Line of Blood
“Brother-chaplain, I have a question to ask, concerning a dream I had.” Gracefully the young marine sank to his knee in front of the sanguinary priest, bowing his head in respect. Even for an astartes he moved with remarkable poise, and even for a Blood Angel his features possessed a chiselled, angular perfection.
“Speak, Brother Lysantes. Would you like to tell me about it?” the chaplain replied, and waited patiently.
“Yes, perpaps I should. But perhaps it was just a meaningless dream…” answered the kneeling marine somewhat reluctantly. “I need to know first. Who does my blood line descend from?”
“Well, many heroic brothers carried the gene-seed before you, and ultimately, it descends from our beloved primarch Sanguinius. But you would like a more precise answer, wouldn’t you? Then we shall consult the books of lineage.”The old chaplain guessed where this would lead, in fact had been expecting a question of this kind ever since he had overseen the induction of young Lysantes five months ago. “Is there a particular name you are looking for?”
“Yes…” Hastily, Lysantes gathered himself up to follow the priest, who was waiting for him by the door. “I do not clearly recall it, but I am sure I will recognize it when I hear it again.” the young marine continued, catching up with the chaplain on their way to the hall of records. He wondered that it really should be so easy.
A few minutes later, chaplain Argastes had located the appropriate volume, and was quietly browsing through the pages until he found what he was looking for.
“Here, lad, this is where you might want to start your search.” Deftly he spun the heavy book around so that it faced Lysantes, and pointed with his finger.
‘LYSANTES, 3472417.M43’ stood there in clear, bold letters at the end of a chain of names and dates and ranks. A chain linking Lysantes to the past, to great men and glorious events. These were the brother marines who had carried the progenoids that had been used to create each next link. He was awed at reading some of the names, and surprised by the number of librarians he found. Lost for words, he read on, going backwards in time. Then, suddenly, he stopped.
‘CALIDUS, 3583989.M40, 9243843.M41, Brother Marine’
The memory of the voice came back to him, gentle and clear, asking him ‘Are you a gene-son of Calidus?’ “Yes.” he whispered involuntarily. “Yes, I am.”
Suddenly he was self-consciously aware that the chaplain was still watching him, and looked up.
“You have found the answer to your question, at least one of them, I take it.” Argastes asked, studying his face intently.
“Yes, I have, but still I do not know what it meant. I…” Lysantes faltered, trying to sort the memory of his dream into some recountable order. He started again: “I was on a jungle world, verdant green, dense vegetation, little light under the canopy. My squad was spread out in a search pattern. We were hunting… something. In the dream, it felt unimportant what it it really was. Then, suddenly, there was a person in front of me. I could not tell whether it was a man or a woman. It was tall, and radiantly beautiful, all but angelic, and felt… old. It was so familiar, as if I had known it for a long time, but it was also… incomprehensible, almost alien. It was… benevolent, somehow. Then it spoke, with this wonderful voice, and asked me if I were the ‘gene-son’ of Calidus. Those were its words. I said that I didn’t know, and why it asked me, and it said ‘Because you are so alike him.’. Then it stretched out its hand as if to touch me, and… just faded. It all sounds very much like nonsense now, except that there really is a Brother Calidus in my progenoid line.” The young man looked almost apologetic. “Is there any meaning to it?”
“Yes, boy, there is indeed. You should consider yourself blessed, for you will most likely be safe from the curse of the Blood Angels.” the old chaplain answered, his hand resting on Lysantes’ shoulder. “Over one and a half millenia ago there were five brother-marines who guarded an experiment of great Lord Mephiston that should help find a cure for the Curse. They were touched by our primarch in a strange incident. Brother Calidus was one of them. Of all the brothers descended from their progenoids many were gifted psykers, and none was ever touched by the Black Rage or overcome by the Thirst. No-one knows why this is so, but probably, in a way, the experiment has not failed after all…”
“Did… the others, did they dream, too?” the youth asked, slightly shaken.
“Oh yes, I think most of them did. Some even used almost identical words to describe it to me…” A smile crossed Argastes’ face. “And no, I will not tell you who the other living descendants of the five are, but if you watch your brethren closely, you might recognise them by their features. Now, you’d better be on your way, Brother Lysantes, or you will be late for evening exercises!” the chaplain chided good-humouredly.
Lysantes thanked the old priest and did as he was told. As he hurried towards the exercise grounds, he caught his reflection in the polished stone beside the chapel doors. And suddenly he knew where he had seen those angled eye-brows, chiselled nose and prominent cheek-bones of the radiant apparition in the forest before: In his own face, ever since he had awoken from the long sleep in the golden sarcophagus that had transformed him into what he now was, a Blood Angel.