suppose you would like to know how I came to be what I am now. That
would not be easy to explain. Truth be told, I have a hard time
understanding myself. I think there must always have been a
lingering fear, deep inside my soul, for what could happen in that
one moment of letting down my guard. The very idea has haunted me,
even in my youth. On a subconscious level I must have known all
along, that the potential for surrendering was hiding there, deep
inside my soul, invisible to everyone, including my oblivious self.
at me, you would not know that at one time, this mortal coil held a
noble spirit, a shining paladin of humanity’s greatest hope.
Needless to say it’s gone now. Yet, before this pallid flesh turned
into the hideous and terrible form you now see before you, I was
once a loyal and pious member of the proud Adeptus Astartes. A hero,
even among my peers, I was regarded highly and according to many, on
my way to the top. Yes; how the mighty have fallen.
the seeds of doom have been lingering inside of my mind since I came
into this universe, I suppose the beginning of the end lies somewhat
closer to the present. It all began when we were on patrol in the
vicinity of Vanaheim. After destroying two small pirate fleets, we
were ready to meet up with the Unguis Leoninus again. It would have
been good to sit with my brethren of the first company once more
after all those years for a short time at least.
en route to Paramar, we received a transmission from an Inquisitor
called Belloque. Under jurisdiction of his Inquisitorial seal, he
requested our help in finding immediate passage to Cadia, where at
that time, the thirteenth Black Crusade raged in all its destructive
ferocity. Assuming he must be carrying important news, to further
the Imperial war effort, Captain Verschueren decided to grant the
lord Inquisitor the use of the corvette Flaming Claw VII and a squad
of marines to safeguard him. Strangely enough, this Belloque
specifically requested the use of the very ship we would be
assigning him in the first place and he accepted the starting price
without bartering. In hindsight, that should have alerted us right
then and there.
was given the honour of leading the escort and although I was
looking forward to a homecoming after two years of patrol, I gladly
accepted this assignment. Such was my devotion to duty at the time.
Under my command were nine marines of squad Beyaert of the fifth
company.. Their sergeant had been wounded in the last engagement and
was undergoing cybernetic surgery at the time. Although these men
were still relatively inexperienced, compared to my own two hundred
years of service to the chapter, I was confident they would serve
of the squad had been uneasy boarding the corvette we were assigned
to and although I dismissed their reluctant behaviour and whispered
stories as superstition and serf-talk, I would be soon to realise
their anxiety was very much justified.
started out innocent enough. One of the serfs onboard committed
suicide. Threw himself down an elevator shaft. A not uncommon
occurrence in the Warp. No matter how strong the null field is,
there is bound to be residual traces of warp energy through the
ship. It takes a disciplined mind to ignore these maddening wisps of
Aether and even though the serfs receive training and are screened,
there’s always one or two in a crew that loose control.
another one swallowed his own tongue. A next one drowned himself in
a refresher station. And then another and another. Soon we were
looking at a death toll of ten a week. This could not be allowed go
on like that; the crewmen were getting restless and an investigation
was started. I
requested the Inquisitor to lead the inquiry, as his position
warranted a certain amount of investigative prowess at the least.
But he refused. He locked himself in his quarters, not to be seen by
anyone outside for a long time.
was then that I started to get the visions. They were brief at
first. Nothing I hadn’t seen before. Scenes of the hunt. True hunts
at first, with worthy prey and skilful kills. Then they began to
take on a darker tone altogether. Slowly but surely the scenes
turned more bloody, less refined and more savage. Pretty soon I had
terrifyingly real hallucinations of wholesale carnage, with me
laughing and slaughtering with glee.
disturbed me greatly and although I tried my best to wash my mind
clean of these vile images with soothing prayers, I knew deep inside
already, that this was to be my fate and there would be no escaping
it. Still, I fought it for as long as I could. As the in facto
leader of the escort I should have been aware of the occurrences
around me at the time and I should have addressed them accordingly.
