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The voyage was not glorious.
In the past, or even the present where the resplendent valor of the Imperium had faltered, those on their path to war always had time to think on the nature of their missions, to give their prayers to the God-Emperor. They could think about the greater cause they were contributing to, the greater meaning behind each sacrifice that would have to be made for the upcoming conflict.
Now however...there was nothing. No speeches, no great moments of self realization. Only the eternal void of damnation growing more tainted each day and the hushed whispers of millions of people who were scared and confused.
The atropathic choirs of each ship, when they were not blinded or lost to madness entirely, spoke increasingly more terrifying and vivid details of the collapse of order all around them. A living, flesh-eating immaterial cancer was sprawled across the galaxy as a great tear that rent reality itself asunder. No longer confined to the Eye of the Beholder Gods, the nightmares of a trillion, trillion beings from the smallest to the most complex were free to roam the plane of the living as they deemed fit.
Blinded by the absence of the Astronomican, forced to make blind jumps into the edge of unreality before pulling back out, the fleet was tense, and the people still tenser. Fights broke out. Conflicts of interest, of faith, of simple base animalistic desire to survive. None could spare insults, yet they ran forth like a river. Even the Astartes, usually exempt from such vices, were starting to itch.
It was a terrible concoction of expectation and stress, with no release in sight. Despite the gates of Hell opening all around them, the Warp was quiet. Too quiet. Nothing had emerged to halt their advance yet. They'd been traveling for months already, and in all said months they had seen naught but empty space and the shadows of dead worlds.
The eternal vigil for something to poke it's head out of the darkness and show the teeth hungry for loyal blood continued, despite the absence of any such occurrence. It was truly in the anticipation that the fear resided.
"A storm brews. The Warp coils."
"So you've been saying for months, Chief Astropath Derrelian. It's not becoming any less grating to hear," a gruff voice commented as a blue and gold-trimmed giant entered the hallowed, dark room the psyker called his home.
Veteran Oran stood no less resplendent than any of his brothers in the full armored shape of the proud Space Marines, though his diminutive height would be a stark contrast were anyone to have a direct comparison with a baseline Astartes. Derrelian didn't know what was under that warhelm. He'd never "seen" the man so much as take it off for a breath. Sometimes he entertained the thought that he slept in it, and that brought some measure of amusement to his otherwise grim mood.
"If you are so tired of it, you can simply tune me out."
"You know I cannot do that. If someone were to pluck your throat like fresh poultry, noise dampeners in my helm would prevent me from hearing your screams," the Marine replied, blunt as the Thunder Hammer he often trotted around with. "I am here to ensure your protection."
"Your sentiments are appreciated Oran," he said, sarcasm dripping from each word. "Then permit me to ramble on a while further. Our journey should not be long now, yes?"
"That is for the Navigators and the grace of the Emperor to decide. You know as much."
"Very well. Why are you here?"
"You must be escorted to a hololithic conference with the rest of the fleet's Astropathic choir."
"Ah yes, hololiths are very necessary," said the tall, lanky man pointing at his burnt eyes, taken from him many decades back, as he'd been bound to the Emperor's soul.
"There are those of my kind who would've killed you several times over for such drivel, Astropath," the Marine said, breaking his usual veneer of dullness and turning away to march. He expected the frailer man to follow.
Thankfully for him Derrelian had not lost his Warp sight yet, and followed closely behind.
"That means I am doing something right. If you have a problem with it you can easily stop me."
"Then why don't you?"
At that, he turned his helm slightly over.
"You fascinate me," he said before turning to walk straight once more. "No transhuman dread."
"When you have seen what I have seen, and had your vision taken in payment, there is not much left to frighten," the Astropath said flatly. He noticed the Marine was taking slower steps than usual, evident by the Astropath's lack of near jog to keep up with him.
"I suppose that is fair enough," came his clipped reply.
They walked in silence from then on, their journey disturbed by little. Menials, serfs, the occasional Tech-priest or servitor. These were all common sights even for one such as him, usually enclosed off from much of the ship. Well, to the extent that he could "see" anyway.
The drowning monotony of the sounds of the ship bled into the drowning monotony of his Warp sense. He was becoming dulled to the outside world again. He'd noticed it happened more frequently during these long walks of transit. Of course, he'd notice after they'd arrived that they were not long at all, but perhaps that was just a sign of his increasing age and decreasing fitness. Though something did feel...off, even now about this particular excursion.
