Hello, this is an idea I was completely taken with one day, and I can't get it out of my head, so I hope you enjoy it. I do not have a beta reader so if my grammar isn't perfect you'll just have to cope, maybe even seethe? Please REVIEW it gives me motivation to go on... continuing the story that is, I'm not suicidal without reviews lol, Jeez narcissistic much? Jk
By the way, just so you understand the Imperial administrative dating system, the first number is the "check" number, which determines the... veracity of the info for Imperial admin, the next set of numbers (273) is the year fraction, which is the year divided into 1000 parts approximately 8 hours and 45 mins each (Terran standard), also only used by Imperial admin. Then ofc most people know the 499 part is the year and M is millennium.
His mother named him Soter Amagi, a name he would never allow to be taken from him, save by memory, for he would only ever remember the word 'Soter'. It all began when he was thirteen years old, on the hive world of Scythia. Scythia had been a relatively populous planet, numbering approximately thirty billion souls in total, most of which were spread between nine hive cities; titanic, nation sized, and stacked cities whose spires rose into the atmosphere like the desiccated fingers of a skeleton. Fitting then, that such a metal and ferrocrete mausoleum would be the tomb of Soter's life and adolescence.
The hive was called Tomyris, the origins of the name were long forgotten, but rumoured to be born of a terrible war of vengeance for the murder of an unknown queen's son. Though life in Tomyris was never truly peaceful, there was a kind of stability for Soter and his family. Perhaps their stability was a lie, brought on by the brutality of the Arbites, or the protectionism of the organized crime dynasties who thought themselves the rulers of the hive's lower levels. Regardless, such things never concerned Soter's adolescent mind, the only things of true worry for him, was ensuring the well-being of his mother and younger sister, and making sure they had enough food for the next week.
Soter rounded a corner of metal piping, long eroded from disuse and left for scrap by the inefficiencies of a vast bureaucracy. He carried in his hands a sack, filled with actual food instead of rations of dubious origin, and also medical supplies, earned through saving enough credits from his work as a delivery boy for a nearby warehouse. Most of the menial loading and unloading labour was performed by aging, and under-maintained servitors. Soter spent his days delivering missives from the warehouse's cybernetic overseer, and assisting in the repair and maintenance of the servitors and their tools. Why the warehouse overseer couldn't transmit the letters electronically, Soter never questioned, it was not his place to question, and the hard, flinty eyes of those men he delivered letters to gave him the wisdom to never question his own, uncharacteristically mute obedience. It would not be the first time Soter's intuition and luck had saved his life, and the lives of his family.
Soon, after rounding several more tight corridors and corners of claustrophobic piping and crawl spaces, and after checking over his shoulders frequently, to ensure he was not followed, he finally arrived at his hab-block. Tall buildings, as tall as they could realistically be in the underhive, stood packed like a delicacy of cloned fish in their cans, coincidentally mirroring the packed, overpopulated living spaces within.
After climbing several flights of stairs, not trusting the ill-maintained elevator, which had caused the deaths of eight people in the block already, Soter finally arrived home. He pressed his hand against the unhygienic scanner of his family's habitation unit, with a green light and chime of acknowledgement the door's locks unlatched, and Soter pushed the anachronistic, yet sophisticated security door that he had managed to reprogram, open.
Reprogramming the bunker-like door to his family's habitation unit had also been more a thing of luck than technical genius. Though Soter was certainly a smart young boy, and though he had picked up and learned many things from his work under Hephean, the cybernetic warehouse overseer, reprogramming such a complex mechanism had been beyond his abilities at eleven years old. Instead, it had been a strange mixture of technical and logical talent, and the urging of a strange, fugue-like intuition that'd come over him.
The medical supplies were primarily for his sickly mother, while the food would be rationed out among himself, his mother, and his younger sister. Their father had long since died of cancer and radiation sickness after working for two decades in a manufactorum responsible for crafting some exotic silica.
