to hide their eyes. Boy-soldiers like Afennor didn’t even get hats.

    “I see them,” squeaked Kainno, the youngest. He was only twelve. “I…I’m scared.” Afennor could see them too.

    Through the choking fog of dust were the glowing red eyes of several orks. The priests all declared that the Emperor himself had performed a miracle to illuminate the orkish eyes to make them easier to shoot at night. Afennor did not believe it was a blessing. Though you could see them coming, the sight of one thousand pairs of glowing red eyes coming at you was as horrifying as their warcry.

    “WAAAAAAGH!!!” roared the orks with unnatural intensity. Afennor crouched down and plugged his ears. The closest ork could not have been closer than one hundred yards, but he could swear two orks were flanking him and shrieking their primitive scream directly into his ears. Everyone recoiled, even Yuel Roshin.

    “Kill them!” Yuel Roshin screamed as he cracked shots into the oncoming orks. Afennor rose up to the lip of the trench with the rest of the boys and looked at the hunched silhouettes of the orks. They were coming, nine feet tall and waving two-handed axes. Afennor fired. The orks, fifty in all against sixty teenagers, barreled through the storm of hissing lasfire. One fell after ten bounding steps, then another crunched to the ground, its weathered body pierced and burned until it could stand no more. A third fell when they were halfway to the trench. A fourth fell nine steps later. It would be forty-six orks against Afennor and his friends.

    “Run, run!” Mkell cried, throwing away his gun and sprinting away down the trench. Afennor was truly glad there was no commissar around. Every night, when he had found a corner of ruins to shelter his wasted body, he’d close his eyes and see the red spray that had jumped from his little brother when he’d tried fleeing. Afennor hated commissars.

    More boys fled from the trench, sprinting into the surrounding ruins like rats from the light. Afennor’s courage melted when he saw the gleaming ivory teeth on one of the incoming orks. That grin, beneath ember eyes, it would give even a guardsman a fright. Afennor paid no heed to the screams of Yuel Roshin.

    “Back to the trenches!” he yelled to the fleeing boys. Afennor took a look over his shoulder. Two-thirds of his school-mates had fled the trench. The others, too scared to run, were cracking madly at the orks who numbered forty-five. They were seconds away from the trench.

    “Affix bayonets!” Yuel Roshin shouted to the trench as he jumped out and jumped through a blown-out window in a nearby shop. Afennor scurried into the shadows, disappearing just as the orks reached the terrified boy-soldiers in the trench, the powered saw-teeth on their axes whirling hungrily. Afennor dashed through the shadowy alleyways, stepping over piles of rubble, crouching like a rat, his mind thinking of nothing but survival.

    He turned the corner in the bombed-out alleyway and stumbled upon a dead ork. It was eight feet tall and lying half in the alley and half in the street. The cracking of nearby guns told Afennor that combat was near. Perhaps if he could find another unit of conscripts with them, he could slip in like he usually did after getting separated from his sergeant.

    Peeking out, his war-weary eyes beheld a tight street, its road flanked by crumbling structures. Upon one was a simple paper poster.

    “Kill the mutant wherever he is found!” it read in arrogant black letters. Dead orks littered the street, their monster bodies blown open and apart. Circular scorches were written across the walls.

    “Tau,” Afennor whispered. He knew the tau, those warrior savages. They lived to survive and thrived on killing others who threatened them.

    “Don’t let the prey get away!” they would howl as they flew into battle. The regimental commissar, the same one who shot Afennor’s little brother, spoke of the tau with an uncommon hatred.

    “They used to live in an empire. A damned parody of ours. It was deservedly eaten by the tyranids. So the tau parasites who escaped the extermination of their civilization migrated. They became a warrior society, one that lives off piracy and murder to fatten their maggoty bodies,” the commissar had once said. “They’re dying out fast. Good riddance I say.”

    Afennor held his breath as he saw a wave of orks run into view. They were the smaller ones with brighter skin, but their eyes glowed with an inner red light. They were snarling and barking, not at one another, but almost for the sake of doing so. Their huge guns were caked with decaying rust and oily stains. They looked more like dirty pipes than working firearms.

    Then, with a warcry that Afennor had been told meant “for the Greater Good!” in the tau tongue, ten mechanized suits, ten feet tall, leapt from the surrounding buildings. Blue jets from their feet lifted them into the air. Their blocky humanoid, bodies plummeted down onto the orks, gleaming blades folding out of their wrists, adding to the long blades that festooned their steel carapace.

    The tau warriors fell onto the orks, their blades lashing. Ork blood flew as the tau carved into them. Orks howled and fired randomly, hitting some of their own.

    “WAAAAAGH!!!” Again Afennor doubled over as his ears were crushed by the sound. He straightened himself out only to feel a blade pressed against his throat. Beside him stood a tau warrior, a lithe alien carbine in one hand and a chainsword in the other. The latter had its teeth against Afennor’s neck. The tau warrior himself was dressed as all tau infantry did.

    Their suits were ugly. Since the tau existed as a migrating society held together only under a common ideology of the “greater good,” they did not have any concerns for style or regulation. This one had a bulky suit, gunmetal coloured. A necklace of rotting ears, mostly orkish, rested around his neck. They looked like jerky. The tau’s face was crossed by tattoos. Behind him stood four more tau. They wore helmets, which had been fashioned to resemble howling monsters. This was supposed to strike fear into the hearts of their enemies.

    “Emperor, help me,” he heard himself whisper.

    “Gue’la larva,” laughed the tau. “You’re now part of the empire.” He smiled, his lipless mouth twisted with malice. Before Afennor had a chance to reflect on his coming life in slavery, the tau removed his chainsword from Afennor’s throat and beat him over the head with it. The boy blacked out.






    Afennor opened his eyes. He was lying on his face on what felt like a grid of solid rust. He rolled his aching body over. Though he was missing his flak jacket and lasgun, he still wore his trousers and fatigues. The steel band he’d been carrying from around his middle finger was gone. So was his pocket-knife.

    He sat inside a cavernous room, lit from the ground by orange lights that threw every little shadow up onto the walls. It was square shaped, and the walls looked forged out of enamel, pearly in colour. The middle of the room was dominated by a deep pit, square, and too deep to crawl from. It was filled with round cages, each carried a snarling, ember-eyed ork. They thrashed like the beasts they were at the bindings around their limbs, grasping their hands and looking furiously around for a weapon. Tending to the cages were four tau, still in their armor but without their sinister helmets.

    Afennor himself said inside a larger cage, spherical, and suspended by a chain from the ceiling. Should the chain he hung from be cut, then he would fall into the pit below. From this angle he could make out no more features of the chamber. Afennor sat up, his young mind spinning with fear and dread. Only then did he notice the other captive.

