I do not own the Warhammer 40000 universe nor any of its characters. They belong to Games Workshop.


Hundreds, thousands of warships fought in the skies of Cadia.

The Thirteenth Black Crusade raged, and the world that had held the hordes of the Despoiler at bay for thousands of years stood on the verge of ruin. From the Eye of Terror, Abaddon, who had once been First Captain to Horus Lupercal but was now Warmaster of Chaos and greatest of the Dark Gods champions – as well as the one soul they desired most for their own – had emerged, leading the greatest coalition of Traitor Legions, renegades and heretics the galaxy had seen since the days of the Heresy.

The last fortresses of Cadia struggled against the unceasing onslaught of the Despoiler's forces, millions of Guardsmen bravely holding the line against impossible odds, supported by the scattered survivors of the Space Marine Chapters who had come to their aid. Strange miracles occurred, as a Living Saint returned to life and an antediluvian xenos abomination briefly made common cause with the heroes of Humanity. Not even Abaddon could deny their courage and valor, and the fury of the Warmaster grew, until he decided he had had enough.

At the Despoiler's command, the Blackstone Fortress Will of Eternity was hurled at the planet, sundering it and bringing to ruin the fortress-world that had stood vigil at the gate of Hell for thousands of years. The Cadian Pylons, ancient mechanisms that had held the Eye of Terror in check since its formation at the Fall of the Aeldari Empire, were obliterated.

In that moment, the last part of a millennia-spanning scheme by the Warmaster was completed. Throughout the Long War, Abaddon had targeted those worlds where, unbeknownst to the Imperium, more of these ancient pylons had stood, reinforcing the barrier between Materium and Immaterium. For all of the Warmaster's refusal to kneel to the Chaos Gods, Abaddon still sought to make use of its power to fulfill his own ambition.

The ancient network, whose construction none living or unliving now remembered, snapped under the strain, and the galaxy burned. The Cicatrix Maledictum opened, tearing the Milky Way in two, while uncounted Warp Storms raged, swallowing systems whole and spitting out all manners of horrors to plague the now isolated worlds of the Imperium.

It was the death knell of an Age, and the herald of a new one beginning, one that would leave the galaxy a much different place. The wheel of History, which had seemingly calcified into a stasis of unending, bloody warfare where nothing was achieved finally began to turn once more. In the years to come, epochal events would shake the stars, many forces attempting to shape them to their advantage.

But in the fury of Cadia's death throes, hidden in the shadows of History, a long awaited reunion was about to take place.

Only a handful of ships managed to flee from Cadia as it died, and though they bore the hope of the Imperium within their holds, they couldn't save all the heroes who had remained on the planet. Even as the ships of the Black Legion lit up their engines in pursuit, there were still battles being waged on the broken world, as small pockets of Imperial resistance fought the hordes of daemons and the Lost and the Damned who had been abandoned.

What few aircraft still flew in Cadia's burning atmosphere were either speeding for the void as fast as they could or trying to recover some of the planetside assets that any of the lords in orbit had deemed worth the attempt to salvage. Only one carried a handful of warriors down to the broken world, descending toward a ruined Kasr where the survivors of a dozen Regiments had banded together to make a last stand against the daemonic hordes surging from the cracks of the dying planet in an unending tide.

Yet when the Thunderhawk managed to land on what had once been a mustering plaza, the sounds of battle had ended, and an ominous silence hung over the Kasr, broken only by the dying sounds of Cadia.

Four figures in black and gold power armor emerged from the Thunderhawk, each bearing the emblem of the Black Legion on their paldron. They walked through the ruined city, the daemons that lurked within its shadows keeping clear of them, for each of the four was mighty in the eyes of the Pantheon, and more than capable of dealing with the scavengers of the Warp who had come to feed upon the death of Cadia.

The four reached the Imperial Cathedral where the last of the defenders had made their last stand. Like the rest of the city, it laid in ruins, and the corpses of its fallen defenders were scattered around in gory pieces. Some of their uniforms were still recognizable : Cadian Shock Troopers, Jouran Dragoons, Mordian Iron Guards … all were united in death, their bodies torn apart and their blood painted on the broken Gothic architecture.

And there, waiting for them at the center of the desecrated holy grounds, stood their quarry.

