Author's Note: For those interested, there are now four advance chapters on P-atreon (remove the spaces and dash): p-atreon/ SkySage24.


"I am the Omnissiah."

Isha maintained a mask of impassivity, even as she fought the immature urge to kick the Emperor's knee at his words.

They had already discussed this, there was no need for her to make a scene.

"So, you're going to declare yourself as the avatar of the Mechanicum's god to make them fall in line."

"Yes."

"Even though you hate being worshipped and hate the idea of gods in general."

"Well…yes."

"Even though you once nearly exploded in rage at me for daring to call you a god-construct."

"That was an overreaction on my part."

"Obviously."

"Isha, please. I am aware of how this must seem, but this is the best way to make the Mechanicum fall in line. Don't you want the servitors freed?"

Images of the servitors freed and healed, of the horrible process itself banned, made Isha bite her tongue and stay silent as the Emperor monologued at the Mechanicum's leaders.

This is nothing, she told herself. So he's being a hypocrite, so what? He has done far worse, to you and others. At least this piece of hypocrisy will help save countless lives.

Still, it rankled.

And even aside from her personal feelings, it was baffling to comprehend. If he was prepared to accept the role of the Mechanicum's god, why was he so averse to accepting his role as a god in general?

Certainly, if nothing else, setting himself up as a god and not just a warlord on Terra would have helped him unify the planet and earn the populace's loyalty. Their worship would have added to his strength as well.

It wasn't just hypocrisy, but confusing hypocrisy, and Isha didn't understand what thread of logic the Emperor was following.

Now was not the correct time, but they were going to talk about this. One way or another.

For now, she maintained her silence as the chamber erupted into a frenzy, eyes sweeping across the Tech-Priests.

Some had fallen to their knees in rapturous worship, others were screaming in protest, and some looked uncertain.

But the first number far outweighed the rest. The voice of a God was hard to deny, and the Emperor had chosen carefully. Even as Mars had burned, the Emperor had still been plotting, appearing to save the largest and most important cities on Mars, the most critical parts of its industrial base.

The ones with the most political influence and power.

The Emperor had made sure to make an impression on those places, upon their leaders, laying the groundwork for the Mechanicum to accept him as their god.

It was beautifully done, Isha had to admit.

Now, to see if it would pay off.

"Silence."

At the Emperor's words, the entire chamber fell silent, their voices strangled by the weight of his voice.

"I know that there are those among you who are reluctant to accept the truth. And I understand your wariness…but I will not brook disobedience."

Kelbor-Hal rose into the air, writhing and flailing as he floated in mid-air for everyone to see.

"Your Fabricator-General, whom you elected, consorted with daemons and abominations. His folly and actions brought the Mechanicum to the brink, and would have seen it destroyed…or worse, corrupted by my enemies, your purpose perverted. I will not allow this to happen again."

And then Kelbor-Hal erupted into flame. His agonized screams echoed throughout the chamber as he died, his flesh devoured by divine fire. The Temple-Masters watched in fear as their master burned.

Finally, the flames faded away, leaving nothing of the Fabricator-General behind but ash.

Good riddance to bad rubbish, Isha thought disdainfully. If only they could afford to do the same to the entire leadership of the Mechanicum.

"That is the fate that awaits all those who defy me. Do not mistake me. I said I would lead the Mechanicum to a greater purpose, and I will. I will share with you secrets that you have long sought, and help you recover the lost glories of the Golden Age. And those that serve me well be rewarded."

"But for he who dares to turn away from my light to serve the darkness, nothing awaits but ruin and destruction."

"Choose carefully."


"Of course, they chose to fall in line," Isha observed. Once more, the two of them were on the top of Olympus Mons, watching the world below.

She had cleared the forest she had created of her bone constructs so that it no longer looked like a graveyard. The trees, the flowers, and the grass endured despite the thinness of the atmosphere, tall strong and healthy.

"I did not give them much choice," The Emperor admitted with a shrug, his feet balanced atop the clear, still waters of the lake she had conjured in defiance of gravity. "There will still be problems, of course. I expect at least one rebellion once the Temple-Masters depart and return to their fiefdoms. That will need to be dealt with before the others fall in line. And a proper treaty to integrate them into the Imperium will no doubt take at least a year to work out, and many years after that to ensure that all of Mars obeys my edicts. But it's a start."

"Yes, at least it's a start," Isha mused wearily as she too stood upon the lake, looking far beyond what mortal eyes could see and out onto the rust-red world below.

It still gnawed at her that it would be quite some time before any sizeable amount of servitors were freed, and even longer before they all were.

The urge to simply prod every servitor on the planet into rebellion was strong…but the weight of the pact she had forged with the Emperor and the memory of the frightened children of Iyanden stayed in her hand.

Another sin to add to a long list of them, Isha mused bitterly. Goddess of rebels indeed. Goddess of cowardice would be a better title perhaps.

But the time for stewing in her guilt and melancholy was over. Her regrets would never go away, but she could no longer afford to spend most of her time brooding over them.

Putting those thoughts away for the moment, Isha turned to the Emperor with the question that had been burning on her tongue for some time.

"Why is the Mechanicum an exception?"

"An exception to what?" The Emperor deflected, pretending as if he didn't know what she was talking about.

Isha didn't even bother to dignify that with a response, simply pinning him with a glare.

After a moment, George sighed. "I know," He admitted quietly. "It's… complicated."

"We have time," Isha said dryly. "We are gods, after all. Talking does not take time."

George was silent for several minutes, apparently gathering his thoughts as Isha waited patiently for him to speak.

