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The Crown of Thorns (Short Story)

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The Crown of Thorns
Author Peter Fehervari
Publisher Black Library
Series Angels of Death
Preceded by The Thrill of the Hunt
Followed by By Artifice, Alone
Released 25th September 2013
Pages 6
Collected in Angels of Death: The Digital Collection
Editions 2013 eShort
ISBN: 978-1-78251-275-2

The Crown of Thorns is an Angels Penitent short story by Peter Fehervari. It was first published online in September 2013.

Black Library Description

"For many long years, the Angels Resplendent protected humanity in the Emperor's name. But they are no longer resplendent, their purity and zeal turned inwards. Now the Angels Penitent, they are ruled by the Crown of Thorns, who punish any brother who dares to break their edicts. As Brother Montaig considers just such an act, he wonders how bad the punishment could be..." [1]


Occurring a decade after the Angels Resplendent became the Angels Penitent, Brother-Sergeant Montaig attempts to help Neophyte Phelion flee the judgement of the Crown of Thorns whilst reflecting on the changes the Chapter has undergone since the arrival of the Undying Martyr.[2]


Returning the now forbidden book The Lethean Revelation to its hiding place in his room, Montaig vows to take a stand against the Crown of Thorns, hoping to one day see the |librarium restored to what it was prior to The Great Purge, but doubtful he will live to see it. As the Angels Resplendent, no battle-brother had ever fallen to the Black Rage; the Sergeant laments how now, as the Angels Penitent, the Chapter fields a Death Company, losing brothers at such a high rate that the Chapter may fall within a century.[2a]

Making his way to neophyte Phelion’s cell, Montaig considers the state of the Chapter’s numerous historical artworks, now desecrated and left to rot, more victims of The Great Purge. He regrets how, having led the squad which first encountered the Undying Martyr, he allowed the man to be interrogated by the Chaplaincy instead of promptly killing him.[2b] After 19 days of conversation, Chaplain Malvoisin declared the Undying Martyr a holy prophet, professing a need to adopt drastic changes to atone for their sins against the Emperor. At the time, filled with religious fervor (like most of his brethren), Montaig now bemoans not siding with the Librarius in opposing this reformation[1c]; wishing he had perished doing so, as the Librarius had.[2c]

For secretly practicing artisanship, the neophyte Phelion must walk the Path of Thorns. Whilst escorting the boy to his fate, Sergeant Montaig muses that perhaps, one day, Chapter Master Varzival, may return from his years of absence, campaigning with the Angels Resplendent 1st Company, to restore the Chapter to what it had once been.[2d] Taking his stand against the Crown of Thorns, Montaig attempts to aid the neophyte to escape into the nearby mountains, thus avoiding his fate. However, the boy refuses to flee, revealing he had turned himself in for committing his ‘sin’ and declaring his intention to inform the ruling council of the Sergeant’s attempted betrayal. Resolving to make his stand against the Crown of Thorns another day, Montaig brutally kills the zealous neophyte, planning to tell the ruling council of Chaplains that he had caught the boy attempting escape.[2e]

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