But I wasn’t. Too much of my time was taken up by vainly fighting
the visions that haunted me. I should have been aware of the fact
our Astropath was one of the many who were driven to kill themselves
rather than submitting to their inner rage, like the rest of us. I
should also have been aware that the ship’s navigator had been
visiting the Inquisitor’s quarters many times, even while we were en
route! Little did I know he was given course correction all the time
by this charlatan Belloque.
this came to a halt though, when the navigator, whose name I cannot
recall, too took his own life. In his navigator’s bubble no less;
shot himself though the head with a laspistol. The shot broke the
bubble and the raging Warp claimed both his body and his soul. As
Belloque later told us, we were lucky to not have been too deep into
the Warp at the time, or we would have been unable to drop back into
realspace. As it was, the emergency cognigators were able to pull us
out of the Warp, in deep space, lightyears away from any system.
no navigator to guide us through the Warp and no Astropath to call
for aid, we should have been dead, al of us. And so we nearly were.
At that time the bouts of rage and hallucinations were becoming
harder and harder to discern from reality. I could no longer
recognize anyone around me and in my fear and anger at my fate I
lashed out at anyone coming near to me. This must have whipped the
others into the same state, or perhaps they reached it even before
me, who’s to say?
end result was no less grizzly. Hundreds lay dead. Corpses
everywhere. The ship had become a slaughterhouse and there was blood
everywhere. Blasphemous sigils were drawn in blood and excrements on
the walls, limbs lay crisscrossed in the hallways and piles of
skulls were raised in intersections. The inside of the ship looked
like a hell. A hell we had created. Our very own hell from which
there would not be an escape. The blood would not wash off my claws
or my armour. Another effect of the portion of abyss we had sired
for our own damned souls..
myself and 3 other marines were left. All others were dead.
Strangely enough though, the wiry, frail inquisitor too was still
alive. I would have gathered he would have been one of the first
victims of the bloodrage that had gripped all those of us who did
not take their own lives. What bothered me most though, was the fact
he appeared untouched, both by the bloodrage and the sufferers of
it. He simply said to us: ‘There’s a ship coming’ and returned to
was right of course. An old, almost derelict freighter found us on
its course and came to the rescue. To this day I do not know whether
it were the machinations of that wretch Belloque or some automated
distress signal that brought them to us but there they were. Two
score of hired help and a proud but impoverished captain, owner of
the ramshackle ore-hauler that docked with our shadow of former
glory, the badly battered Flaming Claw VII. She had sustained some
serious damage during our last hours in the Warp, when the ship was
attempting to return to our reality.
crew welcomed us as honoured guests as I’m certain this was the
first time any of them saw a spacemarine in person. Still, I knew it
wasn’t our being Astartes that made them fearful as well as
respectful. The blood was still on our hands and armor after all.
They wanted to salvage the Flaming Claw VII but Belloque was adamant
in his refusal. It should have been my call but I was too
preoccupied by keeping the hallucinations at bay to make any kind of
decision. He probably would have overruled my orders anyway. The
hauler remained docked for a few more hours, during which Belloque
disappeared back onto the Flaming Claw, returning at the very last
minute before we cast off, carrying something small, wrapped in his
cloak, pressed to his frail body.
underway, Belloque again shut himself in the captain’s cabin, which
had been offered to him, for what reason only he knew but he took
the object he recovered from the corvette with him. I too confined
myself to the quarters provided to me but for completely different
reasons no doubt. I had felt the change starting to take hold of me.
the change. For I was not always the being you see before you right
now. Noble features once graced this damned face and toned muscles
could be revealed from under bright and clean armor. It was there
though, onboard that centuries old, near scrapped civilian ship that
I discovered my body was changing into something no longer human.
