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Throne of Lies (Audio Drama)

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Throne of Lies
Throne-of-Lies.jpg
Cover art by Jon Sullivan.
Author Aaron Dembski-Bowden
Performer John Banks, Beth Chalmers
Publisher Black Library
Series Night Lords
Preceded by Soul Hunter
Followed by Blood Reaver
Released August 2010
Collected in Treacheries of the Space Marines
Length 72 imnutes
Editions August 2010 CD:
ISBN 9781844169269

November 2010 ebook:
ISBN 9780857871084

Cover art

Throne of Lies is an Audio Drama written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden regarding the activities of the Night Lords Legionnaires of First Claw, 10th Company, as well as those surrounding them, after the events at Crythe Primus, as they hunt a certain member of the Imperium in search of answers to a question which the Legion has been chasing for decades.

It is performed by John Banks and Beth Chalmers, and directed by Lisa Bowerman.

It was republished in print in Treacheries of the Space Marines (Anthology).

Cover Description

The Night Lords are among the most feared Chaos Space Marines in the universe. They prey on their victims from the shadows, stalking the faithful of the False Imperium in their ultimate quest to destroy the Emperor. The warband of the Exalted, travelling aboard The Covenant of Blood, are recovering from the events at Crythe Primus. But their dark crusade against the loyal Imperial forces continues, and they will leave a trail of blood and terror behind them as they seek the truth behind the death of their primarch, the feared Night Haunter.

Plot

Octavia, Navigator and the 8th slave of Talos, is piloting the Covenant of Blood through the warp on a particularly turbulent journey, hampered by the thoughts of disapproval from the vessels machine spirit. Soon she notices a psychic shadow beneath the ship, a predator of the warp made of black mist and hatred which rises to hunt them. She urges the bridge to spur the ship on faster to no use, before demanding that they break from the warp to escape the warp predator's clutches whereupon The Exalted queries her on their distance from the Tyrias system to which she claims she does not know except that they she does know that in minutes they will be dead if they do not break from the warp. The Exalted states this is unacceptable to which Octavia replies that she is breaking back into the void no matter what, which The Exalted accepts before warning her to pay him more respect when her patron, Talos is not aboard.1Track 1

Having pulled out of the warp, Septimus, Talos' artificer and seventh slave, comes to visit Octavia where he warns her of disrespecting their Night Lords masters, which may in turn lead to the crew of the Covenant of Blood killing her to please the Legion. Septimus also warns her that when Talos and First Claw are off board to be cautious with the crew and the Legion even more so. Octavia argues that the crew would not kill her as they need her as she is the sole navigator and that she was justified with arguing with The Exalted as the ship was moments away from being lost in the warp. Septimus has to then warn her again to remember her place, that her navigator talents garner her better treatment but not equality, that she is still a slave. Octavia then states that she has survived for 3 weeks without Talos and that a few more hours will not hurt, carrying on from which she asks whether any news have come through from the surface to which Septimus reports negative. Octavia wonders aloud what they are doing down there, to which Septimus replies What they always do. They're hunting.1Track 3

The Huntress, in the guise of Calista La'Haven, a courtesan to the High Priest Cyrus of Tyrias Secundus, is walking down a corridor of the Primus Palace, passing by clerics and priests who yearn for her body. Entering one of the main halls filled with servants, drunk nobles and acolytes of the High Priest, she blends into the crowds as noon approaches, the time of the High Priest's speech. The Huntress soon realises that a new skin will be required to delve further into the palace and to get close to Cyrus for the personal assassination.1Track 2

