Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Things To Do In High City When You're Dead Drunk

Horus Rising: The Deceived (V)

Reaver Titan, Legio Mortis
(copyright Games Workshop)

Welcome, citizens, to the Truth.

Presented here for the very first time since it was smuggled out at great cost from a Tarask-class vessel moments before it was scuttled by Battlefleet Isoka, five verses of a poem apparently written some centuries after the conclusion of the Horus Heresy.  The author is unknown, as is the manner by which he or she acquired so much detailed knowledge of events that took place so long before.

On the world that almost passed us by,
Numbers sit o'er its name, erased,
Where the fool Karkasy found his muse,
And lost his mind, and fell from grace.

Whilst upright he was no upright man.
Whilst down none chose to mourn his plight.
But the ugly truth that no-one saw?
There's little doubt that he was right.

For Garviel, Terra claimed every world,
As did Abaddon in his turn
Proclaim Horus lord of mankind,
And none foresaw how all would burn.

He retched truth along with liquorice stink
This poet in a drunkard's drawl
He spat out the future in a bar
He lost his teeth in pointless brawl. 

Why? Just for knowing what comes to pass
Nought we've begun will prove to last.
Wars fought to keep hold, no man can win,
The only victor there: the past.

Note that the owning - or reading - of this poem carries the death sentence on every Imperial world.


What Was

Let's change gears here, and try another round of word association:


A giant robot type thing. Like that thing in your drop-box (she means drop-pod, and my Death Company dreadnought), only much bigger, and with multiple Astartes inside.


Er, I don't know. Are they elite engineers, architects, and builders?


Don't remember. Are they the Astartes who aren't Luna Wolves.  The ones that are builders?


The court of the Emperor? A group of counsellors from various different branches of the elite?

This would seem to confirm the hypothesis that there's an awful lot of background being thrown at the reader, maybe too much.  And yes, there is information on the above that Fliss hasn't managed to retain, but she's read each chapter carefully at least once, so if it isn't sticking, I don't think it's her to blame.

What Is

This is the first chapter of the book to not feature any Astartes at all, besides the two sentries at Momnus' speech. We've talked already about whether the book benefits or suffers when the Astartes characters are off-set by the human perspective.  How does it work when they're (temporarily) removed entirely?

It's fine. With Karkasy introduced, you've got to use him, and you should be following his thoughts and actions.  It's important to learn about the unrest on the planet, and you'd not get that from watching the Astartes wandering around.  Everyone would be too scared to act 'normally'.

A related question: there's really not much that happens in this chapter in terms of the wider story - not unless you think there's going to be a major outcry over Karkasy's fate, and that seems unlikely. So why did Abnett bother to include it?

I think it'll inform something later on.  Surely questions will be raised over Karkasy, at least.  And yes,  the Astartes probably won't care, but the remembrancers will.  They might have to have escorts all the time from now on, which might lead to remembrancers and Astartes - read: Mersadie and Garviel - spending more time together.

Also, up until now, all we have is the official line that the planet is compliant, and that's ridiculous.  People aren't just going to willingly turn round and support invaders after they've just had their religious leader killed.

You had a very low opinion of Ignace Karkasy when you first met him.  What are your thoughts on his character now you've spent an entire chapter in his company?

It did help to have a back-story and read his thoughts.  He's clearly human, and his self-doubt makes him seem less of an arrogant dick.  I like how he thinks about how ridiculous it is that people would want to worship the Emperor as a god, but then he has these silly superstitions about his notebooks.

Speaking of which, I'd like it entered into the record that Karkasy is totally right; writing on paper is much better than typing into a computer.  Did they keep calling it Bond?  Isn't that a paper company already?  Did anyone get money for advertising them like that?

You're a well-read woman; did you know "ordure" is synonymous with "shit"?

No. Is it French?

(Actually, yes it is.  See how we're both entertaining and educational? No need to thank us, internet!)

What Will Be

We have talked already about the central paradox of the Great Crusade: that they're all convinced there's no god because the almighty and perfect Emperor has told them so. We learn here that some people are explicitly squaring that circle by naming the Emperor a god.  Where do you see this idea going?

There are two possibilities that occur to me here.  The first is that the Emperor worshippers are eventually going to be found out, and the Luna Wolves are going to be ordered to kill them, which obviously Loken isn't going to be happy with.  The other possibility is that someone is going to try to assassinate the Emperor - and maybe even succeed - because it's been mentioned that he can only really become a god once he's dead.

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