Monday 27 December 2021

A Glossary of the Amber Court

 Great swathes of time and chaos separate us from even the Age of the Later Court. Much has been lost, the Court itself was swathed in deep secrecy during its Early Period, purely as a matter of survival, and in its Later Period became riven with intrigue, factionalism and obscuration. Nevertheless I can present to you a brief list and explanation of some of the more obvious terms which will directly apply to your studies.  



Needing. A simple catch-all term used by Seers to describe their work in altering Courde or Fate Lines. Anything from the subtlest Notching to the most brutal Galon would be described so, usually within an ‘Atelier’. i.e. “What’s your aiguilletage today?”  



See ‘Haptic Ranks’ 

Broadly responsible for the well-being of an ‘Atelier’ or specific tasked group of Seers. Originally based around consumables, food, shelter for them and their families, though also interrelated with security and perhaps ultimately a political role. Of necessity, the Almoner must be well versed in Amber Court politics. Whether the Almoner is protecting, controlling, imprisoning or supporting the Atelier is up for debate. 



Amber Mystery Disciple

See ‘Ocular ranks' 

The fifth ranked grouping of Amber Court Seers. The last rank at which one would be resident commonly outside the Court itself and the lowest rank at which one might lead an Atelier



Amber Soul Disciple

See 'Ocular ranks' 

The third rank of Seers in the Amber Court. Almost never seen outside the Court itself until the later part of its history and those individuals have their own names and legends. An Amber Soul Disciple would be the leader of at least one Atelier and possibly several. 



A single Seer or a group of such, freed from organisational hierarchies and instructions on where and to what ends they should focus their attention. Very rare at lower levels of the Amber Court but in some sense all highly-promoted Seers attain a degree of Autocephaly in their prognostications, though they are expected to dedicate their secular or Haptic attentions to their Court Duties. 

Since most, perhaps all, highly promoted Seers engaged in meta-prognostication of the groups and matters under their immediate purview, it’s clear that even from the start, any strong divide between secular or ‘haptic’ responsibility and transcendent or Ocular duty, melted away towards the top of the pyramid. 

See ‘Blind Melody Disciple’ for a Court Rank assumed to engage in a high degree of Autocephaly

Degrees of Autocephaly are thought to be one of the main divisions between early Houses




The core organisational grouping of the Amber Court. An Atelier was a group of Seers under the direct instruction of a Seer of Amber Mystery Disciple or Amber Soul Disciple Rank at least. 

Ateliers could be dedicated to particular situations, groups, individuals or fate lines by the Pursuivant or Grand Pursuivant, or might be part of a larger, distributed array of Ateliers working under a common leader of Preceptor level or above, or may even have some degree of Autocephaly. 

One can think of an Atelier as a closed room, or group of chambers in the Amber Court where a select group of Seers gathered to plumb the depths of a specific Warp or Courde. This room, and their work in general, would be separated from the outside world and from the Amber Court as a whole by two guards, the Poignard Disciple within the chamber and the Tyler without. 

Information control was deeply important to the Amber Court and Ateliers were not meant to intra-communicate, neither were the instructions sent to them or the information issuing from them meant to intersect with the instructions or perceptions of any other Atelier except via the correct and singular authorities dedicated to that task. 

In the early years of the Court this method seems to have held largely true (though with some gaps and loopholes even then), by the Later Period the Court was so riddled with intrigue, factionalism and complex webs of meta-prognostication that its widely assumed the Ateliers were “wide open”, though the forms of Poignard Disciple and Tyler were still followed. 




Has very specific meanings highly dependent on context, but very generally, a term used to describe the range of possibilities in which a particular Courde or Warp either express itself, or diverge. (Though, oddly, almost never referring to the Selvage

Usually when referring to a single Courde with a hard Selvage, the bias describes the potential range of ways in which the known fate may be expressed. i.e. if Duke X has a Courde with a hard Selvage in two weeks, but with a great Bias, then the Seer, or Atelier, is strongly certain that this individual will die on or within that timeframe, but very uncertain of how that death may occur. 

Conversely, an uncertain Selvage with a short Bias, would mean that Duke X may live a very long period of time, but when he does die, it is almost certain to be by the method or in the manner predicted. 

When referring to Warps, Fate Lines for larger groupings, the definition and usage of 'Bias' becomes more complex and situational. 



Blind Melody Disciple

See 'Ocular ranks' 

The fourth ranked grouping of the Amber Court. An unusual and unspecific rank. Almost never given leadership roles but neither required to be resident within the Amber Court itself. Blind Melody disciples were expected to rove far and wide across the world, taking on many roles. They may be a form of intelligence agent of direct action operative for the Court, or head up or advise groups of such. 

Technically this should never have occurred as, according to Court Law analysis and effect are separated into the Ocular and Haptic arms of the Court and should not intermix. What 'intelligence gathering' looks like to a society of Seers one can only guess. Some individuals advanced quickly to 'Wild Melody Disciple' rank and remained there all of their lives while others skipped the rank entirely.





Altering or managing the appearance or 'seeming' of events regardless of the Courde, Warp or Fabric. i.e in classic Broderie, the manner or seeming of events might change a great deal but the fate of not one insect will ultimately alter. Seers disagreed deeply on the importance of Broderie, initially it was a low-status art and those of mid to high rank eschewed it, yet ultimately many High Preceptors were initially deeply skilled in Broderie and maintained silence on the subject, speaking neither in defence nor condemnation of the art 



Celestial Master

See 'Ocular Ranks' 

Actually the seventh and probably lowest ranked grouping of the Amber Court. Still considered to be by far superior to the common weal of Seers in capacity. A ‘Celestial Master’ might primp themselves about amongst the colleges of lesser Seers who gathered around the Amber Court, particularly in the Later Period, but would ultimately be regarded as an apprentice within it, perhaps a joke by the Rightly-Guided King in this naming. 



Coudre, Thread, Fate 

A Fate line, classically conceived as the destiny of a single individual or some other simple, unitary identity, of perhaps an object, like a sword, or in some rare cases larger identity groups so long as some other very strong element unifies their fate lines i.e. a group of individuals in a single lifeboat on an empty sea, or trying to survive in the snows of Nehei. 




'Priming' Courde, checking for existing Warps and Wefting, if necessary, cutting any warped Courde. Preparing a fate for Alteration. In many cases to Decatize is assumed to be much easier in the case of nonentities, newborns, unimportant individuals they young etc, and to get harder and harder to the degree in which people age, gain status, form connections with others and become more individual. There are however, many counterintuitive examples. Complaints over failures to Decatize proliferate in the Later Period. 




Philosophically the conceptual barrier of inter-related fates beyond which no Seer can meaningfully alter anything. More commonly used in the manner of specific Atelier and Seers remarking on the limits of their own ability regarding a single weave "I/We have hit an edge". 

There were always debates within the Court as to whether there was actually an Edge in the conceptual sense and these ultimately added to the fissured which accelerated the proliferation of Houses and which, in part, defined the structure of the Later Prescience Wars. 




To 'Augille' a Warp into the Fabric, the structure of causality, producing strong feedback loops between the structure of the desired fate and highly non-alterable events, beginning with things like the actions of the sun and stars, vulcanism, etc. Entoilage can effectively seal the fates of large Warps but carries enormous risk as the nature of the feedback loops means that if the Warp does shift, instead of being strengthened by the substructure of Causality, it may instead alter that substructure. 

Entoilage was considered a high and subtle skill for much of the History of the Amber Court. 




Causality. Fate or time itself. The structure and direction of events regardless of human action. Though in many cases Seers will refer to 'Fabric' or 'The Fabric' as being simply a deeper and more certain, less alterable layer of causality than the one they are currently working on. 




A method but more usually described as an action, i.e. “I/he just galoned the fuck out of it. Don’t put it in the report”. 

Jamming a pre-existing small Warp or Courde into another larger warp with little preparation. In a sense a form of crude Entoilage but instead of interweaving the chosen Warp with deep Fabric, one simply appends one smaller Warp to another not much deeper and stronger than itself in the hopes that “Nothing will go wrong”, or if it does, that no-one will notice it was your fault. Carries all of the risks of Entoilage but with much greater chance of failure. 



Grand Pursuivant

See ‘Haptic Ranks’ 

Administrator of all Pursuivants throughout the Amber Court. The seal of the Grand Pursuivant guarunteed physical access to any Atelier, at least technically through the Tyler, though the Poignard Disciple, in thier capacity as member of the Atelier, may potentially deny such access. A rank with only grew in power over the Ages of the Amber Court and which clashed often with the Almoners. 



Great Emptiness Disciple.

See 'Ocular ranks' 

The sixth ranked grouping of Seers of the Amber Court. Little is known of the titles meaning. 



Haptic Ranks 

The procedures of the Court were initially designed to strongly separate the ‘Ocular’ arm, made up of Seers an dealing only in information under highly controlled circumstances, and the ‘Haptic’ arm, made up of non-Seers and largely tasked with the security (and perhaps control) of the Seers and Ateliers

There were many more than described here, including whole schools of Scribes, (its estimated there were perhaps five Scribes for each Seer). More details can be found in the respective entries. 

Almoner – in charge of welfare of Seers or Ateliers

Tyler – originally a guard to the door of an Atelier

Pursuivant – originally a backup to the Tyler or assistance to the Almoner

Grand Pursuivant – Master of Pursuivants 




Seem to be socio-political groupings within the Amber Court itself, crossing between Ateliers and Ranks. In the Early Period of the Court these are referred to as intellectual and philosophical concepts, though in the Later Period they grow both in number and the extent to which they are mentioned. Some later correspondence seems to place the various 'Houses' above even the Ateliers and Preceptors in importance. In either case, little is known of their nature, purpose or views. 


Dominant in the early period and continuing to the middle period; 

The House of Glass

The Bright House

The Tripartate House


Minor or non-existent during the early period, growing in power and dominance from the middle to the Late period 

The Deep House

The Suns Perfection House

The House of Peace

The House of the Orthodox Sun ('New' Bright House)

The Glass Blade (abjured)

The House of Ghosts (abjured)

Final Clarity House

Perfected Mystery House

The Lemniscate House (abjured)

The Ouroboros House (‘New’ Lemniscate, twice-abjured and records purged)

Flowing Blood House (abjured)

House Invisible (denied)

House of Amber Flies (abjured, condemned) 





An action and method; ‘to notch’. 