Looking out onto a crowd of 90,000, ten of the High Priest's Guard, the Red Sentinels stand on a balcony in armour the colour of dried blood. At their confirmation of the all clear, Cyrus embarks onto the balcony begins his speech, casting out the Emperor and the Imperium, placing their faith in each other and the Benevolence, the idea of mutual support from each other to progress into the future. Once Cyrus, proclaims that they are free from the reach of the hated False Emperor he falters, gripping the railing of the balcony and crying out in pain. The guards raise their weapons, scanning for threats to their leader. The Huntress smiles, her timing perfect, with the crowds seeing Cyrus' demise as well as the hololithic recorders capturing it, broadcasting to the entire planet, meaning that a clear message from the Emperor on the price for blasphemy and secession, for The Huntress had used a digital weapon to punch a silver dart coated in venom straight into Cyrus' spine just at the right moment, when he defied the Emperor. Cyrus then plunges over the edge of the railing into the crowd, already dead.1Track 4

Feigning panic and distress in her disguise as a Red Sentinel, The Huntress makes to escape from the balcony and eventually the planet when a clutch of shadows drops over her. Five figures land on the balcony, armoured in power armour and equipped with Jump packs, with skulls painted on their helmets, all of which were looking at her, none other. Knowing of her movements they had waited for here to show her hand and raising 5 bolters they declare, Assassin of the Callidus Temple, we have come for you! At this The Huntress turns and runs, discarding her stolen armour as it encumbers her. Her pursuers give chase, throwing bolter rounds after her, eventually catching her in the thigh, blowing away a chunk of flesh, hampering her movement. As the assassin limps her way around a corner and through a crowd, she is taken down by two of her pursuers. Pinned to the ground she reaches for her blade only to find it gone from her destroyed thigh. With a crunch her reaching forearm is crushed beneath a boot of her enemy. In her rage, the assassins face morphs and changes into the dozen different women that she has impersonated in the past two days. With her pinned down the leader of her enemies speaks: My name is Talos of the Night Lords Legion and you are coming with me.1Track 5

Back aboard the Covenant of Blood the Huntress awakes, opening her eyes, finding herself unable to move with a dull throb of pain throughout her body. She finds herself in a dark chamber, and hears her captor, Talos tell her not to attempt to rise, as her limbs have been removed and that the only reason she is awake is because of chemical pain inhibitors within her bloodstream. Telling her that there is no chance of escape, that her fate does not extend beyond the cell she currently inhabits, Talos gives her a choice between telling him what he wants to know and be given a quick death or suffer through the process of excrucuiation before telling them anyway and then recieving death. Rebuking Talos, The Huntress states that she would sooner die than betray the God-Emperor, to which Talos states that she will talk eventually, given time and the application of torture techniques. Asking how he knew she would come, Talos informs here that he is a prophet. Once again resisting Talos' efforts to convince to her to forgo the excruciation she starts to recite a litany, I am J'zara, daughter of the Callidus. My mind is inviolate, my soul unbroken. At this Talos commands an unseen figure to excruciate her.1Track 6

17 days later, J'zara, The Huntress, is broken of will, divulging to Talos what he wants to know. She tells him where her Callidus Temple is, in the Uriah system on the planet of Uriah III and goes on further to give him the exact co-ordinates of its location. Of the defences there is only a regular battle fleet patrol, with fifty daughters of the Callidus within the Temple, shielded from orbital attack, on the planet itself. J'zara then confirms that a hololithic recording sought by Talos is there. Removing his helmet, Talos approaches his now eyeless prisoner, who spits at him before being decapitated by Aurum. He then replaces his helm and opens a link to The Exalted, telling him that J'zara has broken and they should set course to the Uriah system for the planet farthest from the systems star. The Exalted queries Talos, informing him that the Legion has hunted for decades for this hololith, temple after temple across a hundred worlds and that he should be sure. Talos tells The Exalted to summon the Legion, as he is certain that what they seek is there, on Uriah III.1Track 7