    “Greetings, gue’la,” rasped the naked tau across the cage. His frail body was seated in a dignified position, cross-legged and with his wire hands clasping bony knees. His sunken cheeks were bent into a delicate, warm smile and his staring eyes contained a visceral wisdom deep inside them. “You awaken at last.” Afennor was surprised in many ways. He did not expect to see a tau in here, much less one that spoke low gothic, much less one that looked as dignified as this one. It was like seeing a ruffian atop the podium inside church.

    “How long was I asleep?” Afennor asked. He was splitting hungry.

    “I do not know. Time is too distant for me.” The tau sighed tragically and shut his thin eyes. Afennor sat against the rounded edge of the cage while an agonized roar from a captured ork filled the air. As it was with orks, the beast’s howl was louder than naturally possible. Afennor closed his eyes and plugged his ears. When he opened them again, he sat the tau hadn’t moved.

    “What are you here for?” Afennor asked.

    “My fallen kinsmen came to my world and destroyed it. Thus dies one more jewel of our people. One last bastion of the ethereals,” the tau replied. Afennor didn’t understand. The tau sensed this, even without opening his eyes. “I am an ethereal. Tau like me once ruled the Tau Empire. But no more. Now we exist as exiles across the galaxy, keeping out small conclaves alive, while our twisted brethren bloody the stars.” Afennor pointed to the tau below, who were prodding the orks with spears.

    “You mean not all tau are like…”

    “No. Tell me boy, have you ever heard of the Greater Good?” the ethereal opened his eyes in time to see Afennor nod. “Only the ethereals remember what it truly means. It is the philosophy of unity and peace. Repair every schism and the whole you have will be unbreakable. This was the philosophy of the Tau Empire. We were strong with it, and it served us well. Then the aliens who you humans call the tyranids came, and we scattered. My people fled west to the Farsight Enclaves. The leader there, you would know the leader by the name Commander Farsight. Farsight usurped our rule from there. Farsight corrupted the Greater Good into what it is known as today. Farsight taught my people to kill, Farsight taught us to steal, Farsight taught us to survive whatever the cost in blood may be…” The ethereal fell silent, knowing he was rambling.

    Afennor nodded. NOW the fragile tau was describing the tau “Greater Good”: their philosophy that they may do whatever they want to non-tau species to perpetuate themselves. Do small evils for the greater good! That was the teachings of the tau raiders.

    “So far we have fallen.” The tau lamented as the sound of a plasma gunshot echoed through the chamber. The pirates below were executing their captives. “Those so-called tau below take life for fun. A life lost, wasted forever, just for ten seconds of feeling powerful. I read back upon my people’s fading memories and see what we were.” He looked down at the pirates as they murdered the orks. “Perhaps it is better that we are dying out,” he sighed.

    “Why did they take you?” asked Afennor softly. Speaking to his new friend helped him cope with his caged state.

    “Because we are ethereals. We are tau who do not fight. My kin who were corrupted by the teachings of Farsight hate that.” The tau shook his head, eyes still on his depraved brethren. “I weep for my captors. I weep for them all.”

    Suddenly, a distant bell began to toil: a ring of solid brass, echoing to every corner of the chamber. The tau on the ground began howling to one another, drawing their alien weapons and rushing up the ladder that led out of the pit. They left behind them cages and cages of orks, their bodies still smoldering from plasma-fire.

    “This ship is under attack,” the ethereal sighed. “Perhaps my time has come.” Afennor stood up and rattled the bars.

    “We’re free!” he laughed to himself. “We’re going to be rescued!” The tau sighed darkly while Afennor laughed at the bars.



    Brother Usoran of the Dark Angels looked out the window at the burning tau ship, at that lithe craft, its edges sharp, its body sleek, its general shape suggesting the brutal head of a battleaxe. Throughout it were holes, blasted by the cannons of the battle barge. Encountering and smiting it was a pleasant diversion to their trip to Macharia. In these dark days, Usoran welcomed any opportunity to destroy the Emperor’s enemies.

    ‘It is by the Emperor’s grace that we could catch that vile ship. His will alone guided it from the warp and into the path of our ship,’ Usoran thought, his ancient face smiling from beneath his helmet. Some of the tau’s slaves were still alive. A tiny redemption, but even tiny victories were welcome.

    “Brother Usoran,” said the solemn voice of Brother Rossus from behind him on the bridge. “We have the only xeno survivor.” Usoran turned away from the window and strode to the three Astartes who stood behind him, their bodies still clad in full power armor. Rossus stood in front of them, while behind him stood two battle-brothers of the Dark Angels chapter. Each held the upraised arm of a slouching tau in their fists, though Usoran knew only one was needed. Their captive was old, naked, and frail. One blow from Usoran’s boot would break the xeno like a tsunami could break a sapling.

    “Space marines,” the tau rasped in exhaustion, “I am no pirate…” if dust could talk, its voice would sound like this tau spoke.

    “It is not worth your time brothers. Kill it,” Usoran dismissively spat. The tau chuckled darkly.

    “Idiot human. You tread the path to damnation. With your war and hatred you will only kill yourself.” The tau raised his head. “Your Imperium needed the Greater Good, the true Greater Good. We tried to show you love, we tried to show you peace. We searched the galaxy for as far as our engines could take us and searched every world we could for a single thread or crumb of sanity. We tried to show an insane galaxy, and your insane empire, that you did not have to shackle yourselves and your children to the torture-rack!” The tau’s voice belied its frame. Now he spoke with the strength of a priest of true Imperial teachings.

    “And in the end…” the naked tau rasped, strength draining from him faster than water fleeing from an overturned cup, “…all the galaxy showed us was that we were the insane ones for believing the galaxy could be saved.” The marines dragged the babbling tau off. “In a crazed universe, only the sane men are mad…” One of the Dark Angels dragging him broke his neck.

    “Continue to Macharia,” Usoran instructed, turning to Rossus. “Send the human survivors to Inquisotor Rarend.”

  9. #9
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Afennor remembered there being a loud noise, then there was nothing. He’d probably gone unconscious, but when he awoke he was sprawled out across an examination table, staring deep into the wrinkled skin of an eyeless face. He cried out and tried to swat at the face, which was attached to a metal neck, but could not move his wrists. Heavy metal restraints locked his wrists to one spot. There was something wrapped around his forehead, holding his head still.

    “Do not be alarmed, I have not come to hurt you. If that was not so, you would not have awoken,” promised a voice in the chamber. The neck that the eyeless servitor’s head sat upon wheeled away from Afennor and an aged man in a black robe stepped over to lean over the table. His face was mostly shadowed by his hood but the unmistakable symbol of the Inquisition was emblazoned onto his chest.