Cutting or removing fate lines at the 'edge' of a Warp to produce a 'Neat Warp', more stable and less likely to fray and produce Bias. Essentially shifting or breaking the interrelationships at the edge of a shared Warp so that the fate of the Warp is more strongly separated from the common Fabric. A very difficult and subtle art as in many cases, notching can also make a warp unstable, yet to perform it exactly encourages a warp to curl in upon itself yet without any obvious trauma. 



Ocular Ranks

 (counting upwards in importance)


?. Poignard Disciple

7. Celestial Master

6. Great Emptiness Disciple

5. Amber Mystery Disciple

4. Blind Melody Disciple

3. Amber Soul Disciple

2. Preceptor Numinous

1. Preceptor of Glass 



Patron / Plan 

Few Aiteliers would begin the Aguilletage without first assessing the shape of the Corde, Weft, Bias and Selvage. This done they form a collective plan both of the desired fate and of the Aguilletage used to attain it. The nature of these Patron/Patterns/Plans is different for each Aitelier




An expendable Warp, a grouped arrangement of fates used to the point of destruction purely to alter or Decatize the prime Warp or Courde intended. Not always physically destructive as the Court would say, to destroy a fate is not necessarily to destroy the person, (though a fair amount of time it means destroying the person). Intra-Aitelier arguments over Pattemouille could be savage as a Warp carefully conceived by one Aitelier might be used by another simply as Pattemouille by another. 



Preceptor of Glass

See 'Ocular Ranks' 

Title of the first rank of the Amber Court. Nothing more is known of them. 



Preceptor Numinous

See 'Ocular Ranks' 

Second ranks of the Amber Court Seers. Presumed masters of meta-prognostication. Perhaps allowed to directly advise the Rightly-Guided King. Little is known. 




See ‘Haptic ranks’ 

Has administrative control of entry and exit from the Atelier, though direct control is held by the Tyler and the Poignard Disciple. The Pursuivant might control anything up to a small paramilitary force dedicated to the protection of a specific Atelier or Seer

Pursuivants were initially intended to remain separate to the Atelier and in some sense subservient to the Tyler, initially conceived as little more than armed backup for the Tyler. The appearance in the  Later Court Period of armies of Pursuivants gives the ultimate lie to that. 



Poignard Disciple

See ‘Ocular Ranks’ 

An unusual role of the armed Seer. The Poignard Disciple was initially a low-ranked,  perhaps not even Celestial Master level, member of an Atelier who literally guarded the door from the inside, armed with a Poignard. The same door being guarded from the Outside by the Tyler, an entirely haptic Rank. 

This provided a good opportunity for the Poignard Disciple to learn about the work of the Atelier and also about the structure of the Amber Court. Over time the position clearly changed and was often filled by a wide variety of individuals, becoming more of a role than a rank. 



Point droit 

Jamming something into a Courde or jamming a Courde into or around another at the last minute, either due to failure in planning or unforeseen complexities. If someone Point droits your Courde you will usually know about it. The results are usually ‘Miracles’, truly bizarre coincidences, obvious loops and various other obvious non-causal elements. 

One Atelier requesting a quick "point droit" from another would be regarded an admission of embarrassing failure. However, in later years it is clear that the Almoners were forced to suppress an informal underground 'trade' in Point Droit between Ateliers




The length of a Courde or Warp in time. For an individual, in most cases, the point of death or discorporation, for a group, the point of breaking up, giving up or evaporating, or death. Though as with all court matters, there are subtleties. Death may not be the end of Selvage and Selvage may not end in death. 





if 'Notching' is a subtle and graceful method of separating a chosen Warp from the Fabric and creating a mutually-linked fate, Surfiler is a hasty, even brutal method of sealing a Warp by 'curving back' its edges and using dense, closely arranged fate lines to ensure that no decision pattern allows exit. 

Surfiler was not well regarded and if applied to more intelligent Courde-dwellers, would often produce effects highly noticeable even to those bound within the Fabric, such as individuals and elements leaving and then quickly returning by unusual means, rings and totems being thrown away and then being found in a potato, individuals falling into a river and washing up at the next bridge, individuals being ‘lost in fog’ and returning to wherever they came from. 

Various forms of crude Surfiler were likely elements in simple Hedge Workings. 




They duty of the Tyler was initially to guard the door of the Atelier from the outside with force. In the middle and later court periods the Tyler evolved into a more political role, as opposed to the Pursuivants who eventually became a military force and in competition with the Almoners who maintained a purely administrative authority. Tylers were usually highly competent and intelligent non-Seer individuals who traded both on what they did know and could do and on what they might know and wouldn’t do. 

There is no equivalent role for the later Tylers in other polities. Armed duellist /ambassador/ factotum/ bodyguards? 




A group of unified or grouped Courde or fate lines, as for a city, a village, a family military force etc. A ‘shared fate’, either occurring naturally or Wefted into being. 




To ‘weft’, wefting together. 

Both the means of tying together Courde into grouped fates or Warps and also describing the expressions and extent or 'size' of the resulting Warp

The means of tying together threads into grouped fates or expressions; In Haptic terms, a general recruiting for an army, putting them all in the same uniform and marching them as a unified group to a particular engagement, has 'made weft', but most Seers use 'Weft' to describe the tying together of Fate lines in ways usually not detectable by mortal senses. Wefting can take place long before those involved in it become aware of it. For instance, two boys born far apart but in particular social and personal circumstances may be 'wefted' with a hard bias, to join the aforementioned military group before the general who eventually leads them even conceives of the idea 

The extent or 'size' of the Warp. The number of Fate lines involved; their geographic distance of the individuality of their Fates. To Weft together the fate of a single homogonous village into one Warp is considered relatively simple (the "curse" of Folk Seeing in which a Seer or Wonder-Worker is killed or offended and brutally Wefts their accusers into one Warp with as short Selvage and slim Bias, would be a narrow (easy) weft). 

By comparison, Wefting together highly intelligent and individuated persons scattered across the globe, with highly different world views and aims, into one Warp, would, classically, be a wide (difficult) Weft and an act of great skill. 

 (However, views on this seemed to differ bewteen Houses and many highly ranked Seers disagreed on the relatively difficulty of Wefting)



Monday 20 December 2021

What Reads Like Shit But Plays WELL?

 At some point this blog had something to do with Dungeons and Dragons or something,.. tum te tum the OHHH ESSHH AYR? I think I found those words scratched behind a pillar in a forgotten language in a sertaline dream I had.

In an act of remembrance for whatever this Blog used to be, and out of interest - plumbing, dredging the minds of my audience, and from my own curiosity, I have a query;

What reads badly but plays well?

Here is a picture for you;

Marcel Roux Offering to Moloch, 1908
(ripped off from the blog 'Monster Brains')

A few examples, largely from discussions I have had with friends who read and used things I didn't like the look of. Castle Xyntillan did not appeal to me at all from the text but multiple people have told me "No it plays like hot shit at the table, great fun." Likewise Ravenloft, the villain-is-ASDA-Dracula, sounds awful to me but again many many people say the opposite in play.

(I leave the definitions of "bad", "plays well" and the discussion of what we are talking about exactly (I'm imagining adventures but willing to accept a reasonably wide spectrum of 'similar things' around that), deliberately open. If you want to talk about what 'bad' means to you so you can define it better then do so, please don't argue with each other over definitions of what 'bad' is, its tiring for me.)

Monday 13 December 2021

a footnote on the Water-Horse Wars

 Main Text
Historiographies of the Water-Horse Wars* have waxed and waned like tides from age to age. In the first magisterial histories of the opening battles of the Prescience Wars; "Our World War" by Kausker Wood, "The Dharma of Care", scrolls 3 to 333 by Priest-Viscount Apsanalan, and the epic poem "The Chaos of the Waves" by Chevalier Eastscource-Tan, (a much later work but one drawing upon direct sources long since lost to us), the Water-Horse wars are regarded as the _ending_ of a period, not its start.
For those alive at the time, or recording in the years directly afterwards, it must have seemed that the resolution of these conflicts had brought an end to what Apsanalan called "Our wars of twisted fate"
What few writing at the time could guess, that the shattered Pathist consensus which resulted from the Wars and the long-delayed counter-reaction to their resolution by elements which had so far, played little part, were instrumental in the initial formation the Amber Court of the King Beneath the Time, which would dominate the early-middle period of the Prescience Wars as a whole, and secondly, that the methods used to close the Water-Horse Wars only heralded, in vitro, strategies, weapons and sacrifices that would become all-too commonplace in "The Time of Great Workings"

Sunday 5 December 2021

Who shall rid us of these Seers?

Sitting, as I do in my tower, in the peace and (relative) safety of our twilit Kingdom, in the one-thousand and sixth-hundredth Year of the Sleep, I face the testing question of any History; where to begin?

For if History teaches anything, it is that beginnings are not beginnings and endings not endings. There are no subjects in Nature or chapters in Time.

A question double-mazing for even our memories and records of the Prescience Wars, which raged for uncounted years before the Coming of God and the Years of the Sleep, are partial, deeply affected by the shattering events of the Wars themselves, which sallied forth across the collective unconscious of mankind and  which besieged unreality itself - dragging continents of dream into the waking world, not to mention the ever-partial records and histories which descend to us from those times.

Many great events, strange terrors and storied names pass through those Histories. 

Of the Siege of Red Rock, which hung like a vile tooth in the wounded air, with men climbing and dying like ants as they clambered over the red stone and fell in ropes.

The Synopticated Legion, ever-drumming, their banners and totems glitched and maddening -  for to see their sign and hear their drums was to be infected, altered on the spot, so that one must fight the legion deaf or blind, and how they were fought, and defeated by a general both deaf and mute, who spoke their strategies by touch.

Of the half-fictional armies of the King in Yellow, which could never be defeated while the memory of them remained, (and so still do remain, in-potentia at least).

Of those who made compacts with fire, or who promised the darkness all things.

Of those who raised the dead and the fractured terror-memories that those dead raised, for they had slept beyond the veil and, hearing in their slumber, the music and tapping of that infinite realm, dreamed in their black sleep, things of which the living should have never been aware. Of the Legion of ghosts who moved through nightmares and burst from the mouth of dreamers like vomit.

Of the five hundred sons of the moon who married the sky and who each walked with a star-wife, ladies of constellations, voids of great beauty and inexpressible hunger.

Of the devil-binders who bred with demons, and their self-bound half-demonic daughter-son dauphins, their abyssal half bound by spellcraft in the womb to their mortal flesh.

