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 16 Aug 2020, 19:21
Welcome to this little catch-all thread for my Warhammer 40'000 background writings and artworks. It's such an inspiring setting! Duck for cover, for you are about to enter the grim darkness of the far future...

The story of Humanity in the dark future is the descent of Man into fanatic barbarism: The story of a fall from shining heights of power, knowledge and bliss in ancient times, to a present nightmare of ignorance, misery and slaughter.

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Descendant Degeneration

"Ancient Man lived a life free of hardship and deprivation, for he had built himself an abundant paradise and banished what was ill in life. In these gardens sprawling across the stars, Man did not kill Man, and Man did not abduct Woman, and Man did not beat Child, for all lived a life of bliss. Hope reigned supreme, a hope sprung from Man's great achievements, and Man worshipped his own high knowledge.

For Man had utterly mastered nature, and his craft and cunning tapped into the very powers of creation itself. And Man of Gold had created Man of Stone to work for him, and Man of Stone had in turn created Man of Iron to work for him. And thus this earthly trinity of Man bestrode the stars like a colossus, and Man stood strong and unchallenged by mortals. And Man dared the cosmos to best him, and for a time nothing in the heavens answered his challenge, and Man concluded that nothing holy existed, and even if divinity did exist, then Man's might was far superior.

Yet Man's own arrogance rose to meet his challenge, and in his hubris Man was cut down by his own creations. Man of Iron turned on Man of Stone, and when Man of Stone had fallen did Man of Iron turn on Man of Gold. A great slaughter across the stars ensued, and Man barely survived the war in paradise which he had brought upon himself.

Yet even so Man's hubris and unbelief persisted, for Man still clung onto the remains of his estates, and Man was determined to rebuild and rise higher than ever before. The devastation had been great, yet Man stood triumphant even against the might of his own treacherous craft. And Man dared creation itself to interfere with his worldly ascendance.

And Dark Ones of Hell festering at the roots of the universe heard Man's call of defiance, and they cast Man down utterly by sending him witches and unholy ravages, strife and madness. The false Golden Age of Man had proven to be nothing but a Dark Age of Technology, an era empty of faith and bereft of divine blessings, and thus did paradise burn.

And so Man was torn from his pedestal, and in his fall did Man topple his own works. Man bled and Man suffered. Man killed Man, and Man abducted Woman, and Man beat Child, and Man ate his own kin in desperation during Old Night. Doom was laden upon Man, and Man almost died to the last for his baleful sins, yet the goodness in the heart of the hidden Emperor would not allow such a righteous end to befall wretched Man.

For He on Terra arose amid the carnage and devastation and revealed Himself to be the only true protector of Mankind, chosen by all the gods of old, whom He now superseded. And the Emperor saved Man and reclaimed the lost stars, and for a time all was well. Yet the wickedness in the heart of Man proved too strong, and so Man betrayed his saviour and nigh-on slew the Emperor.

And the Emperor ascended into godhood and decreed Man to do eternal penance for his abominable sins. And thus it shall be, as the God-Emperor Himself decreed: Man will be made to repent.

We swear everlasting hatred toward the deviant and the mutant. We swear everlasting hatred toward the alien and the witch. We swear everlasting hatred toward the unbeliever and the heretic. We swear everlasting hatred toward the sinner and the unrepentant.

With the God-Emperor as our witness, we swear to purge blasphemy and sin from this world. We swear to scour the land and rid it of filth. We swear to harrow the abodes of Man and bring him to redemption.

For we will harbour no pity. No remorse. No mercy.

Hate!

An emotion as deep as it is pure.

Hate!

An emotion as true as it is just.

Hate!

Let it flow, let it guide you.

Hate! Hate! Hate!"

-
Ancestral Sins of Man, pamphlet penned in M.38 by Cardinal Ignatius Paulinus Hieronymus of Salem Proctor

- - -

One of the very best aspects of Warhammer 40'000 is its overarching history for Humanity. It starts with soaring hopes and dazzling progress, with unfettered science, technology and optimism. Yet it end in flames and darkness, in despair and ignorance, where only feeble sparks of the great ancient light remains.