    ‘An inquisitor!’ Afennor feared them as much as the tau. Was he going to be tortured? What had he done? He didn’t want to be tortured!

    “You were a captive aboard a tau pirate ship,” the inquisitor explained. “I had to examine you for signs of alien taint.” He held up a phial of blood. “You seem clean of internal heresy. My servitor was examining you for injury.” With a hiss, the bindings on Afennor’s wrists loosened. He sat up and shook his aching head. He’d received quite a blow during his rescue.

    “Who are you?” Afennor asked, taking a short glance around the medical chamber, at the servitors, REAL servitors, tending the machinery.

    “I am not obliged to give my name. But when you address me you will call me Inquisitor Rarend of the Ordo Xenos,” the hooded man replied. “What might your name be?”

    “Afennor, I was a conscript fighting the orks on…”

    “Afennor, that’s a good name. I’d put your age at…fifteen and three months.” Afennor nodded. He was right, even about the “three months” part. He thought about asking him how he knew, but to a hooded man who carried a phial of your blood, it was perhaps best not to ask.

    “Did you save me?”

    “The space marines of the Dark Angels chapter saved you.” Afennor took a moment to get over the shock of the news. It was like being told the Emperor himself had done the deed. He’d only seen space marines as tiny plastic figures that young boys on his home planet played games with. Real space marines were literally legends made flesh.

    “Can I see one?” Afennor was disheartened by the inquisitor’s laugh.

    “No boy, this is my ship. You were handed over to me by the Dark Angels, along with the other three humans that the tau had captured.”

    “Where are we going?”

    “I am going to an inquisitorial fortress to make my report. I will drop you off with the local PDF who can make a home for you. Your return isn’t worth the resources boy, you will never see your home planet again.” Afennor fell onto the examination table, sobbing.

    Rarend paid the boy no more attention than he would give a chair he was not using. He gave his servitors orders to restrain the boy if he grew violent and walked outside to continue working on his report.

    “Inquisitor Rarend?” beeped a voice in his earpiece. It was the bridge, or more particularly, one of his henchmen. “Great inquisitor?” the tone was hurried and panting, like a man who had just run. It was the tone of urgency.

    “What is it?” Rarend lazily asked.

    “You must be up here, with all speed. There is something outside you must have a look at.” Rarend did not have time for anomalies. He was in a hurry to make his report, the inquisition would have his head if it was a minute late. When shepherding man, one cannot afford to blink a moment longer than necessary, for the tiniest fault could be split open by a heretic’s determined hands. Especially in these deathly years.

    Rarend was a patient man, but he ran like a frothing maniac, the whips of his henchman’s tone thrashed at his heels. Had they entered warp space yet? No, they hadn’t, Rarend did not recall giving the order, ergo there was no possible way the crew had done so. This merely meant that the ship was not about to become feeding grounds for the surreal horrors of the warp. What then was it that stirred up fear in his henchman?

    Rarend burst through the door to the bridge where eight crewmen stood, looking dumbly out the heavy crystal window at the veil of space outside. Their floppy uniforms and mechanical implants designated them as typical ratings, but they stood about with the idle posture of palace guards. Beyond unacceptable for ratings in the duty of an inquisitor. Rarend would discipline them later. The disobedience of his crew was upstaged by what he saw outside when he saw what they were looking at.

    “What, by the throne, are those?” he asked.

  10. #10
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    ohhh what are they! dont stop there!
    bah
    "six shots."

  11. #11
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Chapter 3: The End of Commorrah
    Archon Ralreth cackled as he prodded his splinter rifle through the bars of the cage that his raider tugged. The human inside it, or the human-like creature that had tendrils for fingers, screamed at him. Its voice was like a homunculus’ blade driving sparks across the surface of a sheet of steel. It was shrill to the ear and sharp to the mind. It made even a depraved field like Ralreth cringe. It, and the whole lot of slobbering monster-humans they had rounded up during their raid, could scream in such pleasing ways, but there was a limit to what Ralreth’s ears could endure.

    ‘It is good to be home,’ Ralreth thought as he looked at the delicious despair etched in fear across the warped faces of the monstrous humans in the cage. ‘Such fun we will have together,’ he thought with a wire-thin grin that had been the final thing more than one damned victim had seen.

    Above him, in all directions, was the shadowy city of Commorragh. Looming black towers stretched up into the air, as well as down from an incandescent ceiling. In this place, up was wherever your head pointed. Murders of Dark Eldar ships swooped on howling white jets amidst the razor canopies of the towers. White lit windows stared at him like the cat-eyes of a beast of shadow. It was always nice to see the fresh looks of fear the new playthings took on when they first saw the place. It was a mixture of a child’s wonder (indeed, sometimes that was literally true) and the look of terror in the face of a dying soldier.

    ‘There are less children among the humans nowadays,’ Ralreth thought in anger. Two-thousand years ago, when the archon was only a warrior, he truly had enjoyed messily slaughtering them in front of their parent’s eyes. He looked at the newest catch. ‘There are less humans among the humans nowadays,’ he thought, ‘they’re all being replaced by these…things.’ Female human-monsters made poor chamber decorations.

    “Isckavinel, Jaran,” screamed the archon to two of his black armored henchmen, “you know what to do!” He stalked down the gold-plated deck of his raider while the portal to Commorragh: a shimmering rift in the threads of reality behind him, closed its lips and vanished into oblivion, thus sealing the fates of the inhabitants of all five cages around him. Five raiders held the cages aloft, both above and below the towers of Commorragh. Two of his most trusted henchmen went to the back of the raider where the cage was attached. They began to loosen the attachings on the cages so they could be sent to the Black Heart Cabal.

    Ralreth himself walked down the stairs of the raider to the deck below, his weary body in desperate need of rest within the depths of his fortress. Around him, warriors drew back, not daring to stand in their archon’s way. Even as the raid was reaching its dusk Ralreth was still eyeing each man and woman he passed for signs of treachery, even a subtly jerk of the hand or flinch of the eye. Such vigilance had ensured his supremacy for over six centuries.

    Ralreth looked idly up at the towers above his head and noticed a thick formation of one thousand ravens, those sleek black fighters, streaking past the lanes of Dark Eldar ships. They were followed close behind by several dark creations of the cabal’s armories. They were like great black bats built of metal with eyes of red ember and cannons on their leathery wings. Strange.

    Ralreth thought nothing more of it as he stepped to the front of his raider and approached the warrior who operated the communicator.

    “Call in my ship,” Ralreth whispered to the warrior. He wheeled around to the deck of his raider, which was choked under the armored feet of over a dozen slender Dark Eldar figures. “We’re going home at last!” he bellowed to his warriors. A screeching cheer rose from the deck as weapons fired jubilantly into the air and daggers were waved. They all knew what that meant.