But History, or at least Historiography, has answered me already, for in all the Chronicles of the Prescience Wars, there is a rare meshing of viewpoint at the start, and while not all historians agree, all at least mention to begin with, "This Plague of Seers", and the birth of the Iron Path, in Albraneth, (a city of which no other record or ruin now remains), in the early morning, on rest-day, the citizens awoke to find, scratched with an arrow-head into the wood of the Temple doors;


"Who shall rid us of these Seers?

they kill the day

our hours are not our own
neither king nor slave
but are a great trikery

that a man shall look at his sufferings as nought but a tumble of dice
his works as the turn of a kard

these reeders of dreems take more than can be took
they whore us to the future and we krawl
they pik the poket and unpik the seem
taking more than is within
leeving less than emptyness
a space which even Nothing passes through

shame shame on the reeders of dreems and the dreemers of deeds

who heer is not among the foul?
who has not feerd its tricks

take the Iron Path

this path is cold but it is pure
the iron path chilleth the soul
but what you have you hold
what you are, you have done
a road not to be tilted or cast aside

and it is Strait
an arrow without twist or branch

let what is, be
let what was, stand
and that which is to be remain unknown

stand for the Iron Path
and water it in the blood of seers
the teeth of witches are its seed
and the ashes of astrolagers charts its soil
shattered bones of prophets are its keys

cursed be all fortune tellers, prognosticators, haruspex,  diviners, soothsayers, oracles, augers, elfin tricksters, ponderers of orbs, changers of fates and reeders of dreems

there is One Fate, One Truth
and it is Iron"

So with these words was the Iron Path born, appropriately enough, in blood. 

The words were discovered first as the sun rose and before the Temple Authorities were even aware of them, had spread throughout the city. Initially the only response was a great gathering of crowds and a general hubbub, fevered discussions in corners, fights in taverns, (which may have a more accurate claim to be the first casualties of the Prescience Wars, though no record remains of the individuals in question). 

By mid-afternoon the Temple Authorities had removed the doors themselves, which proved to be an error they would pay for later that night.

By evening several fights had coalesced into a riot in one part of town. 

It was about this time that the first printed broadsheets bearing copies of "A Plague of Seers", had left the city in the packs and wagons of various merchants and travellers. (For type to be set and printed that quickly some printers must have gone straight from the Temple Doors in the morning to their print shops and begun work immediately).

By this point it is likely that only the destruction of Albraneth and the all remaining copies of, or knowledge of, "The Plague of Seers" could have prevented what was to come.

By nightfall the city authorities lost control of the streets, in part due to several desertions and the evaporation of many formations of the City Watch who had joined the riots they were send to quell.

The pogrom which engulfed Albraneth that night was only a drop of blood compared to the oceans which were to come. Perhaps twenty alleged Seers, along with their families, defenders and a handful of individuals who tried to stop the violence, or who simply got in the way or said the wrong word, were killed, beaten, burnt in their own homes or lynched in the street.

This earnt the Pogrom its tavern name in years to come; "They-Didn't-See-That-Coming-Day".

Though, as the land was to learn much, much later, several of the more capable Seers very much did see it coming, and had fled Albrenath in the hours, days, months and perhaps years preceding the Iron Path massacre.

(The lateness of their leaving Albraneth eventualy became something of a mark of power among Seers, "an hour out of Albraneth" meaning a Seer so weak they could only escape the massacre by the skin of their teeth.)

It would be later still that some began to think in terms of meta-prognostication, and it became evident that "She who sees first, acts last", for among the very last prescient refugees to leave the city were a handful of the most powerful known, disguising the depth of their prescience even from their own kind by the lateness and hurry of their action. Prescience hiding from Prescience itself.

As for the Iron Path, its nature changed and shifted as the Prescience Wars ground on, the massacre became a movement, a cult, a crusade, a philosophy, an alliance of peoples and an alliance of things which were not men. So many changes that Historians could, and still do argue over whether or if one expression of the Path was truly related to another. Yet in whatever form it took, it kept at its heart,  the Canticle of the Temple doors;

"Who shall rid us of these Seers?"

Monday 29 November 2021

Eclipse Knights - the Prescience Wars

 "In the absence of god the promise of the future itself becomes god."

Men read often, in those black times, dreams and visions, spectres in dark glass, angels in moonlight and the turning of cards. Visions of the future, maps of Time.

The future is the greatest wyrm and guards the greatest horde. What do you desire, what can you imagine to want, that does not ultimately lie there, wrapped in the coils of time? sliding over scales of moments, slipping, tumbling, flashing amid the darkness, both real and dreamed, but possible?

From the wisest to the worst, all dreamed and spun, turned cards and gutted beasts, tricked rhymes from witches and blinded snakes to watch the letters in their maddened coils, and the best were worst, for the dreams of criminals and peasants are simple to see and brutal to find - gold, safety and sex, position and petty power. A dukedom even, or the coding of a simple spell.

Singular, material dreams, easily found and fulfilled, moments in the maze of time.

And just as easily slipping away once found. The swineherd becomes a duke, and is deposed, the bandit becomes rich, and is quickly robbed and killed by those they once called friend. A marriage bound upon the prick of a fairy pin, dissolves, disappears before the leaves turn. Like waves of circumstance collapsing on the shore, making room for other prophecies, for other dreams, all while the many jibe and barter, scurrying in dross for a sniff of better times.

So much for empty souls, the hungry ghosts who make up the marrow of the world, simple minds, even en-masse, bound in littleness of harm.

Watching this, not the incidents, but the whole, the substance of society and time, churning and bubbling as shards and spumes of prophesied causality burst through both like sea-wrack smashed by waves against the shore, were greater minds, deeper men with finer and sharper and better ideals.

They did not hunger for power, not consciously, and not for material things. Not golds or crowns or flesh or land.

They wanted to change Time itself, to change mortalities relationship to time.

To what exactly, each differed, there was little consensus.

But not this.

Not this degrading and harrying and questing after trinkets and baubles of fate. Not this unstable dream-wracked world, turning always on a story, or the spin of a wheel, this land where the only currency was promises of possibility and the only sane work was to mine and harvest, harrow the land and batter down each soothsayers door in search of futures, or else to be a soothsayer, or a witch, false or real it mattered as much as the bite of two envenomed snakes. Trading and dealing and tripping over dreams dreams dreams, trade a dream of your dinner for food for the day, and dream harder that night for more dreams to sell.

So then thought the wisest of women and the greatest of men in those forgotten times, and though they agreed on very little, one thing they all held clear.

Not this.

Yet, where can a better world be found, except in that same future they abjured? And if a man might turn on family, sell his home for magic beans, or a housewife leave her babies in the brook, a child light the thatch on a winters night, all for the promise of a better fate, be it ever so small, some treasure, a lover, water in the well..

Then what might these potentates, Sorcerers, Philosophers, Emperors and Priests, what might they do, not for their own benefit, not for their own power, but for the world, nay, for reality itself? What crime was unforgivable if the alternative was this?

What is necessary can be no crime. Would you hang the mother who steals bread for her children? And what might not become necessary in time, when the harrowing of time became the aim? 

To break the axle of a sinful world, some sins must be committed, and if they must be done, they are no sin. 

The promise of the future forgives all.

Friday 19 November 2021

Warhammer is a Satire Now

 If you are a dorky, low status white man, at some point in your life you look around to see that you are surrounded by other, dorky, low status (probably fat), white men. 

And you either say to yourself; "Well, here we are then." Or something else happens inside you and you cringe because you being here, in this place, with these people, is a sign of moral failing.


So Warhammer is officially a Satire now. No longer just a midwit take on r/40klore, 'tis the gospel truth as proclaimed from the Warhammer Community Itself.

The provocation in this case is a situation in Spain where someone wearing outright Fascist gear entered a tournament and the organisers refused to eject him. Warhammer Community don't dare to name the Tournament, the circumstances or the individual. Instead they take refuge in this... 

It would be too far to call it a lie, especially an intentional one. Its more like a feverishly-held half-truth, directly said, in the companies voice; "Warhammer is a Satire", which it largely is not.

40k doesn't have a singular message. Its a a paracosm, not a story, and any game, project, book, animation, paint job or whatever can have any one of a billion different interpretations depending on who is playing and how.

Secondly, hypermasculine ultra dark Nietzschean gothic tragedy has been a core component of 40k from the very start. Not the only component. Yes there was stuff like Obiwan Sherlock Clouseaau and lots of silly stuff, but even in the Rogue Trader, mixed in with it, there is a lot of extremely powerful, dark, emotive stuff which while it is sad and doomed is very definitely and very obviously NOT SATIRICAL, at least not in any way that a normal person uses the term.

And all of this is and has been largely fine. 99.9999999 per cent of people playing and interacting in the "ccuuuhhhmunityyyy"  have managed to access these dork, powerful and complex emotions on their own terms and have not actually become Fascist.

Access to dark and powerful emotions is important. Especially if you actually have  adult emotions and not just "positions". 

How will an alienated teenage boy, a nerdy guy in his 20s, and a lumbering middle aged man, the same person, but separated by time, respond to 40k? It will be different each time, and that relationship, that synthesis and push and pull between these quite deep dark and powerful emotions, will shift and alter in a PROCESS OF FUCKING GROWTH. A process of growth and change which can only really happen if they are allowed to relate to the subject in a free way, now serious, now ridiculous, now detailed, now vague, now deeply involved, now from a distance, literally taking on the point of view of one side then another.

A process that cannot now take place because "Warhammer is a Satire". There is one approved and intended moral axis and intended moral resolution to EVERYTHING that happens in the imaginary 41st Millennium.

That this is a delusion is utterly evident by almost every game of Warhammer, in which people occupy and embody varied and changing assumed points of view from moment to moment, and that's even taking into account GWs new, foolishly extended and non representative version of what "satire" means. Its word games pursued to escape the dark and dangerous business of dealing with the paradox at the core of the imagined world.

Its a vague, and ultimately destructive, because false and deceptive, statement of "values" which carefully avoids mentioning the exact circumstances of even the particular incident that triggered it because to do so would be to take a legal and social risk. The kind of risk you would think anti-fascists would be eager to leap into.

It doesn't get you off the hook you fucking cowards, you fools, it puts you deeper in.