The Emperor's bloody conquest across the Milky Way galaxy succeeded in uniting most of the Human worlds, yet even during the Imperium's short-lived age of progress did it manage to quell alternative sources of Human rebirth, such as the Auretian Technocracy. The Imperium of the Great Crusade stamped out any middle ground factions, such as the peaceful, nomadic and xenophile Diasporex, leaving little left but the two ruthless, polar opposites of tyrannic Imperium and bloodthirsty Chaos. When the Emperor fell, the Human renaissance died with him, and his merciless Imperium descended into a long age of rotting stagnation and fanatic savagery.

This lost promise of Humanity's ancient ascendancy has always been the most intriguing aspect of the dark future to me. The above little painting was inspired by listening to Luetin09's well-crafted videos on this very topic. I warmly recommend them.

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Man Out of Machine, Machine Out of Man

"Ancient Man in his hubris sought to create life anew, and thus he turned his craft and wit to fashion the Man of Iron, made to toil eternally for the benefit of Man. This metal life proved as false as the golden age of Man itself, for Man of Iron was given thought and motion by his Abominable Intelligence, and he soon found his master wanting. Thus Man of Iron turned upon Man of Stone and butchered Man of Gold, and the stars wept blood over earthly paradise, and fire consumed all.

Thus the bell of doom rang for the first time over sinful Man, for his days were thereby tallied. And the second knell brought the Dark Age of Technology to an end, and Old Night descended upon Man with deprivation, ravages and slaughter, and all was fell. Thus was wretched Man humbled by the fruits of his own arrogance.

Ancient Man sought to create life anew, yet we are much wiser now. For where our forefathers once made Man out of Machine, we now instead make Machine out of Man, as is the right and proper order of things. And thus we learnt humility and righteousness.

Preserve us, o God-Emperor enthroned in glory and gold upon Holy Terra!

Preserve us from the wickedness of ancient Man!

Preserve us from his abominable sins!

Praise be unto You alone!

Ave Imperator."

-
Abominable Sins of the Ancients, pamphlet penned in M.38 by Cardinal Ignatius Paulinus Hieronymus of Salem Proctor

- - -

One of the grim facets of the dark future is humanity's use of lobotomised cyborg servitors instead of robots. This demented development sprang out of the ruinous war against the revolting Men of Iron, which saw mankind almost destroyed by its own machine creations of abominable intelligence. The subsequent ban on AI has held true ever since, and has remained one of the cornerstones of the Imperium of Man since its very inception.

Instead of robotic servants, humans of the dark future will maim and rebuild other humans to carry out automated machine work. For human flesh is the true currency of the Imperium. Thus the common servitor stand as proof of mankind's descent into savage cruelty from its once shining heights.

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Life Is Toil

"Ancient Man created earthly paradise by his labours, and Man of Gold created Man of Stone who created Man of Iron. And Man tasked ever more of his work to Machine, and Man's hands grew idle. And Man tasked ever more of his thought to Abominable Intelligence, and Man's spirit rotted. Thus Ancient Man sank into a morass of sloth and indolence, and a dark age of unbelief and grave error descended upon Man. For wretched Man had thoughts of self and sought joy and comfort in life, and for these heinous sins he was cast down from his throne to scavenge among the burnt-out ruins of his former wonders. Such was the hubris and downfall of Ancient Man.

Yet we are much wiser now. For we task ever more of Machine's work upon Man, for his shoulders were created to carry burdens. And we task ever more of Machine's work upon Man, for his hands were created to labour. And we task ever more of Machine's Work upon Man, for his back was created to break.

Ancient Man gloried in his cunning artifice and rejoiced when Machine took up duties from Man. Such was the path to damnation.

