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++ Truth and Justice ++

-A History of the Unification Wars-


-- Chapter 1: Introductions --

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The decision was made.

Delah Shawae, Daughter of Gaia, knew peace with this decision, the calm echoes of her faith soothing her anxieties. Here, in the Living Temple of the Blessed Mother, surrounded by the near-extinct splendor of Terra's long dead bounty, she was unassailable. Untouchable. A small smile turned the corner of her lip, this small moment of serenity easing her heart. With her decision made, her next course of action was simple; thanking Gaia or the life that was breathed into her.

After all, her ashes would return to the Goddess's embrace soon.

Stepping towards the altar, her bare feet softly padding through the blessed and rare green grass planted into the aisle, Delah knelt before a living sculpture of Gaia, twisting cedar and willow branches shaping her gentle facial features, leaves and vines weaving back into flowing hair laced with nearly extinct flowers, adding a soft scent in the air that calmed the heart like no other. Small, genetically-crafted incandescent insects lit the room warmly, while they fluttered gently through a light breeze that cut through the temple, rustling leaves in a symphony sung since Gaia's awakening, a plainsong made by nature itself. Touching the small reflection pool at the feet of the Goddess with a petite henna-tattooed hand, Delah began singing lightly with the wind, a harmonic nonsense of a song that created it's own flow and rhythm, filling the room with the sound of simple joy. Oh, how Man had failed their Mother, how they had ruined her, stole the air from her lungs and the light from her eyes. When the Second Awakening came, though, the Mother would reclaim her children, strike down the vileness of war and technology, and the Earth would flourish once more. Delah sighed softly as she daydreamed of running through a real, living, field of flowers under a brilliant sky of the purest blues and whites, pinned with golden sunlight.

The moment of serenity died with the sound of the chapel door opening wide. Distantly, much screaming could suddenly be heard without the door buffering the sound, the crash of stone and the crackling of Hell unleashed. Slowly, the door closed, an action meant to show respect, only allowing the horror raging outside the temple to pour in for longer, the sound finally dying to the shaking gasp of a hive-city in it's death throes as the oaken door finally shut.

Cinder and smoke blocked the scent of flowers. The electric humming of fully active warplate filled the air with the sound of technology crafted for death. The sound drove the insects away, darkening the room to match the sudden change in mood.

Delah's joy died.

The quiet steps of armoured boots on the creaking wood floor grew louder as he approached, finally kneeling beside her, with grinds and squeals of metal shifting. The giant's breathing was a small, bass note in the background, as he patiently waited for Delah to finish her prayer. Slowly, she pulled her fingertips from the water, watching the ripples reflect from the pool walls, gathering her thoughts as she prepared herself.

“I've made my decision.” Delah's voice was quiet, reserved. She lifted her eyes, and looked upon her visitor.

He was gigantic, his layered warplate giving him even greater size and girth. There was an echo of the Old Night to his wargear, a distant vision of monsters like the Ursh, like the Oxitanians, the Xeric tribes, the Legiones Tontrua. Burning books and lightning bolts were enshrined in silver, gold and black marble, framing flowing inscriptions carved into storm-cloud gray plate scarred with alchemical scoring. The reek of annihilation followed his wake, his armour rich with the scent of hot ash, promethium, and shattered marble. Long strips of vellum hung from a pair of Solar devices hung upon his chest, writings of rationality and Godlessness, with further scrolls hung from his back like a cloak, words ancient and difficult to understand detailing the glory of a secular Humanity. His face, though, was youthful, boyish even. Sandy, unruly brown hair topped curious hazel eyes, freckles dotting his nose and high cheekbones, between the ragged ridges of scars faded and fresh. Those forest green eyes, lined with black circles, so deep in sorrow, so rich in emotion. Any rumour that Delah had heard of the Tyrant of the Himilazia's creating his warriors without souls died when she saw into them.

There was a soul in there. One that was trapped, forced down, and enslaved, Delah realized with a start. She suddenly felt pity for this creature, so broken and confused.

