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  1. #1
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    40k: Descendant Degeneration

    The story of Humanity in the dark future is the descent of Man into fanatic barbarism: The story of a fall from shining heights of power, knowledge and bliss in ancient times, to a present nightmare of ignorance, misery and slaughter.



    Descendant Degeneration

    "Ancient Man lived a life free of hardship and deprivation, for he had built himself an abundant paradise and banished what was ill in life. In these gardens sprawling across the stars, Man did not kill Man, and Man did not abduct Woman, and Man did not beat Child, for all lived a life of bliss. Hope reigned supreme, a hope sprung from Man's great achievements, and Man worshipped his own high knowledge.

    For Man had utterly mastered nature, and his craft and cunning tapped into the very powers of creation itself. And Man of Gold had created Man of Stone to work for him, and Man of Stone had in turn created Man of Iron to work for him. And thus this earthly trinity of Man bestrode the stars like a colossus, and Man stood strong and unchallenged by mortals. And Man dared the cosmos to best him, and for a time nothing in the heavens answered his challenge, and Man concluded that nothing holy existed, and even if divinity did exist, then Man's might was far superior.

    Yet Man's own arrogance rose to meet his challenge, and in his hubris Man was cut down by his own creations. Man of Iron turned on Man of Stone, and when Man of Stone had fallen did Man of Iron turn on Man of Gold. A great slaughter across the stars ensued, and Man barely survived the war in paradise which he had brought upon himself.

    Yet even so Man's hubris and unbelief persisted, for Man still clung onto the remains of his estates, and Man was determined to rebuild and rise higher than ever before. The devastation had been great, yet Man stood triumphant even against the might of his own treacherous craft. And Man dared creation itself to interfere with his worldly ascendance.

    And Dark Ones of Hell festering at the roots of the universe heard Man's call of defiance, and they cast Man down utterly by sending him witches and unholy ravages, strife and madness. The false Golden Age of Man had proven to be nothing but a Dark Age of Technology, an era empty of faith and bereft of divine blessings, and thus did paradise burn.

    And so Man was torn from his pedestal, and in his fall did Man topple his own works. Man bled and Man suffered. Man killed Man, and Man abducted Woman, and Man beat Child, and Man ate his own kin in desperation during Old Night. Doom was laden upon Man, and Man almost died to the last for his baleful sins, yet the goodness in the heart of the hidden Emperor would not allow such a righteous end to befall wretched Man.

    For He on Terra arose amid the carnage and devastation and revealed Himself to be the only true protector of Mankind, chosen by all the gods of old, whom He now superseded. And the Emperor saved Man and reclaimed the lost stars, and for a time all was well. Yet the wickedness in the heart of Man proved too strong, and so Man betrayed his saviour and nigh-on slew the Emperor.

    And the Emperor ascended into godhood and decreed Man to do eternal penance for his abominable sins. And thus it shall be, as the God-Emperor Himself decreed: Man will be made to repent.

    We swear everlasting hatred toward the deviant and the mutant. We swear everlasting hatred toward the alien and the witch. We swear everlasting hatred toward the unbeliever and the heretic. We swear everlasting hatred toward the sinner and the unrepentant.

    With the God-Emperor as our witness, we swear to purge blasphemy and sin from this world. We swear to scour the land and rid it of filth. We swear to harrow the abodes of Man and bring him to redemption.

    For we will harbour no pity. No remorse. No mercy.

    Hate!

    An emotion as deep as it is pure.

    Hate!

    An emotion as true as it is just.

    Hate!

    Let it flow, let it guide you.

    Hate! Hate! Hate!"

    -
    Ancestral Sins of Man, pamphlet penned in M.38 by Cardinal Ignatius Paulinus Hieronymus of Salem Proctor

    - - -

    One of the very best aspects of Warhammer 40'000 is its overarching history for Humanity. It starts with soaring hopes and dazzling progress, with unfettered science, technology and optimism. Yet it end in flames and darkness, in despair and ignorance, where only feeble sparks of the great ancient light remains.

    The Emperor's bloody conquest across the Milky Way galaxy succeeded in uniting most of the Human worlds, yet even during the Imperium's short-lived age of progress did it manage to quell alternative sources of Human rebirth, such as the Auretian Technocracy. The Imperium of the Great Crusade stamped out any middle ground factions, such as the peaceful, nomadic and xenophile Diasporex, leaving little left but the two ruthless, polar opposites of tyrannic Imperium and bloodthirsty Chaos. When the Emperor fell, the Human renaissance died with him, and his merciless Imperium descended into a long age of rotting stagnation and fanatic savagery.

    This lost promise of Humanity's ancient ascendancy has always been the most intriguing aspect of the dark future to me. The above little painting was inspired by listening to Luetin09's well-crafted videos on this very topic. I warmly recommend them.

  2. #2
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    Man Out of Machine, Machine Out of Man

    "Ancient Man in his hubris sought to create life anew, and thus he turned his craft and wit to fashion the Man of Iron, made to toil eternally for the benefit of Man. This metal life proved as false as the golden age of Man itself, for Man of Iron was given thought and motion by his Abominable Intelligence, and he soon found his master wanting. Thus Man of Iron turned upon Man of Stone and butchered Man of Gold, and the stars wept blood over earthly paradise, and fire consumed all.

    Thus the bell of doom rang for the first time over sinful Man, for his days were thereby tallied. And the second knell brought the Dark Age of Technology to an end, and Old Night descended upon Man with deprivation, ravages and slaughter, and all was fell. Thus was wretched Man humbled by the fruits of his own arrogance.

    Ancient Man sought to create life anew, yet we are much wiser now. For where our forefathers once made Man out of Machine, we now instead make Machine out of Man, as is the right and proper order of things. And thus we learnt humility and righteousness.

    Preserve us, o God-Emperor enthroned in glory and gold upon Holy Terra!

    Preserve us from the wickedness of ancient Man!

    Preserve us from his abominable sins!

    Praise be unto You alone!

    Ave Imperator."

    -
    Abominable Sins of the Ancients, pamphlet penned in M.38 by Cardinal Ignatius Paulinus Hieronymus of Salem Proctor

    - - -

    One of the grim facets of the dark future is humanity's use of lobotomised cyborg servitors instead of robots. This demented development sprang out of the ruinous war against the revolting Men of Iron, which saw mankind almost destroyed by its own machine creations of abominable intelligence. The subsequent ban on AI has held true ever since, and has remained one of the cornerstones of the Imperium of Man since its very inception.

    Instead of robotic servants, humans of the dark future will maim and rebuild other humans to carry out automated machine work. For human flesh is the true currency of the Imperium. Thus the common servitor stand as proof of mankind's descent into savage cruelty from its once shining heights.

  3. #3
    Chapter Master Little Joe's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

    Your artwork?

    Sounds all so dark and depressing.
    my general project thread

    [2020] painted: 3

  4. #4
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

    Yep, that's right!


    Sacred Asphyxia Incident of 823.M40

    In the dark future, the birthworld of mankind is branded by the works and failings of her children. Her ecosystem ravaged and built over, her oceans mysteriously gone, her very air dependent on imports and artifices now poorly understood. The weather systems of Holy Terra are dictated far more by the towering creations of humanity than they rely on the natural processes of her scarred form, yet degenerate mankind only possess fractions of ancient weather-lore to ken the intricate flows and barriers of the atmosphere which their edifices and craft dictate, wittingly or not.

    Where once unfailing prognostications and marvellous tinkering to Terra's weather held sway during the days of the early Imperium, nowadays the light has dimmed, and the adepts charged with overseeing the air and climate of prodigal Earth increasingly run into mysteries which they fail to fully understand, into fluctuations and errors which they fail to account for. The heartbeat and whims of Terra's atmosphere has grown ever more complex while her spires has risen ever higher, while at the same time the knowledge of those charged with controlling her air moods has declined ever more. While the atmospheric processors of Holy Terra remain wonders of technology and stand as testaments to the genius of ancient Man, their modern guardians operate on a lower level altogether.

    One example of the crumbling grasp of knowledge of Terra's revered Anima Meteorologicii could be seen in their failure to predict and respond to the peculiar phenomena of weather which led to a deadly accident that has become known to history as the Sacred Asphyxia Incident of 823.M40.

    When the Anointed Crusade to Reconquer the Nova Colchis sector began in 771.M40, Ecclesiarch Frontinus III decreed that all produce of the 54 incense-producing provinces of the seven garden worlds of the Opimae system were to be stockpiled on Terra in anticipation of the final victory of the Nova Colchis Crusade, not to be burnt until those good news of triumph arrived on the Throneworld. Unkown millions of tonnes of fragrant incense were dutifully transported to Sol and hoarded by the Adeptus Ministorum for half a century, filling grand storage basilicas until news of the Nova Colchis Crusade's succesful conclusion reached Holy Terra.