So now you are going to be sitting in a room with Disney, or Amazon or Henry Cavils agents, and talking about how the Hero of this series isn't really actually a hero, I mean yes they are the main vector of action, do all the main things, are the most powerful and dynamic person and the main subject of identification with the largely male audience, but they aren't like a "hero" hero. Because Warhammer is a satire. And no this particular story isn't funny no, but actually we meant satire on a technical sense, look see this definition here. An yes the enemy are literal rape demons and the Empire in this series is bad but better than rape demons, but its still a satire you see...

Oh and get this;


Firstly because he's FUCKING IMAGINARY.

Secondly its an entire cosmos specifically created to make horrific structures and actions taken to resist it seem reasonable. A reality where if you think about the wrong magic symbol too hard a rape demon comes out of you.

"Something doesn’t have to be wacky or laugh-out-loud funny to be satire. The derision is in the setting’s amplification of a tyrannical, genocidal regime, turned up to 11."

Of course, the cosmos you are talking about is one specifically created to make that tyrannical genocide potentially necessary.

The Fascists dream of infinite corruptive enemies, insidious perverting ideologies, a nightmarish other which desires nothing but your annihilation and the necessity of a cult of heroic sacrifice is actually verifiably true in the imaginary 41s Millennium.

"Hey guys, I wrote an extended multi-book, multi-medium fanfiction about World War Two in which the Jews really do have psychic powers and really are running an illuminati SUPER CONSPIRACY to dominate the world! Its a satire."

The cults are real. The demon gods are real. Most of the Aliens do genuinely want to destroy you. The society itself is monstrous and corrupt, but we can't really call it evil since it has better, actual reasons for being so than any human society that has ever existed in the real world.

So how is it a satire when the Empire genocides a planet? Or does any one of a thousand other things to stop the, in this reality, actual and real existential threat?

It might be a tragedy. It isn't a satire. And now you will have to sit in a room with neat little men wearing suits and explain half-truths and lies to get advertising money.

"An examination of a dark reality?" nope

"A tragic investigation of how much of humanity survives when the only way to survive is to gradually slice off more and more humanity?" Nope not that.

"A shameless explosive aesthetic deep dive into the staggering emotional and visceral charge of gothic art and doomed male hypermasculine identification taken to the n'th degree but its ok because art is made up and maybe somehow this will be useful to humanity in ways we can't easily put in a spreadsheet, or maybe its not even useful in any way but fuck it lets d Human Expression in art because do do so is to embody Humanity?"

No not that either.

Instead; "Warhammer is a Satire". 

Lies lies lies. Convenient midwit bullshit that gets you out of the moral jam of defending the very thing that gives you all jobs to an unsympathetic audience you SO DESPERATELY wish looked at you with respect.

"Isn't Eisenhorn the hero here?"

"Well yes but then he GOES TOO FAR"

"But then isn't Ravenor the hero?"

"Yes but"

"And how many people has he tortured and murdered?"

"Oh lots, but offscreen. And then Bequin is the Hero! Female representation! Diversity!"

"And does she torture and murder?"

"Well to start she works for a eugenicist crime cult.."

"I see.."

"But then she gets pulled into the orbit of a guy who hangs out with a fucking demon."

"And this is a satire how?"

"Oh its bad. Its all very very bad yes. (But very enjoyable if you watch it on Amazon Prime, really great entertainment)"

"And its ok to identify with the agents of this theocratic genocidal fascist state for entertainment because its satire?"

"Yes yes, Fascism bad! We put a little message at the front!"


It wouldn't be anywhere near as bad, it wouldn't be bad at all, if they had just said; "Actual Fascists Not Welcome" instead of linking it to this stupid, fucking double-digit IQ take. The two points now tied irrevocably together.

Stupidity? Liberal midwitsism? Or actual deliberate falsity in which a foolish piece of nice-sounding ideology is hidden beneath the soft cloth of "Racists Bad", so that now anyone who sees the strange stinking lump beneath that cloth...?

"What do you have under there Games Workshop? It stinks to high heaven."

"Oh but Racists Bad."

"Yes that is written on the silken cloth which you use to cover what looks and smells like a lump of shit,  but what is beneath.."



Well, its an indefensible position and gets worse the more seriously you take it, but since its telling a society exactly what it wants to hear very possibly it will work, and anyway, Racists Bad hmmm? Who would disagree except autistic low-status men who get pissed off about whether anything you are saying makes actual sense. And do we really need those People? All they had to do was agree after all? And why wouldn't they? Doesn't is all look.. a bit suspicious? Kind of a bad look? I mean read the room right? Maybe its time for the moral prophylactic of a reblogged Randall Munroe comic...

I have a lot of intuitions about this, the people involved, what it means for culture and my place in that culture. Either you can probably guess what most of them are, and if not explaining them would be fruitless.

A healthier response would be to leave and re-focus on something I can actually change.

I will *try* to take one of my intermittent breaks from Warhammer and see *this time* how long I can stay off the Plastic Crack.

I will see if I can replace the energy dump with working on my own stuff, maybe going back into Eclipse Knights and doing everything I can to keep it very much NOT a satire.

Maybe actually learning to draw! We will see.....

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Trailing Corposant 8 – The Bitz Box

For reference, the Trailing Corposant Series so far;

Finding a single plastic space marine fist in the corner behind the bookshelf, discovering they make an Organge flavoured Yorkie but its only in this one newsagent, finding a cheap plastic toy in the bin by the tills that you are pretty sure was designed by a famous artist, realising what thing that peeling device at the back of the drawer was made to peel! 

These range across an axis of subject focus. Some contain stories and novellas about a single place, (‘Tallarn’, ‘Calth’), person, (‘Corax’, ‘Garro’) or group (Born of Flame for the Salamanders. ‘Shattered Legions’ for the Shattered Legions’ and ‘The Primarchs’, for the Primarchs). 

Others are “Era-based” grab bags, usually arranged *very* roughly about a broad time period. These include ‘Tales of Heresy’, ‘Age of Darkness’, ‘The Shadows of Treachery’, ‘The Burden of Loyalty’ and ‘Heralds of the Siege’.



Tales of Heresy - 2009



Blood Games – Dan Abnett 

It’s our first look at the Emperors personal soul-bonded SS, and it’s an espionage story with Power Armour. Really, after Unification Wars, what the Custodes do is essentially espionage and politics, and the politics is politics they do tacitly, tangentially, usually without being seen as direct movers

In this one they trace a traitor and find out that actually he was a double-agent for Rogal – the Imperials blowing their wad through lack of intra-service communication. Think this is our first look at Heresy-Era Terra as well.

A decent tale.


Wolf at the Door – Mike Lee 

Its Hans Vulfgar are we the baddies?-time as some Space Wolves are invited to a planet being harassed by Drukhari and team up with the locals to fight them off. In a lot of cases the being-skullfucked-by-aliens worlds are relatively happy to see the Imperium but here the relative innocent that invited them thinks he can ask them to leave when they are done. They do not leave, instead they kill him and bombard the planet. A pleasingly dark story. 


Scions of the Storm – Anthony Reynolds 

Another creepy one with the Word Bearers finding a world of people who already pray to the Emperor, but wiping them out as the Word Bearers just turned to Chaos a few weeks ago. 


The Voice – James Swallow 

A Black Ship straaaaands-oooff-ffaaaate story. Some Sisters of Silence board a Black Ship to uncover spooky doings, turns out they are mixed up with an attempt to use psykers to send a message back in time from the Future. There is this thing called a heresy and they need to stop it. One of the people sending the message back is a future version of someone on the ship now and….., I don’t remember the exact resolution but it ends badly. 


Call of the Lion – Gav Thorpe 

Part of the slow descent of Terran Dark Angel, former Legion Master, big Emperor Fan and future Fallen, Mier Astelan. Good character, average writer. Meir is not conquering worlds fast enough so the Lion sends an absolute arsehole to check on him, they clash over how to deal with a fresh planet – things go horribly wrong. 


The Last Church – Graham McNeil 

ATHEISM! HEARD OF IT YOU DORKS? E-Money has a little chat with the last priest of the last church. 


After Desh’ea – Matthew Farrer 

I am a big Farrer fan, including his shorter work and that holds true here. The War Hounds Legion are freaking out as their new Primarch has been delivered to them and he’s a raving maniac they have trapped in the throne room. Everyone who goes down there to talk to him dies, which includes most of the Legion Command by this point. Next up is Kharn, Captain of the Eighth Company. 

A fantastic first introduction to Angron and to Kharn , and a great piece of Tragedy and Kharn, desperate for a Father, and Angron, utterly traumatised his abduction, the abandonment and death of his friends without him, and by the fact he’s been fucking lobotomised by a rage engine and its only going to get worse, form an uneasy, addictive, and horrific relationship; the War Hounds can have their father figure, and he HATES EVERYONE. 

They would have been so much better off without him 



“Blood Games” and “After Desh’ea” are both notable stories, in both cases I think they may be our first look at important elements, the “home front” of Terra, and the ongoing nightmare of Angron and the World Eaters. In both cases these will be taken up by other writers, Chris Wraight I think _arguably_ does the most with Terra and ADB goes deep on Angron. 

Other than that? A lot of “and things went horribly wrong” 

One backstage at Terra tory which shows the Loyalists already tripping over each other

Four Legion stories showing respectively; the Space Wolves being imperialist murderers, the Word Bearers killing theists, which they were sort of meant to do, but now they are doing it for bad reasons, the Dark Angels having a fractured command and a Legion torn between worlds, and the War Hounds/World Eaters becoming trapped in horrific co-dependency with a monstrous victim/nightmare being 

Plus a psychic time travel Cassandra story.




Age of Darkness – 2011


Rules of Engagement – Graham McNeil 

A weird McNeill story. A loop forwards in time as I think at this point Abnett hasn’t written or is writing Know No Fear about Calth. This is set after Calth and is about Robute working out how the codex Astartes is going to work by basically doing cosplay live-fire exercises with his army men, which also involves him dressing up as Horus… So canonically Robute has a Horus costume.. 


Liars Due – James Swallow 

A stranger comes to town on a small world, is he a villain? Yes. And he drives everyone mental with paranoia in order to collapse the society in preparation for team bad guy to arrive. IT’S THE ALPHA LEGION! Slightly notable for the end in which a farm boy chases him into space. 


Forgotten Sons – Nick Kyme 

A Salamanders Story with the green guys trying to persuade a world not to go with Horus and dealing with shenanigans. Not good. 


