|Emperor's Children (copyright Games Workshop)|
Our relocation from Sixty-Three Nineteen to the world of Murder provides an opportunity for us to shift our focus. Not just in the literal sense, where we exchange a Terra-like world for one of milky, storm-wracked skies, looming spiked trees, and blurred dashes of insectoid death. The bizarre and lethal nature of what the Blood Angels were once so presumptuous as to call One-Forty Twenty may be of interest to xenoarcheologists - a strangely sterile term for defiling the long-dead to create new ways to slay the still-living - but in revealing the truth of the Horus Heresy our interest lies elsewhere.
With Rogal Dorn among those responsible for elevating Loken to the Mournival, the Emperor's Children were not the first Legion to make their mark upon the story of the Luna Wolves' final days, but through the engagement on Murder, their contribution stretches far wider across the canvas. It would be wise, then, to consider here the nature of the III Legion.
After so total a change in focus, we might hope to escape our regular missives on the tragic pride of those who fell to Chaos, but alas here we cannot: the Emperor's Children are pride personified. The best we can say is that their particular brand of pride is very different to that of Horus' Legion. The Luna Wolves practise pride of an insular and solipsistic sort. They will maintain their Legion's superiority when challenged, but left to their own devices it is rare to hear them so much as mention their fellow battle-brothers. The Emperor's Children, on the other hand, seem to define themselves almost entirely by how they differ from their comrades. One might call this an insecure kind of arrogance, but it is arrogance nonetheless.
This is most obvious in warriors like Lucius and Eidolon, who apparently can barely draw breath without announcing their superiority over their fellow Astartes, whether they be within or without the Emperor's Children. Given their fate, one might conclude such cupidity accounts for their downfall. Only a fool would claim such an idea was entirely without merit, but even Saul Tarvitz, leader of the loyalist Emperor's Children on Istvaan III, suffered from the affliction. Indeed, in some ways Tarvitz was more blind to the problem than his fellows. It takes a unique form of self-ignorance to consider oneself superior to other Legions because you alone recognise superiority is not the point. Lucius might have been an unbearable braggart, but at least he wasn't a blind hypocrite.
The conclusion here is that obsession with one's fellows is no more sensible than solipsistic disinterest. There is a middle way though, and Saul Tarvitz will eventually find it. Not that the way is clear, of course.
The spiders are coming.
With part two of novel one finally begun, this strikes me as an ideal time to hear, straight from the metaphorical dobbin's gob, what has taken place up to this point. Take it away, Fliss:
Some guy from Cthulhu got sent to a planet instead of a diplomat, so he got killed. Then there was a religious war, and Loken got raised to the Mournival, who are leaders of a war-band, running around the galaxy making war on everyone they can. Weaknesses in the Astartes were recognised in the mutated body of Jubal. A woman called Mersadie got introduced, but they've done nothing with her. Maybe they'll flesh her character out just before they kill her.
Any initial on whatever is stalking the Astartes through the tall grass?
That's not a thought, it's a noun.
The trees are stalking them.
Oh, OK, interesting. I was going to ask you later about the trees, since Saul Tarvitz mentioned them having a purpose.
Hence why I mention it. There's the giant spiders as well. Maybe there's tiny giant spiders -
Also known as spiders.
- in the trees keeping an eye on them. The storms are involved as well. It says they suspect whomever is on the planet is controlling the storms. Anyone sufficiently in control to control storms should be able to control trees. Or maybe the trees are like Ents, and it's them creating the storms. Maybe they've created the arachnids as well, as soldiers.
I don't understand why the Astartes are attacking in the first place. The spiders don't seem to have a faith, so it's not like the Emperor's Children are there to spread their religion - sorry, lack of religion.
We get some interesting mysteries introduced here, or at least potential mysteries. The trees we've covered. What do you think the orbital music systems are all about?
Was it Aristotle who defined harmonies using mathematics?
I don't know. Google says it might be Pythagoras.
Didn't he have a crazy cult? And wouldn't eat beans. Or only eat beans.
Beans were certainly involved in some capacity.
He gets a lot of bad press. Mind you, he gets credit he doesn't deserve it, too.
In fairness, before he was born there wasn't anything between a circle and a square. No-one what could fill the, er, triangle-shaped void... That might not be entirely true.
Anyway, given that physics is basically maths with bits added-
Bits taken away, surely? "First we pretend these different spheres are actually the same." Fuck off.
We don't study stars.
No, we solve useful things.
As I was saying, is it so hard to believe people could learn how to travel through space using music instead of maths. Alternatively, it could just be a message. A method of communication. Like whales.
I was kind of hoping you'd say "It look like a warning."
Because that's a quote from Alien.
Well I talked about maths instead! Fuck off.
Aside from meeting Sigismund and Rogal Dorn at Horus' cocktail evening, we haven't spent much time at all with Astartes outside the Luna Wolves. What are your initial impressions of the Emperor's Children?
The Blood Angels coming down first suggests again the competition between the Astartes. Though since they're all apparently from different planets you can think of it as different races competing.
Can we? Are they not just the same species from different planets?
I don't know what you'd call that.
Colonisation? Seriously, this idea has been around for a while.
The fact they're called Emperors' Children makes me think their cloned from the Emperor himself. Or maybe they resemble him in the same way the Luna Wolves look like Horus. Maybe there's a metaphor being played out here: Horus' Astartes rescuing the Emperor's Children might be a comment on Horus' strength and the Emperor's weakness.
Also, the Emperor's Children reminds me of that film where everyone is bred for a specific role; hence why Saul only wants to follow and Lucius is a bit more ambitious.
I dunno. The Island, maybe?
I guess, in that everyone there was bred for the specific job of being cut open to keep rich people happy. To be honest, if it wasn't Scarlett Johansson in her underwear, I've blocked it out. I don't think anyone can argue I chose wrongly.
While we're (sort of) on the topic of cocktails, what do you think Horus' favourite mixed alcoholic beverage might be?
Beer with tequila?
Don't be ridiculous; I drink that.
I mean with a tequila chaser.
Oh, so that he seems more working class?
It does say he wants to appear "lowborn". Maybe it's Guinness and whiskey.
So he can appear working class and Irish?
Actually, that sounds a bit offensive. Put down Newky Brown instead.
Yes, that's dodged a bullet. Well done.
What Will Be
Where do you see events on and around Murder going, and how will it tie into part one?
Well given you paint Blood Angels, we can assume they don't all die, or you'd look pretty stupid. Horus will go and save the other primarch, which will put the Emperor's Children into his debt. That will help with the whole "Horus Rising" thing. Meanwhile, Loken will end up talking with Tarvitz.
Can one Legion subsume another one? Would the Luna Wolves take on the remaining Emperor's Children and Blood Angels on Murder? Can that work when they're from different planet? Maybe they deliberately build up animosity between them? As with any pair of different people living close together. Like the Welsh and the English. Or the Scottish and the English. Or the Irish and the English. Or the French and the English.
A theme may be developing here.
Also, I think the spiders might turn out to have been the Blood Angels all along. Twist!