Hidden 7 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Raven Daas
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Raven Daas Vylinius of Varathia

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In the heart of the nightmare, Slate bears witness to apocalypse.

So it’s been for thirteen years. Dreams of fire and horror, anchoring him to the past. To his past, and to all others. This nightmare is like all those before it, filled with gnashing maws and broken men, with grim scenes of death and desecration.

But this nightmare is different. He has not seen this before, although he knows what he sees by heart.

Daemons. So many as to be uncountable, swarming over the corpse of a world. They do so as a single, writhing mass, an orgy of ruin. No single daemon can be made out, such is their number. Even their engines of war and dread princes are devoured by the raging whole. They are a tide of seething, rotting taint, sprawling across the planet’s surface like maggots hatching in the husk of a lion.

Slate knows the ground they desecrate. Every son and daughter of the Imperium of Man would. Cadia, once the gate and aegis against the forces of Chaos which pour endlessly from the Eye of Terror. Now it is a grave. For ten-thousand years it stood as the pride of the Imperium. With its fall sent a billion souls and all the Imperial soldiers who fell gloriously in the attempt to defend it.

In orbit above the dead world Slate sees the broken Imperial fleets, and on Cadia itself he sees corpse-cities, populated with nothing but sorrow and the horde of daemons. Something forces the nightmare to hold, to make him watch all the horrors of the Warp seeping forth from the maw of the Great Rift formed with Cadia’s fall, all with a single prize in mind.

Holy Terra. The greatest of all the candles that flicker in the darkness of the sky.

Never since the days of the Horus Heresy have they come so close. Slate can taste their cruel delight, their lust, their rage, their hate. More than anything, he can taste their hunger. Ever-hungry, but not for flesh. Not simply. They hunger for the innocence and peace to be found only in the frail heart of the Imperium. The Ruinous Powers seek satisfaction for their ravenous hunger.

Only Terra shall satisfy them. Only then, when humanity and all reality with it has burned - will their feast end.

For a few moments, at least. And then they will hunger again. Such is the nature of daemons. This he has known for as long as he has had nightmares.

The daemons burn Terra’s name into his mind. Terra. Terra. Terra. Every last daemon hungers for it. Such is their hunger that for a brief moment, they can truly see it, burned into the poison sky of Cadia. Everything points to Terra, somehow. The dying hopes of their victims, and all the fleets of Man. Though they have not tasted the sacred ground of Terra in ten eons, the daemons can still remember the euphoria of feasting on its shores. Endless humanity. Endless satisfaction.

For the servants of Chaos, their feast on Cadia’s corpse continues - but Slate’s nightmare rises away from even them. Past the grotesque, warped hulls of Traitor Cruisers and colossal daemons that gorge on the wreckage of a thousand dead ships. He rises past the horror, until Cadia is just a grim shadow, and the Despoiler’s fleets are but specks of light and dust against space. Even that fades, and then Cadia is but one more star in the void. Its fall seems so distant, so pointless.

In the void between all things, Slate feels the emptiness. The yawning indifference of the universe to its own impending doom. To the stars and the vacuum between them, even the Ruinous Powers are worth no heed.

Slate can see more than the universe can, here in the darkness. Half-remembered lessons from his school years, telling him which candles are what. There is Calixis, steeped in dread from the looming Chaos tide. There is Macragge, where Astartes prepare for the last war. There is Armageddon, at a strange and uneasy peace, as if waiting for the riptides to come and tear the shores apart.

There are so many candles. So many lights, praying that they are not to join Cadia in being snuffed out. Hive worlds of billions upon billions, forge worlds churning out weapons and war machines, agri-worlds growing the food which keeps the Imperium alive. A million candles, in which a quadrillion lives flicker. A quadrillion lives from cradle to grave, of infants crying for breasts to nurse on, children fidgeting as they suffer through school lessons, adults sharing kisses before they go off to work again, elders smiling sadly as they bear the weight of too many memories. In the darkness, they are all beautiful. The good and the ill, the highborn and the wretched. Slate feels the higher power in command of the nightmare, and he can feel its paternal warmth for all those distant lights out in the void.

As if wind blows through the stars, all the candles seem to turn toward Holy Terra at the very heart of the Imperium of Man.