The Last Remembrancer – John French 

From the depths of the enemy fleet, a single nerd emerges. Horus has been carrying around this surviving pet remembrancer, a word I can seemingly never spell correctly, and has sent him to Rogal knowing full well that Rogal will want to see him himself to judge, and also that the simple story of what the Remembrancer has to say will mess Rogal up so much that it will seriously mindfuk him 

Oddly the traitors try another version of this during the Solar War – an innocent Remembrancer with a message for Rogal, with similarly useful effect. 

The truth itself is a weapon! The future will be dark! The Emperors dream is dead! Get ready for a shitload of people to say stuff a lot like this in this book and all future books! The emperors dream is deaaaaad! 


Rebirth – Chris Wraight 

Shenanigans on post-Russ Prospero as a surviving Thousand Son is chased about by some mysterious dudes, captured and loses, then slowly regains his memory, turns out he’s talking to Kharn who is there on behalf of the BL editors to clear up loose plot threads and who kills him. 

But don’t worry, the blasted, empty, ghost-stalked ruin of Prospero is a surprisingly popular destination during the Heresy, quite a few people turn up there and pass through, pausing to quote Ozymandius to themselves before going back to the main plot. 


The Face of Treachery – Gav Thorpe 

The Alpha Legion are hell-bent on pulling of a xanatos gambit plot by infiltrating the Raven Guard and they will stop at nothing to keep the secret of the enormous resources they are wasting on special ops bullshit when they would probably be more useful just shooting guys on the battlefield. It’s like an entire Legion, what about an 8th of Horus’ combat strength, FULLY dedicated to playing dressup instead of normal fighting. I have complained about the Alpha Legion enough. 


Little Horus – Dan Abnett 

Horus’ mini-me/Jimmeny Cricket/Dorien Grey painting, ‘Little Horus’ Aximand is having a hard time, here he tries to put the Mournival back together and ends up falling into a trap intended to kill Big Horus set by surprisingly-useful Iron-Hand Shadrack Meduson in which, is shit you not, the White Scars play “McBain!”. From the Lex; 

Aximand is almost killed when statues in the centre of the room come to life, revealed as the White Scars kill-team in disguise.” 

Poor fucking people-pleasing idiot Horus Aximand gets his face cut off. This is not the worst thing to happen to him in the heresy. He deserves all of it.  


The Iron Within – Rob Sanders 

Say hello to Barabas Dantioch, the most likeable loyalist of the traitor legions. A fun story due to its characters and the interest of a fortress built within a giant stalactite – a rather far fetched notion if you ask me. 


Savage Weapons – Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

Holy fuck, the edgiest, moodiest most White Wolf Heresy writer writing a meeting between supergoth Konrad and straight-edge goth the Lion, ADB to the max really, Ship Girl, Konrad actually getting close to beating the Lion head-on.


Summary; Honestly Not Bad 

No really deeply notable individual stories but a lot of nice glimpses of Primarchs and others being generally a bit weird.




The Primarchs – 2012 

Almost all of these have been or will be covered in the various Primarch Posts 

The Reflection Crack'd - by Graham McNeill 

Canon anal violation. 


Feat of Iron - by Nick Kyme 

Sigh. Nick Kyme. 


The Lion - by Gav Thorpe 

Demons BAD. FUCK the edict of Nikea, wake up the psykers! oops I killed that guy. 


The Serpent Beneath - by Rob Sanders 

Don't let those schemes stay dreams!


The Shadows of Treachery – 2012


The Crimson Fist (Novella) by John French 

A good story about Alexis Pollux being trapped in a very bad situation, keeping his shit together and wrecking Pertuabos day. Good if you like Sensible Marines and interesting to take a look at the Imperial Fists when their command structure is a mess, they have no information and even they are starting to feel stress. At the end its very obvious that the Chaos Gods had to let an email from Rogal get through the warp storm in order to save Pertys ass. 


Prince of Crows (Novella) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

More Peak Goth ADB as the edgiest writer describes the edgiest character from the edgiest Legion literally riding the edge of destruction. Severtar, a cool psychopath who everyone thinks is cool despite him being totally over them and who is actually cooler than his Primarch Konrad , basically the “Huh, I guess I’m in” sunglasses guy from every anime ever. Severtar rides a Gunship through space on its back! FCKING SEVERTAR PEOPLE! 


The Dark King (Short Story) by Graham McNeill 

wEE WooOOO Konrad has a Mental. 


The Lightning Tower (Short Story) by Dan Abnett 

Rogal has a very subdued mental. Did you realise that the Emperors Dream was dead? Rogal was way into that dream guys. 


Death of a Silversmith (Short Story) by Graham McNeill 

Evil doings on the Vengeful Spirit. Neat and short. Only makes sense if you know the Heresy background. 


The Kaban Project (Short Story) by Graham McNeill 

I STARTED THIS WHOLE SERIES YOU LITTLE BITCHES!!!!! A.I. goes bad. We have talked about this in Grahams own post. 


Raven's Flight (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe 

Istvaan Flashback story. Corax and his survivors are hiding on Istvaan, meanwhile an Imperial Army guys is getting what seem very like brain emails from the emperor saying hey go rescue Corax. He does and they do, but he doesn’t tell Corax about the emails. 

Were they really from the Emperor? From the Chaos gods? Or super-deep messages from the Alpha Legion designed to prod him into action? He keeps getting these visions in later stories and they keep being accurate, all the while Corax guesses something us up but is too much of a dork to ask. 

The whole strand never pays off as eventually Corax sends the guy off to die in Beta-Garmon. 



Just fire the Primarchs, Pollux and Sevartar (so cool! Gosh!) are clearly more competent. No absolutely exceptional stories but ‘The Crimson Fist’ is satisfying and ADD writing ohmyfuckinggodis thatSevertar? is fun

Mark of Calth – 2013


Calth! A world that already got blown up and which plays no further role in the Heresy. But can you tell interesting stories about it? The answer is – sort of. Well not much, but a bit. Another answer is STORIES ABOUT KNIVES. 


The Shards of Erebus – Guy Haley 

Erebus plays with his knife. The Heresy is such a big story that even the weapons used in it have their own sub-plots. Here the super-sword which wounded Horus in ‘False Gods’ and which kicked off the whole thing by being stolen in ‘Horus Rising’, returns! And its voiced by Timothee Chamolet! 

Erebus shatters the Anathame and “grows” it into eight super-daggers fit for the fanciest of Disney villains. He does an evil Karate Kid deal where a Davenite Priestess teaches him how to do that walk-between-the-worlds stuff that Ollianus Pius pulls in ‘Know No Fear’. Now our favourite knobend can turn up anywhere. He knows Lorgar expects him to die on Calth and will use this to escape, he also gives the other daggers to a bunch of word bearers to see if they also become reoccurring characters. Kor Phaeron certainly does. Others die in the main books or in these short stories. The evil knives continue to bounce around like Behlits being evil Jimeny Crickets. 

Evil KNIIIIIVES! One tempts Guilliman at one point! He puts it in a drawer! 


Calth That Was - MCNEIIIIIIIL 

I forgot most of this, Ultramarines fight baddies on Calth. 


Dark Heart – Anthony Reynolds 

Reynolds gets to write about the main character from his Word Bearers books. 


The Traveller – David Annendale 

Ah I remember this one, it’s a pretty goodish horror story about someone who miraculously escapes disaster and finds other survivors and starts hearing evil doings, except he doesn’t realise that he is possessed and is being used as an unknown infiltrator – the evil doings were your own! The call was coming from inside the brain! 


A Deeper Darkness – Rob Sanders 

Think this is about an Ultramaine going Ahab on one particular Word Bearer, also demons. 


The Underworld War - ADB 

A good ADB story. A word bearer goes through Calth as a Possessed marine and eventually loses faith that being possessed by demons was a good idea. Surprise! The whole thing was a flash-forward “fake life” thingy during the moment of possession and the Demon dumps the guy. Argel Tal gets upset as he keeps getting his best guys eaten by demons to no avail but Lorgar turns up at the end to tall him not to worry finding good hosts for the Calth operation, just dump the spooks in the biggest psychos we have as no-one is coming back anyway! Argel Tal is basically a simp for e-girl Lorgar. 


Athame – John French 

A good and unusual Knife Tale, one of the better of the whole Heresy. Tells the story of a Knife from the dawn of civilisation, from the perspective of the Knife itself, is it moves through history being used, buried, forgotten and re-discovered, generally being evil and eventually ending up with the Word Bearers on Calth and then with good old Oll Personn. (IT MEANS “ALL PERSON” HE IS THE EVERYMAN CHARACTER – FORESHADOWING!!”) The Emperor himself buried this thing and it can cut through time and space so HOPERFULLY it is going to do something interesting in the last book. It might actually be the most interesting member of “Team Oll-Person”. No wait the servitor is pretty cool TROOP-PER-PER-SON 


Unmarked – Dan Abnett 

Dan Abnett has red Philip Pullmans ‘The Subtle Knife’ and really liked it. Oll and company wend their way through time and space on their journey to hopeful relevance to the plot. A lot of cliché’d Dr Who shit as it turns out Oll was present in the History we all learned about in school, WW1, Jason and the Fleece, whatever. “Oh yes I was at verdun”, “BBut whats a verdun, and do you remember anything that took place in the twenty eight THOUSAND YEARS between that historical battle and now? No you do not.” 


Summary; KNIVES! 

You managed to write a story where the main character was literally a knife and its better than many of your stories where the character is a person. 

Athame might be one of the most unique and interesting short stories in the whole Heresy. Underworld War is good.


Legacies of Betrayal – 2014


Brotherhood of the Storm (Novella) by Chris Wraight 

I REMEMBER THIS ONE! Think this is about the White Scars chilling on Chondax after Horus sends them there to get them out of the way, (with the Alpha legion invisibly dicking them about to make sure they don’t leave). 

A very nice intro to the Scars with a bunch of good characters we will enjoy following all the way to the attack on the Lions Gate spaceport in ‘Warhawk’. Also the only Imperial Army Logistics Officer to play a notable named role in the whole Heresy. 


Serpent (Short Story) by John French 

“No I’m  the true servant of Chaos.” 

“No I’M the true servant of chaos” 

“No wait guys, because I  in fact am..” 


Hunter's Moon (Audio Drama) by Guy Haley 

Discussed in the Alpha Legion post. Good story about what happened to the “watch pack” sent to look at Alpharius. 