Soter heard his mother's voice call for him,
"Soter? Is that you?" She spoke faintly, as if afraid of his answer.
"It's me ama, where is Prasidea?" He replied, his voice calm, monotone, dutiful.
"She's gone out to hear Father Atys' sermon in the Basilica again."
There was a sadness in her tone. Prasidea had been spending more and more time at the Father's sermons and communes, so much so that she seemed like an aspiring Sororitas. Inanika, his mother, was always too ill, too weak to attend with her daughter, and in the end the duty of caring for her fell to Soter. In some ways he resented this, resented his sister for always abandoning them so she could play the faithful, dutiful 'sister' of the Basilica. In his darkest moments, to his shame, Soter would also resent his mother, for the burden her suffering placed on him. Those rare moments of weakness only filled him with more misery and self-loathing, how could a son feel such a way? How could he be so heartless? Sometimes, after these moments of anguish, he would go to find other underhive boys his age, pick and attend their fights, sometimes he would win, though not without injury, and sometimes he would lose, carrying his bruises and blood as his atonement.
In the end, Soter chose never to let his aggravations be known to Inanika, how could he place another burden on her shoulders?
"I have your medicine, and some more food for next week." He said instead.
His mother let out a noise of surprise and joy, as she always did, and yet his heart always swelled with pride.
"My dear son! Come!"
His mother spoke in her accented Gothic as Soter rounded the corner to her room, placing the rest of his bags down, arms aching, and bringing the medicine to his mother. She laid on her bed, a partially read book at the side of her end-table, her arms outstretched, beckoning his embrace.
Soter found himself falling into it, though he often thought himself too old for such overt displays of affection, they were alone, and he did not care.
He took a deep breath, his face buried in Inanika's long auburn hair, tears pricked at his eyes and he did not know why.
"My darling boy…" his mother's voice wavered with emotion, something sorrowful filling her. "You sacrifice so much for me, for us. My dutiful son, I do not know what I do without you…"
"Thanks." Soter's voice croaked, hoarse with unshed tears as he grit his teeth to fight them from spilling out. Again he was weak, his mother relied on him, his sister relied on him, he relied on himself, he was a young man now, a provider, a protector, and he felt he could scarcely do either. He hated his weakness.
"I'm sorry I'm such a burden on you, my Soter."
Soter failed to stop himself from crying.
"D-don't say that… don't ever say that."
Inanika only held him tighter.
In the end, Scythia would be assaulted. A host of Chaos would come to the world. The 38th Great Company of the Iron Warriors traitor legion, and a number of smaller traitor warbands that accompanied them. They took Scythia completely by surprise, their Sorcerers working a great ritual to disrupt astropathic and sensor detection of their arrival. It was only due to the fortune of luck that there had been a full company of Blood Angels already there for re-supply, and within the sub-sector there were a total of five hundred marines of varying chapters ready to assist, but they would not even learn of the invasion until it was too late to stop.
When Tymeris' sirens sounded, their eerie wailing echoing all throughout the hive, save for perhaps the deepest, abandoned ruins of the city's literal ancient history, Soter's heart had nearly stopped in panic. Initially, Soter along with thousands of others were guided hastily by Arbites to join with millions more in various bunkers, away from the less defended parts of the hive city, but quickly, Soter would realize that in the chaos and confusion he'd become like a scared child, and that he'd left his mother behind. Terror and rage mixed in his soul, for he knew only he or his sister Prasidea could help his mother flee, she did not have the strength to do it alone.
Soter soon found himself desperately beating and kicking at the heaving crowd as he made his way against the stream of panicked bodies, running home. Overseer Hephean had been with him as the march to safety began, and tried to stop him, his cold voice informing Soter that he was a valuable assistant, and that the risk of death was too high, and replacing him would be unfortunate and time consuming. Soter had been touched by the half-robotic creature's uncharacteristic sentimentality, but in the end, while the Arbites beat the slow and disobedient with their shock-mauls, Soter ran home, knowing his mother needed him.