    “Ralreth, my archon,” the warrior with the communicator said as a huge flight of hundreds of ravagers and raiders soared overhead, amongst it darted the sharp, flashing shapes of reaver jetbikes. Ships that were passing idly between buildings were almost dashed apart on their hulls. Ralreth took the communicator and held it up to his ear.

    “No response from your fortress, archon,” the humble warrior blubbered out, shrinking back. Ralreth squinted at him from the slits in his helmet and knocked the communicator against the side of the raider. He held it up to his ear.

    “Hello?” asked Ralreth to the little machine as a flight Dark Eldar warships soared past his raiders. Ralreth hadn’t even noticed that everything was headed in the same direction.

    “Hello? Anybody?” cried a terrified voice from the other end of the communicator. Weakling.

    In the background, Ralreth could hear weapons shooting and screams.

    “What is the meaning of this?” Ralreth asked lazily.

    “Commorragh is under attack.”

    Ralreth processed those words in his defiled brain. For the centuries of his life he’d always known Commorragh to be invincible. It had never come under attack, ever. But who would have the blind audacity to confront the true children of the stars, inside their own lair? Souls would be his when this was over.

    “Archon?” asked one of the warriors on Ralreth’s raider. He raised his head in time to see a pale mist swooping through the city, though kilometers away, he could see the tendrils of the billowing, charging fog devour everything in its path. Ship, fortress, tower, fleet, everything.

    “Go,” Ralreth said, his black heart now white with terror. He turned his eyes to the nearest portal. “Get us out of Commorragh!” He looked in terror at the mist, advancing at a breakneck pace. Ralreth flew his raider away from the oncoming mist, looking in vain for a portal to the open world. Some webway rift, some hole they could navigate, anything.

    He spotted a portal, one that led to a different part of the webway. Whatever that mist was, it could not follow them through the whole of the webway! He turned once more to look at the mist.

    It was close enough, and within it he could see leviathan-shadows. One of them came forth to be briefly seen before vanishing back into the murky depths of the mist. Ralreth knew the creature, and it was one of the few foes he refused to fight. It was a tyranid hiveship.

    He spotted a portal out of Commorah, but it was too distant. Not even his raider could outrun the mist, or the hivefleet he now knew lurked within it.

    Far behind him, billions of Dark Eldar were being devoured by the skittering, churning legions of the tyranids. Billions of creatures, outnumbering the defenders thousands to one, taking no prisoners. Rippers flooded through the fortresses of the cabals, pouring into slave pits and devouring all they found within. Dark Eldar who had always fancied themselves the hunters were now the hunted. All flights of Dark Eldar ships were broken by the droneships or blasted to acidic ruin by the tyranids biological attacks. The mist, which was made of innumerable spores, choked and blinded even the best bred of the Dark Eldar. They, who had devoured the souls of the innocent for 13000 years were now being consumed in turn. Everywhere, paper-thin defenses succumbed to the relentless assault.

    It was hopeless.


    “What are those?” demanded Rarend again, pointing. He pointed at the asteroid in from of them. Upon it was an alien arch of obsidian-black stone, no doubt eldar in origin. Beneath its leaning stone was a shimmering circle of bright light. Protruding from the light were dozens of long whipping tendrils of flesh, hundreds of meters long. They were squeezing a long ship, painted night-purple, its general shape suggesting a hooked spear. The ship was collapsing, splitting painfully into two under the squeeze of the tendrils.

    “They…they look dangerous,” one astonished rating squeaked.

    “Permission to fire, inquisitor?”

    “Break that arch,” Rarend instructed, sure he knew that he beheld an entrance to the webway. He did not hear the guns howl, but saw the blossom of orange and the collapse of both the arch and the extinguishing of the light. The tendrils continued squeezing the ship for a few moments until they finally went limp, though still wrapped around the alien ship. The vanishing light had left them without an owner. Where once Rarend had beheld the tendrils of an alien beast he now saw dead serpents.

    “Orders?” one rating asked.

    “Return to your posts and take us in,” Rarend replied, now entranced by what he saw. It was as much his duty to investigate this as it was to deliver his report. “Those look like they belonged to a tyranid hiveship.” He shook his head, knowing he had made a discovery. “How did the tyranids get into the webway?”

    The wrecked alien craft grew nearer.

  12. #12

    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    As a Dark Eldar fan, I would like to know how Tyranids of all creatures managed to get inside Commoragh, how they even got into the webway is a bigger question.

    This fills me with both curiosity and rage at the same time.

    Wether or not this is bad I don't know, but you'd better have a good explanation, in the upcoming chapters.

    Other than that a good read so far.
    Last edited by Supreme Archon Orlok; 30-09-2009 at 22:19.
    Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

    I am the ghost in the night. I am the shadow that walks unseen. I am judge, jury and executioner. There is no mercy but that of my choosing. I am life and death, combined in perfect harmony.

    I ******* pwn

  13. #13
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Quote Originally Posted by Supreme Archon Orlok View Post
    As a Dark Eldar fan, I would like to know how Tyranids of all creatures managed to get inside Commoragh, how they even got into the webway is a bigger question.

    This fills me with both curiosity and rage at the same time.

    Wether or not this is bad I don't know, but you'd better have a good explanation, in the upcoming chapters.

    Other than that a good read so far.

    WOW This is fantastic, finally some good Dark Eldar writing, but as another Dark Eldar fan I was a little confused how tyranids got into the dark city but I love how you've written it

  14. #14
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Rarend’s ship came alongside the wrecked alien ship and injected a boarding crew on board. This first expendable wave risked their lives to ensure that neither Dark Eldar nor tyranid lurked within the immediate hallways of the derelict ship. Once they’d ensured that no harm could come to a surveying team, they gave the all-clear and the next wave came on. Not soldiers, but scientists and learners. Foremost among them, and directing them like a brain, was Rarend.

    The interior of the alien ship was blackened through and through. Obsidian hallways rife with the bloody, splattered remains of tyranids and Dark Eldar presented little to the experienced inquisitor beyond another ugly sight to mar his scarred memory. His henchmen trundled along, scattering into survey teams of three, each guarded by a loyal gunman in Rarnend’s employment. All they wanted was the simplest piece of data to lead them to answer Rarend’s question.

    Rarend stalked through the unlit hallways of the alien craft. It was like trudging through a liquid nightmare. He saw nothing but black ivory walls wherever he looked that was not covered by the gnawed remains of xenos. Corridor after corridor, corpse after corpse, empty report after empty report from each of his survey teams.