Veritas Ferrum (Audio Drama) by David Annandale 

Prequel to “Damnation of Pythos”. It’s an Iron-Hands-at-Istvaan story so you know it will be a laugh riot. Sometimes to do what ever it takes you have to do whatever it takes. 


Riven (Short Story) by John French 

“Go and find the Iron Hands.” 

“Ok, lets just hope they haven’t gone mental.” (they have) 


Strike and Fade (Audio Drama) by Guy Haley 

Trapped on Istvaan with the Night Lords, but which is worse, the terror of the enemy or the boringness of the Salamanders? 


Honour to the Dead (Audio Drama) by Gav Thorpe 

BOOM! BOOM! BRAKKA BRAKKA RAKKA. Titans Fight on Calth! Why is this here? Some Ultras try to save a woman who is trying to save a baby. I think the baby does actually get saved? Shiban Khan saves another one during the Siege of Terra in “Warhawk”. The Horus Heresy! No babies harmed (ON SCREEN)! 


Butcher's Nails (Audio Book) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

Angron, Lorgar and all ADBs fave characters are attacked by FORESHADOWING and presumably kill it. 


Warmaster (Audio Book) by John French 

Horus does a black-stage one act play where he complains about how fucking rubbish the brothers on his side are. Who is he talking to? A SKULL! ITS FERRUS MANUS’ SKULL! METAPHOR! 


Kryptos (Short Story) by Graham McNeill 

Metal Gear Solid! Gotta find the Kryptos! What was it? I forget, some kind of creep demon/child thing maybe? 


Wolf's Claw (Audio Drama) by Chris Wraight 

How Bjorn the Fell-Handed got his Fell Hand. He basically just went to the armoury. 


Thief of Revelations (Audio Drama) by Graham McNeill 

Great title. Bridge story between McNeils 1kSons books. That’s about it. 


The Divine Word (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe 

The guy who got brain-emails from possibly the Emperor or maybe who knows, starts to get religion. 


Lucius: The Eternal Blademaster (Audio Drama) by Graham McNeill 

Lucius: The Panto Villain, now a Special Guest Star in McNeils next 1kSons book. (Played by Edward Herriman). 


Khârn: The Eightfold Path (Audio Drama) by Anthony Reynolds 

Kharn has a mental. Could chopping people to bits in a fugue be wrong somehow? 


Cypher: Guardian of Order (Audio Drama) by Gav Thorpe 

We talked about this somewhat boring Dark Angels arc already. Cyber and Zahariel are mysteriously secret on secretly mysterious Caliban. What mysterious secrets do they hold!??? 


Heart of the Conqueror (Short Story) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

Everything is an abusive relationship if you write it hard enough. An Imperial Navigator says “No Thank You Chaos!” 


Censure (Audio Drama) by Nick Kyme 

Theil, the guy from ‘Know No Fear’ is hanging around on Calth. It must be like being one of those guys who never leaves the town where they went to college. Anyway I think this is notable for being a not-bad Nick Kyme story. 


Bjorn: Lone Wolf (Short Story) by Chris Wraight 

Bjorn fights demons. He wins! Gosh. Basically a scene. 


Anything of note? 

Brotherhood of the Storm is a very readable prequel to the Scars arc. Hunters Moon is a good short story mainly because of he relationship between the Space Wolf and some random fishermen. Heart of the Conqueror is good but short. Warmaster is not great but fun. This book feels like even more of a grab-bag than usual.

War Without End – 2016


The Devine Adoratrice (Short Story) by Graham McNeill 

Prequel to the Snake Cult business in ‘Vengeful Spirit’. Nobles being pervs. 


Howl of the Hearthworld (Short Story) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

Some Space Wolves complain about their shitty posting and are dicks to an Administratum Clerk. 


Lord of the Red Sands (Short Story) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

A scene. Istvaan flashback. Angron is slightly less than an dick than usual to one of his loyalist sons. 


Artefacts (Short Story) by Nick Kyme 

Vulkan stops on his way to Isstvaan to show one of his guys his giant hall of super-weapons and tells him to destroy them as (probably he is starting to think he might not come back) he doesn’t want his legacy to be destruction. Somewhere Pertuabo weeps tears of pure rage. 


Hands of the Emperor (Short Story) by Rob Sanders 

The Imperial Fists, here to protect the Emperor, and Custodes, also here to protect the Emperor, have an autistic dick-measuring contest over how to protect the Emperor. A good story about imperial breakdowns in communication. 


The Phoenician (Short Story) by Nick Kyme 

A dying Iron hand watches Ferrus die. SAD! Many such cases. 


Sermon of Exodus (Short Story) by David Annandale 

All-aboard the warp-bus to Pythos as some Davenites wait offstage for their big scene in that book. 


By the Lion's Command (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe 

Corswain, probably the most competent Dark Angel, faces off with the Death Guard over a neutral planet. Planet in question doesn’t see why they should side with either variety of maniac but their decision will decide the battle. Whomever acts craziest first, loses. Corswain does dad proud by generally keeping his shit together. Add this to the Sensible-Marine Sub-Arc as Corswain goes on to be rather more useful than his dad during the Heresy. 


The Harrowing (Short Story) by Rob Sanders 

A fun mission-impossible scene from the Alpahas point of view as they Heist some Titans in space! 


All That Remains (Short Story) by James Swallow 

Another in the ‘Grey Knights’ sub-arc as a bunch of imperial troops are diverted to Titan and thence out of the story. 


Gunsight (Short Story) by James Swallow 

A good story! An assassin leftover from a previous book infiltrates the Vengeful Spirit and, while waiting to kill Horus, has a mental. I hope he turns up in the Siege of Terra books but he probably won’t. 


Allegiance (Short Story) by Chris Wraight 

Arvida, the sort of loyalist 1kson picked up by the Scars on Prospero, tries to work out what to do next. (He gets warped into a mini-magnus guy and becomes the leader of the grey knights but it’s a looooong fucking road from here to there. 


Daemonology (Short Story) by Chris Wraight 

Morty is absolutely creaming it for some sorcerous powers NOT BECAUSE HE’S INTO THAT SICK SHIT NO WAY!!!!! He just really needs to know a lot about it in order to stop it. He was on those websites for research! 


Black Oculus (Short Story) by John French 

A bridge story which takes Perty from the end of ‘Angel Exterminatus’ to ‘Tallarn’. He dove through a black hole! (Largely ofscreen). 


Virtues of the Sons (Short Story) by Andy Smillie 

Andy Smillie! Think this might be a first-and-only Heresy Tale for him. Sanguinius is worried about his boys and is trying to teach them to be less mental, with some success. 


The Laurel of Defiance (Short Story) by Guy Haley 

An Ultra tries to work up the nerve to tell Bobby G that “Imperium Secundus” might be a little bit of a bad idea. Space Marines Awkward at Parties is a surprisingly commonly repeated, and usually quite fun scene. 


A Safe and Shadowed Place (Short Story) by Guy Haley 

The Night Lords find Sotha! Uh oh! First starring role for Gendor Skraivok, the amusingly evil Night Lords villain who will be eaten by his Demon Sword during the siege of terra. 


Imperfect (Short Story) by Nick Kyme 

A weird as shit story in which Fulgrim in normie dressup plays chess against Ferrus and tries to convince him to join Chaos. Turns out he is just getting Fabius to clone an endless supply of Ferruses. They can do that? Also didn’t Dune do this first? Dune did all of this first. 


Chirurgeon (Short Story) by Nick Kyme 

Fabius Bile. Pretty much evil from day one. 


Twisted (Short Story) by Guy Haley 

You think its bad being Malcador? Well Horus has his own Malcador, called Malughurst, and his life is worse. An interesting look at the insane decaying demon-strewn politics aboard the Vengeful Spirit as it melts in unreality. 


Wolf Mother (Short Story) by Graham McNeill 

Bridge story between ‘Vengeful Spirit’ and the Siege stories. An important NPC is on this refugee ship from Molech, but she needs to have a mini-adventure first. The BL team manage to invent an actually interesting and sympathetic Perpetual and they weren’t even trying.



Howl of the Hearthworld is barely relevant to the heresy but a decent space wolves fragment. Hands of the Emperor is another good Imperial FBUAR story. ‘Twisted’ is good. But the standout is “Gunsight” about an assassin losing his mind. Stick it in the meta-list!


Eye of Terra – 2016



The Wolf of Ash and Fire (Short Story) by Graham McNeill 

Its bring your son to work day in a prequel where Horus and E-Dawg team up to fight some super-orks. The Emperor nearly dies! Or does he? Or does he choose to? How does he even see causality anyway? Is he showing Horus he can be killed? To what end? WHAT IS GOING ON??? 


Aurelian (Novella) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

All Lorgar All the Time in this decent Novella in which everyone’s favourite BPD sufferer goes on a chaos vision quest. 


The Long Night (Audio Drama) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

Severtar, the multi massively murdering conscienceless confirmed-psychopath who also has psychic powers and who can beat anyone – forms a friendship with an innocent young girl AND AVENGES HER WHEN SHE IS ABUSED!!! I am not making this up. SEVERTATR!!!! 


Massacre (Short Story) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

What were ADB’s favourite Night Lords characters up to during the dropsite massacre? Well they were massacring. 


Brotherhood of the Moon (Short Story) by Chris Wraight 

I think this is more of a scene than a story? A post-Scars moment where Jaghati deals with his insurgency. 


Inheritor (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe 

Wait is this a linking story to the ‘Dawn of War’ videogame? Holy shit. First the main character is a knife and now this. The Heresy really does have everything. 


Vorax (Short Story) by Matthew Farrer 

Want to know what its like to be a cybernetic hunter-killer robot? It fuckiing SLAPS. 


Ironfire (Short Story) by Rob Sanders 

A follow-on story following the loser from a previous short story, not even a main book. The Iron Warrior who got his arse kicked by Barabas Dantioch in his stalactite fort thing is back and is doing Iron Warriror stuff. 


Red-Marked (Audio Drama) by Nick Kyme 

Aeonid Theil, the irritating know-it-all from ‘Know no Fear’ and some Calth stories, is right about everything once again as he tells his bosses they are dumb, uncovers and deals with some word-bearers shit. This guy writes notes on his own armour, what does that tell you? 


Master of the First (Audio Drama) by Gav Thorpe 

More scheming on Caliban. See ‘Autistic Sympathy’. 