Just as he slid away from Cadia, he slides toward Terra. Past the deepspace listening posts and Inquisitorial blacksites far in Sol’s orbit, past the lazy mining trawlers that creep across the Kuiper Belt, past the Stormtrooper academies on Titan and the noble manors on the Galilean Moons. Past sacred Jupiter, where the loyalist fleets fought their last stand against Horus’ unstoppable armada, and past what was once the Asteroid Belt before it was mined into dust and nothing to feed the Great Crusade. Past Mars, churning with the Mechanicum’s divine industry, and Lagrange stations in Terra’s orbit which house Terra’s vast garrison fleets. And then at last past Luna, weaponized to act as Terra’s last defense if all others should fall.

At last, Slate hovers over Holy Terra itself, looking down on what was once a pale blue world. Blue no longer, not for thirty-five thousand years.

Just as every man and woman in the Imperium would know Cadia, they know Terra. It is the capital of the Imperium of Man, the birthplace of humanity, and the home of the Immortal Emperor. Its smog-choked sky and towering skyscrapers dominate the horizon, with swarms of aircraft jamming into all the space left. Great cathedrals and citadels dot the landscape, as do heroic statues of long-dead heroes and apartment complexes the size of cities.

All of it is a city. The entire world. Its skies are a mouldering brown from pollution, and its surface is a great stain of gray. Carpeted in endless life, the heart and soul of humanity, from the lowliest beggars and mutants to the High Lords of Terra and the Immortal Emperor they all serve.

The entirety of the Administorum could not ever hope to count them all, they are such in number. And for a brief moment, Slate watches them as if omnipotent, in the queer feeling of absolute power. Their humanity is beyond reckoning.

This is the feeling of being the Emperor of Man.

In the very same second as each other, Slate sees two Arbites talking quietly as they patrol a walkway, he watches an aristocratic woman donning her Imperial Navy uniform as her wife watches with sad eyes, and he feels two teenagers as they desperately forget their lives in grimy bed.

These and a thousand others things he bears witness to. Children playing with a dog, a beggar dying of pox, a Tech-Priest overwhelmed by the Baneblade she tries to link to, a Custodes cracking the briefest of smiles beneath his helm as he watches a scribe fumble with his dataSlate.

He rises above the Imperial Palace itself, sprawling across the Himalayas in a vast, continent-sized complex in which a second Terra writhes. It writhes as Cadia does, filled with so many doing so much all at once, no matter the hour of the day. Even now, hours past dusk, armies of slaves, servants, soldiers, scribes, mechanics, tech-priests, and household agents thong back and forth across the sweeping complexes. There are a thousand cities within the Imperial Palace, in which a billion souls live in service of the Emperor and His Imperium.

There is no more glorious place in the universe. No greater testament to humanity, both her brilliance and her endurance. The Imperial Palace is the same as it has been for ten-thousand years, ever since the Warmaster’s armies were driven from Terra by the firm might of the Imperium.

Scars of that battle linger. Entire mountains rotting from Nurglite munitions, and a dead husk of a city-complex which five-hundred generations of priests and psykers have tried scour of its Tzeenzchi taint and failed. Even with them, with faint patches of radiation and shadow-burns on the walls, the Imperial Palace is a beautiful, glorious place of spires, citadels, and manors. It is divided into sections, each smaller and greater than the last, dedicated to ever more all-consuming matters of state and politics. In that, Slate can see the true weight of Imperial priorities by which ministries are allowed to be closest to the Emperor’s Golden Throne.

Not the Ecclesiarchy. Not the High Lords, nor the Astartes, nor the Astra Telepathica, or either great branch of the Imperial military. Not the Inquisition, not the Mechanicum, not the aristocracy, and not even the Adeptus Custodes who see to the Emperor Himself.

No, it’s the Administratorum whose vast bureaucratic complexes are allowed to stand in the shadow of the Imperial Throne Room itself. The Administratorum - most despised and most vital of all Imperial branches, without which no other organ of the great state could function. The High Lords seethe daily at the slight of knowing that browbeaten bureaucrats work closer to the Emperor’s glory than they do. Everyone else comforts themselves by laughing at the High Lords’ indignance.

Slate’s eyes fall upon a tower halfway up the Imperial Palace’s great length. A silver spire, meant for scions of the highest families in the Imperium. A hundred and eighty-nine stories up, one of the billion-throne penthouses looks newer than all the rest, because seven years ago Slate placed a cursed ion-phosphorus thermal charge in the Aeldari silk bed that detonated just as Duke Durwall climaxed inside his mistress. It burned them both alive - and took out three levels of the tower.

Replaced. In days, all replaced. The steel, the glass, the foundation, the bed, the duke, and the mistress. Even a royal is just dust.

Only one matters. Only one cannot be replaced. All roads lead to Him, all hearts pray for Him, and all daemons hunger for Him. For His light, reaching out across the stars from Terra all the way to the Great Rift, where even His light cannot go.

