Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Galaxy In Flames: Long Knives (II)

Saul Tarvitz is not pleased (copyright unknown)
Poor Kyril Sindermann.

It is easy, I think, to hold to the maxims of secular rationalism when all about you are doing the same. In that situation, a thoughtful scepticism and a dogmatic refusal to challenge your peers must look much the same. Like friends who each have everything they could want, there is no cause for conflict, and so there is no way to tell whether the friendship is strong, or simply untested.

Sindermann's friendship with the scientific method, alas, did not survive much testing.

Already we have discussed the foolishness - and indeed the danger - in casting the Lectitio Divininatus and the cultists of Chaos as opposite forces, simply because they strive for mutually exclusive goals and worship antagonistic figureheads. Our objections to Sindermann's position might be more theological than we've previously explored, but the results are no less concerning for all that.

With all due respect to a man who brought enlightenment to so many, and who refused to be cowed as his reality and reality in general began to unwind during the final days of the Great Crusade, Kyril Sindermann's conversion to the Imperial Cult represents a travesty of thought that calls into question every seemingly wise decision he ever made.  It is simply ludicrous to conclude that the existance of creatures as malevolent and violent as the Gods of the Warp implies there must exist some divine being at the opposite end of the scale to provide balance. To put it in the terms of our ancient forefathers, the existence of Hell does not imply there must be a Heaven. The universe does not exist according to the balancing of thematic opposites.  The universe simply is.

To believe otherwise, to extrapolate the existence of the holy from the abundance of horror that surrounds us, is comforting, but the comforting thought is always the one we should subject to the closest scrutiny. Whatever Titus Cassar might claim in his ponderous sermons, labelling the Emperor as a God is the easy path, not the hard one. Once a being becomes divine, their actions require no further explanation. Contradictions can be explained as our inability to understand. Failures to protect can be blamed on our inability to pray hard enough or in the right way. It becomes a closed system immune to analysis, a fact which is somehow actually considered a positive.

For most of these recent converts to the Lectitio Divininatus, the motivation for joining has been an increasing sense of unease regarding the direction of events, culminating in the massacre in the docking bay. Only Sindermann and the catatonic Euphrati Keeler can claim specific knowledge of the nightmares of the Immaterium. Indeed, alone of those still standing aboard the Vengeful Spirit, Sindermann can claim to have watched what might be called a miracle. It might seem reasonable to forgive the iterator his lapse in light of his experiences under the Whisperheads or the assault in the library.

Obviously we have nothing but sympathy for a man subjected to such literal horrors, but Sindermann's experiences cut both ways. Knowing that the growing discontent in the 63rd Fleet is connected to the creatures of the Warp might make reaching for a god of one's own more tempting, but it also makes reaching for the Emperor as that god harder to understand.  As an opposite to the myriad failures of the human spirit, the fearless, self-sacrificing Emperor and his vision of universal brotherhood has at least some rhetorical weight as a godhead. As some kind of cosmic balance to what dwells within the Empyrean, the Emperor cannot function at all.

Understanding this is the work of moments.  Consider who and what the Emperor is. A psyker. A psyker who uses other psykers to perform the tasks he lacks time for.  An almost impenetrable mutant brain inside an almost unstoppable mutant body.  A man who conquered the galaxy by tearing open the Warp and feeding troops into it until every human star system was flooded.  This is the being to be considered anathema to the Gods of Chaos?  The Emperor's goal from the very first moments was to subjugate Chaos using it's own weapons and strengths against it.  If you craft a power sword which I then steal and run you through with, I have become your enemy, but I am in no setting myself up in contrast to those who use weapons, particularly if I drove to your forge in a Leman Russ tank.

Even if the existence of Chaos required the presence of an opposing force - which it doesn't, any more than the Orks suggest the existence of the Eldar - the true opposite of Chaos is no more plausibly the Emperor than it is the Necrons, which is a thought that should give us pause. At least they neither utilise the Warp nor register in it.

All of which is to say that Sindermann's conversion is a comfort in an era in which comfort must have been particularly desirable. That does not change the fact that comfort is at best orthogonal to the truth, and more often works directly against it. 

But then, doesn't almost everything?


What Is

Who's sending these warning messages to Kyril Sindermann? Has deciding the Emperor is a god simply driven him mad?

Why would that drive him mad?

It's hard having your fundamentals challenged, innit? Or maybe he's just lost it over the burning of all those books.

I can see that.

I'm sure you can. I was terrified you'd get palpitations reading that bit. Imagine being stuck for months with only the books in our bedroom. You'd be horrified.

Well considering I still haven't forgiven the Christians for Alexandria.

Very true. You can hold a grudge. Book burning is instant disqualification from Fliss' good, er, books. Unless they were Horus Heresy novels, I guess.

Yes, I believe I could live with that.

"There's a fire in Waterstones!" "NOOO!" "It's in that bit of the sci-fi section where they keep all the Black Library stuff!" "Phew."

Could he be becoming telepathic? Just picking up what's going on around him?  No need for anyone else to be involved.

Maybe. Who knows when the power manifests.

Or someone could be messing with him; his vision could just be a holographic projector hidden in his room.