Stratagem (Audio Drama) by Nick Kyme 

Oh god Aeonid Theil is back just shut up for gods sake. 


Sins of the Father (Short Story) by Andy Smillie 

Another Andy Smillie Blood Angels duel-sposition? Fight-sposition? They monologue about emotions while duelling. Basic writing tactic but to be fair the Blood Angels probably would have internal monologues while fighting so ok. 


Herald of Sanguinius (Audio Drama) by Andy Smillie 

More Blood Angels stuff! Sanguinius needs a Herald because apparently he can’t just hire a secretary or take more zoom calls or whatever. Will the herald one day become the Sanguinour? 


The Eagle's Talon (Audio Drama) by John French 

From the Lex; “Taking place during the Battle of Tallarn, the story reveals the actions of 3 Imperial Fists recon squads sent to prevent the landing of the macro-transporter Eagle's Talon to the surface of Tallarn, which would have a dramatic effect on a massive battle for the southern continent. The story is told over a series of 7 vox transmissions that were captured during the infiltration of the ship.” 

Did John French just come up with another actually-innovative short story/drama form for the Heresy? Yes I think he did. 


Iron Corpses (Audio Drama) by David Annandale 

Another good Tallarn story as an Iron Warrior decides to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to survive a super-spolosion. 


The Final Compliance of Sixty-Three Fourteen (Short Story) by Guy Haley 

Short and neat as an Imperial Officer who helped conquer a world and now rules it, works out what to do with Horus crawling up his arse. 



‘Auralian’ and there being a higher than normal number of good shortish stories, plus a rare Matthew farrer, plus a good Nick Kyme story! Put this above average.


The Silent War – 2016



The Watcher (Audio Drama) by CZ Dunn 

What happened to the Space Wolf “Watch Pack” sent to watch Konrad? This did. Another “we let the messenger survive and get home specifically to spread terror” 


Child of Night (Short Story) by John French 

“Fel Zharost, psychic loyalist Night Lords dude hiding on Terra, come with me to Malcador” 

“Ok. Also here is my TRAGIC backstory. I was a psyker, loyal to the….” 

“Just come with me to Malcador.” 

“And SEVERTAR said hey you get the fuck out I don’t even care” 

“OMFG you didn’t tell me SEVERTAR was in your tale, please go on!” 


Grey Angel (Audio Book) by John French 

Loken is on Caliban; “Cypher, what secrets do you hold?” 

“Secret ones.” 



Templar (Audio Drama) by John French 

Sigismund has to re-take the memorial of the redacted Thunder Warriors from some dang Word-Bearers. It’s a comet! Its Halleys Comet! Also judging by later events clearly he does not do this that well. 


The Gates of Terra (Short Story) by Nick Kyme 

A Marine has to face certain death! Gosh. BUT it’s a space dream! Malcy and co are doing dream vision brain invasions on all their astartes commanders to see if they are really super-loyal. This one is but “Test him again!” 


Luna Mendax (Short Story) by Graham McNeill 

Loken Feels Sad on the Moon. Someone turns up and says….. 

“Come with me to Malcador.” 


Wolf Hunt (Audio Book) by Graham McNeill 

Follow-on from ‘The Outcast Dead’. Its Space Marine vs Samurai!!! Jesus fuck at least there aren’t ninja in the Heresy, or pirates. 


The Purge (Novella) by Anthony Reynolds 

A Word Bearers guy goes from Terra to the Shadow Crusade and ends up having a vision of the gooooods. He was unsure before but is super-faithful now! I think this might have been good? 


Army of One (Short Story) by Rob Sanders 

A 1000-word short from the point of view of an Eversor Assassin! What’s it like to be one? It fucking SLAAAAAAAHHHHGGGHHHKILLKILLKILLKILLL. This war isn’t Silent at all! 


Distant Echoes of Old Night (Short Story) by Rob Sanders 

Hee hee haa haa whooo release the PHOSPHEX! 


Ghosts Speak Not (Short Story) by James Swallow 

Hey random Death Guard left behind on the moooooon, come with me.. 

To Malcador? 

No. But I am on a mission from Malcador. Also at the end of this story we blow up a planet. The Emperors Dream is dead! 


Lost Sons (Short Story) by James Swallow 

“Warden Arkad, Sangunius is deaaaaaad, (or missing), come with me to Malcador.” 

Arkad - “Like fuck I will.” 

“Ok well then we are taking all your stuff to Malcador!” 

Arkad - “Noooooo fucking way.” 

Random Messenger “Guys, text from the astropath, Sanguinius is alive.” 

Arkad – “Leave.” 

(Sanginius later dies) 


Patience (Short Story) by James Swallow 

A… a.. a.. good Garro story? 

Garro turns up in this as a mysterious avenging monster slayer seen through the eyes of others who just poses meaningfully and is taciturn but who it turns out later actually had a plan. 


The Sigillite (Audio Book) by Chris Wraight 

A Malcador episode as our boy does some recruiting for his super-secret friends gang. Its about getting an artefact or something? I think it’s the Rosetta stone maybe? And it goes in a museum? 


I am broken and can no longer thing clearly 

I think maybe this was bad? Or eh. Too much Come With Me To Malcador. The Eversor and Death Guard stories are OK I think.

Corax – 2016 

A bunch of short stories about Corax, all by Gav Thorpe. Essentially a Primarchs book in all but name. Will cover these in detail if/when I do a Corax post, one sentence descriptors for now; 


Corax shouts at Cogboys 

“The Shadowmasters;

 Metal Gear Solid! 


 You weren’t at Istvaan man! You don’t know! 

The Value of Fear;

“We’re not so different, you and I” 


Don’t mention the genome 


 I’ll have my own Siege of Terra! And I’ll die at the end too!



Garro: Sidequests - 2017


Nathaniel Garro, a largely boring man, written by James Swallow, an often uninspired writer, and working for Malcador, a bureaucrat, to complete side quests in the Heresy. Someone has to hoover up the NPCs! 

Its like, a whole book of Come With Me to Malcador. 

‘Corax’ was a collection of short stories mashed together to make something.  Later on both Valdor and Luther would get full actual books about them. ‘Garro’ is somewhere in the middle. Material from a bunch of audio dramas and stories but with new linking material and re-writes to make it something more like a full book. I am not doing proper reviews for all of these. 


Garro: Oath of the Moment 

“Tylos Rubio, come with me to Malcador.” 



Garro; Sword of Truth 

“Some of you are baddies.. but whooooo???” 

“Also Loyalist World Eaters guy, come with me to Malcador.” 


Garro: Legion of One 

“Garviel Loken, come with me to Malcador (and the main plot)” 

“WooOO I’m having a metal but ok.” 


Garro: Shield of Lies 

The conspiracy…… is us! 

Yes you worked it out I should kill you but instead I will take you too malcadooooooor 


Garro: Burden of Duty 

“Maasic, come with me to Malcador.” 

 Massic; “No.” 

Garro; “Ok then.” 


Garro: Ashes of Fealty 

You have [nineteen] missed calls. First call is from [Nurgle] (DELETE). Message deleted. Second call is from.. [Nurgle].. 


Garro: Vow of Faith 

“Euphrati Keeler, come with me to Malcador.” 

“Ok and praise the Emperor” 



Garro goes around the galaxy collecting people for Malcador so they can either join the main plot or be bundled up by Mal and jammed through a portal to Titan where they can become the Grey Knights, the Emperors second, functional, attempt at a Psychic Legion, basically removing them from the series. Garro has some complex and sad feelings at times. He got religion.




Shattered Legions - 2017


Damn I forgot most of these. I do seem to remember that a lot of the Shattered Legions stuff was a bit above average. Shadrack Meduson, a shared character who largely appears in short stories, tries to hold together the Iron Hands along with fragments of the Raven Guard and Salamanders after Istvaan. The Iron Hands are having a complete mental breakdown after Fulgrim Kills their Primarch and Meduson is a Terran Sensible-Marine who came up in the Legion before the Primarch and so has an actual fucking personality remaining even without him. This does not endear him to his Legion. As your mother said; If everyone at school was sticking their hand in a fire, does that mean you would do it? Hell fucking yes can you imagine what they would do to the only person outside the cult?


Meduson by Dan Abnett 

Iron Hands, why can’t you be normal? A good story I think? Meduson thinks he is in an American film and tries to turn his rag tag group of people who do not get on into a scrappy team with a plan against the odds which just might work. They do not want to do this. 


Unforged (Short Story) by Guy Haley 

Salamanders try to survive on Istvaan. You can’t trust anyone these days. 


Immortal Duty (Short Story) by Nick Kyme 

Robot Boys fight berserkers! I remember nothing of this. 


Grey Talon (Audio Drama) by Chris Wraight 

Iron Hand and White Scar team up. A Wraightiverse intermedial linking story. 


The Keys of Hel (Short Story) by John French 

Uh oh. Remember all that Dark Age of Technology creepy transhuman hypertech that the mechanicum and also Ferrus were in charge of, and in particular, in charge of not using? Well the gloves are off now bay-bee and its time to get exceedingly creepy with engrams and flesh! A space marine is already kinda like a machine anyway right? 

Also interesting as it shows the outer-edges of the problem the Emperor was very carefully trying to thread by making every element of the Empire of Mankind just about Human, just inhuman enough to do the terrible jobs they have to do, but juuuuuust about still human inside. This is what happens when you go over that line. 


The Noose (Short Story) by David Annandale 

EC are pervs and fight Iron hands. 


Deeds Endure (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe 

Think this is about Vulkan remembering where the ‘Flesh is Weak’ Iron Hands motto came from. Turns out he came up with it but keeps getting misquoted. The full thing is meant to be “The flesh is weak, but deeds endure.” I can see how relentlessly hearing that would drive you nuts “But DEEDS ENDURE!! You are MISSING THE POINT!!!!!” 


Unspoken (Short Story) by Guy Haley 

More sad stuff on Istvaan. 


The Either (Audio Drama) by Graham McNeill 

All about Tybalt Marr, the guy Horus tells “Go and get the fucking Iron Hands off my back while I become a god please”. This is Medusans “Arch Foe”. He is surprisingly sympathetic I think? 


The Hand Elect (Short Story) by Chris Wraight 

Medusons semi-mechanical best friend goes for an upgrade on a handy mechanicus world and definitely doesn’t get reprogrammed by the Legions resentful elements to fuck Meduson over. 