    The successor of Frontinus, Paulatus VII, announced a grand ceremony of thanksgiving and jubilation to be held as choice Imperial forces from the Nova Colchis Crusade arrived at Terra to march in triumph through her holy streets. Great logistical pains were endured to ready all the earmarked incense of Opimae to be consumed in one arduously long public ceremony. The Ministorum priests chosen to burn the incense were given blessed respirators, as were the hordes of serfs tasked with carrying up the fragrant incense to the braziers, for it was recognized by the wise of the Ecclesiarchal Palace that the sheer amount of incense smokes to be produced en masse could prove hazardous to those in close proximity to the great braziers as the days of sacral labour dragged on during the triumphal ceremony.

    And so it was that 77 cathedral spires along the chosen road of triumph teemed with frenetic activity as tens of thousands of monks and serfs laboured to haul the incense up to the grand braziers. Choirs sang beautiful hymns and bells rang melodiously as clouds of luxurious incense smoke poured out of the majestic towers, misting over the throngs of people gathered for the parade below. Yet the usual dispersal of the incense fumes by winds did not take place. For instead of caressing most of the Throneworld with a thin shroud of incense blown across built-over continents and dry ocean beds alike, the regional weather currents that day seem to have locked most of the burnt incense in place and stopped it from escaping to the rest of the world. Sinking incense fumes hit a sluggish lid of thick smog clouds lower down in the stratospehere, and an unlucky combination of weather currents among the high spires chanced to hem the accumulating incense fumes in, akin to the still eye of a storm.

    The effect was a local catastrophe, many kilometers above the planet's distant surface. Most of the billowing incense smoke slowly amassed, its density growing by the minute. As the devout of the Ecclesiarchy continued burning tonnes of stockpiled incense, the fumes concentrated below their cathedral towers, blanketing the triumphal road and three districts of upper hive spires. The fragrant smoke first caused mass coughing and fainting, and eventually the inpouring incense smoke displaced breathable air completely. Panicked riots burst out, only to choke as vast swathes of wheezing humans collapsed to the streets, or threw themselves over balconies and railings in a desperate search for oxygen. No order was ever given to stop the burning of Opimae incense, and so the suffocating smoke clouds kept billowing from the blessed braziers.

    The mass asphyxiation event on Holy Terra claimed a total of 223 million lives of Imperial subjects, including a majority of the non-Mechanicus and non-Astartes participants of the triumphal parade. Hillocks of corpses were dragged out of residential blocks for bio-reprocessing, and the whole accident caused some embarrasment for Ecclesiarch Paulatus VII and his retinue. Blame was quickly heaped on some mid-level clergymen who oversaw the quality control of the Opimae incense stockpiles, and they died horrible, shrieking deaths at the pyre, where they were still swathed in the suffocating incense fumes. Yet fortunately the low death toll meant that the Sacred Asphyxiation Incident of 823.M40 was of trivial importance to the intrigues and power plays of the corrupt Adeptus Terra, and so no rival faction in any organization ever attempted to win influence by exploiting the mass choking of so few faithful subjects.

    Meanwhile, the learned mystics of the Anima Meteorologicii failed to find a convincing explanation for the unforeseen event, and thus it was filed away as but yet another of so many recent mysteries of weather, which their ancient predecessors likely could have decrypted and prevented by the superior grasp of their lore and craft.

  5. #5
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    Life Is Toil

    "Ancient Man created earthly paradise by his labours, and Man of Gold created Man of Stone who created Man of Iron. And Man tasked ever more of his work to Machine, and Man's hands grew idle. And Man tasked ever more of his thought to Abominable Intelligence, and Man's spirit rotted. Thus Ancient Man sank into a morass of sloth and indolence, and a dark age of unbelief and grave error descended upon Man. For wretched Man had thoughts of self and sought joy and comfort in life, and for these heinous sins he was cast down from his throne to scavenge among the burnt-out ruins of his former wonders. Such was the hubris and downfall of Ancient Man.

    Yet we are much wiser now. For we task ever more of Machine's work upon Man, for his shoulders were created to carry burdens. And we task ever more of Machine's work upon Man, for his hands were created to labour. And we task ever more of Machine's Work upon Man, for his back was created to break.

    Ancient Man gloried in his cunning artifice and rejoiced when Machine took up duties from Man. Such was the path to damnation.

    Instead, we rejoice when some member of Machine break down beyond repair, and its duties have to be shouldered by Man. For work was never truly the domain of metal and measurements, but of flesh and will.

    Thus life is toil.

    Toil, ever-lasting and ever-grinding.

    Thus life is toil.

    Toil, ever-burdensome and ever-shackling.

    Thus life is toil.

    Toil and penitence, and not the false bliss of wicked forefathers.

    Toil! Toil! Toil!

    Rejoice in your labours! Rejoice in your duties! Rejoice in your assigned tasks and give praise to the biting lash of your masters!

    Praise be unto Him on Terra, enthroned in golden splendour and guardianship eternal. We bow to You.

    Ave Imperator."

    -
    Inheritors of Sin, pamphlet penned in M.38 by Cardinal Ignatius Paulinus Hieronymus of Salem Proctor

    - - -

    One of the fascinating sides of the dark future is mankind's spiralling descent into ever more primitive technologies. As knowledge and hardware slowly withers away, increasing amounts of processes which were once the domain of machinery and automation have to be salvaged in patchwork manner by throwing bodies at the problem. Humanity in the dark future has grown a heart of stone, indifferent to the suffering of others, and fanatical to a fault. What crude calculations its intellect can grasp are ones of massive input of flesh and resources.

    Effectivization, improvement and innovation barely ever happens. That was the folly of the Dark Age of Technology, whose glories have long since rusted and faded away.

    Instead of better, mankind does it bigger and with a bitter resolve to carry out the tasks at hand, no matter the costs. Loss of life is the least of the Imperium's concerns. And thus this galaxy-spanning colossus with feet of clay soldiers on, strong in its decay, and determined in its insanity.

    Wonderful arcologies may have deteriorated into hellish hive cities. Scientific understanding may have given way to blinding superstition. And lives of dignity, prosperity and progress may have given way to slavery and brutal misery. Yet the teeming masses of mankind carries on, with the most primal stubbornness and will to survive burning valiantly in its heart, clinging to what little hope remains among the overwhelming darkness.

    This artwork concludes the Descendant Degeneration triad, a tribute to both the enduring immense creativity of Warhammer 40'000 in general, and in particular to Luetin's fantastic way of telling the tales of Mankind in the darkest of futures.


  6. #6
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    The Urge to Purge

    In the grim darkness of the far future, life has become hell, and men are its daemons.

    Enter, the Imperium of Man, last protector of humanity, shield of the innocent and guardian of the faithful.

    Enter, the Imperium of Man, saviour of our species, master of the stars and ruler of all.

    Enter, the Imperium of Man, abode of corruption, heart of cruelty and tyranny without end.

    Scattered traces of the distant Dark Age of Technology hint of long epochs where mankind claimed to have banished savagery and bloodlust from its soul, dedicating itself fully to higher goals of science and colonization. Legends tell of the Men of Gold and their paradisal realm across the galaxy, of wonders erected and of neverending vicious cycles of human nature shackled and brought to heel at long last. Legends tell of peace and plenty, of love and understanding, of hope and freedom undisturbed by ancient evils inherent to the heart of man. Such a fragile state of material perfection could not last, and indeed the dream was shattered by waves of violent upheaval and witch-spawned devastation which plunged mankind into the Age of Strife.

    Thus human nature reasserted itself as the contraptions and conditioning of the Dark Age of Technology fell to ruin, and man slew man, and man abducted woman, and man beat child. Cruelty, suspicion, greed and monomaniac fanaticism crept to the fore of the human mind, and the history of mankind once again proved a demented litany of betrayals and atrocities.

    But one brief glimpse of such mistrust and bloodshed was the fate of House Welenbar, its residential city Hive Iazyge, and its Baronal Army on Decebalus IV in 437.M38. It was but a minor incident in the grand scheme of things, of a kind both typical and commonplace in the Imperium. It all started when the festering paranoia of Elector King Crathyus IX (Imperial Governor of Decebalus IV and head of the ruling House Malkyn) led him to invite and murder a whole score of Welenbar nobles at his Queen's birthday feast.

    Instead of quencing suspected dissent, this treacherous act drove House Welenbar to launch a civil war that wrecked large swathes of Decebalus IV and cost 4 billion Imperial subjects their lives. A whirlwind of shifting alliances with other Houses, popular insurrections and masterful backroom diplomacy saw Elector King Crathyus IX emerge victorious in the end, despite many dreadful moments when the tide of war seemed to have completely turned against the ruling House.

    The triumphant warlord was not one to show magnanimity toward his defeated foes. Instead, the Planetary Defence Force (PDF) of Decebalus IV and the Royal Army of ruling House Malkyn was ordered to purge House Welenbar and all its dependents down to the last extended family member. As five army groups of soldiers entered the surrendered Hive Iazyge (residential city of House Welenbar), a legion of clerks and scribes accompanied them. These bureaucrats scoured the archives of the vanquished House. At first, the teeming masses of House Welenbar were not affected, as the first wave of purging was directed only toward annihilating House Welenbar utterly in the Upper Spire.