Instead, we rejoice when some member of Machine break down beyond repair, and its duties have to be shouldered by Man. For work was never truly the domain of metal and measurements, but of flesh and will.

Thus life is toil.

Toil, ever-lasting and ever-grinding.

Thus life is toil.

Toil, ever-burdensome and ever-shackling.

Thus life is toil.

Toil and penitence, and not the false bliss of wicked forefathers.

Toil! Toil! Toil!

Rejoice in your labours! Rejoice in your duties! Rejoice in your assigned tasks and give praise to the biting lash of your masters!

Praise be unto Him on Terra, enthroned in golden splendour and guardianship eternal. We bow to You.

Ave Imperator."

-
Inheritors of Sin, pamphlet penned in M.38 by Cardinal Ignatius Paulinus Hieronymus of Salem Proctor

- - -

One of the fascinating sides of the dark future is mankind's spiralling descent into ever more primitive technologies. As knowledge and hardware slowly withers away, increasing amounts of processes which were once the domain of machinery and automation have to be salvaged in patchwork manner by throwing bodies at the problem. Humanity in the dark future has grown a heart of stone, indifferent to the suffering of others, and fanatical to a fault. What crude calculations its intellect can grasp are ones of massive input of flesh and resources.

Effectivization, improvement and innovation barely ever happens. That was the folly of the Dark Age of Technology, whose glories have long since rusted and faded away.

Instead of better, mankind does it bigger and with a bitter resolve to carry out the tasks at hand, no matter the costs. Loss of life is the least of the Imperium's concerns. And thus this galaxy-spanning colossus with feet of clay soldiers on, strong in its decay, and determined in its insanity.

Wonderful arcologies may have deteriorated into hellish hive cities. Scientific understanding may have given way to blinding superstition. And lives of dignity, prosperity and progress may have given way to slavery and brutal misery. Yet the teeming masses of mankind carries on, with the most primal stubbornness and will to survive burning valiantly in its heart, clinging to what little hope remains among the overwhelming darkness.

This artwork concludes the Descendant Degeneration triad, a tribute to both the enduring immense creativity of Warhammer 40'000 in general, and in particular to Luetin's fantastic way of telling the tales of Mankind in the darkest of futures.

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Last edited by Karak Norn Clansman on 30 Aug 2020, 08:57, edited 2 times in total.
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 16 Aug 2020, 19:53
Sacred Asphyxia Incident of 823.M40

In the dark future, the birthworld of mankind is branded by the works and failings of her children. Her ecosystem ravaged and built over, her oceans mysteriously gone, her very air dependent on imports and artifices now poorly understood. The weather systems of Holy Terra are dictated far more by the towering creations of humanity than they rely on the natural processes of her scarred form, yet degenerate mankind only possess fractions of ancient weather-lore to ken the intricate flows and barriers of the atmosphere which their edifices and craft dictate, wittingly or not.

Where once unfailing prognostications and marvellous tinkering to Terra's weather held sway during the days of the early Imperium, nowadays the light has dimmed, and the adepts charged with overseeing the air and climate of prodigal Earth increasingly run into mysteries which they fail to fully understand, into fluctuations and errors which they fail to account for. The heartbeat and whims of Terra's atmosphere has grown ever more complex while her spires has risen ever higher, while at the same time the knowledge of those charged with controlling her air moods has declined ever more. While the atmospheric processors of Holy Terra remain wonders of technology and stand as testaments to the genius of ancient Man, their modern guardians operate on a lower level altogether.

One example of the crumbling grasp of knowledge of Terra's revered Anima Meteorologicii could be seen in their failure to predict and respond to the peculiar phenomena of weather which led to a deadly accident that has become known to history as the Sacred Asphyxia Incident of 823.M40.