The young titan smiled knowingly, a trace of tiredness in his voice. “I know what you're going to say. Please, rethink your decision, mamzel. It doesn't have to end this way.” Carbon-blackened fingertips lightly touched the tops of her hands, rough with their cast-iron texture. “It is rare when we give time to reflect. Often, such time has passed when my kind arrive. The people of this entire Hab-Sector spoke on your behalf, told us of your missions of mercy and kindness, of your selflessness. This was all that stayed Master Lucan's hand; your reputation. My brothers and I may have a terrible duty, but we are not wanton in our destruction. We save what we can, who we can, to improve all of Mankind. You deserve life, Daughter Delah. You deserve to spread your kindness for the rest of your days. We need people like you in this world, especially as it heals, and I would do much to ensure you could carry on with your acts of mercy and love.”

He took her hands in both of his now, engulfing her tiny fingers with his massive gauntlets. He looked intensely at her, his eyes almost begging. “All you must do is recant. Accept the Truth. Turn away from ignorance, and welcome reason. Deny the lie your faith is, and you can spread life. Please, mamzel. Don't do this.”

She finally returned his sad smile, with one of her own. Tears blurred her vision of this kindly murderer, desecrating her home with his supposed kindness. “I cannot. The Goddess has given me everything, and if only you believe, you could receive her bounty for eternity.”

He shook his head slightly. “Only science and genetics can save the earth and it's people, Daughter. Already, He has begun repairing the human genome, healing thousands of years of nuclear scarring. He is refilling the oceans, and has plans to rebirth much of the lost fauna and flora of ancient times. Given time, after Unification, Terra will live again as it once did, and you could be a part of that. Many of your order already have, and are now aiding geneticists with their work. Not whispers to nothingness, begging for change from a non-existent entity; real action, with real results. You must see the truth of this. You must wake up.”

She turned away, remembering her vision of the field of flowers, of actually seeing her vision alive. The moment of hesitation faded instantly. “No,” she said with a strength returned. Her chosen path was final. Nothing else needed to be said.

The giant gently released her hands with a morose sigh, looking downward to the floor. “Then it's time, Mamzel Delah.” Slowly, the giant stood, towering over her meek frame, clad in it's pain white shift. He offered his hand, which she took with a welcome nod. He didn't let it go as they began walking slowly towards the door, and she was strangely grateful again. She was shaking with fear, and keeping her feet had suddenly become as difficult as taking a calm breath. She glanced at him again, seeing the sorrow writ on his face.

“What is your name?”

He seemed taken aback by that. Delah assumed most people were too busy screaming to ask.

“My name is Noam Mahntag, mamzel.”

She took a deep breath, trying to calm her racing heart, to halt the sick feeling in her gut. Trying, and failing again. Only the core of her everlasting love for Gaia kept her from losing consciousness.

“Will it hurt, Noam?” Her voice broke.

He said nothing for the next few steps, finally speaking as he touched the handle of the door.

“Yes.” He finally said, almost....ashamed.

The door opened, and the peace of the temple was lost forever.

The entire skyline of Urusalim Hive was aflame. The Holy City, the spiritual home of so many of mankind's religions, was dying horribly. Minarets and temples, towers and idols, churches and fanes, all fell to ruin under the masterful destruction wrought by the Imperial Heralds, and were put to the fire. Other giants strode through the ancient plaza, dragging tomes and priests alike to a massive inferno at its center, condemning that which was contaminated by the ignorance of faith to the light of pure fire. The scream of chainaxes barely overrode the scream of an entire society dying in terrible pain. The crash of falling statues and towers shook the ground, the thrashing of a victim near death, undercut by bass tones of further shaped charges bringing down more. Slowly, the plaza fell silent, as Daughter Delah of the Temple of the Blessed Mother strode down the steps to the plaza, to the towering flames of humanity's sins being washed away in the purity of the inferno. All knew of her, all had felt the touch of her kind heart. She had crossed violent religious divides in the entire hab-sector, and had been a champion of the destitute and weak, no matter their creed or faith. Even the gray-clad warriors stood idle suddenly, understanding the gravity of this moment, pausing in their whirlwind of destruction.