It – he – was tall, almost five meters high despite being hunched down. Black armor parted to reveal corpse-pale flesh, and a pair of bat-like wings of the same hue stretched from his back. Spiked golden chains marked with daemonic runes circled around his torso and limbs, glowing with power but not restricting his movement – at least not in the material plane. His feet were hooves wreathed in Warp-fire that left smouldering tracks, and his arms ended in long, vicious claws. His face was a mask of horrors that constantly shifted, save for the two blazing eyes with shone with an eldritch radiance that gave off no warmth.

"My lord Arken," greeted Asim, kneeling before the Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided.

"Asim," growled the Awakened One, tossing aside the torso of an Imperial Commissar he had been chewing on. His burning gaze passed over each of the Black Legionnaires in turn. Inside their armor, they shivered as he spoke their name, feeling their very soul quake as ancient bonds of command were reignited. "Mahlone. Ygdal. Orpheus. And … Carthago." His gaze paused somewhere over Asim's shoulder, where the air briefly rippled, revealing the translucent form of the xenos psyker's shade. "You still endure, after all this time."

"Yes, lord," replied Mahlone, bowing. "And so does our brother Morkoth. He is aboard the Blade of Terror, waiting for us in the void. We have a few of the old Forsaken Sons there too, though as you can see," he tapped the Eye of Horus on his paldron, "we have joined up with Warmaster Abaddon."

The Daemon Prince grunted something that could be interpreted as acceptance.

"Times change," he said. "I expected as much. Do any more of my Chosen yet live ?"

"Dekaros is still alive," answered Ygdal, "though it's been decades since we last saw him in person."

"Where is he ? Where is the Lord of Shadows ?"

"Last I heard, he was somewhere in Segmentum Pacificus, lord. Things there are … complicated."

"I shall call him to me, then. We must return to Azarok, brothers. The Anchor of Vaul has returned to reality once more, shaken from its hiding place by the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum."

"That's … going to be difficult, Lord," pointed out Mahlone. "The situation is still evolving, but when we came down here it seemed Azarok was on the other side of the Rift."

"We shall sail directly through the Rift itself, Mahlone," replied Arken, his face briefly contorting into something like a smile. "All of the realms-in-between are connected through it now. I will guide us across its burning tides, to the Wailing Storm. The Lamentation awaits us there, as do the descendants of our old allies. I shall remind them of the pacts their ancestors swore, and from them we shall gather a new army."

"The Warmaster has his own plans for the Black Legion, lord," said Orpheus with a smile. "He might … disapprove of you taking assets away from his campaign.

"Abaddon knows that he cannot hold all of the forces here now that the Gate has fallen. Dispersal is inevitable, and he will have planned for it. Besides, we'll still be fulfilling his command … only nine thousand years late. His Black Crusade can do without one single ship, I think."

Whatever they thought of this, none of the four Chaos Marines argued the point.

"Azarok has forgotten us, but we'll remind the Imperials of the terror we once inflicted upon them," continued the Daemon Prince. "The Path to Nightmares is shut, so we'll need to find another way to the Anchor. To that end, something waits for us on Achillus, born of the discarded and forgotten seeds of the Unfettered's experiments. It will guide us to our destination. And in the Anchor itself, our old friend Merchurion still endures."

"He's still alive ?!" blurted out Mahlone.

"Yes. Now that the Anchor has returned to reality, I can feel his soulfire. Somehow, I do not know how, he has managed to survive the Anchor's temporal displacement. His knowledge will be of great use to us when we break the Anchor and free the Nightmare Fleet."

"So you still intend to pursue that scheme, then ?" Mahlone asked for the sake of clarity.

"Yes. This is our Age, brothers. The might of the False Emperor has been broken, His empire of lies sundered. The hour of the Legions has come at last, and the Dark Gods have freed me from my servitude. I intend to finish what I began so long ago."

Arken threw his head up, looking at the Warp-torn skies.

"The Imperium burns, but it is not dead yet. And I want to hear it scream my name before the end !"

AN : Here we are at last. Over seven years after I started writing this story, it is finally complete. I did rush the writing of the ending, because, well, I am a bit tired of this story, honestly, and I want to be able to think of happier things when I go celebrate the Holidays with my family in a few hours.

Looking back, there are a lot of things I wish I had done differently, but then, the purpose of writing this (apart from "I want to read more Chaos Marines stories") was to gain experience. The main bit of advice I would get from it and give to any fellow aspiring writers would be : "keep a list of all your characters with a description of what they look like/what their equipment is for quick reference".