    ‘Perhaps there is nothing the alien can teach me,’ Rarend thought. Technically he was not trying to learn from the aliens: they were all the deserved piles of dead meat that they deserved to be. Filthy non-human aliens! Rarend hated them all!

    “Great inquisitor,” crackled the voice of one of the surveys in Rarend’s ear. “We have movement in region 80.” Rarend’s mind formed a map of the ship and recalled which of the grids and blocks they’d divided the ships into had been christened region 80. It was one of the regions closest to the split point of the ship. Rarend clicked some buttons on his wrist.

    “We go,” replied the voices of the gunmen in Rarend’s ear. “For the Inquisition.” Rarend feared some survivor of the Dark Eldar crew as he walked into one of the midnight rooms of the ship.

    Inside, he could see a metal table and a chair parked next to it. The room may once have been the study for one of the warped minds of the Dark Eldar pirates, but it had now been turned into a charnel. The shredded bodies of two Dark Eldar lay slumped in the corner, their guts hanging from rents in their armor and their guns lying uselessly on the floor. By the amount of blood near one of the bodies, Rarend guessed one of them had taken a hideously long amount of time to die. He felt no sympathy for such filth. Rarend stepped over the body of their murderer, draped across the floor like a rug.

    Rarend had studied these creatures in the fortress and hunting them down had been the bread and butter of his early years as a Xenos inquisitor. Its fetid hide was the colour of rotting skin, its arms numbered four, its head was elongated and beastly but far too human for Rarend’s liking. The talons of the monster alone could give it away: there could be no mistaking those three-fingered claws. A genestealer. This one was shredded almost in two by Dark Eldar weapons.

    “Status report,” Rarend demanded to the team that had contacted him from region 80. Rarend felt his hand clench onto the plasma pistol he carried by his side during incursions like this. Its flaming barrel had been the blessed death of twelve aliens and two humans since the day it had entered his holy service.

    “Inquisitor!” the man said, though in awe rather than alarm. “Inquisitor, it is…it’s an Astartes!”

    At the same moment, Rarend saw the genestealer move. He shot it in the skull with a bolt of inquisitorial-grade plasma. The head burst apart, but the body still moved, or rather, shifted, like ripples across water. Rarend cared little for this and ordered his companions to destroy the corpse and study the remains.

    “An Astartes?” asked Rarend as he hurried alone through the bloody halls of the ship. “By the Emperor! Of what chapter?”

    The Emperor’s Space Marines were rare indeed these days. Their geneseed mutated, their numbers spent by eons of war. Only fifteen chapters remained in service, with the rest absorbed into them to keep these chosen fifteen at full strength. Even a humble henchman should know the chapter by name.

    “I do not know,” replied the henchman. “He is standing at the end of a hallway, conversing with your soldiers. He is alone.

    Rarend had heard stories of men getting lost in the Warp for thousands of years. Perhaps this space marine was one? Whatever the case, Rarend would be rewarded with splendid honours for the rescue of an Astartes. Perhaps a prisoner aboard this ship?

    Rarend reached the intersecting hallways where the henchman and Rarend’s soldiers were. Sure enough, a blessed space marine of the Emperor’s finest stood lorded in one of the hallways, towering over the five of Rarend’s before him like a cliff. Rarend noticed two things immediately.

    First, he noticed the marine was not clad in the modern MK X Avenger power armor, with its extra layer of thickened adamantine and the skull facemask to memorialize the hundreds of chapters that had been lost when the geneseeds began to fail. This man wore an ancient suit of Mark II armor from the Great Crusade!

    Secondly, Rarend noticed the colours of this marine matched no surviving chapter. He was armored brown with a shimmering gold trim. The marine carried no weapon. Rarend could not see the man’s coat-of-arms on his shoulder pads. Instantly, Rarend drew his plasma pistol.

    “Though I would only find it a strong curiosity to find a Space Marine on a slaughtered xenos ship, I’m finding it a threat when the marine does not wear Imperial colours,” Rarend said as he strode through his soldiers and dismissed them until only he and the marine filled the hall.

    “Lower your pistol, I mean you no harm,” the marine replied. “It has been too long since I have been this close.” He sighed and Rarend scowled.

    “Explain yourself, you may look like a space marine but there are issues I will see answered, now!” Rarend shook his pistol. “Are you alone?”

    “I’ve forgotten the meaning of the word. I’ve never been alone for thirteen-thousand years,” replied the marine. “Where can I find the current masters of the Imperium of Man, or does the Emperor still rule?” Rarend bore his teeth, now sensing an alien ruse. Such blasphemy! How dare they imitate the Emperor’s most holy? Rarend needed more proof before he could pull the trigger. He looked around him for signs of the enemy.

    “Your name, your chapter, your company, by order of the Inquisition,” Rarend demanded. “Prepare to apprehend him,” Rarend whispered into his vox-piece. The soldiers in the hallway behind him readied their weapons.

    “The Hornet Legion does not answer to the demands of men nor do the enslavers,” replied the space marine. “The enslavers are poised to strike your civilization dead. Bring me to Terra, man of the Inquisition. I command you as Primarch of the Hornet Legion…” Rarend shot off the “space marine’s” head. It exploded in a burst of chitin and green slime. The body fell.

    ‘Some new tyranid organism?’ Rarend thought in sickness as he looked at the corpse. He reached down and touched the armor. Chitin! Not metal! It was a space marine built of bone…

    “Hahahaha!” the cackling filled the air. From cracks and slits in the ship oozed in a puddle of liquefied tyranid flesh. Rarend was spellbound as he watched it congeal into the shape of a space marine. Its colours changed, the flesh hardened to bone, distinct body-parts formed. From alien slime rose yet another counterfeit space marine!

    ‘The rippling genestealer, it was melting,’ Rarend recalled. ‘It must be reincarnated from the flesh of melted tyranids.’

    “My name is Apollyon: Primarch of the Hornet Legion, lord of the enslavers, and the herald of a new age. By that authority, I command you to take me to Terra,” the space marine boomed. Rarend was too dumbfounded as to how the tyranid could speak Low Gothic and know the definitions of words such as “primarch”. He had to survive, the Ordo Xenos must know about this!

    “Sir,” crackled a voice in his ear, “this is the bridge. We have more vessels approaching.” Rarend was too entranced by this marine to care.

    “You are a tyranid,” Rarend replied as he caught a glimpse of the emblem on Apollyon’s shoulder pad. It was a stylized hornet’s head done in black upon a white cross made of four insect wings.

    “A what?” asked Apollyon. He fell silent and looked at the ceiling. “The insufferable eldar approach,” he muttered before looking back at Rarend. “Would you disobey the orders of a Primarch?”