They were before the fire now. This close, it reddened her skin, drew sweat from her brow. Her mouth was dry, her eyes wet. Noam's voice was the only thing she could hear, over the sound of the crackling fires and her heart pounding painfully in her chest.

“I beg you, one last time, mamzel. If not for yourself, then think of how many lives you could save by leading from example. These people adore you, and if you could see the wisdom of the Imperial Truth, then they would follow.” Noam's was steady, composed, resolved. The face of a devout child given a terrible burden.

Delah could barely raise her voice to a whisper. “No. I follow the Goddess's light, and I will not turn away.” Noam shut his eyes slowly, and turned his face to the flames. He began lifting her by the back of her neck.

“Noam?” Her voice was wavering, her fear barely held in check. Tears poured down her face. “I don't want to die in pain. Please.”

Noam opened his eyes again. He nodded his understanding sadly, and she smiled weakly.

“Thank you.” She breathed. She closed her eyes, and imagined the flowers.

Noam snapped the priestess's spine, and cast her corpse to the fire.

The entire Hab-Block exploded with the pitiful howls of the broken-hearted, as Noam's brethren began taking the city apart again.

Noam Mahntag, Champion of Heavenfall, Iconoclast, wept as he watched Delah's body blacken.

He wasn't sure why.


A Pictographic History of the Heavenfall Chapter, Iconoclasts, XVII Legion; First Series


Chapter Champion Noam Mahntag


Iconoclast-Delegatus Lucan Ystraid

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Atmospheric and imaginative writing coupled with exploring the Unification era; and fantastic conversion work and posing on the miniatures? Fantastic stuff, Hyænidae.


(and apologies for the inadvertent breaking of posting rules – crimson helm donned!)

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I've been waiting for this since I first saw you mention the Heavenfall Chapter. Needless to say, it's been worth it.


Are you a writer? Because you certainly could be.

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This is probably not the reaction you would expect from me but: Squeeeeeeeeeeee!


Lovely work, both with the fluff & the conversions. I dare say I will probably enjoy this project more than your Iron Warriors. Please don't douse me with phosphex.

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Awesome stuff. One part of me loves the fantastic fluff you created as well as the great models, the rest of me hates it all and anything having to do with the XVII legion.

Ditto, I despise the XVII and their gene-father, but this is fantastic work, very very evocative. I could see the Hive burning in my mind...

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I've have been waiting patiently for you to begin this project. Now that you have, my only thought is what is the best way to include the Heavenfall chapter in the Razing of Madrigal?


Promising stuff mate, I particularly like the pose on the pose on the Delegatus. the posing of his left arm and hand put me in mind of ancient theologians asking lofty questions of the gods, which gives the model the perfect amount of irony.

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Back in the times when there were no pesky primarchs to order stupid things and get stupid dreams, and the Emperor led his Legions himself. The time when I love every single legion, especially the XVIIth, especially your rendition of the Iconoclasts. Your In Memoriam thread inspired me to start my Iron Warriors, this shall serve as a horn of plenty motivation for my Solar Unification forces. Looking forward to BCK's part in this as well. Dusk Raiders it is?

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-- Chapter 2: The Coming of Night's Children --






    The Kingdom of Oxitania, situated south of Franc and west of old Roma, was supposed to have been pacified by the XIV Legion, the Dusk Raiders, along with their handling of the rebel tyrant Havuleq D'agross further to the north, but it posed a particular problem that saw the entire XXI Company wiped out to a man within two weeks.

    That problem was massive amounts of radiation.

    The nuclear wars that ended the Age of Strife had boiled the Atlanica Ocean away, reduced the Meditar Ocean to little more than a small toxic sea, and scoured the much vaunted hills and valleys of Oxitania of their lush foliage, leaving behind a barren wasteland of steep valleys flooded with toxic fog. From the east, great storms from the Meditar would bring downpours of acid rain so strong that it could severely burn the exposed skin of an astartes in a matter of seconds.

