Into the Heart of Darkness



The days following the order to retreat from the Prasada came from Captain Elarim was some of the most eventful and strenuous days during my entire time with the III Legion. The Godless Faith was one of the last ships to leave Katch, and now housed not only the surviving members of the 3rd Company, but also members of the XIV and XX Legions. Of the mysterious Alpha Legion I only saw small glimpses, their warriors keeping to their designated chambers, from which they did not leave until we had rendezvoused with the Omegon II and the rest of the Alpha Legion fleet. The members of the XIV however, spent much time together with the Emperor’s Children in the days following the Storm; their shared experiences during this first part of the taming had formed into a strong brotherhood between the legions.

No other situation exemplified this newfound fraternity as an event that happened just as we left orbit around Katch. As the guns of the forward batteries of the Godless Faith spat its vengeance on the remaining defenders of the Prasada I was in the hangar bay waiting for the last Thunderhawks to return. The hangar was filled with bondsmen close to despair from the news, and even the Adeptus Astartes seemed visibly shaken. The last two Thunderhawks that arrived bore the heraldry of the III and XIV legions, though both had taken such a beating that it was hard to see which belonged to which. The leftmost opened first, revealing Sergeant Tarquin of the Sons of Biryllia leading his men down the ramp. His armour was completely covered in blood and viscera, though he himself seemed unwounded. That could not be said about the rest of his squad, as only his second Latianus as well as brothers Loquin and Kryhliq were standing on their own. I noticed apothecary Elagabalus rushing up the ramp to help the wounded, trailed by a flock of servitor orderlies.

My attention was turned elsewhere, however, as a Death Guard clad in hulking Tartaros plate had reached sergeant Tarquin and was holding out his hand in greeting to the taciturn Biryllian. I later learned that this was sergeant Davith Lamech of the Death Guard’s “2nd Line Squad”, a squad that had earned much glory during the first year of the Taming of Ouroboros for their destruction of several war machines of the dread house Mortkin.

It took a few moments before sergeant Tarquin replied, seemingly lost in his own thoughts, before he too took of his helmet and grasped the other man’s arm in a warrior’s grip. “I am Tarquin, Sergeant of the 4th Tactical Squad, 3rd Company, 29th Millennial of the Emperor’s Children. The honour is all ours, Death Guard, for the skills and courage of your men must have surely saved the lives of many of my brothers. We will always remember your sacrifice on Smirna, and I am proud to call you my Brother!”

Following this exchange, the other members of the Sons also gripped the hands of Sergeant Lamech and his men, and thus was a friendship and bond that lasted throughout the entire Taming and beyond.

From the book The Song of the Akritai, or The Journey to Perfection by Cecilia von Dracken, Remembrancer and Historian attached to the 29th Millennial. The work is censured for obliteration by the order of –REDACTED-.



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