The Seventh Serpent (Novella) by Graham McNeill 

We have talked about this in the Alpha Legion post. A fucking Mission Impossible episode. 



A better book as a whole than its slightly medium parts would suggest. Provided you like Iron hands and/or ‘turbolift’ stories which move small characters around in the background.




Tallarn - 2017 

Barely a book of short stories. Instead another mashed together book of stories to make a novel, though in this case about a world instead of a person. Amazingly this actually works pretty well. 

I’m not actually going to review this here. It’s a good book. On the Discord I talk about this stuff on its one of only nine mainline Heresy books to receive a green-across-the-board. 

Perty rocks up near Tallarn after the events of ‘Angel Exterminatus’ pissed off and looking for a Demon Gate hidden on the planet so he can pull a ‘Molech’, as the Emperor did and as Horus is doing. 

He starts off by virus bombing the planet, destroying all life BUT, the expanding Imperium needed somewhere to store all its spare war shit and regiments that got left behind and here they are, locked up in deep underground storage. The Imperials have a war machine, in fact it’s the only thing left on the planet. 

Now the ex-president has to get in a tank with a fucking teenager, the imperiums left-behinds have to try to fight Iron Warriors in the aftermath of an apocalypse, the Alpha Legion somehow find sneaky bullshit to do in a lifeless desert and Perty JUST WANTS HIS FUCKING DEMON GATE FOR CHRISTS FUCKING SAKE while Horus sends a Marine and Sota-Nuull to pull the leash.


The Burden of Loyalty - 2018



Perpetual (Audio Drama) by Dan Abnett 

Oll & Co are still working their way towards relevance but here at least they end up somewhere interesting; the remains of a city during the fall of man in the Age of Strife. Super AI’s have blasted it with an ontological weapon leaving a nuke-hole in which reality itself does not exist. Its not even a hell gate, just … nothing. There is more conspirital perpetual straaaands-ooooff-faaaaate stuff involving Oll.



The Binary Succession (Audio Drama) by David Annandale 

Cogboy shenanigans, threats with a Loaded Titan and the Adeptus Mechanicus is born baby! 


Into Exile (Short Story) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden 

Arkan Land from Master of Mankind has to get the hell-outta-mars! Does this happen after or before “Master of Mankind”? Not sure. Possibly this is setting him up to appear in ADBs final Heresy book. It’s a decent tale. 


Ordo Sinister (Short Story) by John French 

Spooky Psi-Titans run by psychic blanks using trippy alchemical control bullshit! There was a whole other branch of the Imperial Household we didn’t know about! They have super-duper mega infra-black clearance! They all die in a few books time so arguably don’t “matter” that much, depending on how much any fictional construct matters! But they are pretty cool and creepy while they on-screen. The Emperor was definitely developing some kind of plan to invade hell. 


The Heart of the Pharos (Audio Drama) by L. J. Goulding 

Weird stuff happening in the Pharos as a bunch of scouts sent to fuck about in there are attacked by a discarded Dr Who plot. 


Cybernetica (Novella) by Rob Sanders 

Spooky Raven Guard cyberpunk guy, having escaped from Mars, is sent back to do black ops stuff. He runs into an old friend who now has chaos on him. 


The Thirteenth Wolf (Audio Drama) by Gav Thorpe 

A fighting-on-Prospero story! Its been a while. A bunch of Space Wolves chase some 1k sons into the Crystal Maze set and dimensional shenanigans are engaged in. Why the fuck would you chase a wizard into his tower of mirrors? Because you are a fucking idiot that’s why, Vulf Vulfson, Wolf Lord of the Wolf raiders, nineteenth wolf company of the DON’T CALL US THE “Space Wolves”! 


Wolf King (Novella) by Chris Wraight 

Wolfy wolf wolf wolf in a story set after the Wolves leave Prospero and get jumped by the Alpha Legion and ignored by the White Scars. Russ is depressed but gets over it. The Fallen make an appearance. 


Notable stories; 

‘Ordo Sinister’ is a good simple direct story that tells us something we didn’t already know about the heresy, quickly. There are a fair few good tales made responding to the Forge World Lore, which I think this is too. They should just have done a book; “Decent writers tell short stories about Forge World Red Book Stuff.” Binary Succession is also not bad.

Born of Flame - 2018

 Vulkan and sons have worries and adventures. Will deal with this when I deal with him. Wish me luck for that valley of doom.



Heralds of the Siege - 2018


Myriad (Short Story) by Rob Sanders 

The destroy-all-humans hyperdimensional clockwork A.I. we discussed in our Cogboys post, is “weaponised” against chaos in the same way setting your house of fire weaponises your oven against burglars. 


The Grey Raven (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe 

“oh no I broken the edict of Nikea like literally every loyalist psyker that isn’t a fucking idiot.” 


Valerius (Audio Drama) by Gav Thorpe 

That guy who got visions to rescue Corax is still getting them. What do they mean? I actually forgot the end of this one so who knows. 


The Ember Wolves (Short Story) by Rob Sanders 

Titans fighting nowhere near Terra. 


Blackshield (Short Story) by Chris Wraight 

Possible loyalists and ex-Traitor Death Guard do shenanigans in the fringes. How many random Astartes warbands are there out there? Interesting in that it looks at the results of Astartes Technology and the culture around them outside the major two powers of the Galaxy. Parts of the Caliban story also do this. 


Children of Sicarus (Audio Drama) by Anthony Reynolds 

Rather than being at the Seige, Kor Phaeron is already doing the decorating on a Demon-World in the Eye. Clearly after Logar botches his takeover large elements of the Word Bearers have already given up on the current iteration of the conflict, are settling down for the Long War and picking demon-furniture from demon-Ikea. 


Exocytosis (Short Story) by James Swallow 

Typhon comes down with a cold while chilling in Luthers micro-realm. Strangest friendship ever? 


The Painted Count (Short Story) by Guy Haley 

Its Gendor Skraiok again “Hee he hoo hoo haaa I have a DEMON SWORD! What could possibly go wrong?” 


The Last Son of Prospero (Short Story) by Chris Wraight 

Poor bastard Arvida gets sucked into Malcadors sketchy Grey Knights project & attempt to make a mini-me Magnus. The Khan reasonably tries to stop Malcador from being a creepy little fuck. 


The Soul, Severed (Audio Drama) by Chris Wraight 

The Emperors Children have moved to LA, joined an “intentional community” and no longer call their parents other than to request money for various art projects/political causes. Their dad has quit Pornhub because he is scared he will see them on there and only realise mid-nut. 

They are getting weirder is what I’m saying. 


Dark Compliance (Audio Drama) by John French 

Another story where Horus weaponises some expendable nerd by “allowing” them to witness unspeakable shit before “allowing” them to meet with a future target. He can never just send an email can Horus. 


Duty Waits (Short Story) by Guy Haley 

The Fists pull a ‘Bloody Sunday’ as hyper-violent assault troops are told to engage in a police action with rioting citizens. Things go as you would imagine. A good story as these are the “good guys” and its clear stuff like this is happening all over Terra. Also they are not happy about it but they are trained as hyper-violent assault troops, the are not “De-escilation marines” 


Magisterium (Short Story) by Chris Wraight 

Valdor and Rogal have a dick-measuring contest and also a do-you-have-free-will conversation. E-Money just made Valdor torch a HUUUUUGE number of Custodes in the webway. Why though? Futile effort to win, or part of some deeper longer-term scheme? Valdor comes as close as he can to admitting that he doesn’t have the capacity to say no. (Also the Emperors Dream is dead). 


Now Peals Midnight (Short Story) by John French 

“‘The future is dead, Rogal Dorn. It is ashes running through our hands…’ 

He heard the ghost speak from his memory as he walked on.” 

“The enemy had come to the heart of the Imperium. All had been false, some provoked, some dreamed from fear and fatigue. But now, on this quiet night, the dreams would end.” 

The Emperors Dream…. Is dea this should have been the last story in this collection but stupidly is not.



Dreams of Unity (Short Story) by Nick Kyme 

Some Bannana Guard are given the job of killing a handful of surviving, and now very fucking nuts, Thunder Warriors in the Terran underworld, before Horus turns up. This story is a little sad. “Unityyyyyyy!” I can’t be the only one hoping for the last few Thuder Warriors to do a Wild Bunch charge into the chaos baddies during the siege, maybe saving a baby or something, I can’t help it I am a simp for that shit! There is still time for a third baby to be saved! 


The Board is Set (Short Story) by Gav Thorpe 

Malcador and the Emperor play super-metaphor chess as they plot out possible futures. Behold! The story which launched a hundred thousand threads on r/40klore. AMBIGUITY! HEARD OF IT NEEEEERDS? THAT MEANS THIS IS DEEP! Please find whoever told the Black Library writers about ambiguity and ambiguously smother them. This story probably shouldn’t exist but it does make clear that the Heresy, or something like it, was intended and planned for. Neither Malcador or E-Dawg are freaking out about it, just worried about how it will go.



Oh my actual christ I think I destroyed my mind doing this. I literally have no ability to contain or synthesis information. 

The Writer has a big effect. Stories by Wraight, ADB, Abnett and French are always readable and often worth reading. Wraight and ADB are both character writers, their bridging and what-happened-here stories are interesting sometimes if you know the stories they lead in and out of but would I recommend them to anyone else? Probably not? 

French will often be willing to try some weird stuff…. 

The strongest tales have an identity. They are about something and have some HEFT. Often short, but about a singular Aristotelian clump of stuff. 

Here’s a good idea for a story; Be About Something 

My Top-Whatever; 

Blood Games - Abnett

The Last Church – it’s bad but it matters

After Desh'ea - I like Farrer

Little Horus - A good story, MCBAIN!

The Reflection Crack'd - CANON ANAL VIOLATION.

The Underworld War - don't put a demon in you.

Athame - this is good!

Howl of the Hearthworld - not exactly about anything imporatnt but a nice slice of Sace Wolf.

The Harrowing - the Alpha Legion actually pull something coherent off!

Gunsight - this is good

The Wolf of Ash and Fire - might actually be a good "start" to the heresy

The Long Night - SEVERTARRRR!!!!! SO COOL

Vorax - be a robot!

Meduson - Abnett

Deeds Endure - they do

Tallarn - just a good book

Ordo Sisnister - creepy super titans!

Dark Compliance - pretty good

Duty Waits - sad, many such cases

Now Peals Midnight - the Emperors Dream is Dead! This should have been the last short story!