The Crimson Falling

The Beginning of the End

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I will continue now what was left incomplete one year ago on this day, 2.872.999 M41. It has taken much effort to bring myself to do this task, but I feel it is imperative the story is told, lest it be forgotten forever.

I regret leaving Knowledge’s table so quickly, thinking there was so much more I could have asked her, thinking that maybe I could have been better prepared had I taken the time to resolve the questions that were so crowding my mind. But I was so short-sighted, and so confident then, that even though I understood the value of the things she knew, I failed to see the opportunity even when it was so obviously present. Instead, we rushed forward, not wanting to miss our chance to confront Rhogan. I don’t think now that there would have been any difference in how long we took; no matter what, we probably would have ended up there, but hindsight makes everything much simpler, doesn’t it?

We continued forward, the darkness of our path reflective of the darkness of our minds, and the darkness of anger so strong within our souls. Just before we reached the cold, steel door that marked the test of Strength, The Emperor generously blessed Mathias with a beautifully crafted power fist, just as he had blessed me with my Nomad before.

When we finally came upon her, I was surprised to see that she was nothing of what one might imagine Strength to look. I suppose I expected someone much like Rhogan himself, the living image of what I thought “strength” should be. Nonetheless, she was incredibly sure of herself, and challenged one of us to duel her. Only Gérard could be equally confident. He accepted her challenge, and as he fell to her sword, we stood, and watched. Deep down, I wanted to intervene, but I was so frozen with the fear of honouring the terms of the duel that I could do nothing. Finally, Arl managed to recall the loyalty we owed our friend, and charged her before she could deal the final, insulting blow.

She had been waiting for this intervention for quite some time, waiting for us to realise she was in no mood for mercy. Her invitation for us to join the fight gave me the contractual freedom I was looking for, and, already angered by what she had done to Gérard, I shot her head from her shoulders without hesitation.

When we left the arena through a glass door, we were struck with wisdom—the wisdom of a lifetime of experience—not just shown to us but lived through us. A terrified little boy made spectator to his mother’s rape, a budding young man forced to kill his younger sister, and a loving husband, incapable of condemning his wife to execution…is it so wrong to feel sorry for a heretic? I would have said “yes” so easily before all of this, but thinking back, I only wondered how one might react when dealt a bad hand.

Then I knew. I knew what it was to be abandoned and dying. I knew the desperation to survive—but more than that, I knew the fervour to be strong once more, to finish the things that needed finishing. I’m sure Rhogan must have felt the same, and as much as I feel obligated to, I cannot blame him for it.

Wisdom made clear many things: Rhogan’s initial desires to eliminate worship of The Emperor, his decades-long planning of project Darius, and his final realisation that it had all spun wildly out of control in the end. It was he who created this mess, and also he who ensured we would have the tools to stop him from creating it again.

A retinue of guards did nothing to stop us, we were so driven to see this end that we hardly noticed them. Forward and forward we pushed, growing ever-surer of the righteousness of our course, of the necessity of it.

And there we stood, in front of a golden door, knowing what lay beyond it, but not knowing what to expect. Entering was as if entering a dream, for there he sat, behind his rich mahogany desk, just as I remembered him, just as I had once longed to see him, just as I then hated to see him. All hope that this was some wonderful, elaborate plan was shattered in that moment. It was so immediately clear by his armour that he expected us to fight, and wanted us to lose.

I don’t know how I managed to keep a clear head. I was so incredibly terrified, knowing the full capability of this man, that all I wanted was to unleash the full fury of both my bolt pistols onto him. But I didn’t. If I had any previous notions of what it meant to be selfless, I lost them in that moment. For the first and only time, I wasn’t fighting for myself. I wasn’t fighting for my friends. I was fighting for people I didn’t even know, that I will never know, that I will never appreciate the company of. And I knew that I was fighting for these people I could never love, I knew it even as I watched Gérard fall, even as I watched Arl fall.

By the time Mathias looked to be struggling, I didn’t think we were going to make it. But I was told otherwise. I was promised redemption. I knew that if I submitted now, and kneeled to him, I might find the opportunity I had been looking for. So I did. I stopped fighting, and kneeled before Rhogan. Mathias did the same, and there we were, he and I, bowed in resignation, our friends bleeding on the ground. We received our promised opportunity, but we did not receive it cheaply.

