Спойлер заключительной, третей, книги из цикла "Надвигающаяся Буря"
Previously, on the Gathering Storm... Cadia Falls as the 13th Black Crusade launches in full. Ynnead, Eldar God of the Dead, awakes in the ruins of Biel-Tan, and his Emmsiary, Yvraine, gathers a host of various Eldar together to form the Ynnarri. Archmagos Belisarius Cawl has an ancient pact to keep with the Lord of Ultramar (as well as a super-secret package to deliver) and must get to Macragge. Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax can’t stop thinking about Saint Celestine…
Part One – Ultramar Defiant
High in the mountains of Laphis (Shrine World, Macragge System), Black Legionaries prowl the aftermath of a bloody battle against some Ultramar Defense Auxilia. War has come to Realm of Ultramar. Not all is quiet though – the Chaos Marines have detected a build-up of aetheric energy but before they can make sense of it, a massive blast of energy hurls them about. A Webway Gate reveals itself and Ynnari and Celestinian forces burst forth, quickly cutting down the surprised Black Legion marines. Despite their alliance, the Eldar and Imperial forces remain uneasy of each other, Marshal Amalrich and Inquisitor Greyfax most of all. Saint Celestine smooths things over as debate over their next move gets a bit twitchy and it becomes apparent they will need the assistance of the Ultramarines to get to Macragge itself.
Vox intercepts have picked up indicate a massive Chaos invasion – reports of Black Legion, Alpha Legion, Iron Warriors, Emperor’s Children and more are heard. The Eldar/Imperial force sets off towards a nearby Ultramarine fortress, only to see it come under assault from Heldrake hunting packs. The Knights of House Taranis shoot them down and, recognising the authority of both an Inquisitor and the Living Saint herself, the Ultramarine defenders let them in. Celestine explains their mission – Cawl must be given an audience with the Lord of Ultramar, and smiles expectantly as a flight of Stormravens arrive. They were meant to be the air-support for the fortress, but now they’ll take the Ynnari and Celestinian ‘pilgrims’ to a waiting Strike Cruiser. But Not everyone though – of the Eldar only Yvraine and the Visarch will go to Macragge, with the rest of the Ynnari heading back into the Webway to spread word of Ynnead. The bulk of the Battle Sisters, as well as the House Taranis Knights, stay behind on Laphis to help its defence too.
The Ultramarines are cautious. The travellers are kept under guard as the Strike Cruiser makes the journey to Macragge and a meeting with Marneus Calgar, Lord of Ultramar. Amalrich and the Eldar aren’t too keen on being essentially locked up with nothing and The Visarch eventually takes to sparring abit with the Black Templar Marshal. Cawl purges Greyfax of the mindshackle scarabs that Trazyn had used to keep her captive and she endures the agonising process by keeping a close eye on Celestine. She was beginning to see that Celestine’s “divinity” was the real deal, that the light of her faith shines righteous. But Greyfax is still an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor – she is well aware of tricks and 'miracles' of foul nature. While she hopes Celestine is indeed uncorrupted, she is alert of the slightest hint of duplicity. Meanwhile, Yvraine and Cawl have a lengthy and circumspect conversation about upcoming events…
The Strike Cruiser reaches Macragge, only to find itself amidst a pitched space battle between the Ultramar Defence Fleet and the attacking Chaos Fleet. Macragge is under a full scale Chaos Invasion. Braving the firepower of ships from the Black Legion, Iron Warriors, the Purge and the Night Lords, the Ynnari and the Celestinians ride Stormravens down to the planet. Marneus Calgar has been informed of their arrival, along with their urgent request to meet with the Lord of Ultramar, and he awaits with interest. The battle rages around the Fortress of Hera, as the Ultramarines escort them to the strategium. Waiting them there are Chapter Master Calgar, First Captain Agemman, Chief Librarian Tigurius and Grand Master Voldus of the Grey Knight 3rd Brotherhood. Amalrich, Greyfax and Celestine bow before Calgar while the Eldar and Cawl stand impassively. Calgar reveals that he has no knowledge of who Cawl is and that he certainly hasn’t made any pact with an Archmagos. The Celestinians, bar Celestine herself who suddenly realises what’s going on, turn to Cawl in shock as he says he has no business with Calgar. He’s come to see the real Lord of Ultramar - Roboute Guilliman himself.