Before he could pinpoint anything however, something froze the old Astropath in his tracks. A voice...no, a ROAR, echoing through the Warp. Reality tearing asunder all around him, rivers of blood, horrifying creatures of form defiant to the natural order of creation, challenging and straining his eyes which he had now suddenly not lost.
Then it was gone, disappeared into the inky blackness that his sight was meant to be. But a charge of energy remained, prickling in his skin like insects crawling under it.
"There is something wrong."
"That you have also been saying far too frequently."
"Listen to me Oran!" he said, with as much force as the voice of a meek old man could muster. "This is different. I just received a vision. I have not...I have not had one such since my days on Terra, as a boy."
"I mean it Space Marine, this is not a matter to trifle with."
"And what would you have me do?" the voice came gruffly, filtered through vox speaker. "Alarm the entire ship over your spasms? This is a delicate time for all you psychically attuned individuals. You've said as much yourself. Why are you trusting your self-admitted uncalibrated gut feeling this one time?"
"Precisely because it is not uncalibrated Oran. I felt it through my bones, my blood. In these dark days, no vision has come to me clearer than that, none so crisp as to almost recall vividly even now. I implore for one last time, do as I tell."
"This is the end of the conversation," the Marine said in a voice that truly did invite no further debate. The old Astropath could do nothing now. The mind of an Astartes was shackled iron, well designed to keep distractions and unnecessary activities out of it. And there would be no persuasion beyond physical, absolute proof.
Fate was feeling hilarious that day it seemed.
An impact shook the ship. Derrelian felt it with his Warp senses, and his regular ones too, having slammed into the floor. After finishing the recoiling from the impact that rattled his old bones, he looked up to see Oran had stood perfectly straight, despite the quake. Sometimes as a man of advanced age, the simplest things were what he envied the most in the transhuman demigods he worked closely with.
"The emergency lighting has turned on," Oran informed him, as the Astropath "saw" he had retrieved his master-crafted Bolter from it's mag-clamp and was now tightly clutching it.
"And that means what exactly in this case?" Derrelian asked, unable to pinpoint anything within the ship. His greater senses had gone dead for whatever reason. Yet another foreboding sign to add to all the others.
"Theoretical: the ship could've suffered a malfunction in any myriad of necessary systems. Or it could have been attacked, disabling the major and backup power generators. Practical: it is highly unlikely a major malfunction could've gone undetected to the point it crippled the plasma drives entirely, resulting in use of emergency power. This is a deliberate action," the Marine said without skipping a beat as he approached and put the Astropath on his shoulder without pause.
"What are you doing?!"
"My mission objective has just been updated. I am to keep you safe while finding out what the Hell is happening to my ship."
Before Derrelian could offer further protest, the Marine marched. Although a mere jog by his perspective, the Atropath was treated to the friction of wind and the ghost sight of features whizzing by as the supersoldier made his way through the ship. At first everything seemed orderly enough, though oddly deserted by comparison to the busy ongoings of a ship such as the one they were in.
The Hunter-class destroyer Temperance had been serving with the Ultramarines for nearly six centuries now. Oran had overseen it's deployment for a good percentage of that time, and knew the ship like the back of his hand. So it was that despite the short time, Derrelian knew the Space Marine was searching thoroughly.
They did come across living souls at times. Serfs and the like, who would be usually found milling about, doing basic chores and jobs, were struck and even terrified at what was happening. The Astropath, despite his cursed reputation would've preferred to stay behind and provide whatever encouragement he could.
The Marine accompanying him clearly did not share the sentiments.
"Move, baselines," he spat, coldly spiteful, which was amplified to a dull roar by his helm's vox speakers. Efficient, effective, ruthless, pragmatic, determined. Stubborn to a fault? Definitely, there were a thousand words he could use to describe the Marine. None of them included "considerate".
The rows of scared serfs gave way to the occasional Tech-priest. These, Oran gave some more thought to, stopping at the first few to ask what exactly was happening. None of them could respond confidently.
There was no contact with the bridge, or any of Oran's squad brothers aboard the ship. They were running entirely blind. He informed the Marine that shouldn't have been possible.
"If the last few months have not redefined your idea of the impossible Astropath, that is a fault of your own," the Marine had replied. Did he have to grow a gilded tongue in the worst of circumstances?
"This matter stinks Ultramarine."
"I can tell as much. But I cannot exactly do anything without first finding out what is happening," came his reply, clipped. He never stopped moving.
Eventually the pathways they traveled became the source of damage, and even bodies. That was the last sign Oran needed to discern this was without a shadow of a doubt an outside force.