    The treacherous footing in the valleys and the acid rain were little hindrance to the XIV Legion, but what ultimately sealed their fate was the havoc that the radiation played with the electrical systems of their armor. Vox systems were all but useless beyond a few dozen meters and constantly screeched and screamed with static, overlapping channels, and distortion from the terrain. Any form of compass, electric or otherwise, would never point true, or would spin endlessly. Worse still was that the radiation prevented any of the alternate sight modes of their power armor from being used as the heat signature of the fog blanked out the thermal vision, and the night vision was occluded by a haze of static and false returns.

    The techno-barbarian forces under King Ylan Gotha, the Zsu-hathar, knew of these weakness to the XIV Legion and attacked only at night with overwhelming numbers in hit-and-run assaults that vanished into the darkness as quickly as they had come. With the eradication of an entire company of Dusk Raiders and little to show for the loss of life, the pleas of their enraged brothers to avenge them fell on sympathetic, but deaf ears, as the announcement came down from on high that no more XIV Legion troops would be sent into those caustic valleys.
    A different kind of astartes was needed for Oxitania.



    Night had come early, along with a heavy bank of acid fog rolling in from the east, forcing Chautaire's tazonne to take shelter earlier than intended. The fog was so dense that it threatened to eat through their treated skinsuits and the minimal exposure already had the prisoner bleeding freely where the acid managed to find its way into the cracks and crevices of his armor, mercilessly attacking exposed flesh.

    If the prisoner was in pain, he remained silent and didn't fight against Tulon or Reviene as they got the large trans-human seated in the rear of the cave. The grey and red of his war plate had faded in the ten days that he had been on the run after the slaughter of his men, but the skull icon on his right shoulder marked him out as a battle champion. King Gotha had ordered live prisoners to be taken for study, and few of these Dusk Raiders would allow that to happen, continuing to fight beyond the point that any mortal, even these new astartes, should have been able to, forcing the Zsu-hathar to kill them. It was a surprise when the last of these so-called Dusk Raiders had surrendered instead of fighting to the death.

    Chautaire set up the field generator himself, not willing to take any chances with one of his men breaking the sensitive and fickle machine this far from true shelter, and once the front of the cave was sealed off by the shimmering gleam of the force field, he activated the powerful scrubber on the unit that would clear the cave of the acid fog in a few short minutes. It made a terrible racket, and the unit sputtered, threatening to fail, but a swift kick to the side of it got it going again. He turned to address the prisoner when the force field crackled behind him, blinking out of existence for a couple of seconds and threatening to short out. When he turned back to the field generator, he could have sworn he felt something brush past him and rounded sharply on the wall to his left, but there was only the rough stone and a small recess cast into shadow by the flickering flame that Asunon was working into a roaring fire.

    "Somethin' scare ye, mate?" the prisoner asked. His voice, nearly destroyed by the caustic atmosphere he had been breathing with inadequate filtration for the last several weeks, was as coarse and gravely as two stones rubbing together. In the process of being captured, his left hand had been severed at the wrist, and his right arm halfway up the forearm to remove his power fist. Thick manacles clamped just above the elbow held the ruin of his arms behind him, though he gave little resistance once he had been captured.  A bullet had shattered the lens of his helmet visor and let in the acid fog, burning out his eyes and blinding him. Fresh blood seeped out of the visor opening, streaking over the dark, dried blood that covered most of the face plate.

    Reviene gave him a solid kick to the side of his helmet. "Silence! You speak only when addressed!"

    The prisoner's whole upper body shook as a deep rumbling laugh clawed its way out of his ravaged throat. "Ye should be scared."

    Tulon drew his armored fist back to repeat the message Reviene had tried to impart, but Chautaire stopped him with a grunt and wave of his hand. The air had finally cleared and the loud fan of the scrubber pump shut off. With groans of relief, the eight men of the tazonne started unbuckling the straps at the backs of their heads to remove their steel facemasks. A soft hiss sounded from each one as the rebreather was disengaged.

    The air still reeked of sulfur and something that had died in the furthest reaches of the cave, but Chautaire was glad to have the mask off, if only for a few hours. "What did you say your name was?"

    Despite being shackled and seated, the prisoner managed to lift his chin and push his chest out. "Severen Erris, champion of th' Twenty-First Company, oathbound in service to Captain Marek Blackwoode, Second Battalion, Dusk Raiders, Fourteenth Legion."