This raises an immediate outcry amongst the Ultramarines and weapons are raised in warning, as Cawl speaks basically of sacrilege. Celestine tries to explain - “would it help if I said we’re on a mission from God?” – but finds muzzles aimed her way too. Yvraine and the Visarch ready themselves for battle, but Chief Librarian Tigurius speaks up for Cawl. He has been having ominous visions of troubling times, visions that had helped prepare Macragge for defence against the Chaos Invasion, and he believes that these travellers have an important role to play. Calgar, who is still overseeing the defence of Macragge in the background as the standoff/discussion takes place, makes his decision: they will be allowed to enter the Shrine of Guilliman, but under heavy Ultramarine guard. Greyfax shared a glance with Amalrich – the Ultramarines would not be the only ones to exact swift vengeance if Cawl or the Ynnari stepped out of line with any more unexpected revelations.
Agemman stays behind to oversee the defences, while Calgar, Tigurius, Voldus, a smattering of 1st and 3rd Company Battle-Brothers and Honour Guard escort the Cawl and his compatriots to the Shrine. Guilliman lies before them, on a Throne of marble, gold and adamantium surrounded by the workings of his stasis field, the wounds on his armour from his final duel with Fulgrim still visible. Pausing to bow respect before the Primarch, Calgar again demands Cawl to tell him what his purpose is. Cawl explains that 10 millennia ago, before Guilliman was mortally wounded, the Primarch came to him and charged him with two great labours and that he was here to deliver on the first of those promises. Cawl had brought with him a new suit of armour fit for the Primarch, one that’s life-support systems could heal his wounds. The Ultramarines are stunned into silence – their Primarch, living and breathing again… could it be possible? Yvraine speaks up, explaining that the power she wields as the Emissary of Ynnead will be key to restoring Guilliman. But such power is not wielded without sacrifice – for Guilliman to live again, he must first die. This raises the immediate ire of the Ultramarines again, Calgar declaring that no witch will ever lay hands on the Primarch. Voldus, Greyfax and Marshal Amalrich stand with Calgar. Tigurius moves to stand with Cawl and the Ynnari. Celestine implores everyone to have faith; that this is the will of the Emperor. Weapons are raised yet again, and tensions are about to boil over…
Calgar receives a priority vox, and he’s barely able to shout a warning as an Ultramarine Thunderhawk comes crashing down in the cavernous shrine. Spilling out from its holds come a host of Chaos Raptors, wearing the colours of the Black Legion. They fan out quickly, attaching spiked icons to the floor. Teleportation flares thunder out, and Black Legion Terminators warp in and start laying fire into the Ultramarines. Calgar is aghast – Chaos, in the Primarch’s Shrine??? It’s more likely than you think! Forced to put aside his distrust of Cawl and the Ynnari for the moment, he charges into the Chaos forces - Celestine, Amalrich and Voldus with him - as pitched battle breaks out. Greyfax meanwhile copped a glancing hit in the opening salvo that knocked the wind out of her, and she’s forced to take cover. While she’s hanging back, she’s assessing the battlefield and can’t help but notice Celestine cutting a swathe through the Chaos marines – she may not fully trust the Saint, but she could not fault the woman’s selflessness or skill. Eyes on the prize Katarinya…
Greyfax’s psyocculum starts picking up on weird readings. Following the psyocculum’s needle, she notices Cawl, Tigurius and the Ynnari standing next to Guilliman’s stasis-pod. She watches as Tigurius blasts some charging Bezerkers and the realises that the weird readings she’s getting are of the psyocculum picking up a life energy transfer from the dead Bezerkers to Yvraine. She’s tries to dash out of cover, intending to go stop whatever unholy ritual is about to be performed, but she’s pinned in place by autocannon fire. Calgar notices the commotion too, and watches in horror as Yvraine raises her sword above Guilliman. He shouts a command to Tigurius, ordering him to stop the xenos witch, but Tigurius shakes his head in response as Yvraine cuts through the power cables sustaining the stasis field. The auto-reliquary that Cawl had been transporting then unfurls, and engulfs Guilliman.