The pains wracked my body for days, as tissue melded with armor and
changed in unforeseeable ways. That time is all a blur though and
although I have flashes of memory from that time, when the pains and
madness subsided for a few merciful hours, I cannot recollect much.
do know that once I finally emerged from my seclusion, my
consciousness finally returned, the crew went mad with fear. The
captain was more than shocked and told us that he would no longer
tolerate us on his vessel and would drop us off at the nearest
spaceport. It was all he could do to keep his men in check, well
aware that they would not be a match for our powerarmored might. He
came out of hiding and during his long talks with the captain, I
could once again feel the rage building up inside of me. I could see
the same thing happening to the others, although they had not
undergone the change I went through. They had been surprised at
first but seemed to accept my change in stride. If nothing else, it
appeared to strengthen my position as their leader as if it was only
natural. It wasn’t, I knew that much. I also knew the bouts of
primal rage coming over us were anything but natural either and
already, there was no way back for any of us.
rest is all a blur again. I know we slaughtered the crew, laughing
out loud and feasting on the flesh of our victims, I know Belloque
was watching us in our gory work, smiling darkly all the time. Some
waking moments I remember, usually when boarding other ships, most
very much like the one we left behind, in much the same way we left
the Flaming Claw VII in the beginning. A score of vessels we must
have boarded and slaughtered this way, all the time nearing a
destination only Belloque knew.
wish I could tell you more about this terrible time but this is all
I can recall. I do not seek to apologise for our actions because we
were well aware, as I am now, that what we had done was far beyond
redemption for any of us. I cannot help but think, that if we had
been more vigilant in the very beginning, our faith stronger and our
resolve faster, we could have overcome whatever corrupting influence
brought us to this point of eternal damnation. As it was, we had at
that point lost all hope of salvation. Then, we arrived at a
spacestation and something new happened. Belloque, well aware of our
internal struggle and our knowledge of our damnation, confided he
would be leaving for a couple of days and we were to wait for his
return to the station, while he descended to the world below.
it was as if a veil was lifted from our eyes, when he boarded a
shuttle going planetside. And although the crew of the station
desperately tried to leave on any available vessel as well, even
using the escape pods in the end, leaving us to ourselves on the
enormous construct, we felt a weight lift of our souls for the first
time since we had boarded the Flaming Claw. To us, it became clear
that whatever Belloque was, he no longer was walking in the
Emperor’s light, if indeed he had ever. And although we agreed
something needed to be done about Belloque, it was unclear to us how
or what we should do. Brother marine Geeraerts volunteered to
conduct a search of Belloque’s quarters and as he searched the cabin
for anything at all that might give us an edge on that rogue
Inquisitor, the rest of us were in the control chambers of the
ancient station, to monitor Belloque’s return.
finished his search of the quarters well before the Inquisitor
returned, nothing of interest having been found by him. Later that
night, while we were waiting for yet another ship to fall into
Belloque’s trap and the oppressive atmosphere was slowly returning,
Belloque requested a meeting with Geeraerts. Fearing the worst, we
accompanied him to the Inquisitor’s doors, waiting outside, ready to
burst in at the first sign of something going astray. It wasn’t
necessary. Geeraerts came out unscathed half an hour later,
confiding that Belloque wanted information on the rest of us. We
would be called in as well, to be questioned likewise.
the prospect of being alone in one room with Belloque filled me with
loathing, I was relieved to know nothing serious would happen.
we found Geeraerts the next morning that is. Bloated, sickly green
and dead. An anguished look on his still features, as rigor mortis
had fixated his shrivelled lips in a snarl that left his teeth in a
perpetual death grin. We knew enough. Belloque had to die, right
then and there.
gathered outside of his quarters and fighting back the rage, we
forced our way in and restrained him. I admit it was not pretty but
no suffering would suffice to atone for atrocities that had been
afflicted, through his influence, in the past couple of months.
Before we met him, torture would not have occurred to us but in the
direst circumstances. Yet I set upon my gory task with relish. I
will not go into details here, they are both mundane and unnecessary
to the purpose of this story but know that he did not die without
pain. We finally revealed his true allegiance when we discovered a
very large, viciously moving, Electoo on his back, depicting a
multi-headed serpent, which we identified as a Hydra. Only one
faction that I knew of, and know of, uses this despicable symbol.