For five years, Slate hasn’t seen the Emperor’s light. Now, slowly, he slides toward its source. Past the final gates guarded by the eternal Adeptus Custodes, past the most sacred and dedicated Imperial servants and the all-powerful clique of nobles, officers, clergy, and capitalists who have been the true power in Terra for ten millennia.

Not one of these men were in power five years ago. All the men of that last clique are dead now, one of them by Slate’s own hand. In five years, all these strutting, proud little men will be dead too. Such is the way of the Imperial Palace, in the Emperor’s own shadow.

Slate passes where even they cannot go. Where no one can go but the Custodes and the most honored souls of a given age. No virgin eyes have seen the things that Slate now sees in months, or even years. Dusted, rotting glory everywhere. In the Custodes, in the tangled gardens, in the crumbling pillars and drained fountains. It’s a far cry from the immaculate world outside. Here, the true Empire is seen. The palace itself is at war with entropy and the slow decay of all things.

Rarely has Slate seen things as beautiful as this place. Towering golden halls, and flowing seas of marble cracked open by weeds and moss. Adeptus Custodes painted the color of autumn and dying fire, the paint chipping off their eons-old armor. Statues of great heroes in the Imperium, now unrecognizable both in their brass visages and in history. There have been too many great heroes to count, and even in the spare few rooms that Slate sees, there are hundreds. They all stand facing outward with the chosen weapons of their lives, as if guarding their beloved Emperor even in death. Rumors say that they will, when the final hour finally comes.

Slate’s final hour is here. It is the final great doors, and the most trusted guardians of the Emperor who have stood at this post since the Horus Heresy took their all-father from them. When they are gone, there is no one left between Slate and Him.

There is nowhere to look in the Throne Room but up - to the God-Emperor of Mankind. As he does, his omnipotence slips away and he is but a bare mortal before the greatest Man to ever live.

For a moment of confusion and horror, the God-Emperor looks dead. A withered husk of a god, dead long ago of the mortal wound He’d sustained in single combat with the Warmaster Horus. Gray and broken, destroyed by ten-thousand years of toil and pain.

It almost seems the purpose of the vision. A vision of the inevitable apocalypse at hand, now that the God-Emperor of Mankind is dead. As if that is why Slate hasn’t seen His light for five years - because there is no light left.

Except that before Slate can even begin to truly grasp the terror that begins to build, the Emperor’s eyes open.

They alone have life. True life, power and command so beyond the rest of the emaciated Emperor that it would be comical if it weren’t simply a relief to see.

There is no one else to see this miracle. This is a vision for Slate alone.

The Emperor does not speak, but He does not need to. The world around Slate speaks the Emperor’s command, shaking with the sheer force of his will. Such is the power of the command, in fact, that the entire Imperial Palace suffers a tremor of low-magnitude earthquakes with every syllable. Braziers flicker, iron moorings threaten to shake loose. The untrodden dust on the floor like fresh snow cracks apart, showing the ancient stone below.

‘Go.’

Two more words follow inside Slate’s head, and then they repeat again and again. Not a man, not even in his head. This is the yawning of an ancient thing beyond physical form and comprehension. Like a forest or a fire itself having a voice.

Or an entire Imperium.

‘Find him.’

The Throne Room fades until all that is left is the Emperor’s burning eyes and his overpowering will. Unconsciously, Slate feels the urge to turn around, and does so to face a man staring into space. A boy, really, with copper skin and a haunted face. He looks like Slate did all those years ago, crawling through a daemon-haunted hulk. Ragged, with a cracked upper lip and a week’s grime on his skin. There are markings on him that are neither Gothic nor daemonic, markings he makes no move to hide.

‘Find him. Find him. Find him.’

The boy trembles with awful power. A psyker, but stronger than any that Slate has ever seen in his time in the Inquisition. It’s not impressive so much as terrifying. A boy of such power could - no, would - allow for a wound in realspace, and an invasion of horrors with it. Slate has seen awful devastation wrought from psykers with a tenth of the power he feels burning from the boy.

In his mind flashes first the vision of daemons swarming Cadia, and then the glittering world-city of Holy Terra.

Such a powerful psyker, already marked by dark things - there is only one answer for such a danger.

‘Find him. Find him. Find him.’

With the lazy grace of a predator, the boy’s eyes flick over to Slate, flashing his pupilless eyes.

And Slate can see realization, too.