At the planet of Uriah III, the Legion of the Night Lords assembles in all their dark and aged glory. Thousands of Astartes make ready for war on board all these ships whilst their commanders, rivals all, make their presence known through hails and thinly veiled threats. The only being to detect their arrival is a Imperial Navy patrol fleet that detects them on the outskirts of auspex range. An Endeavour-class Light Cruiser makes to break into the warp, seeking to escape and take warning back to the wider Imperium. The remaining three escorting destroyers stay behind, intent on buying their larger sibling time to break into the warp. In response a single vessel, the strike cruiser Excoriator, breaks from the Legion's fleet to combat the Imperial patrol. Withstanding all that is thrown against it, the Excoriator uses precise lance strikes to destroy the three escorts. Closing with the enemy cruiser, taking its withering fire on its shields the Excoriator destroys its enemies shields before drawing along beside it and launching boarding pods into its prey before returning back to rejoin with the rest of the Legion. It takes three hours for a hundred Night Lords to take control of the Imperial vessel, purging those who will not submit or who are too weak to be of use. With command of the vessel, they direct it back into the Night Lords fleet under a new name, the Faithless Song. Sitting with Octavia in her chamber is Septimus, where they hear a broadcast over the communal vox-net of the fleet:Vengeance as night falls. By dawn none will recall the Legion's shame. Asking what it means, Octavia is rebuked, as Septimus has no clue what it could relate to or why they are in this system at all. Septimus is clueless due to so much of the Night Lords Legion present including slave ships and fuel tankers taken from the Imperium over the years as well as warships such as the Hunter's Premonition, Excoriator, and Serpent of the Black Sea including their own Covenant of Blood as well as more unnamed. Realising that with the warships assembled there could be anywhere as much as 12,000 Astartes present, meaning that outside Abaddon's Black Crusades, this the largest gathering ever seen, with those present being only those close enough to answer the call to gather. Next it seen that all of the Astartes forces are making planetfall in drop pods and Thunderhawk landing craft, meaning that this is indeed something of great importance.1Track 8

Having made planet fall in a drop pod, First Claw emerge into the blizzard which scours across uriah III. Mercution states that they could do this operation alone, but asks how many of their brothers muster at their side, 10,000 perhaps when they do not require them for this war. Xarl pitches in, agreeing with Mercution, claiming that they put in the hard work to lure in the Callidus assassin J'zara and they should be the ones to claim this victory. Talos rebukes them both stating that this is not some personal glory but a day for the vindication of the Legion, that those gathered are just as entitled as they are. At this, none reply leaving Talos to lead them onwards, with all those landed making themselves into rough squads and following, making Talos the de facto leader for the time being. The Night Lords trek through the mountains of Uriah III, with their armour protecting them from the -50 degree Celsius temperatures. An hour later, Cyrion pipes up, stating that he would prefer to have bombarded the place into oblivion, an option which they could not take due to the need for the Legion to obtain the hololithic recording kept at the temple. Cyrion then goes on to ask what if the Callidus assassin lied, setting an ambush for them. Talos retorts with the fact that humans, let alone those of the Callidus cannot tolerate the low temperatures, and that their will be no defensive preparations as the orbital scans of the fleet would have picked any activity or power signatures up. Falling silent they catch sight of the Callidus Temple.1Track 9

The Night Lords bring up their armour including Land Raiders, Vindicator Siege Tanks, Predators and Leman Russ Demolishers, to attack and overload the void shields protecting the Callidus temple. The pieces of armour number 500, making it the largest gathering of the machines of the Legion since the Siege of Terra 100 centuries before. For four hours the bombardment pummels the shields before it falls whereupon the guns target the battlements. Within 13 seconds the first breach occurs, with squads of Night Lords charging the breach, chainswords revving.1Track 10

