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Death and Defiance (Anthology)

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Death and Defiance
Death-and-Defiance.jpg
Cover art by Neil Roberts.
Publisher Black Library
Series Horus Heresy Series
Authors Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Guy Haley, Nick Kyme, Andy Smillie, James Swallow
Released October 2014
Editions 2014 hardcover

Death and Defiance is a short anthology in the Horus Heresy Series which was released at Games Workshop's "Warhammer Fest" event in October 2014. These short stories were re-collected as part of War Without End published in January 2016.

Cover Description

Words alone can no longer convey the horrors of the war that now grips the Imperium. In what should have been an age of enlightenment and glorious triumph, instead warriors on both sides reel from the twin agonies of betrayal and bloodshed.

Contents

Imperfect

by Nick Kyme

Fulgrim and Ferrus Manus play a game of Regicide. Fulgrim taunts Ferrus with probing questions, asking which of the pieces he identifies with, trying to distract him from his strategy. When Ferrus makes his decisive move, upgrading one of his pieces to 'primarch', Fulgrim reveals a hidden piece which converts Ferrus's piece to his side. Enraged, Ferrus tips over the board. Fulgrim reveals himself in his daemonic form and attacks, killing Ferrus. Ferrus is revealed to be a clone created by Fabius Bile from the true primarch's blood on Fulgrim's sword, and just one of hundreds Fulgrim has made Bile create so he can play the game with them to see if he could ever have succeeded in turning Ferrus to Horus's cause. Leaving Fulgrim to his next game with a new clone, Bile visits his laboratory and it is revealed that he is also growing a clone of Horus.

Howl of the Hearthworld

by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Thirteen Stars Falling, a veteran Space Wolves sergeant, rails at Leman Russ for sending him to Terra so he and his squad can keep watch on Rogal Dorn. Laughing Jaurmag, a high-ranking Legion commander, requests to join them, and Russ reluctantly agrees. On board a transport ship a seemingly innocuous Administratum clerk requests the squad's names and ranks, and the hostile Wolves dishonestly provide their birth-names and standard ranks rather than their true, 'given' names or the actual names of their squads. Jaurmag warns them that the clerk is likely an agent of Malcador and to keep an eye on him during the long journey to Terra.

A Safe and Shadowed Place

by Guy Haley

Gendor Skraivok, a low-ranking Night Lords commander, ponders the remnants of one of the Legion's splinter-fleets that has fled to a pocket of hidden space on the outskirts of the Sotha system, on the edge of Ultramar. Of the remaining ships, only three including his still have power, and during a brief conference the captains of the other two ships announce that they are leaving, abandoning him to his fate. Determined to regather his resources and make his ship space-worthy again, Skraivok summons two other Night Lords. One, Kellendvar, tortures the location of the other, his birth-brother Kellenkir, out a crew-serf and finds him aboard one of the drifting hulks. Kellenkir is absorbed in the grisly and pointless torture of several captured serfs, and Kellendvar has to resort to violence to bring his brother back to Skraivok. Soon after, a second Night Lords' splinter-fleet commanded by Krukesh the Pale arrives out of the Warp and Krukesh forces the three to swear him their allegiance. Skraivok directs him to observe the regular pulses of energy coming from Sotha, but instead of a normal pulse a brilliant beam of psychic energy lights up space and is answered by another from Macragge, prompting Krukesh to direct his forces to investigate further.

Virtues of the Sons

by Andy Smillie

Sanguinius, primarch of the Blood Angels, confides to Horus his worries that by allowing their Legions and brother primarchs to embody only a single ideal they are failing as teachers. Horus is dismissive, but Sanguinius decides to organise educational duels for two of his most single-minded captains, Azkaellon and Amit. Azkaellon duels Lucius of the Emperor's Children aboard an oceanic warship, and although Lucius wins by drawing first blood by this point Azkaellon has already tackled him over the side, humiliating him in front of his men and robbing Lucius of the victory he wanted. Amit meets with Kharn on a desert planet that both their Legions have conquered in a joint action and they fight a brutal duel in a trench using axes and cleavers that leaves both badly wounded. When Azkaellon and Amit return to Sanguinius's side for a ritual combat festival of their Legion Sanguinius is disappointed to see that both have adopted their usual roles of defender and attacker, but during their fight notices brief moments in which they adapt to gain advantage, giving him hope that his Legion may survive after all.

Gunsight

by James Swallow

Eristede Kell, an Imperial assassin of Clade Vindicare, confronts a man in the bowels of the Sons of Horus' flagship Vengeful Spirit. Reflecting on a series of events, Kell recalls infiltrating the ship and setting up a hide across an internal canyon from a platform where he knows his target, Horus, will stand. Accidentally discovered by a crew serf, Letae, the terrified man thinks Kell has been sent to kill him because he remains loyal to the Emperor in his heart and only pays lip-service to worshiping Horus and his daemonic allies. Interested by Letae's loyalty, Kell strikes up an alliance with him and Letae begins secretly bringing supplies to him while he prepares for his kill. However, Kell was injured when his life-pod punctured the Vengeful Spirit's lower decks and he was subsequently attacked by venomous snakes dwelling in the ship's underbelly, leaving him mentally unstable and missing large portions of his memory. Consequently he remembers only the broad sweeps of his mission to Dagonet with a team of other assassins in which they killed Luc Sedirae instead of Horus and all of the team bar Kell died stopping a daemonic assassin sent after the Emperor, a mission which ended in Kell aborting his suicide run at the Vengeful Spirit's bridge and entering the ship via life-pod at the last moment. Back in the present but unaware that he has been aboard the ship for years, Kell succumbs to the whispers that have been playing in his mind since he survived the snake attack and snaps, demanding that the man, Letae, tell him where the whisperer, Samus, is. He accidentally kills Letae while the serf is protesting that Kell is out of touch with reality, and heeding the whispers' advice carves the word Lupercal into Letae's corpse and dumps it on a supply cart to draw Horus to him. When Horus arrives on the platform Kell is terrified out of making the shot but fires his sniper rifle out of reflex, yet Horus catches the bullet in mid-air. Confronting the assassin, Horus plays on Kell's resentment towards Malcador for sending him on such a suicidal mission and carves a Chaos symbol onto his palm, arming him with a new gun and turning him into a servant of Chaos.