His pace became faster then. Frantic almost. Corridor to corridor, room to room, they encountered more and more concerning circumstances. More bodies, more damage. Some sections were downright impossible to traverse due to the ship having been opened to the void.
It came to a head when the pair opened a sealed door only to be met with an attracting force that nearly consigned them both to death. For a split second the Astropath was aware of the distinct sensation of his saliva flash-evaporating within his mouth even as his blood began to boil. He was pulled back into normalcy right as he was on the cusp of unconsciousness.
The door was locked again, now with a forceful dent embedded in it. It seemed the Marine had managed to grab it as the lack of air pressure sucked them out, before reaching out and pulling back Derrelian with him. The clickety joint and new bruised flesh of his arm seemed to support that hypothesis. Still, he had to give his body some credit. An Astartes' grip could easily crack bone accidentally even at it's lightest.
"An entire section of the ship was gone," the Marine stated simply, answering the question the Astropath had not even had the chance to ask yet, as he recovered from the voiding incident.
"That bad?" Derrelian replied through wheezing coughs, clutching at his throat.
Oran ignored the plight of his charge as he instead looked towards the now sealed shut door as if he could stare right through it into the void that had almost claimed them both.
"Theoretical: the section could've been blown off by a variety of weaponry from a variety of ship classes. Practical: the cut off was too perfect, too calculated. Little surrounding shockwave damage from potential solid slugs or plasma shots. No melted areas indicative of lasers. No weapon on record should be capable of practical ship-on-ship surgery like this."
"Well add that to the list of worrying developments. What now?"
The Marine opted to not respond but instead began bending a thick bulkhead. Even having observed the strength of the Emperor's chosen in the past, Derrelian still marveled as to how durable metal was folded down like modeling clay from the inhuman grip of the Astartes' hands.
"There are alternative routes to the bridge. We are still capable of taking them," he said, as he finished creating the alternative route. His hand then went to his Chainsword, which revved once in a test, and was henceforth carried normally.
"Your Bolter?" the Astropath asked.
"Gone. Lost to the void," Oran responded, advancing further. "Will you move? My patience is being worn thin already today Astropath."
"Is it really the best idea to take me along?"
"I did not take you for a coward, Astropath."
"Take it however you wish. I am just saying, this stinks of incursion upon our vessel. And I," Derrelian said, motioning towards himself. "Am not exactly suited direct combat."
"By continuing to follow me you are helping along with secondary mission. There is no place on this ship safer than with me."
"As you wish, though I suspect all I'll do is slow you down."
And so they continued. Oran was now being more careful, more deliberate. Gone was any semblance that this was a situation of little apparent threat. They may as well have been walking into enemy territory.
The bodies started showing up again after some time. They set the Astropath's senses on edge. He was still blinded to the wider ship and the Warp in general, as comprehensible as it could be these days. Oran displayed no signs whatsoever of distress. Derrelian never expected him too.
That is until he visibly paused before the first Astartes corpse. Ultramarine blue gave way to mulched meat and faded red of congealed blood. Oran said nothing, though he approached the body with caution, as if nearing a vector of disease. He spent several long seconds staring at it. Derrelian could not imagine what was going through his mind.
"Brother Pluto. Gene-seed has been destroyed. Bodily structural collapse. Head is still intact," the Marine said with the monotone he responded to most situations with. Though there was hidden meaning behind such a statement. A pain that the Astropath could hear or feel in any capacity, though could tell regardless.
Of course, Oran was nothing if not a pragmatist, even with one of his own squad members and battle bothers. Which is why what happened next did not surprise him, even though it did revolt him nonetheless.
Oran took off his helm for the very first time since the Astropath had met the Marine. Though the outline of his face was fuzzy and ill-defined, what wasn't was the knife he expertly utilized to cut off the helmeted visage of his fallen brother, one of the few pieces of his body that had remained relatively unscathed.
Digging the knife into the skull, through the bone and all the way to the grey matter, Oran unsealed his helm for the first time Derrelian had observed and without wasting a moment dug into the fallen warrior's brain with his gauntlet, pulling a sizeable chunk out.
Derrelian wished he could blind himself a second time to prevent seeing what was to happen, but the mind's senses could not be taken away as the body's could. So he was forced to see a man, a machine-wrought mutant of geneforged flesh eat his own brother's dead mind for a glimpse into it.