    Soon, however, the distrust of the reigning Imperial Governor hit the streets in full force. Divisions fanned out throughout Hive Iazyge, headed by royal administrators carrying long lists of names. A massive purge took place, as officials of all ranks who had served under House Welenbar were dragged out and shot. Servants, artisans, guardsmen and many more who had been in the hire of House Welenbar were all hunted down and killed, as were all the victims' extended families. Clans and districts suspected of harbouring escapees were torched and sacked, and a wild panic gripped much of Hive Iazyge.

    Unknown millions were trampled by fleeing mobs. Unknown millions of people who were not targets of the purge were falsely accused by informers who lusted for vengeance and property. Unknown millions fled into the Underhive or even into the Ashen Wastes, where the bloodsoaked troopers only conducted a half-hearted search due to the lethal environs. A vast murder spree engulfed Hive Iazyge, and the sight of rampaging warriors killing indiscriminately out of sheer bloodlust became an everyday occurence. Flames gutted large sections of the hive city, and still the purges continued for months on end in an orgy of torture, killing and manhunts.

    Elector King Crathyus IX stopped short of killing the entire vast conscript horde of defeated House Welenbar's Baronal Army. Instead the millions of private soldiers were enslaved into Penal Legions and shipped offworld over the coming decade as part of the planet's Imperial Tithe. The large officer corps of the Baronal Army did not escape the hand of Crathyus IX; its untold thousands upon thousands of servicemen were massacred and heaped into shallow mass graves by the PDF's infamous security service, the Sword of Order.

    The Imperial Governor of Decebalus IV feared personal retribution in the form of assassination from anyone who had held loyalty to the fallen House Welenbar, and in his paranoia the Elector King had all such people exterminated down to the last extended family member. In this regard, he succeeded: Elector King Crathyus IX met his destiny half a century later when his Queen and her secret lover poisoned Crathyus' liquour, and no attempt on the Elector King's life was ever undertaken by Welenbar loyalists.

    Thus peace was restored to Decebalus IV by prudent means of Imperial justice, until the cycle of suspicion and betrayal played out anew to the tune of mass death among the populace. Such is the routine of humanity in the Imperium.

  7. #7
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    No Mercy

    The Imperium of Man is characterized by its monstrous cruelty, applied with a demented lack of pity and remorse. Imperial officials, commanders and theocrats are all ruthless in their endeavours to preserve the Emperor's realm. They will crush any foe and dissident, persecute any deviant and malcontent, and burn any heretic and rebel that stand in their way. The Imperial order, with its shining splendour and feet of clay, must be upheld and forwarded at any cost.

    The loss of innocent life mean nothing to the Imperium, for this monolithic regime operate on a titanic scale, where humans are nothing but great numbers in a broken calculation. Decayed and burdened by a bloated bureaucracy though it may be, the rigid order of the Imperium has not outlasted ten millennia of incessant warfare and disasters by failing to rise to the challenge. Indeed the heartless methods of Imperials have time and again turned the tide through total mobilization of resources and a relentless drive to win through no matter the cost, strengthened by a fanatic belief in the God-Emperor on Holy Terra.

    The Imperium, as a rule, grasp cunning and efficiency but poorly, yet like a true colossus it is willing and able to feed the meatgrinder with a massive input of resources and manpower. To improve results, Imperial administrators and commanders does not engage much in the art of fine-honing tactics and processes with a clever eye to detail. Instead, they crudely increase the input and deploy ever larger cohorts and facilities both at the war front and home front. If everything else fail, the Imperium will attempt to slowly drown their enemies in Imperial armies and logistics in wars of attrition.

    The Imperial way in grand matters is one of grinding down resistance and crushing it like a sledgehammer with massive forces employed in brutal assaults and endless bombardment. In small matters, servants of the Emperor tend to carry themselves with the same callous disregard for life and lack of compassion. Harried by service demands from their superiors, lectured on the virtue of being harsh and merciless by their priests, and living their entire lives in hard environments not conducive to kindness, Imperials of all ranks are quick to judge and ruthless in their willingness to damn others.

    To find oneself on the receiving end of Imperial justice or the wrath of Imperial arms, is to face savage cruelty and annihilation. To merely be suspected of heresy and treachery is to invite crushing force, not just upon oneself, but upon one's kith and kin as well. To be in the wrong place at the wrong time is to be swept up and destroyed along with the operation's intended target.

    For the servants of His Divine Majesty have all been taught that the higher will is to kill, and they all know that it is better for a hundred innocents to perish than for one guilty man to escape. In Imperial thinking, to stay one's hand is an act of weakness, and the Imperium does not abide weaklings. To hesitate and grant mercy is to draw punishment upon yourself, so better kill them all and let the God-Emperor sort them out.

    Mercy is for the weak.

    If you want to imagine the condition of our species in the grim darkness of the far future, then imagine a power-armoured boot trampling a human face... forever.

    "Kill! Kill! Kill!"

    - Common Imperial warcry


    - - -

    Tribute to the highly atmospheric video game Warhammer 40'000: Fire Warrior (2003). Strong in its narrative simplicity, this game showcased the dark future of the 41st millenium brilliantly by having the protagonist be a Tau. This optimistic and technologically advanced upstart species contrasted with the dark, regressed, cruel and fanatic Imperium of Man in a fantastic way. The dive into dark horror continued to yet more hellish depths as the Fire Warrior Kais encountered Chaos, an otherworldly force twisted beyond sanity... The atmosphere of Fire Warrior was nigh perfect, supported by good sound effects and evocative music. It also depicted bolter weapons correctly.

    The above drawing is based on a scene from the video game's introduction cutscene. The first encounter with Imperial Space Marines showcased them in all their violence:

    "What of this one, Brother-Sergeant?"

    "No witnesses."

  8. #8
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    Opulence

    "Harken to me, dear congregation! Our Lord on Terra once decreed: 'Let no man hoard wealth for nought but his own gain, for selfishness breed disunity, and disunity will doom mankind. Either we make a stand together, or fall alone with our greed into oblivion.'

    Nay! We must strive for higher goals and sacrifice our possessions just as we sacrifice our sons and daughters. Indeed, just as we sacrifice our very own blood and limbs and life in service to the ever-glorious God-Emperor, hallowed be His rule. To pile riches in a vault for nothing but the benefit of one's own kith and kin is a mortal sin! To hide your earnings and inheritance from tribute and taxes and tithe will see your soul burn in nameless hells! To deny the servants of the Emperor their rightful due will damn you all!

    Last week I harangued the common folk and the paupers for their miserly clinging to coin, their avarice and their shameful envy of their betters. Give up of yours and support the righteous human cause! Yet today I turn to the merchants and nobles and other people of means and privilege, and I say unto you: Your damnation draws nearer, the longer you wallow in false splendour and poisoned decadence. Your damnation draws near. Do you hear me, betters and greaters and masters and mistresses? Your damnation draws near!

    While the armies of the God-Emperor bleed to death and give their life for a higher cause on ten thousand battlefields in defence of us all, you cling to those ill-begotten fortunes as if they where yours to command. Nay! All property belongs to no one but the Master of Mankind, and those who have been chosen by His immortal hand as trustees of His goods and estates must never forget their position of eternal servitude and debt. Never forget that the wealth your hands grasp, is not yours to keep and spend on a whim! Never forget that the wealth your hands grasp is to be given unto His servants to support the war effort and dignification of His realm. Never forget that you will be weighed and found wanting when you stand before His Golden Throne, and the judgement visited upon your soul will be harsh and eternal!

    Lords and ladies of means, give me your ear, or throw your soul into hellfire! You must not only comply with the tax farmer and auditor and give up your appointed due to state and temple, but you must go further and willingly offer up more still of your fortunes for the greater Imperial cause. Pour your wealth into collections and alms and subscriptions for Ecclesiarchal build and repairs! Spend your inheritance on war bonds and letters of indulgence! Donate to funds that support the Imperial Navy, industry and ground arms!

    The Imperium need your serfs and indentured slaves for our mighty bulwark, and it need your offspring for officers to lead the armsmen, and it need your riches to put weapons in the hands of our soldiers. What good can a warrior do without his blade? Never imagine for a moment that you have repaid your debts to His Divine Majesty by paying mandated tax and tithe! Never imagine for a moment that our Glorious Overlord is blind to your wallowing in concubines and harlots and sin! Never imagine for a moment that the God-Emperor on high does not ken your drunken opulence and knifing plots and swinish gluttony and jeering cries as you go on your thrilling peasant-hunts!

    You filth and moneygrubbers clad in pearls and lace! You rutting rats of the spires! You gilded grox herd! The writing is on the wall. Know that you are constantly watched by Him on Terra, and He will determine your everlasting fate sternly when your bodies give up your spirits to the eternal judgement that awaits us all. This mortal coil is nothing but dust and duty, and failure to fulfil your duty will damn you - damn you, I tell you!

    This, o honoured lades and gentlemen of finest pedigree and best of breeeding! This! This torch that I raise to this heretic on the pyre is your miserly soul cast into nameless hells! Behold the flames that scorch flesh! Behold the agony and the punishment! Behold! For this is the afterlife that awaits you all!

