Blades of the Traitor (Anthology)
|Author||John French, Guy Haley, Nick Kyme, Graham McNeill, Chris Wraight|
|Series||Horus Heresy Series|
Blades of the Traitor is an anthology in the Horus Heresy Series first released at the Horus Heresy Weekender event in February 2015. It was released in audio format as part of "Audio Week" at the end of Advent 2015. These short stories were re-collected as part of War Without End published in January 2016.
The anthology was comprised of five short stories: "Daemonology" describes Mortarion's quest for knowledge to defeat daemons, "Black Oculus" provides information regarding the Iron Warriors reasons for starting the Battle of Tallarn, "Twisted" reveals information on the actions of Maloghurst the Twisted, "Chirurgeon" portrays experiments of Fabius Bile, and "Wolf Mother" explains the events following the novel Vengeful Spirit.
The anthology was released on audio as part of "Audio Week" for Advent 2015. It was described as: "The Audio Week: Blades of the Traitor Subscription brings you five epic, action-packed audiobook that drive the Horus Heresy forward. Discover what the Warmaster’s allies are up to as they prepare to march on Terra: sacrifices in the bowels of Molech’s Enlightenment, Legion Navigators delving through the very Eye of Terror and horrific experiments in dark, secret labs."
The stories were narrated by Gareth Armstrong, Ian Brooker, Jonathan Keeble & Toby Longworth. They had a total running time of 4 hours, 11 minutes.
Across the war-torn galaxy, those sworn to Horus's cause shake the Imperium to its very foundations. Before the traitors' relentless onslaught, the wisdom of ages past is lost and forgotten, daemons hide amongst the common people and the warp's corrupting influence can be seen in almost every facet of the Heresy. For those who would become champions of the new order, there can surely be no redemption – only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods...
Mortarion, primarch of the Death Guard Legion, brings his forces to the library-world Terathalion which was brought into compliance by the Thousand Sons. The Death Guard swiftly destroy the meagerly-defended world and Mortarion achieves his goal by capturing a seemingly ordinary woman named Lermenta. Back aboard his flagship it is revealed that Lermenta is a daemon who was masquerading as a human librarian to get access to the planet's secrets. Seeking to understand the nature of daemons so he can destroy them Mortarion tortures Lermenta with primitive rituals, but she goads him that it is his fate to become a powerful servant of the Warp-powers he so despises. Throughout the story Mortarion has flashbacks to a time when he visited Terra in search of his father and discovered the Infinity Gate under construction. Grudgingly deterred by Malcador the Sigillite, Mortarion is appeased when Malcador reveals his part in the Emperor's plans for the Council of Nikaea as part of a grander scheme for freeing humankind from dependence on the Warp. Back aboard his flagship, Lermenta breaks free of her bonds and attacks Mortarion in her true daemonic form, forcing him to repel her with his latent psyker powers. Furious that he has been forced to use the powers he seeks to destroy, Mortarion decides that he should at least learn to wield them properly and begins taking grudging guidance from Lermenta.
"Black Oculus" is told from the perspective of the Prime Navigator of the Iron Warriors' flagship. He recounts his experience of guiding the fleet through a huge black anomaly and, driven insane by the revelations about the universe he received during the crossing, warns the reader of their insignificance. He ends by mentioning he is now waiting in a secret place beneath the surface of a planet called Tallarn during the Battle of Tallarn.
Maloghurst the Twisted, equerry to primarch Horus, receives petitioners in the Lupercal's Court aboard the Vengeful Spirit. He rebuffs yet another bid by the Davinite contingent aboard the ship to be allowed to tutor Horus in the ways of the Warp. Moving about the ship on his business, Maloghurst reflects on the growing distance between himself and his primarch, which is endangering the privileged position that keeps him secure in the Sons of Horus' martial culture where he is despised as a cripple. He becomes aware that a daemon made of oil and smoke is stalking him, trying to seduce him into letting it use his body as a host. Seeking the knowledge to repel it, he visits the Davinite enclave and begins learning warding rituals. Under the guise of the final ritual the Davinites shackle him to a eight-pointed cross and invoke the daemon, wanting it to possess him so they will have influence over the Warmaster once more. However, Maloghurst easily breaks free of his chains and summons a squad of battle-brothers who slaughter the Davinites, deriding the simplicity of their plan and their audacity in thinking they could outwit him. Using an item he sanctified earlier Maloghurst banishes the daemon back to the Warp. He reports back to Horus that the Davinite attempt to seize power has been foiled, just one of many such plots Maloghurst has dealt with. Horus is pleased but dismissive, leaving Maloghurst to contemplate his insecure future.
Fabius Bile, chief Apothecary of the Emperor's Children, performs surgery on an unknown patient, uncovering and noting a degrading ailment that is slowly destroying the subject's organs. Reflecting on the past as he works, Fabius thinks back to the time before the Emperor's Children were united with Fulgrim, when they were suffering from the same corrosive disease and approaching extinction. Working as an Apothecary, he began to order the executions of all of his brothers who showed symptoms and regard their bodies as simple lumps of organic matter to be studied, even that of his close friend Lycaeon whose execution he was eventually forced to order. Beginning to stitch up his patient, Fabius reflects that it was the discovery of Fulgrim and the bolstering of the Legion's gene-pool with his genes that saved them. However, it is not permanent, as is shown when the patient is revealed to be Fabius himself. Thanking his assistant, the mindless resurrected body of Lycaeon, Fabius reflects darkly on his deteriorating health.
Alivia Sureka, a Perpetual, is captured in the bowels of a ship carrying refugees from Molech by a sadistic member of the Serpent Cult. Severian appears and kills the cultist, but Alivia angrily berates him for foiling her plan which was to play the victim so she could find where the cult have taken her daughter, whom they have kidnapped. In the room where the cult are keeping their kidnapped children Alivia's daughter Vivyen calms the others by reading to them from a book of old Terran fairy-tales Alivia gave her, but they fall back into despair when one of their number is dragged away to be killed by the cult. Alivia and Severian locate the cult's lair just as all seven remaining children are dragged out to be used as sacrifices in a horrific ritual. Shargali-Shi, head of the cult, gives birth to a daemonic snake while suspended from the ceiling. Alivia and Severian fight their way through a sea of cultists and six corrupted Thalaxii as the snake bites all of the children save Vivyen, causing them to mutate and fuse into a daemonette of Slaanesh. Alivia kills the snake but is unable to stop the daemonette which she allows to possess her. Understanding her plan Severian kills her possessed body after finishing off all the cultists and Thalaxii, driving the daemon out into the suspended form of Shargali-Shi, which cannot contain it and explodes, killing both the cult leader and the daemon. With Vivyen safe, Alivia returns to life.
- 1: Daemonology (Short Story)
- 2: Black Oculus (Short Story)
- 3: Twisted (Short Story)
- 4: Chirurgeon (Short Story)
- 5: Wolf Mother (Short Story)
- 6: Black Library Blades of the Traitor audio page (Accessed 22 December 2018)