The Marine was quiet for a few moments. Derrelian was merely an Astropath. He was versed in the immaterial and barely tangible science, if it could even be called such, of the Warp. He knew not much of the sciences that bound the material universe, and telling what the Marine was experiencing in those moments of consuming memories was far beyond even most experts in the appropriate fields. Far, far beyond a man such as him by proxy, and he suspected that was for the better.
The Marine again, with purpose. He strode forward, as if not caring for the state he had left his fellow Marine in at all.
"Sometimes, the things that you do, no matter how necessary, disgust me to my gut Astartes."
"Our vessel is under attack," Oran continued seemingly paying him no heed, as he locked the helm on his features once more. "Thousand Sons. My brother's last memories were of their Rubrics pounding him into mulch with Bolter rounds."
He paused briefly before adding:
"If such disgust shackles you simply observing, imagine what it feels like to do the deed."
The warrior said nothing more as he marched onward with renewed purpose. Any doubts what this situation had devolved into had now been eased entirely, bringing along instead an even greater worry. Even now, as the Astropath barely followed in the giant warrior's stride, he tried to extend his consciousness out to the rest of the ship to feel if he could pinpoint the nature of their enemies. But no such luck.
Of course, as fate would have it, they would not need it, as soon enough they came across what they were looking for.
The scene unfolded before them like a painting, though with it's theme reversed. Whereas the average such work would display the glory of the Imperium, before them was only carnage at the behest of laughing gods and their ceaseless minions, unchecked by mortal restrictions. They were situated atop a platform, spying down on the scene of carnage, and Oran quickly pulled them back. The Astropath couldn't blame him. That glimpse had already strained their fortune.
They had seen the bodies of men, and even Marines on the ground. Torn, broken, bleeding. Whether the effect of mass reactive shells or something else entirely, blood was spilt easily over the ground of their ship. And it was not the enemy's, for they did not bleed at all.
Automatons guarded the hallowed halls of the ship beyond there, but not ones of steel and circuit. No, these were automatons built out of lost sprits and the accursed magicks of the Empyrean. They were the Rubricae, the Thousand Sons' common foot soldiers. The unlucky souls who had not been powerful enough to survive the ritual undertaken to rescue their gene-seed from total annihilation.
Now they stood practically dead, their essences enclosed in armor for all eternity, unable to act or feel without the input of their master. They were bound to sorcerers, Thousand Sons Marines greater than themselves, whom retained mortal flesh and existence. And if they were near, it meant said master would have to be too.
But they were a threat enough on their own. Derrelian felt their souls, weak and tortured within machine flesh, but their armors were barely dented, Bolt holes not even slowing them down. It would take far more than Oran to cause these dusted corpses final death.
And on that, he had just seen the veteran retract back, motioning him to follow. A wise choice, for they could be easily spotted and slaughtered then and there. But Derrelian suspected they already were being watched.
The veteran disappeared not long after. The Astropath simply no longer felt his presence, and couldn't track him either. His psychic senses were increasingly oppressed. But the cause of the affliction did not make itself known.
There, on his lonesome, Derrelian began to feel something. Not quite fear and not quite anxiety, he was old enough to where both were meager to him. Death had little sway over his thoughts. He knew it would come, and most likely painfully. He'd made peace with it long ago. If anything it seemed a sweet thing in comparison to what he endured after his soul binding to the God-Emperor.
But this psychic blindness. This...unnerved him. He did not know what it was or where it came from. The Warp, it's scent was not present as it would've been normally. There was a warding presence hanging over him like a shadow.
And that's when he heard the voice:
Your attempts entertain me, little man.
It was not the carnal voice of a daemon. That much he could tell. It was too composed, not chaotic enough. This was not a sporadic, unreal predatory mind. But it was something with as much potential for terror and malice. A human psyker. And quite a potent one too.
I already know what you will try. Both of you. You are welcome to proceed.
And thus the voice was gone, and with it the oppressive weight sat upon his head. But now, an even more oppressive weight sat above his heart. The scale of what they were facing now became readily apparent. The witch-born, still flesh-clad warrior that led the Rubricae was indeed here, aboard the vessel. And they would have to excise him and his entourage of implacable soul tanks with a broken elder of a psyker and a lone Marine.
As if on queue, Oran appeared once more by his side, carrying something large and unwieldly. Derrelian only realized what it was after the Marine passed him. He'd ripped off a Plasma Cannon from somewhere, the support structures still dangling on the weapon.
"What are you doing?"