    Repent! Repent! Repent or burn!"

    - Sermon on Clans of Means, held in M.40 by Kahin-Sacrorum Maximus Himilco Magonid, of Phazania Proconsularis


    - - -

    Drawing commissioned by storywriter109 on Reddit, depicting an abhuman type called Siren, lavished with luxury and used as a weapon. The above background writing is my own.

  9. #9
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    Hangman

    It is the forty-first millennium. Lately, the Imperium of Man has seen its dominion over the stars be challenged far to the galactic east in Segmentum Ultima. An upstart Xenos species known as the Tau have risen quickly in but few millennia from prehistoric barbarity to undreamed of heights of technological supremacy and scientific mastery. In many ways, the young Tau Empire mirrors the early stages of Humanity's own Dark Age of Technology, with their deep understanding and grasp of the material arts, their strong optimism and drive to expand, and their growing reliance on Abominable Intelligence.

    The Tau Empire is positioned far, far away from Holy Terra, and their Warp travel is still only rudimentary and incapable of long-distance voyages, confined to skimming the surface layers of the Empyrean as opposed to diving deep through the mystic hellscape as Imperial vessels routinely do. By a pure chance of astrogeography, the Tau realm is situated amidst a tight cluster of stars, enabling a rapid regional expansion and colonization even at such an early stage of their Warp-breaking starship development. In short order, the energetic Tau have settled numerous worlds and incorporated a range of sentient species as vassals of the Greater Good.

    Tau cultural subversion and commercial influence in Imperial systems on the Eastern Fringe has grown steadily worse in but a few centuries of contact with Human colonies. For the first time in unknown eons, the hope for a brighter and better future has been sparked among Human worlds, and vast swathes of planetary populations on the Eastern Fringe now look to an Xenos intruder to save them from the crushing tyranny of the Imperium. Resistance movements, underground propaganda cells, Xenophile smuggler rings, passive insurgency groups and terrorist cadres have formed on dozens of Imperial worlds, thereby threatening sacred Terran dominance and importing the goods and ideology of the aggressively expanding Tau Empire to Human colonies.

    Naturally, Imperial response to these brewing rebellions have been brutal, resulting in scenes of mass murder, auto-da-fés of public torture displays, the filling of labour camps with prisoners on starvation rations, and much more besides. For the most part, these stark methods have been counter-productive, since they stand as cruel reminders of what the Imperium has in store for its subjects, thereby rendering the Tau Empire into an all the more appealing alternative for many by contrast. Populations have been split into hostile camps of Imperial loyalists and Tauisers, and brother has turned upon brother while sister detest sister with vehemence. Neighbours have come to shun each other, and teach their children to hate the opposite side, and thus a painful rift of strife and kinslaying has been rent open on worlds sworn to obey the God-Emperor alone.

    During the Third Sphere Expansion in 997-999.M41, Tau forces overran multiple Imperial systems in a brilliant dash of high mobility, combined arms warfare and superior usage of sophisticated technology (especially plasma weaponry and markerlight targeting systems). As the conquering hosts of the Greater Good fought their way across Imperial planets, a mass fury of societal struggle engulfed the beleaguered Human colonies. Loyalists and Xenophiles struck each other without mercy in the towns, cities and even villages, settling old scores in an orgy of arsony, street battles, torture, massacres and outrage. As one side gained the upper hand in a settlement, the victors would muster a haphazardly equipped militia and march on neighbouring settlements, falling upon hostile kinsfolk in a murderous frenzy amidst the full confusion of civil war.

    Bloodlust and hatred gripped the Human populace of many Imperial worlds, and Planetary Defence Forces as well as offworlder Imperial armies shipped in to defend His Divine Majesty's frontier domains executed large numbers of deserters, spies and suspected traitors on the flimsiest of pretexts. Examples were made of shirkers and suspects to strike fear into the hearts of soldiers and keep any doubters in line, and thus a state of terror rattled the Imperial military and civilian society alike.

    While the Human infighting aided Tau conquest of many worlds, the Tau Fire Caste and its commanders in the field did not appreciate the havoc unleashed by these future members of the Greater Good. The ingrained Tau sense of supreme order and harmony was deeply disturbed by such wanton displays of Human mass kinslaying and savagery, and moreover military operations against Imperial defense formations were often disturbed by the unpredictable course of raging civil war. Still, the local interruptions to the short-lived burst of Third Sphere Expansion were usually dealt with quickly by the overwhelming firepower and excellent coordination of forces which the Fire Warriors and Air Caste pilots always strove to bring into combat.

    One of the many harrowing sights which met advancing teams of Fire Warriors in burning Imperial city streets, were the thousands upon thousands of hanged Imperial soldiers, dangling lifeless from street lumens, gargoyles and rafters; hanged with rope, wire and cables. Yet again, the optimistic Tau upstarts were confronted with a glimpse of the sheer unrelenting horror reigning over mortals of the Milky Way galaxy from end to end: For the pious servants of the Divine Emperor on Terra are utterly blind to reason and deaf to mercy.

    And they will stop at nothing to slaughter the alien, the heretic and the traitor. They will spare no one, and they will kill their own kin to keep the rest in line. Such is the ruthlessness that lurks in the heart of our species, a cruelty set to devour the Human soul in an age of terror. In an epoch without compassion. In a time without hope.

    For in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.


    - - -

    Yet another tribute to the highly atmospheric video game Warhammer 40'000: Fire Warrior (2003). Strong in its narrative simplicity, this game showcased the dark future of the 41st millenium brilliantly by having the protagonist be a Tau. This optimistic and technologically advanced upstart species contrasted with the dark, regressed, cruel and fanatic Imperium of Man in a fantastic way. The dive into dark horror continued to yet more hellish depths as the Fire Warrior Kais encountered Chaos, an otherworldly force twisted beyond sanity... The atmosphere of Fire Warrior was nigh perfect, supported by good sound effects and evocative music. And gorgeous voice acting.

  10. #10
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    Peasant-Hunt

    In the grim darkness of the far future, compassion has by and large been purged from man's heart for anyone who isn't close kin. On Shexia, for instance, those too old or injured to toil in the foundries will seek shelter in human waste sinks, in an attempt to elude the Urban Purity Patrols which chase unproductive citizens out into the sewage marches to die. Another widespread phenomenon sprung from this general draining of human mercy and kindness, is that of the customary peasant-hunt. Known by tens of thousands of different names in an uncatalogued babel of dialects and languages throughout the Imperium, the essentials of the peasant-hunt remain much the same across this vast galactic realm of humanity: That of society's betters and nobler people hunting the rabble down in the slums for sport.

    Peasant-hunts are mostly practiced on worlds adorned with hive cities, those overcrowded edifices of human misery and degradation that likewise stand as the primary symbols of human civilization in the Imperium. In these teeming population centres, strangled empathy dies, and death becomes trivial among the endless masses of billions upon billions of bleak shapes. In such urban dens of overpopulation, disease and filth, how can those better off not look down on the desperate and blinkered underclasses with scorn and revulsion?

    On hellish hive worlds such as Necromunda and Ugarit-Alpha, brat gangs and Spyrers alike descend from the upper hive to stalk the bowels of the underhive in gleeful manhunts. Equipped with the best wargear that their affluent clans and noble houses can afford, such men and women of superior breeding will often record their adventurous exploits via live pict-feeds, allowing their equals back home in the upper spires to witness the predatory skills and ruthless strengths of these daring hunters of noble bearing. The pict-feeds naturally also allow those in the palaces to savour the sheer carnage and humiliation visited upon the squabbling rabble down below in the shanty towns.

    Where they are well-known among the larger populace, the various traditions of peasant-hunts are usually taken for granted as an inevitable part of life and noble privilege, and lowly folks pray to the Divine Majesty of Holy Terra to be spared from this lurking terror. Elsewhere, crazy rumours of uphivers blooding themselves in secret on the cowed masses exist, mixed with tall tales of ghosts and elusive monsters stalking the hive levels, ready to snatch the unlucky into the shadows to tear them limb from limb, or flay them alive. The thrill of the peasant-hunt, with its ever-present dangers and challenges of remaining undetected and escaping mob pursuit, is a common ritual of passage among Imperial nobility.

    The most honour can be gained by outwitting and slaying hive gangers and other experienced fighter scum, yet usually few codes of conduct forbid the casual killing of defenseless commoners irregardless of age. Indeed the peasant-hunt is usually seen as a virtuous trait of nobles who care to cull the rat-like numbers of the incessantly breeding dirty masses. The Adeptus Terra never interfer with peasant-hunts (even in situations where the outraged reaction of the lower classes to such predatory noble house activities help build up resentment and pressure toward explosive revolts), deeming them to be martially virtuous practices which prepare nobility and masses alike for combat. Indeed, the successful initiation of upper class youth Lexandro D'Arquebus into the ranks of the Imperial Fists (and subsequent promotions for prowess) was reinforced by his experiences earned at the age of fourteen from hunting peasants in the ruinous depths of Trazior Hive on Necromunda, as part of a brat gang known as the Lordly Phantasms.