Now that this story is complete, I plan to spend some time writing A Blade Recast, since it hasn't been updated since September and it is my most popular story. I will have to finish Prince of the Eye at some point as well, even if I'm aware it's the least read of my works - I just don't want to leave any of my stories permanently hanging.

Considering how this story ends, I might write a sequel one day, set in the 42nd Millennium. After all, we know very little of what is happening in Imperium Nihilus : for all we know, there is a fleet of Dark Age daemonships released from stasis by a Daemon Prince of the Black Legion rampaging around.

Thank you all for reading this far, and I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I have several ideas for my next story, which will be much, much shorter than this one. Below this AN is a list of these ideas, most of which are of a very different tone than this one was. When you tell me what you thought of this story's ending, please also tell me what you think of these ideas, and which is your favorite.

Return of the Blood Rose

Genre : Adventure, Horror

In the darkness of the 42nd Millennium, the ancient warship Conqueror, once flagship of the Twelfth Legion, returns into the galaxy, released by Khorne from the endless slaughter of the Realms of Chaos. On its bridge, having witnessed horrors beyond mortal reckoning, Flag-Captain Lotara Sarrin finds herself in a galaxy much changed – but some truths remain the same. Blood must flow, and no one runs from the Conqueror …

Night Lords vs Ultwhé

Genre : Great Battles, Adventure

After the opening of the Great Rift, the Night Lords' crusade against Craftworld Ultwhé teased at the end of the Night Lords Trilogy actually happens. Decimus, Prophet of the Eighth Legion, leads a reunited Night Lords Legion against the Craftworld. Rather than a novel-style story, this would be in the format of the Roboutian Heresy's Times of Ending, or the Flashpoints published in White Dwarf.


Genre : Action, Adventure, Intrigue

After escaping from the Rock after the attack of the Daemon Prince Marbas, Luther seeks out the other Fallen, hoping to atone for his past failures and earn the Lion's forgiveness. He goes to the edge of the galaxy, where the Fallen who escaped the Unforgiven have built a vast kingdom that embraces the ideals of the Great Crusade, not the fanaticism of the current Imperium.

Kill Teams

Genre : Action, Adventure, Mystery

Inspired by the last edition of the Kill Team rules. In the shadows of an Imperial hive-world, several factions struggle to accomplish contradictory goals. Each faction would have unique characters and have a reason forcing them to operate in small numbers (the eponymous kill-teams).

And finally, my personal favorite ...

Ciaphas Cain, Warmaster of Chaos

Genre : Parody, Humor

Ciaphas Cain just intended to use the cult's influence to help him get a cushy job in the Imperium. Now his face is on the flag of rebellion across half the Segmentum, he has an enamoured Daemon Princess stalking him, and the Despoiler just sent him his congratulations for a job well done …

(This would take place in a comedy/parody AU of 40K, and the story really wouldn't take itself seriously, for what I hope are obvious reasons.)

There are two other ideas floating around in my imagination but which aren't detailed enough to write here like the others. One is to write something set in the Blood Bowl universe (again, a comedy/parody story).

The other would be set in Warhammer - The Old World, and the basic concept would be : "Self-Insert as Aenarion just after the birth of Malekith, before the opening of the Vortex, during the First Incursion of Chaos. Again, not a very serious story, with the course of History shifting dramatically as the MC tries to advert his death and be a better person than "abandon my second wife and young son to go meet my glorious doom in battle" Aenarion.

Of course, some liberties would be taken with the Elf characters - for one thing, I would make Morathi a lot more sympathetic (this would take place before the creation of the Cults of Pleasure, consorting with daemons, and the millennia spent as Hag Queen of the Druchii).

And, of course, there are many, many other story ideas languishing in my notes which have nothing to do with any Warhammer setting. An AU for Vampire - The Masquerade, with different Vampire Clans forming the Camarilla and the Sabbat. A Justice League fanfic featuring Batman reborn as a fiend of the Underworld. A crossover between RWBY and the Roboutian Heresy, or Fallen London, or Infernum. A frankly absurd number of ideas for Harry Potter crossovers ...

So many, many ideas. But these, at least, will wait until either Prince of the Eye or A Blade Recast are complete.

Alright, that's all for now. Have a happy end of the year, and I'll see you all in 2022. Stay safe out there !

Zahariel out.