The Flight of the Eisenstein (43 page)

BOOK: The Flight of the Eisenstein
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The leaden certainty in his voice told Garro that no argument would shift his brother from this path. What will you do?'

Voyen indicated his wargear. 'I relinquish my honour as an Astartes and warrior of the XIV Legion. I have had my fill of death and treachery. My service from this point on will be to the Apothecaria Majoris of Terra. I have decided to dedicate the rest of my life to search for a cure for the malady that claimed Decius and the others. If Grulgor did not lie, then that horror may already be spreading among our kinsmen, and I must hold true to my oath as a healer above and beyond my oath as a Death Guard.'

Garro studied his friend for a long moment, then extended a hand to him. Very well, Meric. I hope you will find victory in this new battle.'

Voyen shook his hand. 'And I hope you will find victory in yours.'

'Nathaniel,'

He turned from the window of the observation gallery and gasped. The woman stepped out from between the two Silent Sisters and touched him on the. arm. 'Keeler? I thought you had been taken.' She smiled a little, and he studied her. She seemed fatigued, but otherwise unharmed. 'They have not hurt you?'

'Is there ever a day when you don't concern yourself with the welfare of others?' she asked lightly. 'I have been allowed a moment of respite. How are you, Nathaniel?'

He threw a look back at the curve of Terra beyond the armourglass. 'I am... uneasy. I feel as if I am a different man, as if everything that led up to the flight from Isstvan was just a prologue. I am changed, Euphrati.'

They were quiet for a moment before he spoke again. 'Was that you? In the citadel, when Decius broke free, and then again out on the surface? Did you warn me?'

"What do you believe?'

He frowned. 'I believe I would like a straight answer.'

'There is a bond,' said Keeler quietly. Tm only just starting to see the edges of it myself: between you and me, between the past and the future.' She nodded at the planet. 'Between the Emperor and his sons. All things, but like all bonds, it must be tested to keep it strong. That moment is upon us now, Nathaniel. The storm is coming.'

'I am ready' Garro's hand found hers and enveloped it. 'I was there when Horus betrayed his brothers. By the Emperor's grace, I will be there when he is called to account for his heresy'

Beneath the light of Terra, the two of them, soldier and saint together, looked to the birth world of their species; and as one, they began to pray.

 

TIMELINE

 

Millennia Age Notes

1-15 Age of Terra Humanity dominates Earth.

Civilisations come and go. The Solar system is colonised. Mankind lives on Mars and the moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune.

15-18 Age of Mankind begins to colonise

Technology the stars using sub-light spacecraft. At first only nearby systems can be reached and the colonies established on them must survive as independent states since they are separated from Earth by up to ten generations of travel.

18-22 Age of Invention of the warp-drive

Technology accelerates the colonising of the galaxy. Federations and empires are founded. First aliens encountered and first Alien Wars are fought. First human psykers scientifically proved to exist. Psykers begin to appear throughout human worlds.

22-25 Age of First Navigators are born

Technology allowing human spaceships to make even longer, quicker warp-jumps. Mankind enters a golden age of enlightenment as scientific and technological progress accelerates. Human worlds unite and non-aggression pacts are secured with dozens of alien races.

25-26 Age of Terrible warp-storms inter-

Strife rupt interstellar travel.

Sporadic at first, the storms eventually prevent any warp-jumps being made. The incidence of human mutation increases rapidly. Mankind enters a dark period of anarchy and despair.

26-30 Age of Human worlds ripped apart

Strife by civil wars, revolts, alien predation and invasion. Human psykers and other mutants dominate some worlds and these rapidly fall prey to warp-creatures. Humanity is on the brink of destruction.

30- Age of Earth is conquered by the present Imperium Emperor and enters an alliance with the Mechan-icum of Mars. Finally the warp-storms abate and interstellar travel is possible again. The Emperor builds the Astro-nomican and creates the Space Marine Legions. Human worlds reunited by the Emperor in a Great Crusade that lasts for two hundred years.

 

About the Author

 

James Swallow's stories from the dark worlds of
Warhammer 40,000
include
Faith &
Fire,
the

Blood Angels
books
Deus Encarmine
and
Deus

Sanguinius,
as well as short fiction for
Inferno!
and
What Price Victory.
Black Flame novels to his credit include
Jade Dragon,
the Judge

Dredd novels
Eclipse
and
Whiteout, Rogue

Trooper: Blood Relative,
and the movie adaptation
The Butterfly Effect.

James's other credits include writing for
Star Trek Voyager,
scripts for videogames and audio dramas. He lives in London and his website is

hometown.aol. со.uk/Redwingproject/main. htm

BOOK: The Flight of the Eisenstein
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