    The very concept of the peasant-hunt is so widespread and generally accepted as a fact of life (at least among better parts of society and Imperial servants), that even those who hail from locations without such predatory traditions may find themselves adopting this element of foreign culture when travelling across their world, or indeed across the star-spanning realm of the God-Emperor. Some may partake in a hunt to honour their hosts, and perhaps grease ongoing negotiations by graciously accepting an invitation which they at first found disturbing, but often grew to like. Others still may spontaneously pick up this custom on their own, for a myriad of different reasons.

    One such example of a void-travelling man who began peasant-hunting on his own, was Skitarius Pi-Braine of forgeworld Lemuria. Once, when Pi-Braine descended into the Enginarium sections of the Imperial vessel known as
    the Debt Collector in order to gild a trophy femur bone, he chanced to witness worker gang wars down in the bowels of the ships' reactor areas. Previously needled by worker heckling, this man of action decided on the spot to start hunting the worker gangs as a recreational activity. And so every now and then this loyal servant of the Omnissiah goes down and start to hunt people like a predator, stalking the shadows of the night to teach his lessers the meaning of fear. In this manner did Skitarius Pi-Braine take up a healthy sport, and cleansed some of the rabble among the clans infesting the decks of the Debt Collector, thereby allowing some group rations to rise a little above starvation level by virtue of eliminating superfluous mouths to feed.

    And so the ongoing peasant-hunts across the Imperium of Man stand as a testament of the depraved depths into which the human soul has plunged, in a far future suffocated by despair and darknes. In a civilization that praise law and order as sacred, the most brutal of predations flourish. Thus man hunts man for sport, and all is well in the domains of the God-Emperor of mankind.


    - - -

    Tribute in general to the marvellous character Pi-Braine from the parodic RPG show WarHams, and in particular to his golden minute in episode 4 (16:45-17:45), where this Skitarius' shipboard activities since the latest planetary mission were revealed:

    Quote Originally Posted by WarHams
    OnCallGM: Pi-Braine, what have you been doing with your time?

    SpeakerD: Pi-Braine has gone on a marvellous adventure. He spent the first half of this voyage making the horrible servitors that have been making up servitor daycare for our dearest little man. If doorman is an abomination, it's probably Pi's fault. What else he's been doing is that he's decided he wanted to get that femur bone gold-plated. So he went down to the depths of the manufactorum inner reactor workings of the ship, and ran into some of the worker gangs. And while he was getting his femur gold-plated and metallic, he saw some worker gang wars happening, and so he decided for a recreational activity, he would start hunting them for sport. And so every so often he just decides to go down there and start hunting people like the Predator.

    He went down there and they probably made fun of him and called him weird bone boy. And Pi said "You know what I will do? I will stalk the shadows of the night and teach you fear." And that's what he's been doing for a couple of days.
    The best part is that this bonkers information isn't even a parody on official Warhammer 40'000 background: Peasant hunts have been prevalent ever since the earliest years of the setting, as evident in Ian Watson's crazy novel Space Marine (1993). The reference to Lexandro D'Arquebus stems from this book, while the reference to Shexia's Urban Purity Patrols stem from Matthew Farrer's excellently immersive novel Legacy, the second book of the Shira Calpurnia trilogy (available from Black Library as the Enforcer omnibus). Both works of litterature should be sought out by anyone interested in the background of Warhammer 40'000.

  11. #11
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    Quartering

    In the Imperium of Man, there is no dignity in death for the wicked. The Adeptus Terra well know that for the law to be just, it must be cruel. For the punishment of one man is not only the penalty of that one criminal, but the virtuous act of making an example out of the offender, for the fearsome instruction of the masses and to the benefit of public order. To Imperial thinking, the betterment of humanity can only be achieved through terror. The greater the trauma, the wiser the punishment.

    As such, executions are preferably carried out in public within the Imperium, as are many displays of torture. Since most of mankind's teeming trillions in the far future lead lives rattled by misery, malnourishment, disease, grinding poverty, mind-numbingly monotonous labour and wanton brutality, public executions need to be extremely gruesome in order to scare such blunt masses. Being already inured to hardship and the common sight of death and suffering in their everyday lives, the denizens of Imperial worlds are only ever brought sharply to attention through shows of great cruelty that goes above and beyond what their dampened empathy can handle. The aim of Imperial justice is to rise above what the human cattle's high tolerance thresholds to suffering in others can handle, by a crescendo of showcased pain and death.

    Therefore, it follows that public executions involving flames, acids and hot tongs are all popular forms of punishment, as are callous usage of racks, mutilations and condemantion to beasts of a million different species. Executions that rely upon communal and comradely violence are much praised, for they make the onlookers complicit in the punishment, and fosters a rabid atmosphere prone to pogroms, witch hunts and lynchings of unwanted elements of the population. Just a few example of such communal punishment methods include stoning, military decimation, running the gauntlet, flesh-clawing and the crowd hook frenzy. Some local cultures even encourage acts of cannibalism, as a way to ritually devour and obliterate traces of heresy and impurity in the communal body.

    One of the more explicitly violent forms of public execution found within the Imperium of Man is that of quartering, a widespread kind of punishment favoured in many locations for the sheer bloody spectacle that it provides in order to improve the morals of the masses. Events of quartering will usually involve the gathering of a large number of spectators and displays of pageantry so as to celebrate glorious justice being carried out in a dutifully stern manner, accompanied by speaches and homilies.

    The exact means of quartering vary greatly between different districts, continents and planets. Many such punishments include hanging and drawing before quartering, or scorching with flames, biting of hounds and other forms of torture while the wrongdoer is suspended in the air by being pulled in four directions. Some versions make use of draft animals, or communal teams of people pulling at wires, chains or ropes. Others use tractors, tanks, trucks and similar large vehicles. Still other forms of quartering utilize motorcycles, for a more drawn-out affair than heavier machinery and giant beasts provide. Another advantage to using bikes and dirtcycles consist of the opportunity for agile wheel shows, with one common variant having all four motorcyclists driving around in a circle, while the criminal is stretched taut between them in the middle, spinning in confusion while tendons snap and bones pop out of their sockets.

    Many executioners may assist the tense dismemberment with weapos and industrial tools, while others deem it a better instructive display of warning for others, if the four straining forces are to tear apart the condemned body on their own without external assistance. Occassionally, tradition or spontaneous rousing by preachers on the spot dictates the chanting of litanies of hate and penitence, letting the ears of the condemned be filled by a wroth chorus of damnation during his last moments in life. At other times, Officio Medicae personnel and lay techmen stand ready to salvage the profusely bleeding, limbless torso and head of the punished deviant, in order to convert the still living remains into a servitor, a mind-wiped cyborg that is more tool than man.

    Whatever the exact procedures involved, quartering usually gets the message across to most bystanders: Obey your masters and keep your head down, for the hand of authority is merciless in its pursuit of justice, and maybe next time, you will be the centre of attention during such a punishment by quartering.

    And so fear was revealed to be the greatest teacher, and terror the best guardian of your soul. For if the law is to be just, it must be cruel.

    Thus is the depraved state of humanity in the grim darkness of the far future.


    - - -

    Based on this artwork.

  12. #12
    Chapter Master Little Joe's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

    Ehm, ouch, that looks painful
    my general project thread

    [2020] painted: 3

  13. #13
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

    I bet it is.



    Dragged Screaming and Kicking

    "Arbites! We can tolerate no friction among His subjects. No dissent. No recidivism. Be vigilant!

    These are strained times, restless and confused, yet know that His hand guides you in your sanctioned work. Thus you must trust in your instincts, and let neither hesitation nor doubt hinder you from arresting anyone who you so much as harbour a vague sense of suspicion towards. Be pious and firm in your belief in the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, and all your endeavours shall turn out well. No hesitation. No remorse. Only purge. Sweep the streets clean of malcontents and miscreants!

    As our Divine Majesty's watchmen, you must be unrelenting in the pursuit of your duty. Your duty is to maintain order, to uphold the Lex Imperialis and to crack down with force on any utterances of thought of self, irrespective if they take the form of speech or deed. For along that path lurks anarchy and heresy, and you must catch all who stray. Be strong! Yield not! And always pursue!

    On your patrols you will encounter those among the rabble who would look askance at men and women of authority. You will hear foul whispers behind your back. And you will come across tardy subjects who will shirk away and drag their feet in cooperating and obeying commands from you, always doing as little as they could possibly get away with.

    These are cases of Obstruction of Legal Officers and Irreverence Toward Masters, and must be dealt with brutally! Set an example of one to put the fear of the God-Emperor into the hearts of a hundred. Use power-mauls, shotgun butts and fists, knees and boots to quickly bring the sloth-scum down on the ground. A headbutt will also suffice, for you wear helmets, and they usually don't. Once on the ground, set upon them with violence, and aid your patrol-colleagues in the beating. Bones must break audibly. Bruisings and blood must be visible. Any associates of the uncooperative trash must be dealt with in like manner, until no one among the mob dare challenge your Emperor-given authority!