The boy notices him, breaking through the barrier of the nightmare. Baleful black eyes smolder with hate and wrath the likes of which Slate knows only from daemons and traitors. Sparks tear from the boy’s eyes, from beneath his fingernails, making his grimy clothes smoke and singe. Heat covers Slate, an oppressive wall of it, as hateful to the boy as it is. Such is the boy’s untempered prowess that his hair burns, his skin turns red, all unprotected from his searing rage.

Slate feels the sudden pierce of fire, and he’s forced from his dream - or nightmare - screaming in pain, agony shooting through his dominant arm.

On the inside of it has been etched something he does not recognize. A pattern in runes, but neither in Gothic nor any daemon tongue he’d ever seen. More than that, they shift languidly, etching new pain into him in an equally slow manner. It’s a misery. One that will be heard to learn.

When his fingers touch the runes, he feels the boy. Out in the dark, past the great ink and into somewhere unknown. The command comes again. Again and again.

‘Find him. Find him. Find him.’

It is the Emperor’s command. The Emperor’s will, undoubtedly. It echoes in his mind, and it sears into his skin, a reminder evermore of his purpose. Though there is no answer to where, how, or why, the goal is simple. And his duty is simple. Undeniable. And if there is anything to his oath as an Explicator of the Emperor’s Inquisition, then it is to follow that duty to the bitter end.

Something rattles in the far side of the room.

Room? Of course. His chambers on the Dragonslayer.

It feels strange to be awake. Alive. In a single body, with a single set of sensory organs. Suddenly everything is cramped and small, even his emotions.

Though the door should only open for Slate himself, Lord-Inquisitor Avon Ryman has breached its lock and now sits drinking a plain bottled beer like a common Guardsman. The rattle was his cap, which he let clatter to the floor.

“Tastes like Ork piss.” He says, approvingly. “Reminds me of old times.”

It’s not the only thing that reminds them both of old times. They’ve been through his before, twice. Though never with Ryman’s charged railpistol splayed out on the table, ready to cut Slate down if need be. That’s new.

No one ever survives a shot from that gun if Ryman doesn’t want them to. And there’s a dark gleam in his eyes right now, the one he gets when he’s considering killing something he doesn’t much care to kill.

“Bolt-magnet tells me you were having bad dreams.” Ryman says, nodding to his chained psyker sitting across the table mumbling to himself, looking distant even with the threat of death hanging in the air. “That’s some strange new ink you have, Explicator.”

He nods at Slate’s flowing, changing arm. Looking like a work of daemon-magic. The sort that Ryman has only one cure for.

The Lord-Inquisitor takes out his lethal railpistol and aims it squarely at Slate’s head. “Tell me about those dreams, Slate.”

1x Thank Thank
Hidden 7 mos ago Post by BangoSkank
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BangoSkank Halfway Intriguing Halfling

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I don't know a whole lot about 40K and I tend to write as lower powered characters rather than Space Marines, but goddam.

I hope you keep writing. That was good. That was great.

Encore.
Hidden 7 mos ago Post by Raven Daas
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Raven Daas Vylinius of Varathia

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@BangoSkank

You're a darling. Thank you kindly.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Raven Daas
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Raven Daas Vylinius of Varathia

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Significantly edited.
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Steel Legion
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Steel Legion Important plot character

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Ok im interested. Ive never done a 1x1 before. Im attracted to the lore-building and character-building aspects of this game. With regards to GMing what are your expectations? Are we co-GMing or what? I would be comfortable with a situation of "villain of the week" where we take turns playing the opposition, obviously, recurring villains are likely.

On a note of my noobishness to writing, id be much happier if we were a group of 3 people. Ive found 3 to be the perfect number for creativity and you can add atleast 2 co-GMs on this platform.

I also tend to write somewhat rough-around-the-edges characters. If you arnt prepared to laugh at yourself, to argue, to duel then let me know now. I cant stand prima-donna characters that arnt ready to be told they're wrong about something. We're human, we're all wrong sometimes and ive found an entertaining duel* is the best way to resolve that in RPGs. *the duel is not to the death.

When it comes to lore im not a lawyer and never let a fact get in the way of a good story. Especially since 40k lore can sometimes be contradictory. Beyond that ive been in 40k on and off virtually my entire life. Played the 40kRPGs, GMed etc. I always liked generating regiments and characters using the rules, thats what i enjoy about my games, basically like a civilization builder.

So, this is my application to join :)
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Raven Daas
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Raven Daas Vylinius of Varathia

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@Steel Legion

No thank you.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Raven Daas
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Raven Daas Vylinius of Varathia

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Bump.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Raven Daas
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Raven Daas Vylinius of Varathia

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