    Chautaire smirked. "Why is that we should be scared? Because more of your brothers have been spotted at our border? That is how you refer to each other, yes?"

    The deep laugh sounded from Severen again, followed by a coughing fit that had more blood leaking from his face plate. "Ye saw their colors then? Blue th' color of deepest night? That's the VIII Legion, an' I don't think many of them even consider themselves brothers, much less other Legions. No, th' Emperor sent proper soldiers in to oust yer king, an' we failed, much as I hate to admit it."

    Chautaire moved closer, crouching in front of the Dusk Raider. "What is so special about this Eighth Legion, eh?" Before the astartes could answer, the field generator crackled loudly as if threatening to fail again. Chautaire shouted at one of the men warming his hands by the fire. "Entoit! Check on that!"

    "Sir," the man grumbled in response. He got up with a heavy sigh and shuffled over to the mouth of the cave.

    Severen settled back against the rear wall of the cave, trying to find a comfortable position for his arms. "Ye gotta understand how the Emperor built our Legions to fully grasp what's at yer doorstep. We're all astartes - better versions of yer techno-monstrosities - but each o' th' Legions has a purpose an' excels in one area. Each Legion is a tool for a specific job, ye see?"

    Reviene laughed darkly and gave the trans-human a kick in the side. "So what was your Fourteenth Legion supposed to be, eh?"

    "We're the bloody right hand of th' Emperor, ye degenerate filth. The rock that th' tide breaks against. Immovable. Unbreakable."

    "But we broke you," Chautaire said. He and his men erupted into harsh, condescending laughter.

    "My company was all that could be spared at th' time," Severen said, apparently unfazed by the taunts. "The rest o' th' Fourteenth is tied up with D'Agross, an' it was mostly yer bad weather that got us. We still killed ye in droves, but I now I know the job will be done."

    Chautaire glanced around at his men and smirked. "So this Eighth Legion will do what you could not?"

    The battered helmet nodded gravely. "Aye. As I was sayin', each Legion is a tool, an' if the Eighth is at yer door, then the Emperor has already written ye off. He sent envoys to offer ye a place at his side an' yer king refused, sendin' 'em back in pieces. He sent us to bring ye to heel, an' we failed him. He tried to open yer eyes, an' ye kept 'em shut tight, refusing t' see what he was an' the glory he'll bring back t' mankind. Well, lads, he's done with ye. The Fourteenth might attack at dusk, but at least ye knew we were comin'. We faced ye, eye-to-eye, in honorable combat. The Eight, they ain't soldiers or warriors; they do th' jobs no other Legion would want t' sully its hands with. The Emperor pulled them from a dark hole in th' earth t' be his exterminators. They care not for honor or glory, an' they'll take ye in th' darkness with a blade at yer throat, if yer lucky. Men, women, children, th' elderly or th' infirm, it makes no difference to 'em. The Eighth is a death sentence."

    "There are no maps of our lands," Chautaire began, ticking off his points with the fingers of his right hand. "No compass will work here. We have hidden pathways all through the valleys that you have no hope of finding. The days are short and the nights are long thanks to the fog and cloud cover, and the nights belong to us."

    The force field made a sizzling sound and a new stench filled the air: the coppery bite of blood, the sharp odor of feces, and burning flesh. "Not anymore," Severen said with a laugh.

    Tulon gasped and pointed toward the front of the cave and Chautaire glanced over his shoulder to see Entoit sitting on the floor, leaning back against the force field with his throat cut from ear to ear. The sizzling sound was from the back of his head being fried from contact with the field. The remaining seven men of the tazonne jumped to their feet, facing the front of the cave and drawing power blades or lifting assault rifles.

    "Impossible," Chautaire whispered in disbelief. If it had been a bullet wound, he might have considered a shot had slipped through the field in one of the brief moments that it shorted out, but someone was inside the cave with them. Until now, he hadn't considered how many hiding spots there could be along the naturally lumpy walls, full of small alcoves and offshoots. There was a soft sound behind him and to his right, like a man running a hand over the stubble on his jaw, then a wet gurgle and the unmistakable thump of a body hitting the stone floor.