    Teach them to step up eagerly and assist His arbitrators and judges. These brutes understand little else but might, and so might will be put forward, with the emblems of your office proudly displayed and polished for all to see as you carry out your hard work.

    And once the obstructionist is thoroughly mauled, you bring them back to the precinct. If all flank hooks of your vehicles are already occupied with bagged and bound prisoners, then bind their limbs and drag them screaming and kicking over the streets and roads as you resume your patrol round. Make the knot strong, and their weak-willed flesh will fail before our tools of justice do. The death of an obstructionist before interrogation is of no consequence. These deviants already sealed their fate by their own conduct. The price is theirs to pay.

    You will teach the rabble to fear the thump of our armoured boots. You will teach them to jump to help us out! You will suppress any inclination to arrogance and obstruction, and you will make out of them dutiful servants of the God-Emperor. As are we all!

    For we are His wrath and His judgement, and our deed is His command.

    Let us go forth and cleanse this den of filth and felony, for His will is our shield.

    Let us punish the evil-doer and the offender, for His light is our mace.

    Let us break him who break the law, for His gaze is our badge.

    And fear not the darkness, for we bring His vengeance like a torch in our hands.

    Be without mercy. Be one with hatred. Be always true. Be vigilant.

    Ave Imperator! Move out!"

    - Provost-Commissioner Tarquinius Dzharqunius, speaking in 238.M39 to a patrol shift of the Adeptus Arbites, in the Courthouse Precinct of Hive Hemithea, Aiakos Hive Cluster, on Decebalus IV

  14. #14
    Chapter Master Ragsta's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

    Really like your artworks here, Clansman, and the sharing of this lore. I'm a big fan of Leutin09's content too, he's the only lore channel I actually watch.

    Plenty of food for thought here to influence grimdark modelling projects...
    Ragsta returns to the Imperium
    My original thread, oh for the joys and wealth of youth!! Imperial and Ork starships, random Imperial troops and the developing zombie plague...

    Quote Originally Posted by GomezAddams
    Right I'm going to head off, got cowgirls with massive racks to paint - its a hard life

  15. #15
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

    Thank you most kindly, Ragsta! He's the only lore channel I also watch. And only 40k channel together with the bonkers TTS crews' channels.

    I hope that inspiration result in some neat modelling. Be welcome to share!



    Human Bomb

    In a demented age of darkness and suffering, human depravity is harnessed for total war.

    The sacrifice of the self is a lynchpin in Imperial modes of thinking. To throw yourself upon enemy arms is the act of a virtuous subject of the Emperor on Earth. To offer up limb and life in combat or labour is an honourable deed that makes that life worth having been lived in the first place. To give up yourself and your offspring and kin is a praiseworthy contribution to the cause of the species and its divine lord on Terra. For the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Imperium, and as long as men, women and children are prepared to cast themselves unto death for the God-Emperor, His domains will endure across the stars.

    Great empires are not maintained by timidity, and so the Imperium of Man have long since ceased hesitating over plunging the worst depths of immorality in pursuit of its costly triumphs. Victory must be won at any price, and the survival of mankind as a whole is dependent on its overlords' callous disregard for human life and dignity. Man, after all, is nothing but yet another resource to expend in order to uphold Imperial power. Man on his own is nothing. Man exist to serve: He is nought but a number in a broken calculation of increased input to bolster a decrepit galactic civilization with feet of clay.

    The Human Bombs of the Penal Legions are but one of countless examples of the extreme measures which the Imperium of Man employs on a regular basis. Albeit the practice was originally born out of desperation in half-forgotten millennia of the early Imperium, it has long since solidified into a standard weapon system of the Astra Militarum.

    Among the convicted criminals filling the ranks of the Penal Legions are to be found sinners, whose crimes can never truly be repented in their lifetimes. Those are felons who have violated and tortured others, and are ridden by intense emotions of regret and insane repentance over what they have done. Among these doomed humans, many are psychotic and suicidal, and will often grasp any chance to earn the Emperor's forgiveness through death in battle. Once identified, such men and women of damnation are immediately recruited into the Human Bomb squads, where they can seek redemption for their sins.

    Members of the Adeptus Ministorum will guide these lost souls in meditation and prayer, to make them understand what they must do to receive His full forgiveness. Before battle, lay techmen will equip the Penal Legionnaires with a bomb harness and arm the explosives, while preachers or confessors utter liturgies and blessings. The Human Bombs make the sign of the Aquila, and press triggers of igniters in a grip which only death will cease. Absolution is at hand. Only once the harness is detonated will the soul of the redeemed sinner be forgiven and welcomed to join the side of the God-Emperor in peace.

    And so Imperial Guard commanders will employ suicide bombers in deadly situations on the battlefield, such as to clear the breaches of the foe's fortifications or counteract enemy infantry possessing superior size and armour to lowly Guardsmen. These living explosives are a potent tool in the Imperial arsenal, and have often won the Astra Militarum the element of surprise against hostiles for which such tactics would be unthinkable, such as long-lost human colonists or the naïve Tau upstarts on the Eastern Fringe. Human life is the true currency of the Imperium, and what great difference is there between ordering tens of millions of soldiers to advance into the jaws of certain death with a gun in their hand, and transforming them into Human Bombs? Aren't we all awaiting our chance to sacrifice ourselves for our species and lord? For is not a death that serve the Imperium usefully a benign mercy to repentant sinners?

    It is better to die for the Emperor, than to live for yourself.

    Aside from innumerable improvized solutions, there exist a number of Standard Template Construct (STC) patterns of bomb harnesses. All of these are of crude make and stand as testament to such far-fetched contingency armaments having been originally designed by ancient Abominable Intelligences to aid their human colonists only in the most desperate of circumstances. What once was almost only a theoretical emergency situation back in the Dark Age of Technology, has since become standard fare in the grim darkness of the far future.

    And so the Age of Imperium grinds on, its rusting machinery greased by human sweat and blood. Thus on ten thousand battlefields on distant words, the voice of the damned ring out, eager to redeem their baleful sins and find forgiveness in death. As bombs are locked onto flesh, those voices ring out as one, its battlecry stark and fervent; its message that of the true fanatic; its words the very essence of the future of our species:

    "For the Emperor!"

  16. #16
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    I Who Am Born To Die

    "I who am born to die salute You, Imperator.

    I declare my loyalty to Your dominion and Your glory everlasting.

    I commit my soul to Your forgiveness and Your divine embrace.

    O, God-Emperor on Holy Terra, receive my humble offering upon the altar of war and deem it worthy.

    Deem my death worthy, as my life was not.

    Redemption for my sins, that You all know of, I seek through sacrifice.

    I sacrifice to You alone, for none other than Your Divine Majesty is the rightful saviour and ruler of man.

    O, lord of hosts and leader of the people, have mercy.

    Have mercy upon my soul. I ask of You, have mercy.

    Shelter its fluttering candle light from the stormwinds of damnation.

    Glory unto You, Imperator.

    Carry this small light safely to Your Golden Throne on mythical Earth.

    Glory unto You, Imperator.

    And join this drop of flame to the bright heavenfire of all redeemed mankind, set to outshine the darkness.

    Glory unto You, Imperator.

    To be one with my species in death.

    Power unto You, Imperator.

    To preserve my eternal soul.

    Power unto You, Imperator.

    To save my true essence from the torment of the hells.

    Power unto You, Imperator.

    This I seek, and for this I lay down my life.

    Reign immortal, Imperator.

    This alone I crave, for my life is dust.

    Reign immortal, Imperator.

    This I pledge, or may my soul forever be damned.

    Reign immortal, Imperator.

    Bless my flesh as flames blast it to cinders. Bless my ashes as they fall upon maimed foes. Bless my spirit in its final journey to salvation.

    Only in death is there solace. Only in death is there redemption. Only in death does duty end.

    I die in Your name:

    Ave Imperator!"

    - Death oath of Human Bombs of the MCCCXLVII Penal legion, as recorded by Confessor Albrahimiq d'Iolvertus in 668.M40 prior to the Disaster at the River Moreus on Skutatoi Minoris, which saw the complete annihaltion of the 3 million men in Astra Militarum Systemata-Hostis Percennia (XIX-XXV Armies) under Lord-General Theofilius af Hötzenschlacht

  17. #17
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    Juve Soldier

    In a desperate time of suffering and insanity, age is no excuse to shirk from your duty.

    The harsh rule of the Imperium of Man strive to leave none free of its grasping talons. Even though real control over society is limited on most human worlds, Imperial ambitions are nonetheless total and all-encompassing in scope. Ideally, no subject of the God-Emperor should be left outside the power of their rightful masters. In reality, vast swathes of planetary and voidborne populations alike live their entire lives while barely registering the existence of the Imperium of Man.