Belloque had been in league with the Alpha Legion and with this
knowledge we took turns mangling this wretch of a man that was
responsible for so many deaths. Not only that, but he was the one
that pried us from the Emperor’s light with his vile magics, denying
us to ever return to his grace again. What his goal was, what his
obvious connection with the Alpha Legion was or what the object was
he recovered from the Flaming Claw, we will never know, as he died
after hours of our administrations but the veil of darkness was
again lifted from our souls.
bled his corpse dry, the three of us remaining, discussed our
options. There were not many. Tonningen wanted to disappear, he
argued the Galaxy is large and there are places the Imperium would
never find us. Lages wanted to push on. It had been clear from the
location of the spacestation we were on, in the Kato system, that we
had been slowly headed for the Maelstrom anyway. We might as well
try to reach it and try to somehow contact the Red Corsairs. They
were vile traitors but then again, so had we become. At least we
would be able to be amongst peers there. The closest thing to a
chapter, to call home. After some discussion, we unanimously agreed
that that would be our course of action and set off. We left the
station by lifepod to the surface. There we secured passage on a
ship headed in the right direction. Its captain the sort which did
not ask questions. We had to get used to this type of scum we now
mingled with, as we had made our choice. Better to embrace our path
and not look back.
a while we succeeded in this. I will not bore you with the countless
months we spent looking for a contact into the Red Corsairs. When
someone does not want to be found in the area around the Maelstrom,
he rarely will be. Suffice to say they finally found us. Although
they displayed large amounts of distrust and I can’t blame them for
it, we were inducted into their ranks and split up. Apparently, it
is uncommon for more than one marine from one chapter to make it
that far and they did not trust us together. I have not seen either
Tonningen or Lages again and I can only assume they’re dead. The
deathtoll for Red Corsairs is quite appalling, especially as there
are precious few apothecaries to tend to the wounded. Also, there
rarely are enough hormonal balancers and tailored drugs available to
sustain a large gathering of marines. That’s probably why individual
units are spread out over such a large amount of worlds and ships.
days are numbered too I fear. I’ve never been able to fully
appreciate the chaotic nature of the Corsairs and although the rage
has so far protected me from the rest of my compatriots; they
rightfully fear both my mutations and my martial prowess, I know I’m
being looked for.
are here on this old outpost now; you can hear the battle raging in
the distance. The fabled Legio Bolter and Chainsword has come to
seek out the Red Corsairs at last and is slowly forcing our forces
back. They are here now. Inside this old asteroid base, looking to
capture it with as much of us as possible in it, no doubt. We know
our fate at their hands of course. If they succeed in taking the
base, there’s nowhere to go for any of us so we fight with abandon,
knowing we are dead already.
have killed over half a dozen of our erstwhile, still loyal,
brethren so far but I feel the final confrontation is coming soon. I
have seen him; a glint of familiar orange in a sea of black, silver
and red. Our escape into the Maelstrom must not have been as
inconspicuous as we thought, as my old chapter has sent a hunter to
seek us out. Maybe it was he who killed Tonningen and Lages, after
all, he knew them best. He was their sergeant in a time long gone.
He will not stop and he will blame me for their fall. Maybe he’s
I know now is that he is stalking me, seeking me out as I relate all
this. He comes closer by the minute and the time nears for me to
finally confront my past. I will let the rage finally embrace me
whole and I will fight to the end. Who knows? I might even make it
through. Do with this information as you see fit. By telling you
this, I am not trying to redeem myself; it is far too late for
forgiveness as you no doubt know, but perhaps my story will foster
some understanding for our actions. It is all I can hope for. Now,
go! I can feel the rage building again and this time I will not hold
it at bay; I am damned beyond redemption and will act as thus. The
end is nigh and I embrace it wholeheartedly. Whatever transpires in
the next few hours, one lion will fall and one will walk away…