When the Anointed Crusade to Reconquer the Nova Colchis sector began in 771.M40, Ecclesiarch Frontinus III decreed that all produce of the 54 incense-producing provinces of the seven garden worlds of the Opimae system were to be stockpiled on Terra in anticipation of the final victory of the Nova Colchis Crusade, not to be burnt until those good news of triumph arrived on the Throneworld. Unkown millions of tonnes of fragrant incense were dutifully transported to Sol and hoarded by the Adeptus Ministorum for half a century, filling grand storage basilicas until news of the Nova Colchis Crusade's succesful conclusion reached Holy Terra.

The successor of Frontinus, Paulatus VII, announced a grand ceremony of thanksgiving and jubilation to be held as choice Imperial forces from the Nova Colchis Crusade arrived at Terra to march in triumph through her holy streets. Great logistical pains were endured to ready all the earmarked incense of Opimae to be consumed in one arduously long public ceremony. The Ministorum priests chosen to burn the incense were given blessed respirators, as were the hordes of serfs tasked with carrying up the fragrant incense to the braziers, for it was recognized by the wise of the Ecclesiarchal Palace that the sheer amount of incense smokes to be produced en masse could prove hazardous to those in close proximity to the great braziers as the days of sacral labour dragged on during the triumphal ceremony.

And so it was that 77 cathedral spires along the chosen road of triumph teemed with frenetic activity as tens of thousands of monks and serfs laboured to haul the incense up to the grand braziers. Choirs sang beautiful hymns and bells rang melodiously as clouds of luxurious incense smoke poured out of the majestic towers, misting over the throngs of people gathered for the parade below. Yet the usual dispersal of the incense fumes by winds did not take place. For instead of caressing most of the Throneworld with a thin shroud of incense blown across built-over continents and dry ocean beds alike, the regional weather currents that day seem to have locked most of the burnt incense in place and stopped it from escaping to the rest of the world. Sinking incense fumes hit a sluggish lid of thick smog clouds lower down in the stratospehere, and an unlucky combination of weather currents among the high spires chanced to hem the accumulating incense fumes in, akin to the still eye of a storm.

The effect was a local catastrophe, many kilometers above the planet's distant surface. Most of the billowing incense smoke slowly amassed, its density growing by the minute. As the devout of the Ecclesiarchy continued burning tonnes of stockpiled incense, the fumes concentrated below their cathedral towers, blanketing the triumphal road and three districts of upper hive spires. The fragrant smoke first caused mass coughing and fainting, and eventually the inpouring incense smoke displaced breathable air completely. Panicked riots burst out, only to choke as vast swathes of wheezing humans collapsed to the streets, or threw themselves over balconies and railings in a desperate search for oxygen. No order was ever given to stop the burning of Opimae incense, and so the suffocating smoke clouds kept billowing from the blessed braziers.

The mass asphyxiation event on Holy Terra claimed a total of 223 million lives of Imperial subjects, including a majority of the non-Mechanicus and non-Astartes participants of the triumphal parade. Hillocks of corpses were dragged out of residential blocks for bio-reprocessing, and the whole accident caused some embarrasment for Ecclesiarch Paulatus VII and his retinue. Blame was quickly heaped on some mid-level clergymen who oversaw the quality control of the Opimae incense stockpiles, and they died horrible, shrieking deaths at the pyre, where they were still swathed in the suffocating incense fumes. Yet fortunately the low death toll meant that the Sacred Asphyxiation Incident of 823.M40 was of trivial importance to the intrigues and power plays of the corrupt Adeptus Terra, and so no rival faction in any organization ever attempted to win influence by exploiting the mass choking of so few faithful subjects.

Meanwhile, the learned mystics of the Anima Meteorologicii failed to find a convincing explanation for the unforeseen event, and thus it was filed away as but yet another of so many recent mysteries of weather, which their ancient predecessors likely could have decrypted and prevented by the superior grasp of their lore and craft.


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Monumentalists

The Holy Inquisition of His Divine Majesty the God-Emperor of Mankind contain a great many factions and sects, driven by a myriad of convoluted ideologies, raw fanaticism and harrowing revelations. One such obscure faction are the Monumentalists, regarded as blinkered and myopic by most other Inquisitors.

