The Iron Within (Short Story)
Years ago, the Iron Warriors left Barabaras Dantioch, a crippled warsmith, on the world of Lesser Damantyne. Now, having declared their allegiance to the traitor Horus, they have returned. As the planet's garrison prepares for war, Dantioch must choose between loyalty to his legion or to the Emperor.
A force of Iron Warriors led by Warsmith Idriss Krendl arrives at the Schadenhold, a fortress built from a giant stalactite hanging from the ceiling of an immense cavern beneath the surface of the lifeless world Lesser Damantyne. Krendl has new orders for the Schadenhold's garrison, which is led by his former commander, Warsmith Barabas Dantioch, who fell from grace with Perturabo after losing a fortress to a Hrud migration that left him prematurely aged and weakened. Krendl is gathering forces for the Warmaster's campaign, but Dantioch has been warned of the Heresy by a clerk from Greater Damantyne and remains loyal to the Emperor. Vastopol, the only other survivor of the Hrud attack who had to be interred in a Dreadnought, emerges from the shadows of the meeting chamber and slaughters Krendl's guards as an expression of Dantioch's refusal to join the traitors. Krendl flees, and the clerk reveals himself to be Tauro Nicodemus, champion of the Ultramarines and Tetrarch of Ultramar, who vows to help Dantioch in the coming siege. For the next year Dantioch and his men defend the Schadenhold against Krendl's forces, delaying Horus's plans and tying up his resources, using the planet's environment against the attackers. Eventually the fortress is overwhelmed and Dantioch initiates his contingency plan while delayed traitor Titans get into position beneath the Schadenhold. Falling back to secret chamber with a handful of allies including Nicodemus and Vastopol, Dantioch activates a master switch that simultaneously triggers a series of explosions that disconnect the Scahdenhold from the cavern ceiling and teleports the group to Krendl's flagship. The traitor Titans and most of Krendl's army are destroyed as the fortress collapses on them, whilst Dantioch and his allies take the ship's bridge. Vastopol, removed from his Dreadnaught armour after he became wedged in a stairwell, dies on the bridge's deck as the loyalists make their escape. Seeking a purpose in the rest of the war, Dantioch accepts an offer from Nicodemus to travel to Terra and work on the defences of the Imperial Palace.
The Schadenhold, Iron Warriors fortress upon the world of Lesser Damantyne.
- Barabas Dantioch - Warsmith of the Iron Warriors legion.
- Zygmund Tarrasch - Iron Palatine of the Schadenhold and Iron Warriors Captain.
- Idriss Krendl - Warsmith of the 14th Grand Company, Iron Warriors.
- Zhnev - Chaplain, Iron Warriors.
- Ingoldt - Sergeant, Iron Warriors.
- Baubrista - Astartes, Iron Warriors.
- Toledo - Astartes, Iron Warriors.
- Vastopol - Venerable Dreadnought, Iron Warriors.
- Hasdrubal Serapis - Captain, Sons of Horus legion.
- Tauro Nicodemus - Legion Champion, Tetrarch and Honour Guard to the Primarch, Ultramarines legion.
- Grachuss - Adept of the Mechanicum.
- Kruishank - Colonel of the Ninth-Ward Angeloi Adamantiphracts regiment, Imperial Army.
- Cristofori - Lieutenant of the Adamantiphracts.
- Warsang Gabroon - Lord Commander of the Nadir-Maru 4th Juntarians, Horusian forces.