Black Dawn (Short Story)
|Collected in||Victories of the Space Marines|
There Is Only War
An artefact from the Great Crusade - a bolt pistol used by Roboute Guilliman himself - is unearthed on the planet Vulscus. However, the relic may not be all that it appears, and the Inquisition send the vicious Warbringers Space Marines to retrieve it.
On Ixo Primaris, Governor Mattias has gotten hold of a rare opportunity. Workers have unearthed a gigantic bolt pistol dating back to the Great Crusade, making it a former possession of the Ultramarines' primarch, Roboute Guilliman, who liberated Ixo and brought it into the fold of the Imperium. Other systems have created pilgrim trails based on much less important relics, and Ixo will soon be a thriving hub of tourism, commerce, and Ecclesiarchal worship. A Rogue Trader in the service of one of the minor Navigator Houses has already arrived, petitioning the Governor for a monopoly on the transportation of pilgrims who will soon be thronging Ixo. Although he exercises near-total authority, Mattias tries to delay by putting the issue up for debate in the planet's legislature.
At the planet's only space port, a group of Space Marine Scouts from the Emperor's Warbringers have infiltrated, dispatching the few human civilians who happen across them and preparing the way for a full Company strike force. The Warbringers' attack, when it comes, is sudden, brutal, and perfectly coordinated, pinning the Arbites and the PDF garrison in their barracks, while Terminators teleport directly into the Legislature and massacre its inhabitants. Once the city is secure, the lead force enters the Governor's private stronghold, killing him and his bodyguards.
The Warbringers are accompanied by Inquisitor Korm of the Ordo Malleus, who discovered the truth about the relic: although Imperial histories have been carefully altered to credit Guilliman and the Ultramarines with liberating Ixo, the Space Marines who came to the planet during the Crusade were actually the Luna Wolves, meaning the bolt pistol actually belonged to Horus. To Korm, this makes it a Chaos artefact of incredible significance, and he is eager to return with it to Titan - but to the Warbringers it is an abomination, and they insist on destroying it immediately. Korm wisely keeps silent, choosing not to cross the Space Marines.