Wednesday, 6 November 2013

We're All Stories In The End

Horus Rising: Brotherhood In Spiderland (VI)

Iacton Qruze (copyright DartP)
Welcome, citizens, to the Truth.

So we have been saying that for the last sixteen weeks.  The simple fact, though, is that here in our bunker beside our illicit astropathic array, we cannot claim to be sure what any given fact actually is. The truth might be inviolate, but it is not easily duplicated. 

This is most clear during the final days spent around One Forty Twenty, as Loken reads The Chronicles of Ursh.  It is not just that the book could be as much myth and madness as it is fact - no historian could witness a war between two unimaginably powerful schools of psykers and describe it coherently - we must also contend with the fact that we can only work with Loken's interpretation of that text.  Here, ten thousand years on since the attempted pacification of the world of Murder, we cannot read The Chronicles... for ourselves, nor any other document from its time which might provide context.

And so, here we are, offering our thoughts to you, so that you can interpret how we interpret how Garviel Loken interpreted The Chronicles of Ursh as its writer interpreted events thousands of years lost.

Nor is this some minor academic point. The inability to distinguish between events and the stories of those events can cause great problems.  A minor example is Iacton Qruze, who seems to be almost entirely within his stories of a Legion that not only no longer exists as he remembers it, but possibly never did.  Far more seriously, had Horus understood the visions he was offered on Davin were versions of the truth, rather than the truth itself, Erebus might not have found the results of his machinations quite so satisfactory.

Oftentimes, a tragedy of brother fighting brother can be traced back to simple mis-communication.  The history of the Heresy - to the extent we can trust what we think we know about it, of course - is less to do with missing information so much as the fictions that inevitably grow in the absence of that information, like fungus in corners the sun forgets to reach.

Soon, enough, events will accelerate, as Erebus makes his move, and the information that would save Horus stops being merely absent, and begins to be deliberately withheld. That process will begin in the Interex's Hall of Devices, but other issues will occupy us first.

We have an angel to deal with.


What Was

I rather like Loken's experiences with The Chronicles Of Ursh.  It's quite Gene Wolfe, really. It's also a useful look into the history of the universe Loken inhabits.  Did anything there leap out at you?

It was an interesting look at how they used to do Crusades, and the prototype Astartes. Plus, it explains what happened to Xavyer.  Otherwise, though, it was mainly just more fighting.

You weren't intrigued by a tribe of pilots who almost never touch the ground, or the terrifying might of the Red Engines?

I remember none of these things.  Though I was fairly drunk when I read it.  I remember the insect swarms, though.  I'm surprised you were able to keep reading after that.

I've read that chapter three times, and I'd never picked up on that. Blanked it out, clearly.

Really, I think Loken's reactions were more interesting than the book itself. And why Sindermann recommended it. Once I got to the part where someone turned against his friends just like Jubal did, it all made sense. Maybe Sindermann has another explanation for what happened?  Or maybe the "magic" they used in ...Ursh is part of the Warp?  I still don't understand what the Warp is, which isn't helping.  Every time I read it I assume they're talking about a warp-drive.

While I'm on the subject, why are all these people so convinced about everything having a scientific explanation if they can't understand the Warp?

I guess they don't need to have an explanation, they just need to believe one exists.

But if it works like magic, and they have no idea what it is, how can they just wave it away?

I think they sort of side-step it, by just saying "the laws of physics work differently there", and leaving it at that.  Though I accept that "different laws of physics" isn't much different to "it's just magic" as an explanation.

I think this was the first time it's mentioned that Horus was "repatriated" to the Luna Wolves some time after they had already been in action. Shall we have a quick update on Legion Nature According to Fliss?

Well we already know he's not from the same planet as the Luna Wolves.  "Repatriate" implies a return, so the question is what was he returning to.  Presumably there must have been a Primarch before Horus: so what happened to him?  I presume Horus did something to upset the Emperor (who might not have been an Emperor at that point), and eventually fought hard enough to regain favour. 

If there were prototype Astartes, actually, were there prototype Primarchs? These new Primarchs certainly don't seem to be doing the job.  Back in the old days the Legions were all fighting alongside each other.  These days they seem to spend most of their time sniping at each other. There seemed to be a lot of friction between the Luna Wolves and the Imperial Fists when they were around, and the Emperor's Children seem to just deliberately piss other Legions off.  Even Torgaddon's comment to Tarvitz about how the Wolves respect the Emperor's Children reads like a dismissal of the other Legions.

What Is

We talked back when Jubal first went crazy and murderous that there might have been some kind of hallucinogenic agent warping what was genuinely going on. Have Keeler's pictures/Sindermann's book changed your mind on that?

Actually, I don't think the picture discussion is all that helpful. I'm struggling to understand what the picture is supposed to look like. It just sounds like a blur of light around Jubal. They talk about 'nightmares' and 'abominations', but that could just be because he was attacking people.  Who knows how people look when they're outside time and space?

Which in itself is surely indicative of something else going on.