    "Reviene!" someone shouted, and started firing wildly towards the back of the cave. The flashes from the weapon left bright spots in Chautaire's vision and the report from the large caliber rounds was deafening. He turned on the man who was firing, saw that it was Tulon, and screamed for him to cease, but he couldn't be heard over the din. Luvo and Alixe joined in with their weapons as panic set in.

    A ricochet spanged off of the layered armored plates on Chautaire's right shoulder, spinning him around and dropping him on his side. There was a small depression in the stone floor nearby, and he crawled into it, seeking as much cover as possible. He saw Cedoin's face erupt in a spray of blood as another ricochet took the man's nose and a large chunk from his cheek and dropped to his knees, holding his face and added his shrieks to the clamor. It was then Chautaire saw a shadow grow arms and detach itself from the wall. It moved impossibly fast, streaking through the middle of the men, leaving spraying blood and more screams in its wake.

    Alixe stopped firing when a dark blade punched through his armpit, angled upward to sever the brachial artery. He staggered backwards, a small waterfall of blood gushing down his side and leg, before falling over into the fire. He screamed and tried to get up, but his arm was dead and he was already beginning to pass out from blood loss. With the flames all but smothered, darkness surged from the crevices and alcoves, giving the silent killer the freedom to finish off the other men in a matter of seconds. Chautaire shuddered in the small depression in the floor, hoping that he had gone unnoticed.

    "Do you yet live, brother?" a soft, flat voice asked.

    The Dusk Raider had also taken what cover he could, falling over onto his side; his power pack scraped against the stone as he sat up. "I do. What took ye so damn long?"

    "I was waiting for you to stop talking." The killer stepped forward into the flickering light that remained of the fire and removed his helmet. He was clad in lighter armor than the Dusk Raider, composed of heavy ballistic cloth with armor plates sheathed in the same material, strategically placed for maximum protection while still allowing for freedom of movement. The skin of his face was chalk white and his entire head was smooth as if no hair had ever touched his skin. He looked straight at Chautaire with hard, empty eyes that appeared black and devoid of pupils in the near-dark. "Should we keep this one alive for information?"

    Severen rumbled his deep laugh again. "Mind if I ask yer name an' rank first?"

    "Eighth Legion, Ninth Company, Recon Squad Alpha. Crimson Sons." Chautaire was struck by how short and slender he was in comparison to the Dusk Raiders, who were half again as tall as a normal man and nearly twice as wide. He seemed to hesitate before speaking again. "Lieutenant Vall."

    "You're Vall? Of the Firstborn?"

    "Yes," he said simply, and gestured at Chautaire with his blade. "My squad found another cave full of the mutilated corpses of your brothers. Dozens of them. Did this one have a part in that slaughter?"

    "He did," Severen said, nodding.

    "Wait, wait-" Chautaire begged, but the newcomer silenced him with a glare.
    "Is he one of these Zsu-hathar?"

    Severen nodded. "Aye."

    "This is what destroyed your company?"

    "Only the last of us," Severen said darkly, trying not to take offense at Vall's tone. "They got another force, big as Thunder Warriors, with energy weapons that cut through our armor like it was nothin'. They call 'em Zho-kren. That's what killed most of us. We inflicted enough casualties to force 'em to retreat, and then these normals were sent in."

    "Rest easy, brother," Vall said. "We shall avenge your fallen." He turned to Chautaire, still cowering on the floor. "You say the night belongs to you, but you are mistaken. We are the Night's Children, and we have come to take it back."

    "He's got information ye'll need," Severen said. "This place is a labyrinth."

    "Yes!" Chautaire cried. "I'll tell you what you want to know! Just don't kill me!"

    Vall pulled a knife from the sheath on his thigh. "The VIII Legion does not bargain. Your information will not buy you any mercy, and that which you offer freely is hardly of concern to me. You will tell me everything I desire to know."

    The acid fog may have taken Severen's eyes, but his ears worked fine. He smiled when the screams began.






++Unknown VIII Legion astartes of IX Company during Oxitania campaign - data of engagement and location lost++

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