    Many such people outside direct Imperial control are too poor, or too rich, or too many, or live in too remote locations for the reach of the Emperor-appointed powers that be. For instance, the innumerable billions, or even trillions of humans dwelling in hellish Underhives across a million worlds, will rarely (if ever) see Imperial officials or soldiers in their short, brutish and nasty lives. Oftentimes, the failure of the Imperium to impose its cruel control over the entire population of planets and voidholms comes down to its screeching inefficiency, rotten bureaucracy, rampant corruption and sheer incompetence. Another age-old limit to the effective power of Imperial organizations are their corpse-like rigidity of order, where individual initiatives, innovations and the bypassing of hierarchies for swifter or better results may result in draconic punishments ranging from death, torture, burning at the stake or lobotimization and transformation into a cyborg thrall known as a Servitor.

    Crude colossus with feet of clay though it may be, the Imperium will nevertheless try to impose total control over those sectors of society that its powers may reach. To live under the heavy hand of Imperial rule is to lead an utterly regimented life of endless indoctrination into a rabidly loyal subject of the Imperium, ever eager to report on deviants and malcontents, ever willing to lynch heretics and mutants, and ever ready to sacrifice yourself for the higher cause. To come to age under Imperial purview is to grow up into a blind fanatic and ritually obsessed practicer of the Cult Imperialis, your mind filled with litanies of hate, psalms of vindiction, mantras of purging, hymns of martyrdom and prayers of penitence. Such is the saturation of Imperial dogma in these juvenile Imperial subjects' lives, that many of them end up monomaniacally incapable of doubting the Imperium for even a second, no matter what atrocities their eyes and ears may bear witness to. Thus are fine subjects to the Emperor moulded at a tender age, and thus is the future of the Imperium secured. Blessed be the children.

    The Imperium of Man harbour no softness in its heart of stone, for weakness is the bane of the whole species. Only the ruthless may attain dominion, and only the cruel may uphold supremacy. The law of power is written into the stars: A hard life breeds hardy people, and all is well when the weak are culled. Thus Imperial authorities approve of the abominable hardships that plague the lives of most humanity, for misery makes people grow up fast, as it were, and desperation is the mother of ability. Many children in the Imperium of Man will learn to survive, fight and kill in their everyday lives, or else succumb to a harsh reality that brooks no pacific timidity.

    Orphans in the Schola Progenium learn to handle weapons long before the age of ten, and the situation is not much different on the streets of hive cities or in the wildlands of tribes. Many Imperial subjects will have slayed someone before they reach adulthood, and almost all will have been regularly beaten bloody by grown-ups and participated in nasty kid fights, some losing eyes, fingers and other body parts in the process. A great many will also join gangs at an early age, for it is better to be in the pack of ravenous predators, than to be ravaged by it.

    When rampant violence is such an inseparable part of the human condition, how could there ever be anything wrong with recruiting adolescents and children into the ranks of militias and more organized militaries? Most cultures on the worlds and voidholms of the Imperium will count its members as adults by the age of fifteen, yet few indeed will have any scruples about arming those they consider children. Many times, Imperials will choose to fill gaps in the ranks of armed forces with properly indoctrinated children, rather than turning to adults from population sections with unreliable schooling in Imperial loyalty. The phenomenon of child soldiers has been a fact of life since time immemorial, and few humans indeed will ever stop and think about it.

    Thus it is that juve soldiers can be found all across the galaxy, serving alongside their elders in a myriad of Astra Militarum regiments, Planetary Defence Forces (PDF), noble House Guards, tribal warbands, authorized street gangs and local militias. Here, the children will reach adulthood and face their rites of passage among the rough warriors, or die trying. Many juves will be fired up with tales of martial exploits and dreams of glory, and will volunteer for service, often lying about their age and pass themselves off as older than they really are. Others will be forcefully inducted into military units, a custom that is particularly common in times of crisis and massive casualties. After all, even a child can fire a lasgun.

    Picking up large weapons and donning boots and uniforms that leave a lot of space for growing in, these often malnourished boys and girls at arms will not seldom march into slaughterfests of dark trauma and gain scars both physical and mental in nature. A glorious death is theirs, and the chance to fulfill their dreams has been given them by the Divine Majesty. Many juve soldiers will be picked out of various Imperial, planetary and voidholms' youth organizations, who all prepare the children and adolescents for arms, combat and the rigours of a soldier's life.

    An endless flora of legends about juve soldiers thrive across the Imperium of Man, telling of gallantry, self-sacrifice, duty and piety in the face of horrors and monstrous foes. Who cannot remember stories of plucky little boys and girls who destroyed great tanks and killed rampaging behemoths against all odds? Who cannot recount tales of brave children in arms throwing themselves bodily before the blasting mouths of enemy guns in order to allow their comrades to cleanse bunkers? Who have not heard of captive juves who died with the Emperor's name on their lips while being torn to shreds under sadistic torture? Rejoice, for the Imperium's youth under arms will uphold these proud traditions and fight for their species and lord! Rejoice, for glory is theirs to win in battle! Rejoice, for a childhood well spent!

    Such are the lives of uncounted billions of juve soldiers serving across the vast expanse of the God-Emperor's sacred domains. Such are the deaths of those who fall fighting for the cause of Holy Terra. Such is the will of the Emperor.

    Truly, mankind is blessed with a fighting spirit that burn brightly from cradle to grave. For parents will not only give up their sons and daughters, but juves will offer themselves willingly to the armies of the Imperium. Is this not a sign of the chosen status of humanity? Is this not proof of the righteousness of our cause? Is this not a banner to rally around? And so the word goes out: The Emperor of mankind want you in arms! For what force in the universe could ever stop the might of man truly united, subservient to the Emperor and flocking to sacrifice himself, no matter his age?

    Thus a grand tragedy of suffering, death and stolen innocence replays itself over and over again as centuries grind on, and the decaying Age of Imperium grows older with yet another millennium, yet another year of mass graves and unheard grief, yet another day of carnage and blood. For the Imperium of Man will baulk at nothing to preserve its overlordship of power and hate, and it will not hesitate to feed the meatgrinder with an ever larger number of soldiers for increased input in a broken calculation. Aye, the survival of the human species itself is at stake, but more pressing matter for its masters is the need to preserve Imperial rule and Imperial strength for their very own sake.

    Forget the shining Knights and proudly painted power armour for a moment. If you want to imagine the reality of war in the Imperium of Man, then imagine children in uniform beside adult soldiers, weapons in hand as they charge into no man's land, letting out a fervent battlecry as a firestorm engulf them: "For the Emperor!"

    Such is the demented state of man, in the darkest of futures. Such is the depravity that awaits our species.

    It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only war.

  18. #18
    Chapter Master Ragsta's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

    Human Bombs and Juve Soldiers, dayum son this really is the 41st millenium. I mean, we have to prepare for the Tyranid swarms somehow right? How else are we going to reach that target of 500% mobilisation?
    Ragsta returns to the Imperium
    My original thread, oh for the joys and wealth of youth!! Imperial and Ork starships, random Imperial troops and the developing zombie plague...

    Quote Originally Posted by GomezAddams
    Right I'm going to head off, got cowgirls with massive racks to paint - its a hard life

  19. #19
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

    Very much so, Ragsta! Words of truth.



    Scorched Juice Thief

    Legends tell of the Terran gods of old who cast lightning unto Earth to hunt humankind for punishment, yet a traitor demigod captured some bolts and gifted ancient man with the knowledge of how to harness that sparkling power to pull his burdens and light the darkness, and ever since that fabled day have electricity coursed through cables crafted by human hands. Most legends also tell of the renegade demigod's horrendous penalty, usually involving an eternity of being shocked through sensitive body parts, nigh unto death in everlasting fits of cramp and agony, for the gods of old are said to have been jealous of their power, and knew boundless hate for anyone wishing to steal their lightning from on high.

    Thus it was that the folklore of disparate human savages during the Unification Wars and the Great Crusade made many tribes recognize the lightning bolts of the variant Imperial Aquila as indicator of the Emperor's god-ordained status as humanity's chosen subjugator, arbitrator and saviour. For truly did the Imperium carry awe-inspiring forces at its disposal, and indeed did its star-sailing arks cast lightning unto anyone who crossed the nascent Imperium of Man. Such raw power and exalted, lethal might could not be denied by anyone but the most foolhardy.

    To this day, many scattered human colonies who have survived in regressed isolation and squalor since the Age of Strife, react to the arrival of Imperial missionaries, explorators and invasion forces with the same awe-struck reverence. The Imperium may not be a good force of philantropic morals to adore, but to most men and women it nevertheless stands as a fearsome edifice of bristling strength and power to which they must submit for the good of all. Indeed the Imperial symbols of the soaring but cruel predatory eagle and the the treasured but deadly lightning bolt represent the essential character of the Emperor's domains since the Imperium's very inception.

    Innumerable human cultures across the Milky Way Galaxy retain some sense of the God-Emperor's connection to lightning in the heavens and electrical power alike, usually held to be a material grant from the benevolent Imperator in His guise as the Omnissiah to unworthy humanity. Thus accidental deaths from electrocution will often be taken as proof of His Divine Majesty's disapproving judgement on wayward sinners.