Well, it's the Warp, or whatever.  Messing around with reality. Like something in Next Gen, or Stargate. Did you appreciate my references?

Very good, dear.

Were you as disappointed as I was that Torgaddon didn't punch Eidolon repeatedly in the face?

Yes, but he couldn't realistically have done it.

Why not?

He'd have been punished for that, I imagine.  Or Eidolon would have demanded a duel. Bolt pistols at dawn.

I would have thought you can slap around people under your command whenever you like.  Particularly when they are purple-clad douchebags.

But how does the ranking work here?  Why does Eidolon obviously think Torgaddon is beneath him?  Is there an equivalent to Lord Commander in the Luna Wolves?

I think the closest equivalent would be the Mournival, but I'm not sure.  The Emperor's Children confuse me on this. I would hazard a guess that the only Luna Wolf Eidolon would consider his equal would be Abaddon, as captain of the 1st Company.

I guess the Mournival might not be officially recognised command unit, at least where other Legions are concerned.

It's certainly only the Warmaster's direct command to Torgaddon to take charge that shuts Eidolon up.  Before Horus' promotion, I'm not sure there's an Astartes in the galaxy who Eidolon wouldn't have assumed he could order about.

Was Eidolon around when the Emperor's Children were fighting alongside the Luna Wolves?  I'd have thought Torgaddon would have recognised him?

Ordinarily I'd agree; usually seniority of rank implies long years of service.  With Eidolon, though, I don't know.  He strikes me as a smarmy arse-kisser who's climbed the ranks pretty quickly.  Which kind of explains his simultaneous superiority and inferiority complexes.

Like people who come straight out of university to a management role, or those people who are suddenly going to be in charge of the police force without any experience on the beat?

Far-future genetically-engineered warrior equivalent of.

Why do you think Lucius is such a fan of Eidolon?

I think Lucius has just completely bought into the idea that the Emperor's Children are the best Legion.  He's probably in this story so that we can compare him with Tarvitz and see how much cooler he is than his comrades.  Though it might also be to cause more friction with the Luna Wolves. I can see Lucius butting heads with Loken, in particular.

Any thoughts on Iacton Qruze?

He might be useful at some point with strategy for the Legion.  Mainly he just seems useless, though, and I don't understand why no-one's gotten rid of him. If he has all these dangerous and heretical ideas.

I don't think his ideas are dangerous, so much as so old-fashioned nobody has any interest in hearing them.

It's interesting to think what would happen to a mind after all that time.  Has he gone demented from everything he's seen?

Maybe, though there doesn't seem to be any sign of that.  He just seems to be like any other man whose glory days are long gone, only he has to spend their time surrounded by reminders of who he once was.

Was he one of the proto-Astartes?  And what happened to all of the other ones?

He might have been around since the beginning; it depends on what "proto-Astartes" actually means. I imagine the rest all died in battle.  It's pretty heavily suggested that getting to Qruze's age is pretty unlikely for an Astartes. It does make me wonder how often the 3rd Company gets to see combat, actually. 

What would happen if they retired him?  Would he get to spend his days in fields like a horsey? Or would they break him down and recycle his parts.

It depends how Orwellian they're feeling, I guess.

What Will Be

Loken put an awful lot of effort this chapter into insisting nothing could possibly ever cause the Emperor's Legions to fight each other, even as Torgaddon came within inches of being attacked by Eidolon's personal guard.  If and when fighting breaks out, what do you think the sides will look like? Will the Luna Wolves fight the Emperor's Children?  Or will it be something a little more complicated?

I think more complicated. A lot depends on Fulgrim's reaction to Eidolon's spat with Torgaddon.  If Fulgrim takes his Lord Commander's side, things could come to blows.  Sanginius' reaction to what's happened to his Blood Angels will be interesting to watch as well.  Will he be thankful for the rescue attempts, or will he be annoyed that they failed, or think the other Legions are interfering? Lastly, there's Tarvitz.  Which way he jumps will be important.  Lucius would happily fight the Luna Wolves, but Tarvitz? I don't see it.

I wonder if they're setting Loken up as a Wolverine-type character. He'll do all the fighting he has to, unless he doesn't think the fight was for the right thing.  Like what Logan did in Civil War. He might decide he has to fight his own Legion if he starts disagreeing with what they're doing.

There's Keeler, too, of course, who's now become a part of the Cult of the Emperor.  That could cause problems for Loken, who calls her friend, but who thinks the Cult is utterly unacceptable.  They could end up fighting against the cult, which could end up splitting Legions into factions. I wonder if the Emperor's Children are particularly vulnerable to cult infiltration. That would put Eidolon and Lucius against people like Tarvitz, along with Loken and Torgaddon.  But what if the Lodge is where they secretly worship the Emperor, and that's why they were banned.

But if your God tells you not to worship him any more, what do you do?

They'll find their own meaning in what the Emperor said.

So, to summarise: a religious war which ends up splitting the Legions up?



Also, the Emperor might be dead.  Horus might have killed him already. Dun dun DURR!!

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