"Theoretical: I could take on all of them at once. Could. Practical: I am likely to be slaughtered, as my brothers before me were," the Marine replied simply and calmly, though fury somehow still shimmered in his word. "So I will simply blow the bastards to Hell."
After that, Oran mumbled something which cause the Astropath's eyes to widen, but his resolve to steel, as the Marine released the safety locks, and charged straight into the Rubrics. Little strategy was present in the assault, only a blind final struggle. The first few volleys melted through a good chunk of the soul automata by themselves, their dusty remains spreading in the artificial wind like ground cobalt. The rest of them opened fire with reflexes no lesser than that of a living Astartes.
Oran was not hit much. It seemed this drastic a course of action had taken even the unthinking souls by surprise. But nonetheless, those few that did land made him stop, and flinch, and the Astropath knew he was not immortal. But the veteran marched on, firing, firing, and firing more, until his weapon was a mere piece of slag on his hands, and he threw it into the nearest Rubricae with enough force to crack it's eye lenses.
His mighty chainsword was drawn then, the Requiem Seeker eating it's way through the blinded Rubric Marine, as armor was disconnected and fell apart in two, releasing the soul of the Rubric. He got far admittedly this way, downing another four of the soul automatons before he was brought to his knees.
His helmet was cracked, his armor riddled with holes, and Derrelian was certain at least a few of his bones had been broken in close quarters. The remaining Rubricae had restrained him by beating him into the ground. No matter how many times he attempted to get up, he was met with the same response.
And then as if to top off the crescendo of humiliation and loss, a lone figure strode forth from the ranks of the Thousand Sons. This one was grander than it's peers, wreathed in ceremonial robes and extra, improved armor. The Sorcerer made himself known at last, brandishing a might staff bearing a gemmed cobra of Old Earth upon it's tip.
"Really cousin?" came the almost disappointed drawl from the vox-casters within his helm. Whereas Oran's voice was snuffed thunder, this one was a light rain, quiet, unassuming. Low pitched, like almost all of his kind, but still surprisingly tame. "This is your attempt at reclaiming your vessel? I would've expected more from an Ultramarine."
"I die with honor, just as I've lived. Can you say the same, Chaos slave?" Oran spat, despite a good chunk of his jaw being broken.
"Is this the part where you reveal a grenade strapped to your chest? Because that would be adorable, albeit cliché," the Heretic Astartes responded. "You loyalists are all so predictable. So obsessed with your heroic last stands over seeing the wider picture. I'm not great at what the mortals call humor, but that I can almost find humorous. Now, if you are done wasting my time, may I kill you now or is there something else you will want to spit at me?"
At that, Oran reached towards his helm, ripping it off and for the first time in possibly centuries, grinning madly.
"I may not be able to kill you. But he can."
At that, before the Chaos Marine could react, Derrelian used what meager psychic strength he possessed in an area he had not been trained in to force the Plasma Cannon to fire one more, despite the impossibility of it. Superheated gas erupted outward with the heat of a sun, towards the Thousand Sons. The superior psyker blocked the shot in mid-air with his hand, before lifting Derrelian effortlessly with the other, neither of his objects of interest being touched directly.
He began snuffing out the shot, and snuffing out the life from the Astropath. But jut then, Oran used the last of his strength to leap forwards and stab the heretic in the chest. It wasn't fatal, and the Rubricae were on him in an instant, pulping the Marine's face and body with shots and stabs. But the deed was done. The sorcerer lost concentration.
That was all it took for the shot to be freed of his hold, traveling it's intended path straight into his abdomen, burrowing inside and burning him inside out. Innards flash-boiled, bones became charred black where they were not turned to dust, and even his eyes burst. Barely a solid shape anymore, the heretic slumped down, utterly dead.
The last vestiges of psychic energy holding the Astropath above ground faltered, and he fell on his knees. He felt his old bones crack and pop, and hoped they would not fail him now. He moved then, as soon as he was able. The Rubricae were left motionless, incapable of responding to this immediately, as they were now without a leading psychic mind. Derrelian did not intend to misuse his good fortune or Oran's sacrifice.
He made it through them with as much distance put between them as possible, into the corridors he knew would lead him to the bridge. Now freed of the oppressive psychic chain wrapping around his mind, he could once more see better. He traveled as fast as his old body, battered and beaten that day, would allow him. His legs were burning, his lungs gasping for the oxygen they needed to keep going. But he would not halt.
When he made it to the bridge, he found it upon a grizzly scene much like the many others he'd observed coming here. People, personnel and Marines, dispatched in much the same gruesome ways. But he could pay it no mind.