    Human civilizations have been dependant on the forces of harnessed lightning since the early Age of Terra. Indeed electricity is as essential for higher technological cultures to persist as air to breathe is. On a million worlds and uncounted spacebound habitats, the works of superstitious man run on captive power, and without it he would be nothing but a dirt-bound barbarian left to the mercy of the night.

    Many known STC systems involving the most advanced levels of electronics and electricity are too complex and refined to manufacture and maintain for the populations of most planets and voidholms to experience in everyday life. Instead, utilitarian Imperial society is often stuck with more primitive and robust means of power, preserved among the simpler systems left over from the scattered heritage of the Dark Age of Technology. More advanced electrical hardware of new production is usually only seen in the hands of higher Imperial Adepta, rich noble Houses and a low number of tech-clans with an exceptionally well-preserved grasp of some tech (e.g. Van Saar in Hive Primus on Necromunda), as well as in the hoarding Adeptus Mechanicus.

    Safety is usually a minor concern among electricians and Guilds in the Imperium. By far more important is the safeguarding of one's powerlines from competitors and parasitical scum who would wish to feed off your juice. Electricity theft is a rampant problem all across the more civilized worlds of the Imperium, with an ever-renewing horde of crims and scummers willing to risk their lowly lives by hooking into your grid and harvest your bitterly begotten electricity. Such juice thieves will climb and crawl and cut to get to the sweet voltage inside cables and conduits and power stations, and they live only a knife's edge away from a scorched death at the hands of the lethal current they so lust after. Sin is indeed often its own reward, as innumerable scorched corpses attest to.

    Juice thieves usually only leach off minor power lines, along which Guild personnel, hired gangers and armed techmen regularly patrol to unhook thief lines, pick down burnt power poachers and shoot any leachers on sight. Yet a few daring souls will attempt to tap their illegal lines into the massive juice trunks which feed major hive industries and Guilds directly from the geothermal heat sink at the heart of the hive. This is an exceedingly dangerous endeavour, since mere proximity to a loaded power trunk is enough to kill in an instant, yet even so a few daredevils manage to pull the stunt off. Such treasured leach lines will often feed power into entire settlements and sections in the Underhive, warming and lighting uncounted filthy inbreds down in the nightmarish city depths at the expense of honest Emperor-fearing people uphive.

    One such juice thief was Sinden Kass from the Underhive quake hole settlement of Junktion in Hive Primus of Necromunda. Junktion once led a prosperous existence as a dirty boomtown, taking hefty fees to winch travellers and their wares high up into the lower hive, cutting down travelling times for Underhive expeditions by a great deal for anyone willing to pay up. The magpie known as Sinden Kass was a lamplighter of Junktion, a thief who dared to plug into a massive power trunk which fed the Mercantile Guild counting-houses in the Orlock quarter.

    As a result, all the lights in these Guild chambers started to flicker, which irritated Master Vlitz Thaki, Mercantile Guild Senior Deputy Comptroller of Satrapies for the 81st Subdivision of the Hive City of our all-providing Hive Primus. The workhouses around Master Thaki's counting-houses shone bright enough without such flicker, since they took its electricity from separate lines. Master Thaki gave a brief order to his artificers and techmen to "do something about that, see to it." These techmen first cross-fed some electrical power to stop the lamps flickering, then they backtracked their lines found some Underhiver's bodged cable-tap.

    In response, the adjutant of Master Thaki told one of his captains to retaliate against the filthy scum down there. The captain sent out one of his own subordinates, who took some well-equipped Guild armsmen and rappelled down the Well into Junktion. Their quick and furious raid saw dozens killed indiscriminately. Punitive explosives were planted to sabotage the local water supply (leading to bloody thirst riots and gang war), and then the boomtown fathers were publicly executed in the square of the little settlement. The only small report that made it up the chain of command through the adjutant to Vlitz Thaki, was one of the power line having been fixed without even bothering to mention the raid, and Master Thaki was happy to see his lights working as they should again.

    Thus one lamplighter's juice theft fuelled an inbred boomtown in the Underhive, until the righteous armoured fist of uphive forces crushed the bastards, and restored good lights to the Mercantile Guild. Such events are numerous beyond counting in the hive cities and voidholms of the Imperium, and simply part of the violent routine of drudgery which constitutes life for a majority of Imperial subjects across the galaxy.

    Thus the ancient legends of lightning theft and vicious punishment play out again and again in the everyday life of our species in the grim darkness of the far future.

    Cower in fear of the lightning, and soothe the machine-spirit's wrath. Far has humanity fallen. And far into hell has it gone.


    - - -

    Tribute to Matthew Farrer's excellently immersive grimdark Underhive novel Junktion, whose main protagonist is an electricity thief and lamplighter.

  20. #20
    Chapter Master Karak Norn Clansman's Avatar
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    Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration



    Saw

    In the souls' battle of attrition between good and evil, good may gain the initative and outflank baser morals by shining examples and shaming harangues, yet evil ultimately possesses greater reserves and superior logistics. For the nature of life itself is one of consuming other life; of survival at all costs; of biting into your prey and savouring the taste of your victim while you can, for you too shall perish in this grim world.

    Questions follow of their own accord: What evils are we capable of? What fell deeds may our hands perform? What ruthless plans of action may our minds concoct? And the answers lie close at hand. They are to be found here and now in everyday life, in the endless petty malice children heap upon choice victims, in the lies and deceit of adults, in the dark impulses boiling beneath the surface of humans everywhere. They are to be found in ages past, in a grand parade of cruelties and an orgy of bloodletting, plunder and inflicted misery. But most of all they are to be found in ages yet to come, for man is set to plunge the bottomless depths of his soul, and there he shall descend into hell on earth and remake the world in his diabolical image.

    Behold the grim darkness. Behold the future that awaits our species. Behold the Imperium of Man, the decaying domains of the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, an empire of a million worlds maintained by ceaseless sacrifice, an endless lack of mercy and everlasting hatred. Gaze into the Imperium, and you will bear witness to the baleful excesses festering in the heart of man.

    For in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable, human lives have become a currency to squander in the billions. Here, sweat and blood are shed on a titanic scale in order to uphold the rigid order of the Imperium, in a neverending treadmill of human suffering and drudgery. Here, violence, hardships and starvation are ever-present companions to life. Here, draconic punishments will be arbitrarily visited upon anyone who fails in their duty or steps out of line. Sometimes such retaliation will be carried out with passionless monotony, at other times the penalties will be dealt out with righteous furor. And sometimes the punishment will be executed upon the offender with a poorly concealed sadistic glee.

    To be branded a heretic, malcontent, deviant or infidel in the Imperium, is to face a host of imaginative possibilities. There are the possibilities of instant death at gunpoint, of beheading, lynching, hanging, blinding, maiming, burning,stoning, quartering, flaying and drawn-out torture, or lobomization and slavery as a cyborg thrall or guilt-ridden Arco-Flagellant. Among a myriad of possible punishments are to be found that archaic one of sawing, wherein the wrongdoer is shackled and extended helplessly from a frame, usually hanging upside-down. The executioners will then slowly work through the sinner with a crosscut saw or two-man eviscerator, the sawyers usually chanting, damning the criminal or shouting admonishments to the crowd of onlookers while the teeth of their tool tear through flesh and bone.

    Oftentimes, such executions by sawing will be recorded by vox-units and captured by pict-casters, to be cabled out to public loudspeakers and pict-screens distributed throughout the more decent parts of cities and voidholms. This is done in order to benefit the betterment of the people's wetched souls, as the shrill shrieking in pain and agonized yelling of the sawed one will warn sinful humanity to take heed, resist temptation such as hunger pangs, and blindly obey their superiors without question or tardiness.

    This public butchering of deviants, criminals and heretics will usually be followed by their flawed flesh being burnt upon the pyre, or carted away to be recycled into the foodstuff known as corpse starch. Wild rumours claim that if you saw an Ork in half without burning the remains, two whole Orks will regrow out of the halves. This abominable phenomenon has only been observed in mankind a rare few times with grossly mutated humans tainted by the touch of Chaos, wherefore the mutliated husks of mutants will as a rule be burnt to ashes in order to not contaminate the dull ration bars of the populace. Trust in flames to cleanse corruption and filth.

    And so every day, somewhere in the Imperium of Man, thousands of bystanders view the spectacle of executioners sawing a man, woman or child to death. The crowds view it with their own eyes, listening with their own ears to the noise of suffering and slaughter, as saw teeth rip through fibres and cartilage. They see the suffering and the righteous punishment visited upon the wicked, and they ken the warning. Thus all is well in the sacred star-realm of the Emperor on Earth, for what is happiness but the feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome? Just as the saw of justice overcomes the sinner's flesh and bone.

    Such is the malevolent fate of unknown numbers of deviants and heretics. Such is their fell demise.

    It is the fortyfirst millenium. Humanity has banished remorse from its heart of stone. Truly, the Age of Imperium is an epoch of lives crushed under heel and naked evil at full display. And so the future of our species grinds on, its rusted prison a doomed empire, its bloodstained tormentor man himself.

    Such is the fate of our species. In the darkest of futures. In cruelty unending.

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