When Soter arrived to his hab-block, the silence had been eerie, but soon it became filled with the distant sounds of gunfire. He had sprinted up the stairs as many at a time as he could, stumbling and bruising his knees more than once in his blind desperation. As he ran he prayed, though he'd never truly cared much for praying to the Holy Emperor, his perception of his sister's abandonment to play at being pious having long soured his opinion of the faith, he prayed now. Desperate and near tears as he ran, he prayed to the God-Emperor upon that distant golden Throne most high, he prayed that his mother would be safe, that his sister Prasidea had returned and retrieved their mother already, or perhaps a kind neighbour had remembered her and lent their aid.
When he swung the secure door of his hab-unit open with a bang only silence greeted him, and for a moment elation filled him, after all, if Inanika had still been here, she surely would've heard his arrival, this could only mean Prasidea had returned for their mother already!
But fate would not allow it to be so, for as he rounded the corner to his mother's room, an image worse than all his nightmares greeted him. His mother, Inanika, the woman he loved above all others, lay dead.
She'd died peacefully at least, her face calm, laying in her bed as she often did, the same book she'd been reading for a month now sitting on her chest, nearly finished, as if she'd just been reading it.
Soter stumbled closer, horror and pain warring for influence on his face, and reached out with a trembling hand to touch her still smiling on her face, though her pillow was stained with tears. She was still warm he thought, perhaps she died recently. Still in disbelieving shock, he tore his eyes away from her, unable to bear the sight, instead he looked to her end-table and found an empty needle, the label on it said "Mashya" and Soter knew it meant death. Mashya was a controlled drug sometimes given medical patients to end their suffering, a form of euthanasia.
Inevitably, Soter's eyes were drawn to the letter that laid beside the needle. He didn't know why he snatch that letter so quickly, so desperately, he clung to its unknown words like a lifeline.
Soter, Prasidea, my loves, my children do not blame yourselves, my death is done of my own will, out of my love for you both. I've been thinking about it for a long time, but leaving you two alone in this world, despite the burden I've put on you, was too cruel for you and myself, and would ultimately do more harm than good. I could not imagine leaving you alone, you are both so young, though you've shown such maturity and filled me with pride. But now, with this invasion, I knew I could not go on. Heretics are coming, and there was always a procedure for these things, if I could not walk, if I was too weak, I could not come, I would only slow you down, be a burden on you worse than before. I can barely walk on my own at this point, the idea that you would both need to drag me along, carry me among the heaving mass of fleeing people, it is unbearable to me. Now you are both free, it hurts me deeply to leave you alone in the world like this, especially in such hard circumstances, but know I love you both with all my heart, and know there is hope for the future.
For you Prasidea, I know your faith will guard you, the friends you have made in the Basilica, and Father Atys can help you, and I know you've long desired to join the Sororitas. You have the strength for it my darling, you have the faith, and you have the cleverness to find you way! I know you will succeed for whatever dreams you follow. I love you my beautiful, clever, kind Prasidea.
For you Soter, I know you have long been interested in the mechanics of things. Overseer Hephean has taken you under his wing for a few years now, and though you may not know it I have spoken with him, and he says you've shown potential as a technician, and maybe even potential to work for the Mechanicus! I know you too will succeed, for whatever path in life you choose, because you are my strong, dutiful, smart son. I love you Soter.
I rest with the Emperor now, with all our ancestors and your father, but know my spirit will be with you both always. Never blame yourselves.
Goodbye my children.
With uncontrollable hands, the letter dropped from his hands and Soter turned to his mother's body as he collapsed against her, clutching her. Guilt welled in his chest despite his mother's words, if only he had come earlier he thought. For once, he did not try to stop his weeping, as the echoes of gunfire grew closer and closer.