What he could pay mind to however was the enormous mass of a station just outside the main viewport of the vessel. A gargantuan pyramid the size of a small moon stood before his eyes, and instantly then he knew whatever he'd have to do would have to be quick. So being an Astropath, he did the quickest and easiest thing he could. Something that came to him much like breathing. He talked.
Not in the way the mortals talked. Not even in the way that daemons talked. But no, descending down to sit cross-legged, he talked in the way only his kind talked. But really, it wasn't as much talking as screaming into the void.
"Are you certain of this?"
Kronos stood staring outside into the void, peppered with the small inklings that were the hulls of their fleet. He listened to Guilliman's son giving the rundown of the message this Chief Astropath Derrelian had passed onto them. The boarding of the vessel Temperance, which had up to that point been transmitting normally to the fleet, appearing untouched. The gargantuan pyramid-station that hung near, whereas before them was only void.
Kronos would be lying if he said he wasn't suspicious.
"Positive sire. Taken from the mouth of our own Chief Astropath. If I recall, he specifically mentioned Astropath Derrelian practically shouting into the Warp about this very thing. I am lead to believe he is trustworthy and nigh impeccable in his record."
"There is nothing there however," the Primarch rebutted.
"There is indeed nothing there, sire."
"Direct our weapons into the void," Cato Sicarius, the Captain of the Ultramarines' Second said. "We shall see if this is illusion or foul play when they pass the area of this supposed fortress."
"Matters of the Empyrean are never solved that simply," Kronos uttered. "The illusion could extend to simulating the path of our weaponry as it would normally pass through empty space. If this structure exists, and it is being hidden from us, it can only be so from the will of a power we can scarcely fathom. For reality warping capabilities like those replicating some missiles would be child's play."
"So what do you propose we do? We can not ignore these claims, no matter how resoundingly implausible they sound," Guilliman asked from his command throne.
"If I am allowed to, my lord, I believe I have a solution that will reveal our truth," the Stormseer piped up for the first time in the conversation, receding from the shadow he had chosen to occupy in the meantime. "But I will require your approval, and the strength of mind of every Librarian present on this fleet."
"Given the circumstances, I am given little choice in the matter," Guilliman nodded. "You have my approval Nergui. Make preparations as you deem fit."
The Stormseer bowed, before pulling himself away from the room. Kronos approached the Ultramarines' Primarch almost immediately, and all else within the inner circle knew not to disturb them.
"What do you think?"
"I am unsure. I sense and see nothing, whether it be here or in the Great Beyond. What I do know is that I trust Nergui with my life. If he can not get to the root of this, it is safe to say we are simply dealing with a maddened man spouting nonsense into the darkness, hoping to be heard."
"And how likely is that?"
"I figured as such," Guilliman appeared deep in thought. His hands were crossed over themselves, fingers interlocked in front of his face.
"Have you guessed as to what this might mean?"
"There is only one way I can see a planetoid of a pyramid-shaped battle station pursuing us. And it is not an advantageous situation to consider."
"You couldn't mean..."
Before Guilliman could answer, a massive shudder was heard along the ship. The Macrage's Honor shook, and everyone around the bridge braced for something worse, or simply started spewing tactical and technical data. All aside from Kronos and Guilliman.
They instead watched unblinking as a golden field of energy encompassed the viewing port in front of them. And then the same could be seen on the entire hulls of several ships along the fleet, the efforts of Nergui and his peers. Such power was still impressive to witness, even as Kronos had grown accustomed to it.
The ships soon began to interlink, their fields conjoining into one massive tendril of psychic strength that traveled the length of their armada before impacting straight over the place the Temperance itself was observed to be. And shimmering like a mirage, sure enough, there was something massive there.
Ungraspable at first but gradually becoming more and more solid, a vision from ages long past greeted both Kronos and Guilliman. They knew now who they were dealing with.
"I never thought I'd see it again," Kronos muttered.
"Tizca reborn. My brother could never let go of his failures," Guilliman commented grimly.
Author's notes: Wassup motherfuckers. It's me again, coming back from the dead. Which is kind of always what I've done. Skeleton and all.
In all seriousness, this chapter was an absolute chore to write. I thought switching up perspectives would help me. It did not, and I found myself blocked most of the time. School ramping up really has not helped at all. So, is this a return? Maybe. But probably don't expect too much. I am trying to work harder these days. But I cannot guarantee anything with my schedule.
That's really all I want to say. Just glad to have this one out of the way. Dome of Bones out.