The Night Lords enter the temple, where most of the Imperial servants die from exposure within minutes due to the weather now being able to penetrate their corridors. Others meet their deaths on the chainblades of the Legion whilst the machinery and instruments of the Callidus is ripped apart in rage and vandalism. However, throughout all this destruction, no Night Lords Legionairre encounters a single Callidus assassin. Cyrion once agian claims that Talos was lied to, which brooks an argument with Talos stating that he saw the truth in his visions and heard it in J'zara's voice after 17 days of excruciation. Cyrion backs down from the argument only for The Exalted to vox through later that he and his bodygaurd have found the archives on the 30th sub-level, whereupon he commands First Claw to join him immediately as he proclaims to Talos that he was right.1Track 11

Upon entering the librarium archives Talos and First Claw are confused to find empty shelves and display cases, finding that the only lining of the walls is the ranks of their own brothers, the majority of which are unknown to them. In the heart of the room stood The Exalted, daemon at his heart, with malformed features. He informs Talos that the temple has been abandoned, that those left behind were simply custodians waiting for the Callidus' return to the inactive temple. Talos steps forward, asking why he said that he was correct then. The Exalted opens his palm revealing a fist sized sphere of discoloured bronze with a single green glass lens on its side, this being the Hololithic Recorder, their quarry. The Exalted proclaims once more that Talos was indeed right and that it was left behind whilst all else was taken. However the recording is a replica, meaning that the Legion's quest to possess the original continues unfulfilled, but for this discovery the Legion will be grateful. Talos take the hololith from The Exalted and activates it, broadcasting a green image of the Lord of the Night, their father and primarch, Konrad Curze, Night Haunter. All the hearts of those bearing witness skip a beat at the sight of their primarch. Those looking upon the image clutched at their bolters with inspired fervour and strength and some wept behind their masks with pride, remembrance and sadness. The Hololith itself showed Night Haunter sitting atop his throne before standing and approaching his assassin off screen before laughing in defiance and leaping to attack her before the recording stops and repeats itself. The Exalted reminisces on how he remembers how he watched their father laugh in the face of death and leap at his assassin, how they obeyed his orders to watch as she approached their father and slew him. Talos stops the playback and states that a copy of the Hololith shall be spread to every Legion ship so that their father's death may be kept fresh upon their minds. With that the Night Lords return to orbit.1Track 12

Upon return to orbit the Night Lords' fleet destroys the Callidus Temple on the surface of Uriah III as well as the mountain range it sat upon. With that done the fleet dispersed, breaking into the warp on their own paths of fate. Alone in his meditation chamber Talos watches his father's death 8 times on the Hololith. Changing the setting to the only other option opens up the one other archive on the Hololith, a vox-recording recorded by M'Shen, the very woman who slew his father and the very woman he disemboweled and tore to pieces before the Long War in his pursuit for vengeance. She spoke from beyond the grave, millennia dead in a rictus of repetition much like Talos' father. Her words were This is M'Shen. Daughter of the Callidus. I've found commander Curze of the Night Lords Legion. which repeat until the story ends.1Track 13

Characters

First Claw

  • Talos Valcoran — Leader of First Claw. Was an Apothecary during the Great Crusade; shares with his father, Konrad Curze, the power of prophecy.
  • Cyrion — Talos's unofficial second in command.
  • Xarl — Highly-disciplined Astartes.
  • Mercution — Relatively new recruit of First Claw, having joined in Soul Hunter after the decimation of his old squad.
  • Uzas — Although never actually mentioned in this story, he makes up the fifth member of First Claw. Unruly and reckless.

Night Lords 10th Company/Covenant of Blood

  • The Exalted — Commander of the Tenth Company and in charge of Talos and First through Tenth Claws. Host to a daemon slowly corrupting his body.
  • Septimus — Male Artificer and seventh slave possessed by Talos. Looks after Octavia who is new to the Covenant of Blood.
  • Octavia — Female Navigator and the eighth slave possessed by Talos.

Tyrias Secundus Affair

  • J'zara — The Huntress, the assassin whom First Claw hunts down on Tyrias Secundus.
  • High Priest Cyrus — The renegade planetary governor whom J'zara is sent to eliminate in theatrical fashion.

Sources