Rhogan called his psyker in, the subservient wench Veronica from Merov. Then we learned the worst of this entire ordeal: that the very fabric that made us who we were was really no more than an invisible lie. My life—everything since Hazeroth-598 to Faldon Kise, never truly happened. It was all just a story Rhogan decided would make me more interesting. All of our lives were just stories. And she had put them in our minds. She had taken our true lives from us and breathed believability into these stories so that Rhogan could play us as pawns in his game.

I couldn’t let it happen. I couldn’t let her take our memories from us again. Breaking from whatever curse she snared us in, I charged at her with my knife, and let all anger flow through to my hand. Every jab, every slice, every cut, I relished. And when I was absolutely certain she was dead, I looked up, only to find that Rhogan, too, was dead, slain by Mathias’ hand.

We picked up our broken selves, and left, finding ourselves on Faldon Kise, where our lives had once begun, and where they began again.

-Scarlett

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Date: 3.850.998 M41

Audio Log: 2757829-2615M41

Thought of the Day: And lo was the heretic cast into the lake of fire, to burn forever and ever…

++++ Static crackle as recorder starts up++++

Deep and tired sigh

It… It is done. The traitor Rhogan has been slain. After dealing with the old hag, we walked into darkness once again, and after a while a bolted steel door loomed out from the dark. It was at this point when the voices started. Rhogan’s voice started coming from everywhere, trying to justify what he had to do. They were all weak and feeble excuses.

Once the voices stopped, we opened the door into an arena much like the one at Cyprian’s Gate. There was a thin woman there waiting for us. She challenged us to a duel, and declining lest it be some dirty trick like the first old hag, I let Gerard fight her first. He was defeated easily. Upon the verge of his death though, time continually dilated as being spoke to us. Khorne was present as well as what may have been the Emperor… Scarlet and I did not budge though, and we were prepared to sacrifice Gerard for the cause. Arl wasn’t and stepped in to prevent Gerard’s death.

“Strength” admonished us for lacking team work, so we leap upon her like a pack of wolves. Scarlet ended up killing her, and the death seemed to invigorate Gerard… It was at this point, that a glass door opened up, and we heard Rhogan’s voice again. But as it is I learned in the schola “an open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded”. The words of heretics have no place in the thoughts of the righteous and the filth was tuned out. Opening this glass door, everything faded to black, and we found ourselves in a living room. It seemed like we were watching everything through one of the schola’s old pict recorders. In the living room, we saw a woman getting raped by imperial guardsmen. I immediately stepped in, but before anything could be done it faded to black again.

In the next “scene” we were the firing squad for a supposed heretic. The cell kills her. Rhogan does not. The “scene” after that, was that we were told to kill a heretic in another room. It was Theo; knowing him to be a devoted storm trooper, I believed his plea of innocence, and I helped him escape. Rhogan did the same thing with his heretic.

It was at this point…. that I betrayed my own ideals. The next vision we had was all of us, with mortal wounds being offered salvation by the gods of chaos. Gerard chose the coward’s way out, and bit off his own tongue… I wonder now if that was the right choice… Scarlet offered herself to khorne… and as soon as I was alone… I too did the same.

And then all of a sudden, we were back on Penolpass during the daemonic incursion. Time dilated around us again, as we followed tracks, and we sped forward through it. We overhead Darius and Rhogan arguing. He essentially admitted his part of the treachery, and upon hearing this I have never felt more justified in my search for vengeance.

Again the vision faded into black, and we found ourselves in front of an obsidian door. Again Rhogan started talking. He had a regretful tone, and mentioned something about creating a failsafe in us. I did not give credence to his rambling for to understand the heretic is to be the heretic. Opening the door and after a brief skirmish, we finally found ourselves face to face with Rhogan, and battle commenced.

We were no match for him. One by one he broke us, first was Gerard, and then Arl. He dealt me a mortal wound, and in my desperation… I turned to khorne. I do not know what Scarlet pleaded with khorne for as well, but… she yielded just as I did. It was here that that blasted psyker Skivers appeared. Apparently we were to have our minds wiped and our whole histories rewritten… The consequences of such a thing would have been horrifying. It was at this moment though that Khorne intervened and both Scarlet and I struck out against our foes, and destroyed them utterly.

We… we have finally succeeded. As I record this I now depart for Cadia to fight for the Emperor. The arch-enemy gathers his forces, and we all must do our part to stop them.

This is Mathias Thule, signing off. The Emperor Protects.

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