    “You are no Primarch, xeno!” Rarend shouted as he shot the creature through the chest. The hole bored right through the marine but it did not fall down.

    “He really did it then. He really made mankind forget us all,” Apollyon sighed as the next shot claimed his head.

    Rarend didn’t have time to examine his second kill and wonder where Apollyon would be reincarnated next. Suddenly, the air around him rippled and churned as thick, many-armed warriors materialized around him. He raised his plasma pistol but had it cut in two by a leaping eldar blade. The shouts of his soldiers was lost in a roar of alien weaponry.

    The last thing Rarend saw was the helmeted white face of an eldar warrior in front of him. The arch rising from its elongated black helmet designated it as an eldar witch.

    “Come with us,” sang a voice to him as he was pulled into the warp.

  15. #15
    Commander Exitas-Acta-Probat's Avatar
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    ooooohhhhh! :P
    "six shots."

  16. #16
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    good stuff man
    We will fight are way to Terra its self, drag that corpse of leader off his Throne and throw it at the feet of are gods

    Quote Originally Posted by x-esiv-4c View Post
    If you have even glanced at the codex:Ultra then you know for a fact who Marneus Calgar is. Infact, if you replace the name Jesus with Marneus in the bible...You actually have codex:Ultra.

  17. #17
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    Rarend could not tell where he was. It was like a cocoon built of the stuff that teeth grew from, equally white with equal texture, but lit with a warm blue light and wrapping around him, leaving a single centimeter of space between him and its hold. He did not remember how he was put here, only that he’d been there for hours or perhaps days. He cursed the Eldar with every breath he took. Vile, aloof, and arrogant as they were, he had so far been lucky enough to avoid contact with them. Yet their cowardice and guile had served them well. Now he was their prisoner, as so many aliens before had been his prisoner.

    His drooping hood covered his eyes from the light of the blasphemous prison when it got too intense, as dull as it was.

    “Awaken, human,” said a throaty but still gracefully sinister eldar voice. It was a male, the lack of a sing-song quality in it left no doubts to that. As the voice spoke, the cocoon cracked open and revealed his prison to the inquisitor’s eyes. He was prepared to accept that he was aboard an eldar ship, but when he looked around and beheld a chamber with light blue walls lined with multiple flame-shaped seats at which sat eldar crewman at their crystalline controls, Rarend realized he was possibly on the bridge. There were no windows so it was difficult to tell anything. The eldar who had spoken to him was a tall, menacing warrior in a lofty, jagged orange and red suit. He sported a long helm with a pair of ridged crests rising from wither side of his helmet. For the shortest moment, Rarend thought he was beholding a fabled avatar of the eldar’s war god.

    “Damned alien, you will find me easier to interrogate when I am dead,” Rarend snarled, stepping out of his prison and up to the imposing eldar warrior. He didn’t seem to be missing anything except his pistol. “I am…”

    “…Worthless to you,” finished the eldar. Rarend was taken, aback, for that was what he was about to say. “Human arrogance is the same as I remember it. But I do not seek information. For what could you possibly know that I do not already?” Rarend frowned. “Perhaps you feel uncomfortable in this place? Shall we take a walk, human?” Rarend realized he had no choice and strode down a hall that led from the chamber, this alien at his side like a friend.

    “What…”

    “What I want I your help,” the eldar replied before Rarend could finish.

    “Never.”

    “Your path crossed with the path of one who is one with the Hive Mind of the tyranids, did it not?” the eldar asked casually. He led Rarend into a chamber. It was small and contained a circle of pillows on the ground. Six orange-armored eldar warriors sat in meditation on these pillows. They were dismissed by the one Rarend spoke to.

    “Leave us. I seek solitude with the human,” the helmeted eldar commanded in the eldar language.

    “You cannot break me, eldar,” Rarend said in the eldar tongue, though rather crudely. The eldar all laughed at him as they filed out of the room, leaving him alone with the helmeted one.

    “And still you believe that I interrogate you?” the helmeted one asked. “Are you unconcerned with your Imperium? The Hive Fleets have entered the webway. If they understand how to use them, they will be able to strike from every webway gate there is in the galaxy. Your frail Imperium would be swept away like sand in a torrent.”

    “I will…”

    “You will not listen to my lies? My farseer has told me that you stumbled across the human mind that joined with the Hive Mind. The look on your face tells me this is true.” The helmeted one sat down on a pillow. “Lie or truth? What was he?”

    “You are interrogating me,” Rarend spat. He would have tried strangling the eldar if he wasn’t wearing a helmet. The eldar laughed as if he knew what he was thinking.

    “Whoever he is, he is an ancient being indeed, a scientist or perhaps a great explorer, but as folly as you no matter the…case.” Rarend realized he had thought of the person’s identity: the counterfeit Astartes who claimed to be a primach named Apollyon.

    “Apollyon,” the eldar said, tasting the word. “Apollyon. Interrogating you has proven easy, Rarend.” Rarend moved his hands to strangle himself, but the eldar was upon him far faster than he thought possible. “Primarch of the Hornet Legion? So that is what became of the man. My people had extensive contact with him and his brown-armored warriors. After he disappeared, the Imperium forgot about him. But we did not, for it was he who violated our craftworlds and stole our knowledge of things like the enslavers.” The alien backed off from Rarend. “Your Emperor sought to rule the galaxy. To his butchers, that translated to scourging us from it. I ask you human, who are the savages? Apollyon inflicted wounds on us that have never healed.”

    “Thus is the fate of all the enemies of man,” Rarend boasted.

    “You arrogant…we stand on the threshold of the final days and you boast of your…I have never met a fool such as you,” the eldar said in disbelief. “We go, even now, into the Eye of Terror.”

    “What?”

    “The ending days will come in two strokes, so our farseers predict. The first will be the struggle for humanity’s survival, for without humanity in the Imperium, there will be no one left to fight Chaos. The second will be the strike on Terra itself, where Chaos will finally be defeated,” the eldar said casually.

    “You lie…”

    “I have seen it,” the eldar said. “But fate cannot play out if the tyranids get to Terra first.”

    “What does the Eye of Terror have to do with this?” cried Rarend in horror. The alien would not lie, not about the Eye of Terror.

    “It is our rallying grounds. We all must converge upon the Crone World of Crianorhas. From there, the pieces will be ready to play the great game,” the eldar rose his masked face to the ceiling, “of Rhana Dhandra.” Rarend recognized the eldar term for their race’s last stand against Chaos.