The Black Legion forces, as if sensing the immensity of what’s about to happen, redouble their attacks and start to push the Ultramarine defenders back. A Chaos Sorcerer uses the new Heretic Astartes Geomortis Psychic Powers (pick up your datacards today kids!) to try and collapse the very foundations of the shrine itself – Tigurius desperately trying to make his Deny the Witch roll to prevent it – as Grey Knight Paladins teleport in shore up the defence. The battle hangs in the balance…. But a new wave of Dreadclaws smash down – 10 of the them! – and disgorge nearly a hundred new chaos marines into the fray. Calgar tries to rally to the Primarch’s Throne, but he’s tarpitted and brought to the ground by pile of Chaos Marines. Celestine is injured, an arm hanging uselessly at her side, and Amalarich finds himself bogged down too. Things look done for the Imperials as the Black Legion forces are mere meters from the throne… when the lights on the auto-reliquary blink from red to green. With a hiss, the arms of the auto-reliquary fold back and stepping out with a breathtaking splendour strides Roboute Guilliman.
(There’s a quick aside here, to briefly refresh our knowledge of the Primarchs and Guilliman in particular. It matches up with the fluff from the Horus Heresy series, alluding to Imperium Secundus amongst other things)
A stunned silence sweeps over the battlefield for a few moments as the presence of a Primarch seems to fill the massive room. It’s broken by the crazed charge of a lone Bezerker, who rushes Guilliman. But, with a speed that even the Ynnari would struggle to match, Guilliman neatly swings the Emperor’s Sword and cleaves the Bezerker in two. The moment is broken, and with a hateful cry the Black Legion forces charge at the Primarch. Guilliman strides directly to meet them. Celestine was not immune to the presence of the Primarch either – she sees it as straight up vindication of everything she has ever fought for, the Emperor’s Will made manifest. She sheds a single golden tear as she offers up prayers of thanks to the Emperor. A Black Legionnaire tries to strike at her while she’s distracted, except Celestine is anything but – she feels her injuries heal, and she drives the Ardent Blade through the traitor. She takes to the air, jumping across the battlefield to land next to Greyfax, who’s blasting away at Heretics with her boltgun.
“I erred,” Greyfax admits, “and I will do Penance. You truly are the instrument of the Emperor’s Will.”
“Vigilance is not a sin, Katarinya,” Celestine replies, “You serve Him as surely as I”.
“Indeed. Let us serve him together, as true warriors of Faith.” Together, Celestine and Greyfax launch themselves into the battle. Way better love story than Twilight.
Guilliman is utterly wrecking the Black Legion forces. None of his foes can even come close to matching the preternatural speed and skill of a Primarch. Every swing of his sword, every shot from his gauntlet sends traitor marines crumbling. His expression is grave – his last memory was of a desperate battle against a hateful brother, yet now he suddenly finds himself in a strange place surrounded by twisted and warped Astartes. Even the boys in blue are unfamiliar to him, but at least he can recognise them as allies. He eventually pushes to the downed form of Marneus Calgar. Calgar is badly injured, armour cracked and broken, but he’s alive and he looks up into the face of his Primarch in disbelief as Guilliman checks he still lives before moving on to continue his route of the Chaos Marines. The Black Legion morale is broken at this point, and they begin to flee – but not one of the will escape the Fortress of Hera alive.
Reinforcements arrive as the battle winds down, every one of the newly arriving Ultramarines dropping to their knees before the Primarch. Guilliman quickly takes charge of the scene, his strategic acumen taking over. He makes no reference to his miraculous rebirth, and none of the Ultramarines dare ask. News of the Primarch’s Rise spread through the fortress like wildfire, proclamations blaring from every vox speaker on every rampart. The Ultramarine and Ultramar Defense Auxilia manning the battlements are at first confused before finding new strength in the words they hear. In contrast, the Chaos forces arrayed against them begin to feel doubt and unease at the thought of a Primarch meeting them in battle.
Guilliman makes for the strategium, with a wounded Calgar at his side, where he formally requests command of the battle from First Captain Agemman. With Guilliman now in charge, the defense of the Fortress of Hera quickly turns in the Ultramarines favour. In short order, the fortress is swept of the Chaos presence and the Ultramarine’s stronghold on Macragge is secured. A ceremony is held in the Chapter Master’s sanctum, now to become the throne-room of the Primarch, as Guilliman is formally invested as a Lord of Ultramar and Master of the Ultramarines in front of the top command personnel and representatives of every Company of the Chapter. Saint Celestine ceremoniously gives him her blessings, and even Yvrainne and the Visarch are lurking in the background watching. The ceremony concludes, with Guilliman requesting to know everything that happened while he was gone…