"In the simplest terms, the Mechanicum is an exception because I need them," George said finally. "Not just Mars, though it is the keystone of my plans. Out there in the galaxy lie thousands upon thousands of Forgeworlds, hubs of industry I need to fuel my empire. If Holy Mars accepts me as their god, then the other Forgeworlds are that much more likely to fall in line. And with the Mechanicum in my grasp, there would be no civilization in the galaxy with an equal industrial base."

That all made sense, but… "You're still avoiding the question," Isha said sharply. "I am not against you presenting yourself as a god to the Mechanicum to obtain their loyalty. What I do not understand is why you are unwilling to apply the same tactic to the rest of humanity."

"I am not."

Isha stared at him for a long time, searching for any further traces of deception in his aura, but the Emperor seemed honest. In the end, all she could say was… "What?"

"I have been crafting an ideology for the Imperium," The Emperor explained coolly. "I call it the Imperial Truth. It says that I am not a god, that there are no gods. But it would proclaim me as the destined saviour of mankind whom humanity must obey, and also exalt me as an ideal to aspire towards. It would simultaneously have the benefits of religion for me, empowering me with the faith of humanity, yet at the same time teaching them to reject reliance on creatures of the warp and gods in general."

Silence lingered for a moment after the Emperor's little speech before Isha spoke again.

"That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard."

The Emperor was unmoved, clasping his hands behind his back, his face like stone. "I expected you to say as much."

"You realize that this is simply excessively overcomplicating matters, yes? You will find it easier to syncretize with other human religions than to eradicate them, especially since all their gods will be long dead in any case, thanks to Chaos. This path will only engender further resistance and bloodshed."

"An acceptable price," The Emperor said callously. "Humanity must learn to reject religion and reliance on false gods and rely only on itself. To place faith in the parasites in the Warp that feed on their belief and worship is folly. I have seen too many would-be gods, spirits of the Warp and humans with delusions of grandeur alike, to let humanity's reliance on them continue."

"But this Imperial Truth of yours is a religion!" Isha snapped in exasperation. "It exalts you as infallible and preaches unthinking obedience to you! All you have done is make it incompatible with any other religion!"

"The Imperial Truth will also promote science and rationality-"

"Over obedience to you?" Isha asked tartly. "And this may be shocking to you, but teaching your subjects to destroy anyone who disagrees with them is not particularly scientific or rational."

But the Emperor was resolute. "You have my respect, Isha, and you are a valued ally, but how I handle mankind's education and culture is my domain alone. I will not interfere with what you choose to teach the Eldar, but nor will I permit you to dictate what I teach humanity."

"I, you-" Isha took a deep breath. This was pointless. Of course, his conciliatory attitude over the past month didn't mean the Emperor was going to listen to her on everything.

He was still the Emperor, and she was still Isha. They would never agree on everything.

The sheer brutality of his plans still gnawed at her, but what could she say? Whatever 'rational' explanations the Emperor spouted at her were rooted in emotion, in his vicious antipathy towards all gods.

"Fine," She said wearily. "As you say, we will handle our people in our own, separate ways. On that subject, may I visit Iyanden once more, as we were discussing before Luna's assault?"

The Emperor seemed surprised and almost…puzzled at how quickly she had given in, but also relieved. "Of course. I would appreciate it if you could leave an avatar here on Mars to help me manage affairs, however. I would do it myself, but my other half is still occupied on Luna."

"Certainly." As much as she wanted to visit her children, Isha also wanted to make sure Mars remained under their grip. "May I go immediately, then?"

She was tired of the Emperor, of being separated from her children in general. She wanted to see them again, without the Emperor's overbearing presence over her shoulder, and as soon as possible.

The Emperor blinked but didn't object. "You may."

Isha promptly split in two. Or perhaps that was the wrong way to put it. There was no visible division of herself, no burst of light or such things. But in one moment, where there had once been a single Goddess of Life, there were then two.

They did not share any words. They did not need to. They were still a singular being, and both of them smiled at each other for a brief moment, before one vanished in a sparkle of light.

Traversing the Warp directly was risky without the Emperor's protection, and Isha did not feel like asking him for it. So instead, she became a beam of light, hurtling through the void of space.

And yet, she was faster than any beam of light could ever naturally be as she bent space around her to accelerate, rocketing through the Asteroid Belt, and then past all the other planets of the star system.

Such tricks had been necessary to keep up with the C'tan during the War in Heaven in the past. It consumed too much power to be used by anyone but a god, and there were limits in any case, meaning it was best used in short bursts. Maintain it for too long and space would break under the pressure, opening a warp rift.

But to jump to the star system just next to the one she was already in?

Child's play.

Isha re-solidified upon the great World Tree she had brought forth for Iyanden, enjoying the sensation of the wooden bark below her bare feet and breathing deeply in the fresh air filled with the smell of flowers, a far cry from the poisoned and polluted air of Mars.

It was not home…but it was close enough.

For now.


Author's Note: I'm aware my interpretation of the Imperial Truth here may be controversial, to say the least.

However, it was what made most sense to me. The canonical Imperial Truth is a personality cult surrounding the Emperor. Any emphasis on science and rationality is at best secondary to the core of it, which is that the Emperor is benevolent and all-knowing, and humanity must obey him without question if they are to survive.

Even before the Imperial Cult kicks in, even before the Heresy, many prominent Imperial characters refer to the Emperor as 'He on Terra' and 'the Emperor, Beloved by All'. And these aren't people who secretly worship the Emperor, these are fervent adherents of the Imperial Truth and Great Crusade, high-ranking Space Marines and loyalist Primarchs.

In the end, I decided this had to have been deliberate on the Emperor's part and I tried to come up with at least somewhat rational reasoning for it.