    “You are insane, not on…”

    “Have you ever heard of the Black Library?” asked the eldar. “Within it, there exists the knowledge of what needs to be done in order to fool to Chaos gods. We will be like a shadow in the dark: silent, unseen and unfelt. We will stand under their noses with this knowledge and never be seen. Then, we can begin the final war.” The eldar looked at Rarend. “Though it pains me to rescue the Imperium which has done us so much harm, it would seem that the death of the Hive Fleets will bring us closer to the death of Chaos too.”

    “But…” Rarend found himself believing the alien. He would be scourged for the sin when he returned to the Inquisition. “How can the dark masters of Chaos reach Terra? The Imperium may be overrun with orks and mutants and other savage aliens, but our holy capitol is well defended by a steel ring of worlds. And the chapters of the Astartes and the Inquisition. The Eye Of Terror is far away from Holy Terra, the Emperor wills it so.” Rarend shook his head. “It would take an eon to break our defenses. And there are no holes in it now.” The eldar laughed for the first time.

    “Sometimes, even I forget how short-sighted your kind can be,” the eldar said. “What would you say if you knew that a great rift in real space is blossoming very close to Terra? A new Eye of Terror; within striking distance of your Emperor, a corridor for Abaddon to lead the daemon primarchs and every Chaos lord and daemon prince as well as the vile legions of the Warp, right into the Imperial Palace?” Rarend scoffed. A new Eye of Terror? Fool.

    “I would tell the source of this lie that it is mad with stupidity and purge such heretical thoughts from my mind. Then I would continue in the Emperor’s light, doing his works,” Rarend replied. The eldar nodded.

    “Very well,” he said softly. “We are going to the Eye of Terror now. We will be there in a few minutes.”

    “Impossible. Even with your webway, we are still in Segmentum Pacifi…” Rarend began.

    “Did I not tell you about knowledge in the Black Library barely a minute ago? Have you forgotten already?”

    Suddenly, everything went grey. Rarend felt like he had just jumped into a cloud.



    Far away in the realm of the warp, the immaterium, deep in a maze created of mortal dreams, a great malevolent entity whose name was Tzeench contemplated its fate. The days of the troublesome Imperium were coming to an end. These days had two outcomes. One was the eternal supremacy of daemonkind. The other was the end of Chaos. Tzeench knew he would have to scheme as never before. As he looked around him at his realm, he noticed something he had foreseen for one thousand years: everything looked smaller. Ambition, plotting, hope, and schemes were not rife. In this time of ending, there was little room for ambition in a galaxy full of death. Nurgle would be benefitting. However, Tzeench was the architect of fate and knew exactly what needed to happen to achieve a paradise of daemonkind across the galaxy. It would be utopia of madness, where trillions of undying souls of helpless mortals would be bound to a million daemon worlds, never dying, but always suffering, their emotions feeding the daemons for all time. Tzeench knew exactly how to bring this nightmare about, and it would begin with Abaddon’s raid on Terra.

    Suddenly, the future looked foggy. Tzeench squinted at the future and tried to clear the mist away with a flick of a fan-like hand. He blew on the future and tried to wipe away the mist. He shook the future, trying to shake away the mist. This had never happened before. Something was wrong with time. For the first time in an eternity, Tzeench didn’t know what was going to happen, and then something else happened: something he should have foreseen, but did not. His maze grew a little bit smaller.

    He could almost hear Nurgle laughing.

  18. #18
    Commander Exitas-Acta-Probat's Avatar
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    does nurgle laugh? i imagine it would sound more like a clogged drain haha.
    "six shots."

  19. #19
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    The lashing acidic rain fell from the fat clouds of Necromunda. Descending in a curtain of water, dense as a flow from an open tap, lethal as the kiss of an open flame, and swifter in its delivery of misery to than a terminal famine. From the black sky of the soot-clouded night it fell, having fallen all day and for most of the moonless, starless night, showing no signs of stopping or slowing down. Mountains of candles, that’s what those great city-structures looked like. To a man on the muddy ground, they would be more like a wall of shadow and pinprick lights: they were so big that their edges were too far distant for someone on the ground to spot. Were it not from the lights of the towering hives, the rain would not even be visible. Nothing would be visible without the lights of the hives.

    That was why the defenders of Necromunda needed their spotlights. From covered positions on the ground, around the hives, long lances of solid white light shot out towards the advancing warplanes, lighting up all the millions of drops of rain that passed through them.

    They swarmed forwards, in vast sieges of huge dark shapes to the terrified defenders on the ground. The lights passed across their dark forms, only to pass them by and leave them in shadow to reveal yet more incoming fleets. Marauders, all of them, but painted grey and inscribed with vile runes of Chaos and piloted by heretics.

    As the droning swarm came into range, the cannons opened fire. Orange orb-shaped explosions erupted around them, reducing the spotlights to a redundant decoration. Each explosion threw light across the invaders’ massive droning formations. The dark, staring insignia of the Iron Warriors was periodically illuminated along each of the incoming planes.

    Colonel Haidness smiled to himself as one of the traitor marauders exploded into a miniature sun. Pieces of flaming debris showered down from it, leaving flaming trails of smoke in their wake, giving the dusty cloud a sharp appearance. A second marauder was wheeling down to the ground, out of control, its portside wing amputated by a well-placed hit. It careened into the ground and exploded, its crew still onboard.

    ‘A lonely death,’ Haidness thought, his seven-fingered hand grasping his magnoculars through his acid-proof glove. He lowered the magnoculars and pressed a hand onto the vox-operator. He was a brutish man, with acid-proof skin made of some thick rubbery material, like a squid. His eyes were swollen shut, thus making him a very good listener.

    “Contact 5th battery. Fire coordinates: 7-1-0 20 degrees northeast,” Haidness recited. The man gibbered the orders into his vox-caster. Haidness watched as another marauder was claimed by the Emperor’s guns. It crashed to the ground a flaming meteor. Three more were on their way down before it exploded in a jagged heap.

    From his operations platform in the middle of the miles of trenches that surrounded the whole hive, Haidness could see the marauders had come close enough to pick out individually through the strobe lighting created by the flashing bursts of anti-air shells. The regiment he was in command of rushed all around him: those guardsmen who could not prove themselves useful against the bombers retreated into the tunnels along the trenches while those that were manned their posts and fought like daemons.

    One tiny section of the defenses, one tiny part was all Haidness saw. But tens of thousands of men from the Imperial Guard and the Necromunda PDF stood beside him as brothers against the Iron Warriors and their heretic legions. While the off-worlder guardsmen casually referred to the enemy as mutants, the locals used other, less discriminatory words. PDF troopers were all that Haidness saw as he looked around him: manning guns and preparing themselves.

    “Colonel,” the vox-operator asked him from his chair, shouting over the guns, “all other sectors report no contact.” The rebels were attacking one small point. Who knew why? It was said that the traitor Astartes on Necromunda were siege masters. Decoding the unfathomable laws of siege were not what Haidness had been entrusted by his governor to do.

