Champion, Pt.1: Ascent into Sanity
Updated: Jun 2, 2022
In over a thousand years, he had never known fear or doubt- only the perpetual almost eternal blood lust of a Khorne Berzerker. Yet, somehow, feelings he couldn’t remember, that were vaguely familiar, pulsed through his body. Around him, other younger Berzerkers barely controlled themselves, twitching as if to strike at anything within their reach- their eyes filled with the crazed desire to slaughter that was the signature of a Berzerker. Chainaxes and Chainswords revved as they pressed the activation runes to feel the power within their hands.
The Chaos Gods had given him visions of the glory that he would attain should he pacify this abomination. Located deep within the Eye of Terror, the planet was anathema to the very nature of the Eye of Terror. Peaceful. Quiet. Utterly without the taint of Chaos, the planet seemed to beg for destruction. Yet, since the Eye had opened, the planet had yet to succumb to the ruinous powers. Yet, as their shuttle descended toward the surface of the un-named planet, the older veteran Berzerkers- the Chosen- seemed to calm.
With this new calm, his mind was able to perceive more critically, and with that ability, doubt came first, with a simple question. “What am I doing?” He began to delve deeper into the very question, his mind racing within itself as he answered over and over again that simple interrogative. He was going to pacify this world. He was going to kill anyone and anything that stood before him. He was going to do the will of the Chaos Gods, and more specifically that of the Blood God. Then other answers came to him.
He was going to fall into greater depravity. He was going to serve only himself. He was going to be, in essence- weak. The thought sent the next lost feeling through his body, fear. He feared, above all else at that moment, as being seen as weak. This caused him to look around himself yet again, at the howling, barely constrained killers that surrounded him. It was then that he noticed the eyes of the older Berzerkers, and a revelation came upon him. Their eyes were filled with the same fear as his own.
They too, looked around, and took in their fellows. The howling mad juniors in their midst, and the abnormally calm leaders speckled about the shuttles hold. There seemed to be, as older heads looked upon one another, a sudden consensus, and further calming born of something long since lost and suddenly rediscovered. Brotherhood.
In that moment, a twofold revelation presented itself. First, that the real fear was not of being perceived as weak, but of being weak. He was afraid of becoming again what he had been up until a few moments prior. Looking around, he could see that the rest of the older Chaos Marines were of the same opinion. The second revelation was that he could remember his given name.
Brother Sergeant Jarrel of the World Eaters Legion.
His history came flooding back in sharp, crystal clarity. His initiation into the World Eaters after his own home world, Jaxis, had been brought once again into humanities fold. His first campaign. His promotion from the scout squads into the ranks of the full Battle Brothers. His first campaign fighting in an assault squad. His moments in the presence of his Primarch, Angron. His promotion to Brother Sergeant. The assault on Davran where he distinguished himself, and was given command of the first squad of Lest Company.
The Betrayal of Horus, and his own bloody part in the turning of the World Eaters.
This led to a new feeling that he had never, in his entire life, felt. Shame. Guilt. Of all the sudden feelings that had pressed into his mind as the shuttle had fallen into the atmosphere of this strange world within the Eye, these were the most intense. Tears flooded his eyes, preceded by the sensation of thousands of needles. His eyes met one who he suddenly knew as Battle Brother Karol. Karol too was being assaulted by these new feelings. Jarrel looked about at the rest of the old guard, and saw that they too were similarly affected. Their pain and anguish suddenly manifest amongst the howling madness of those who had never known what real humanity was.
By consensus, the true World Eaters knew what had to be done. Knew what they were to do without ever speaking a word to each other. The shuttles flaring before landing was the cue that they all knew was the turning point in their collective lives. As the deceleration and pressure mounted, the Old Guard activated the runes of their weapons, and unfastened their bolt pistols. The younger warriors, oblivious to what was going to happen, looked eagerly at the shuttles hatch in anticipation of it’s opening to a new world they could plunder and destroy for their god.
The thud of the shuttle on the ground flipped a switch within the Old Guard and they went quickly to work. The Berzerkers around them had no time to comprehend what was happening as bolt rounds plunged into their chest and heads. Chains words and axes cleaved into their bodies, spilling their blood onto the shuttles deck. Before they could offer real resistance, all thirty of them lay dead at the feet of the Old Guard. Jarrel looked at Karol, who nodded in return, and moved with another Marine to the flight deck. The revving of chain weapons and the sudden pained screams of the crew gave testimony to the fact that the shuttle was once again Loyal to the Imperium.
The Old Guard met once again in the hold, the ten of them standing in a semi-circle amongst the dead.
“Brothers,” said Jarrel. The word came hard at first, but after repeating it a few times, it was again as natural as it had been almost a thousand years earlier. “Brothers, we stand at the bottom of a hole we have dug for ourselves. It is time we climbed out.”
The others nodded. A sense of purpose fused them together in a way that the Blood God could never hope to match in all the thousands of years he would have tried.
“Remove these traitors to humanity” said Jarrel, “but collect their weapons. Leave their armor. There are other landing sites that will need to be purged, and others who may need assistance.”
“Brother Sergeant, What has happened to us?” It was Marcus, another he had served with before their collective fall from grace.
“I do not know,” Jarrel replied, “But whatever it is, we must take full advantage of it. Whatever it is, may be the key to ending this war with ourselves. Whatever this is, it could be the key to closing the Eye, and ending the incursions of Chaos forever.”