Ingethel chuckled as she felt the emotions coursing through Merek.
+Oh, you wish to hurt me, don’t you?+ She flowed around the Space Marine as though she were a serpent, despite having wizened clawed legs. +I can feel it, mortal, why don’t you lash at me? Strike me down?+
“Because I am on the verge of discovery, the very cusp of understanding, and the fact that you are here proves that you knew I would come”
Ingethel’s bladed maw stretched into what can only be described as a ‘smile’.
+Indeed, I knew one would be at this here-and-now seeking truth when all else has failed+
“Nothing else has failed me, Daemon, I simply seek the truth”
+Your Imperium? Your… Steward of the Throne?+
The High Chaplain said nothing, as much as he wanted to. Ingethel held her smug pose waiting for a reaction despite her ability to already sense the doubt in her charge’s mind.
+Then… we have much to explore+ and with but a thought a shimmering tear in reality opened beside Grimaldus as the Daemon lovingly stretched a barbed hand over his backpack and clutched his far pauldron, ushering him forward. Grimaldus’ skin shivvered at the touch transferred through his auto-receptive armor to his senses and reluctantly walked through the hole in the universe.
The journey was over as soon as it had begun – Grimaldus felt nothing of the path they took but the resulting symptoms were enough, blood trickled from his nose and the corner of his right eye but he objected to removing his helmet. His suit’s bio-sensors told him he was safe enough and, despite the intense thrust-sickness and debilitating nausea, that would have to do for now.
+You know I could have taken you anywhere? I could have planted you waist-deep and upside-down in Nurgle’s Garden or taken you to Khorne’s Grand Colosseum?+ Ingethel mused.
“Trust works two ways, Daemon, I could take your eye out with the heat of a thousand suns with my plasma pistol, or cave in your disfigured head with my mace, it’s your call”
Ingethel cracked a brief laugh, not bothering to look at him,
+Not in the position to be making threats now, are you?+
Grimaldus shrugged slightly, partially hoping his wayward ‘guardian’ would not notice.
Before them, great gilded spires and gargantuan obelisks of shimmering precious metals split the sky in a great city inspired by the most ancient days of Terra, but for all it’s beauty the sun was blacked out, blanketed by a swarm of insect-like objects covering the atmosphere.
“Drop pods…?” Grimaldus queried, the daemon beside him nodded but he didn’t notice. He snapped his neck around, taking in as much as possible before coming to the conclusion “this is the judgement of Magnus, the last time the Thousand Sons were ever deemed loyal”
+Yesss…+ came the reply, +and to them you are very real… there are infinite possibilities through infinite timelines so do not be mistaken by thinking I am showing you a hallucination… a memory… this is all very real…+
Ingethel whipped her arm out and grabbed the Chaplain, dragging them both through the warp to a new location, but not time.
+Shh+ the daemon raised a hooked talon to her slimy lips preempting Grimaldus’ surprise.
They were in a chamber, it was incredibly tall with no windows save one at the end of the hall and a multitude of books and scriptures were strewn around the room, compelling those curious enough to throw open their covers and absorb their knowledge. A figure obscured the window ahead. No figure, but a Primarch. Grimaldus’s hearts raced with all too familiar hatred for the traitor and the witch, but he tempered it with knowledge of their current situation. Magnus was no traitor, not yet, anyway, and he was the Primarch created by the Emperor to be his psychic equal.
“Approach, you must have so many questions…” the giant boomed with authority, and underlying kindness. Ingethel bowed with an outstreched arm, bidding Grimaldus to proceed.
“What is happening?” he began,
“The Wolves of Russ have come… loosed by the Emperor to bring me to heel…”
Magnus chuckled lightly, but did not break his gaze from the entropic myriad of colors blazing across the horizon.
“Remember to whom you speak” he said.
“I do, Lord, but I fear I don’t have much time and there is so much to know”
“I admire that, Son of Dorn” Magnus began, “I saw the Heresy unfold.. I saw the twin outcomes of fate and I tried to warn my Father… against his decree,” the crimson giant smiled with a look of knowing the ironic past, pointing to the Chaplain’s iron manacles connecting to his weapons, “do you know why you wear those?”
Grimaldus took a second to acknowledge the shift in topic so unexpectedly,
“It was a tradition passed down by our Founding Son, High Marshal Sigismund, First Ca-”
“-Captain of the Imperial Fists Legion, I know, little one… but did you know that he actually honored this tradition from his good friend and comrade, Kharn of the World Eaters?”
“I did not” Grimaldus could barely contain his shock. Behind him, Ingethel sniggered as she felt the ebb and flow of his emotions. Magnus gave no inclination to experiencing this, despite the fact he undoubtedly could have done if he so wished.
“You must know, Fist of Dorn, that the universe is not binaric… it is not this or that, up or down, left or right… it is curbed by emotion, belief and opinion, it is given magnitude and triviality in equal amounts by external forces, so not is all is it may seem… that was always my quest, my ambition – to understand the universe in all ways, from all perspectives… and I admire that in some way, you seek the same.”
“I do” he replied, smiling beneath the contradictory skull-visage of his helmet.
Suddenly Magnus began to move, causing Grimaldus to leap erratically aside in muscle-drilled readiness.
“Alas, my own Sons approach,” he paused in an admission of sadness, “strange how in my moment of greatest regret… of greatest anguish… it is not one of my own sons who visits me first?” and with a final slanted smile, framed by the scar-tissue of his missing eye, Magnus the Red clapped his hands, transporting his visitors to the edge of his doomed city.
Grimaldus looked on. The Wolves had landed, and Prospero began to burn.
+He doesn’t know the truth, ironically… his patron granted him clarity in the amount that would benefit the grand scheme of things…+
This grabbed the Chaplain’s attention, he spun around and sublimely raised his pistol to the creature’s bloated cranium in a single motion.
+The Emperor did not want Magnus to die+ she snickered, covering her mucus-crusted teeth with a wiry claw, +Horus twisted the Emperor’s orders and had Russ butcher them+
The daemon broke out in emphasized laughter as her companion loosed a round of super-heated plasma, but she dissolved around the shot, only to reappear behind him and grip his pauldrons.
+Don’t+ she hissed in his ear while opening another warp-rift.