Gnosiros Ermegist, the lead Sorcerer of the 38th Grand Company of the Iron Warriors was irritated. He had led his cabal in their ritual, and it had succeeded at the request of their Warsmith, Akillekon. The Grand Company and their allied warbands had taken hive world Scythia by complete surprise, only to find a Loyalist Astartes a third the size of their own already stationed there. Gnosiros had insisted they be allowed the opportunity to perform a scrying ritual before they began their obfuscation, but Akillekon had only called him a fool and insisted they attack as soon as possible.
Of course they would win, but a hundred Astartes still represented a significant threat, even if they were outnumbered. Gnosiros was hoping to find suitable psyker aspirants on this world, many sorcerers preferred to simply recruit from psykers born on various Chaos controlled worlds, typically within the Eye of Terror, but Gnosiros was not one of them. In fact, Iron Warrior Sorcerers as a whole, few as they were, tended to prefer psykers from outside the Eye, for those born within the embrace of chaos were quick to be enslaved by the Neverborn, quick to worship parasites. Unfortunately, now with this Blood Angel nuisance, he would likely be drawn away from his hunt for the aspirants he desired.
Their many mortal slaves and cultists swarmed the world, corralled and guided into assaults on the hastily assembled positions of this world's Planetary Defence Force. Like a heaving wave of gibbering insects, these lesser beings would throw themselves with vigour and hate, guided by blind, delusional zealotry for the gods, or perhaps a desire to impress and be taken by the marines who walked as giants among them. The Iron Warriors and their associated warbands landed in each of the world's nine hive cities. Gnosiros and his cabal were likewise spread out, with himself accompanying an Iron Warrior company to hive city Tymeris.
Eventually Soter Amagi drew himself away from his mother as his hab-unit rocked from a nearby detonation. Normally such a thing would have terrified him, but now he felt only cold apathy and despair, and furious, aimless rage, perhaps the Heretics would kill him, perhaps they wouldn't, it didn't matter anymore, nothing did. It was too late to reach even the nearest bunker, not that he knew where such a thing was, after all, the information was strictly guarded by the Arbites and the PDF, and to find it would require their guidance, or being an aristocrat.
Soter picked the letter back up, carefully placing it in a secure pocket, then he took one last long look at Inanika, before simply wandering out into his hab-block, and then beyond. Already in the distance he could see fires and collapsed buildings, the thunderous cracking of las and gun fire was a steady, but still somewhat distant staccato now, separated by the occasional roar of artillery or tanks, Soter couldn't tell which. He wondered what he would do if he saw a heretic, perhaps nothing, perhaps he would explode with fury, and claw and scratch and bite and scream until one of them died.
Soter's rage felt utterly incandescent, but it was directed nowhere, he was simply filled with an indescribable loathing, for everything, for the Imperium and this unjust hive, for Prasidea's devotion to some distant god at the expense of her own family, for that same distant god, the Emperor, who'd never done anything for his family except to demand his father's endless labour until he died, and then to seduce his sister with every delusion, except the idea of helping to provide for Inanika of course, and like father like son, demand Soter's endless labour just so he could stave off his mother's death by another month with treatments he could scarcely afford. Most of all, Soter hated that it meant nothing in the end, that his mother would feel like she needed to die rather than be saved, no, perhaps most of all, Soter hated himself, for being so weak, for failing. If, Soter thought, he instead had taken that obvious ganger's offer, when he'd delivered those packages for Overseer Hephean the previous year, instead of being so afraid of the Arbites, perhaps he could've had enough credits to not just scrape by with treatments, but instead buy a full cure for his mother!
Perhaps, Soter thought, he wouldn't try to kill the first heretic he saw, he didn't even really understand what it was they fought for, except that they opposed the Imperium, and the true god on Terra. Perhaps he would join them, and burn that Basilica to the ground and-
"Why do you wander so forlornly child?"
That concludes chapter 1, please remember to review. Also, I have another story, a one-shot that takes place far in the future of this fanfiction, basically just a event I'd imagined that I couldn't wait to write. As always, have a good day, and God bless you.