Do you remember?
On Mars. It was on Mars you were born.
The Crusade was in its infancy and slow was the tread of man from its cradle. Fell xenos of every description, nightmare cousins and rival empires proved worthy adversaries for the fledgling Terran empire. It befitted the mightiest warriors, the Adeptus Astartes, to be ordained with the most formidable weaponry to smite those that would stand in the way of humanity’s ascension amongst the stars.
You began as such, a weapon - your design unearthed Arkhan Land - nothing more than another warmachine in the service of the Emperor.
There was nothing random about your birth; Geobytes of combat reports, both actual and hypothetical, weighed the schematics of your design against most hostile of environs whilst Martial theory, spanning millennia of human conflict, weighed the merits of your architecture; Sun Tsoo, Guidiron and the great Rrolmel - the embers of their art dredged from lost civilisations and cataclysmic war - deigned you a suitable contraption for dealing death. After years of refinement and months of field-testing on four score worlds, your kind were deemed worthy of service. How ironic that your genesis was, as our cousins might say, ‘a perfect compound of theoretical and practical.’
It came to pass that a requisition order, bearing the seal of the Sigilite himself, commanded that you be made in the war forges deep within the Martian volcano of Olympus Mons. You and ten thousand others, rendered out of a sea of molten metal, stamped and beaten until you were given your true form. Fuel cells, engines and auxiliary systems filled your shell whilst hundreds of mechendrites coated you in ceramite.
Your teeth were delivered across the Meridian plains: Lascannons from Hellas Minor, Heavy Bolters shipped from Pluto and a targeting matrix derived from the greatest minds of the Boreum-Neuro slums. Deep you slumbered amongst ten thousand of your kin. Racks of new forged blades, unblooded within their scabbards.
Astartes dignitaries visited you whilst you slept, regarded your chassis and marvelled at your potential. The bulk lifters soon departed, bearing you and your kin to the embattled expedition fleets.
You dipped into the Empyrean. And out. Light years later, you met your legion. On the training grounds of Colchis your engine sang for the first time. A defiant roar. A challenge to the galaxy at large.
Legion service. Aggressive compliance. Blood work.
For two hundred years your treads have stamped the mark of the legion into unnumbered worlds.
Your guns have mown down seething monstrosities, crystalline xenos, mutants and traitors all. You brought them the Word. You are a mighty instrument and a Bearer of brothers. You have bourn us through nuclear infernos, acid wash and alchem firestorms. You have enabled us to close with a thousand hated foes and brought your mighty ordnance to bear on those that we could not have bested unaided.
We call you friend.
We call you brother, for you have saved many of us, carrying us many leagues broken and bleeding to safety.
We have bled together, you and I.
You have outlived seven crews in your century of long service; On Dolgatha IV I saw you burn as weapons of infernal alien design immolated you from the inside; On Crix, the Druggandred, numberless and cunning, prized you open and gutted you. During the compliance of Huthra you fell for two miles when your thunderhawk was lanced.
After each calamity I wept for you as I would a revered brother and each time we remade you where other would have discarded you. The Burning Horizon has remade you many times, yet only once were you reborn.
As the shroud was lifted and we gazed unblinking into the primordial abyss, you looked too didn’t you?
Your crews tell me that you twitch and grumble down here, that you bellow in the dark of this hold and long for another war. You feel the rage as we do don’t you? I can see it - the yearning for fratricide. I sense that you long to test your mettle against your azure kin, adorned in the livery of the XIII.
I’ve prayed for this. You’re no machine, not anymore. You’ve altogether tasted too much blood, taken too much life. Your Standard Template designates you as ‘Land Raider: Type Proteus.’ That is past. We within the Legion have given you the nomenclature ‘Instrument of Truth’ since your inception in the XVII. Yes, you have gone by many names. But I have heard the celestial whispers of choirs in the night. The Dark Monarchs themselves recognise you now, bearer of Zu’ul Nag’r Herald of the Horizon. Your treads will churn the earth of the five-hundred worlds...
“ You there, Tech adept. Paint my brother red.”
The prose of the Burning Horizon and the beautifully painted miniatures are provided by their owner Ed Pemberton. Ed is an excellent fluff monster and a great gamer to play against, he has written extensive background on his company of the traitorous legion of Word Bearers and I'm going to serialise this excellent prose along with more pictures of his beautiful army.
I hope you enjoyed reading and seeing Ed's magnificent work and look forward to the next instalment :)