The Speech


A flickering glow illuminates the chapel. Torches burning in the baroque alcoves cast deep shadows about the arcane suits of power armour, their ancient wearers standing immobile, as statues in a hall of heroes. Silence envelops the chamber, each consumed by his own thoughts, giving praise to the sleeping god. Rays of colour extend along the central aisle, light from the hideous space-tear beyond illuminating a stained glass archway. The picture depicts a mighty man atop a hill of stone, his sword held aloft to the heavens, his ocean blue armour gleaming from the light beyond. He is Guilliman; the Father. Next to him, borne aloft on wings of fire, his armour glittering gold is another. He is Condorius; the Great Hawk.
A rhythmic clack disturbs the assembled peace, but none turn to look at it. A pair of armoured boots grind against the ferrocrete floor as they enter the room, surveying all before them. click-clack. click-clack. The boots are golden. Those of the Master. His armour is golden, each piece inscribed with the deeds of a thousand years, his stony face set in determination. An ancient scar crosses his face from ear to cheek. The Master marches from the entrance-arch, past the neat rows of warriors, knowing each one stands ready to lay down his life for their Emperor. He passes fifty rows, each twenty strong. A thousand silent statues ready to defend the Imperium. Beyond the warriors await four more statues. Each whose armour is ornately detailed. Two captains, Kyle and Maximus. The latter whose crater pocked armour has seen millennia of service on the battlefields of the Imperium. Then the Librarian, Aurelius Cole. Arcane symbols and warding hexes decorate his terminator armour, they seem to move in ever more complex shapes that the eye cannot follow. And lastly, the chaplain; Moriarty. The feathers hanging from his ebony black suit fluttering gently in the breeze from the air-recycler.
The Master approaches the lectern, a raised dais in front or the window. The Father and the Hawk look down upon him and he knows the weight upon his shoulders. He addresses the congregation.

"Brothers..." he speaks, his voice bellowing across the cavernous chamber.
"This is a time of great change. The forces of anarchy once again work against us. The despoiler once again brings a dark crusade upon our beloved Empire. Creatures of the void again feed upon mankind's souls. But we shall worry not. For we have faith in the Emperor, and he will guide our blades and strengthen our resolve. The Mutant, the Heretic and the Traitor will all be cast down and burn in his righteous fire.
The enemy is near. Soon our weapons will purify traitor flesh. Our faith destroy their advance. Our determination break their souls. The Emperor entrusts each and every one of us with the shelter of his realm. We are the shield that protects humanity. The space marines fear no evil for we are Fear incarnate!

There will be no forgiveness, only hate,
There will be no tolerance, only purity,
There will be no retreat, only death,
There will be no defeat, only victory!

Give no quarter, for you shall receive none. There are none who can stand against the might of the Adeptus Astartes. Together, we shall turn the traitorous legions from their path and run them down with the fury of his holy majesty, the Lord Emperor of Mankind!"

A roar goes up from the assembled warriors. Statues no more, their voices chanting in unison

"We shall cleanse the Heretic, We shall Purge the Traitor"

Master Kanati steps down from the lectern. The warriors chant as one. He is approached by Maximus. The old Terminator wants to congratulate his leader;

"A speech worthy of the Great Hawk himself". The veteran speaks gruffly, as if it requires his whole effort. "Why do you refuse to smile. There is a great victory ahead of us"
The response is quick but coldly delivered;
"A smile is the mark of a man who is sure of his victory. Such arrogance breeds errors in judgement. A man who believes he is ready for the enemy has not done all he can to prepare, and risks the lives of all those he commands. I do not pretend to be master of my warriors fate - That is the Emperor's perogative alone"

The Master passes him into the aisle, the four heroes step in behind him. He marches back, past the rows of warriors, each saluting as he passes. The cries die out and there is silence in the chamber once again. A thousand statues contemplating their master's words. A rhythmic clack fades into the distance.
click-clack. click-clack


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