Luna Mendax (Short Story)
|Series||Horus Heresy Series|
|Collected in||The Silent War|
|Editions||November 2013 collection|
January 2016 e-book
Luna Mendax is a short story by Graham McNeill originally included in The Black Library Anthology, released exclusively at Black Library Weekender Event in November 2013. It was later released as an individual e-book on 25 January 2016 as part of the "Tales of the Knights Errant" week.
The story describes the events following the return of Knight-Errant Garviel Loken from his first mission. While struggling to come to terms with his new life, Loken is visited by the spirit of his friend Tarik Torgaddon, who renews his dedication to fighting for the Imperium.
Returning from a secretive mission to Caliban at the command of Malcador the Sigillite, the Knight Errant Garviel Loken finds sanctuary in one of the abandoned bio-domes of Luna. Scarred by betrayal and bewildered by the changing face of the galaxy, the weary warrior is almost unsurprised when he is visited by the long-dead Tarik Torgaddon – is this a sign of a fractured and exhausted mind playing tricks on itself, or truly the spirit of a departed friend?
On Luna, Garviel Loken has become a recluse. His mind has not fully recovered from the horrors he witnessed on Isstvan III, and, after returning from his failed mission to Caliban, he has ignored Malcador's summons and devoted himself to restoring a garden in a forgotten dome of the Somnus Citadel. While waging an aggressive "war" on the aphids plaguing the garden, he is hailed by an unexpected visitor: Tarik Torgaddon, slain months ago on Isstvan III. Torgaddon cheerfully remembers being killed, yet insists he is there on Luna.
Torgaddon asks his old friend why he is moping in the garden when there is a war going on. Loken morosely says that he is an Astartes, not made to fight "in the shadows," as Malcador would have him do. Furthermore, he no longer trusts his own mind - as witness the fact that he is hallucinating a conversation with a dead friend.
Torgaddon says that Astartes are made to fight any war, and Loken has not forgotten the important things. He tells Loken to look again at the garden he has restored, and Loken is surprised to realise that he has unconsciously recreated the water park on Sixty-Three Nineteen, where he was accepted to the Mournival. Loken says the Mournival is dead, but Torgaddon says the oath he swore is not: to serve the Emperor above all primarchs, and to resist His enemies with all his strength.
Before Torgaddon disappears, Loken asks if his old friend is just a figment of his imagination. Torgaddon, deathly serious, says he feels real, and suspects that something terrible happened to him after he died, and only Loken can reverse it. When Loken is alone again, he is visited by Iacton Qruze, bearing another summons from Malcador. To Qruze's surprise, Loken says he is ready to answer.