    “And?” Haidness watched the bombers roar over their heads. Whispers of prayer were spoken and some guns were fired as troops tried to flee their posts. Haidness saw a flaming wreck of a marauder crash into the trenches, killing scores of PDF in its inferno-death. “Here they come.” Haidness looked through his goggled eyes at the hazy shadows of the marauders, now over their heads. Dozens were going down in fire but there were others. Hundreds. Would their murderous bombs find their targets among the hive or Haidness’ men? Unfortunately, the colonel knew his enemy was too smart to waste his bombs on the hive.

    Suddenly, a droning cluster of ten of the marauders burst apart, showering the others with fluttering debris. Ten more burst apart elsewhere, then elsewhere. In groups of ten, fully half the enemy planes had met death. Their careful formations collapsed as the sleek, whistling shapes of Astartes gunships lashed through them, their mighty guns wreaking havoc on the traitors’ formations. Marauders went down riddled with holes, marauders went down with clipped wings, more yet exploded as the gunships fired missiles into them. He counted nine gunships in total: dark green.

    A deafening cheer rose from the throats of the PDF while more traitors died. The mutant troopers leapt in jubilation, chanting praises to the Astartes and the Emperor, some firing weapons into the air. Fools. Haidness knew they were already dead. Too many marauders had lived. Their bombs were falling even as they were ripped apart…



    The thunderhawk touched noisily down onto the night-shrouded trenches of the Necromunda PDF. With a grinding hiss, the hatch yawned down. The mutants around the thunderhawk shielded their eyes as ivory light flooded from the opened hatchway. When they looked, they beheld battle-brother Usoran and two of his brothers-in-arms. The three great giants stepped off and into the trenches. The bombers were gone and the thunderhawks were all touching down around Usoran’s own ship.

    Usoran cringed behind his helmet as the troopers flooded him and his brothers. While large parts of their trenchline lay in ruin and thousands of men lay dead or dying, screaming in fear and pain as the acidic rain ate away at their exposed organs, roasting them in a chemical bath, these degenerate humans were flocking like worshippers to a messiah. That was not the only reason why he was disgusted. They were mutants, all of them. All wore the Imperial Aquilla on their breasts. Some wore the swords of officers at their waists. It was fitting for their whole bodies to be sheathed in acid-proof suits and hoods. He didn’t need the flaming wrecks of PDF guns and traitor marauders to see their cheerful eyes behind their goggles. It was like watching a daemon laugh to see a happy mutant. It was like laughing with the daemon to know that the mutant was happy to see you.

    “Beware the alien, the mutant, the heretic,” muttered Usoran as he plowed through the crowd like a clipper, his two brothers following him. The scene was duplicated eight times as the other eight thunderhawks disgorged their inhabitants. Two hundred dark angels: the whole force committed to hunting the fallen.

    “First Macharia and now Necromunda?” asked Brother Abdis.

    “So the clues lead. He is near,” Usoran replied. “The Cypher has not gone so far in so long.”

    “Do you think it’s time?” asked Abdis. Usoran spared the brother-marine his answer. Not even Usoran wanted to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the time had come. Perhaps, in Usoran’s lifetime, they would know whose side the Cypher was truly on. Usoran had always believed the Cypher was a traitor at heart.

    “If the Emperor allows it, then it is so,” Usoran told his brother-marine as they stepped through the trenches towards the hive, over dead mutants and through live ones. He would already see the blue ghost of a marine being teleported into being upon the flaming ruin of a flak turret.

    “What joke is this?” asked brother Melch as Usoran, his two escorts, and all the other Dark Angels from the thunderhawks reached the marine: a warrior being sent to them from the hive’s defenders.

    He was a tall man, even for an Astartes. His red hair was drawn into a ponytail and his face wild with a beard. His aged face was scarred many times while his teeth were pointed and beastly. From his grey terminator armor he wore a ragged pelt. He gripped a rune-encrusted axe in one fist. He was the only man here who did not wear a helmet or hood. The burning rain fell off his skin without any discomfort.

    “Space Wolf?” asked a few of the younger battle-brothers.

    “Quiet,” Usoran said to them. The Imperium could not have any infighting amongst its chapters, not in these dying days.

    “Late again,” the Space Wolf laughed.

    “I was expecting to be greeted by someone else,” Usoran said. “Is it not the Imperial Fists who garrison Necromunda?” The Space Wolf did not flinch when one of the Dark Angels made a rude gesture to him.

    “We are here also,” the Space Wolf replied. “Come with me to the command bunker. We must talk.”

    “The Emperor’s light brought us to this place. We hunt for traitors!” one young Dark Angel interrupted. “Ours is a mission of all urgency…” Usoran glared at the man, silencing him. The faceless, skeletal gaze of a space marine’s helmet was worse to be held beneath than the angriest iron-eyed glare from a naked face.

    “Forgive my brother’s manners, but he is right,” Usoran said to the Space Wolf. “We have little time to waste.”

    “It just so happens that we have no time to waste either, Dark Angel,” the Space Wolf replied. “Russ has visited the dreams of our rune priests once more. The Great Wolfing is upon us. Ragnarok. We are gathering all of the chapters together. They must know.”

    All of the space marine chapters were getting together? Usoran knew this could perhaps be more pressing than even the Fallen. He considered his options while the colours and names of the last fifteen Astartes chapters drifted through his mind.

    The nine first-founding chapters had survived. Alongside them, were six others. Their holy names were the Invaders, the Storm Lords, the Soul Drinkers, the Doom Eagles, the Lamenters, and the Black Templars. Usoran had cried once since becoming a Dark Angel: only once.

    It had been on the day, ten years ago, when the last Crimson Fist died on Cadia, reducing the number of Chapters from 16 to 15. They’d not only lost a chapter that day, they’d also lost the Cadian Gate. They’d lost it to the Alpha Legion. A single mass-bombing, carried out from secret that threw the defenses into disarray. Thus did Abadon take the Cadian Gate in a single day of subterfuge, where 13 000 years of Black Crusades had failed. And the Crimson Fists were known for their legendary recovery from an ork invasion.

    “Alright, as long as it does not take time away from the hunt,” Usoran said. The Space Wolf shook his head.

    “You may find that is as much your problem as ours,” he touched his earpiece. “This is Captain Odeen, bring me back.” And he was gone.

    ‘Perhaps this was why we were led to Necromunda in the first place,’ Usoran thought.

  20. #20
    Commander Exitas-Acta-Probat's Avatar
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    Re: Time of Ending: the 40k Finale

    so why exactly did the gene seed begin to fail?
    "six shots."

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