As always, I approve of your paranoia, but what about the message he wrote himself?

Oh yeah. Well, that could just be his own subconscious.

I've heard of that. Auto-something. Not auto-erotic.

Not automatic.

Not automobile.

This could take a while. Wait, is the pen Petronella's?

Not that I know of.  Why?

Because maybe the pen is haunted. 

*She breaks into a terrible impression of a terribly stereotypical ghost. Seriously, it's like undead racism*

Very scary.

The horror of living death?  

The horror of anti-ghost bigotry.

In this chapter we get some more details on Loken and Torgaddon's plan of inaction. Are they being prudent? Or are they wasting limited time?

They have a plan?

My point.

But they can't go round around demanding answers from people. Not whilst their persona non gratas. 

Wouldn't it be personae non grata? But the point is taken.

They were in the middle of a fight; who's going to be able to work out what happened?

Couldn't they try getting to someone who's in the Lodge?


As a plant.  There must be someone in there who might be inclined to help Torgaddon out. Less so Loken; all those years of telling his underlings to stay out of the Lodge might finally have bitten him on his super-developed arse.

Which leaves Torgaddon, who they're probably expecting to fall back in line eventually.

That's what I mean. Couldn't he sidle up to someone from the Lodge and suggest he's thinking of coming back, and that he'd just like to know what's going on these days because he's feeling left out?

This is Torgaddon, you realise. The man doesn't have an ounce of duplicity.  

I suppose. If you have to start putting together plans requiring Tarik to be sneaky and devious, you've already lost.

Even basic logic seems beyond him. Somehow he seems surprised about the idea the remembrancers are being killed despite the Lodge openly discussing the need to get rid of Karkasy when he was here. And he still doesn't seem to have told Loken that they're gunning for him.

Kharn is the first World Eater we get to talk to, as oppose to see charging up a hill shouting.  Any first impressions on him or the XII Legion in general?

It makes sense; Astartes without ambition. They don't seem to care who they're killing as long as they're killing somebody. I can't say he made all that much of an impression.

What about him seeming to be pleased about the change in the Crusade?  Do you think he's in on the whole Horus deal?

Maybe. Or maybe he's just figuring they'll be let off the leash more often.

Against whom?

That is the question.

Yes, that is the format of these blog posts. Usually I ask questions hoping for an answer.

I've no idea.

Then choose someone at random.

No. That is not how I conduct my business.


What Will Be

One of the reasons I started this blog was because I wondered how obvious it was which characters would side with the Emperor and which with Horus. So in that spirit, I'm going to list some Astartes, and I want you to tell me whether you think they'll sign up with the Warmaster.
Saul Tarvitz

He thinks like Loken. He'll do whatever Loken and Torgaddon do.

Which is?

I don't know. I can't imagine they'll end up siding with Horus. I'm not sure if they'll join up with the Emperor, though.

You think they might form their own faction?


Aren't you worried Torgaddon is going to find he misses the Lodge too much?

What, and betray Loken?

He might not see it as betrayal, but yeah, inadvertently sell him up the river.

No. Whatever Loken decides, Torgaddon will be with him. Which is weird, actually. I wasn't sure how much Torgaddon liked Loken to begin with.

I'm not sure if it was dislike, or just not having much in common at first.

Anyway, final answer; those three stick together. Unless Torgaddon is a spy.

You like to keep your bases covered, huh?


He'll go with whichever side offers him the most. If Horus promotes him, that's him on board.

The pragmatic approach?


No chance Saul could persuade him to take the other side? Or would trying just wind Lucius up even more.

I don't think he'd care either way. It's not like there's much left of their friendship.

Because Lucius is too ambitious.  It all fits.


He'll do what Fulgrim tells him to. Especially if there's a promotion in it for him.  Can you get promoted from Lord Commander.

Supreme Lord Commander, I guess? It's the Emperor's Children, they'll be able to come up with some fancy new title and extra snazzy robes.

It might not matter anyway. Fulgrim's probably handed him over to the bunch going to meet with Horus just to be rid of him.

Wee Horus

I think he'll go with the majority.

Of the Lodge?

Just in general.  Just for the sake of an easier life.


Where is Vipus? We've not seen him in ages.  And Loken keeps getting described as always on his own now. That's damn suspicious.

Iacton Qruze
I'm trying to remember what he said about life before Horus.

Don't bother. No-one can remember a word he says; that's canon.

I wonder if it'll hurt whichever way he goes.

You mean both sides will be desperate to not take him?

Crazy old Cruze, with his stories and his garden these kids are on.  I think he spent too long fighting without Horus in the "good old days" for him to be sold on this rebellion idea.




Was he the guy in the sword hall?

Sword hole? What in Mork's green flanges in a sword hole?

Sword hall.

Oh. Actually that's disappointing, I like mine more. I assume you're referring to the Luna Wolves Official Museum of Stuff.


Then yes, that's who I mean.

He'll go with whomever offers greater bloodshed. He might just swing both ways, actaully.

Excellent. Another Space Marine we can imply enjoys alternative lifestyle choices.  We must be irritating all the right people with this blog.

And how any of the wrong people?

Shut up.

No comments:

Post a Comment