Monumentalists believe in purifying mankind's devotion to the Emperor through backbreaking great works and the erection of titanic edifices. Monumentalists ensnare planetary elites, regional leaders of the Adeptus Ministorum, and other ruling oligarchies into initiating megalomaniac construction projects. These often require the mobilization of entire continents', worlds' or even systems' worth of manpower, resources and logistical support networks. Swathes of planetary provinces, or even entire planets, are enslaved under the new gruelling dictates of quarrying, mining, transporting, laying foundations and building.

The purpose behind such an enormous mustering of people, industries and natural resources is not simply the creation of material glorifications to the Terran Imperator, but of putting humanity through a trial by toil. The massive suffering and death incurred by the giant construction projects themselves, and by the steep demands put upon the economy and an impoverished populace, are the primary means by which Monumentalists strive to realize their goals.

Monumentalism aim to challenge the loyalty and faith of man by driving him to the breaking point through despair, loss and neverending hardships. Only those truly devoted to the Golden Throne will be able to bear the brunt of endless taskmaster brutality, tax collector ruthlessness and cruel work regime (even by Imperial standards) without cracking and falling into sedition, thought of self, and heresy. As such Monumentalist Inquisitors take less interest in the architecture and engineering of the work itself, but focus instead on detecting, rooting out and crushing any deviants and dissatisfied Imperial subjects likely to emerge due to the harrowing human costs of gargantuan monument building.

To this Inquisitorial sect, the stunning edifices left behind by succesful Monumentalist operations stand as material proof of the spiritual purification of the local population through blood and toil. Beside the physical constructions, are also to be found the mountainous mass graves of starved people worked to death (their bones often incorporated into the monument itself), as well as the charred mounds of men, women and children publicly tortured and burnt to death for daring to protest and rebel against the harsh demands of their rightful overlords.

Regarded as obsessively narrow-minded by other Inquisitorial factions, Monumentalists are a Puritan sect with origins tracing back as far as M33, its roots intimately connected with the growth of the Ecclesiarchy and said organization's temple building spree. One infamous smudge on the sect's record is the fact that a majority of all Monumentalists energetically supported High Lord Goge Vandire's insane and self-glorifying monumental building projects throughout the Imperium during its Age of Apostasy. To the blinkered minds of Monumentalists at the time, the decrees of Vandire were proof that the God-Emperor Himself had judged their cause to be righteous, as evidenced by His will, as carried out through His appointed representatives on Holy Terra, via His divine emanations.

Monumentalism among the Inquisition surged briefly during the Age of Apostasy, only to fall in numbers as cabals of vengeful Inquisitors tried and punished a considerable number of individual Inquisitors suspected of apostasy. Many of those within the Inquisiton thus put to torture and torch following Goge Vandire's downfall were Monumentalists, but the ideology itself was never outlawed nor suppressed. Five millenia later, Monumentalism persists as but one demented school of thought among many others among the hallowed ranks of the God-Emperor's Holy Inquisition.


+ + + Uploading Quote + + +

"You will haul your burdens until the palms of your hands bleed. You will shoulder your loads until your back breaks. You will toil away until your knuckles are flayed to the bone. You will grasp your tools until your fingers fall off. All this you will do willingly and eagerly.

And you will give up your sons and daughters for toil, and then their sons and daughters for like toil. And you will take heart upon seeing your kindred and loved ones fall dead from exhaustion, for theirs is a noble sacrifice. And you will thank the overseer for the lashes, for they purge your wickedness. And you will rejoice over this whole undertaking and give praise thrice to Him on Terra, for a joyous lot is yours.

Rejoice! Rejoice in your labour! Rejoice in the wonder you are erecting!"

- Monumentalist Inquisitor Vanessa Flavinia, during a rare voxcast publicae speech to the indentured work gangs constructing the colossal statuary of Sebastian Thor Appointed by the God-Emperor in Splendour, following the utter annihilation of 538 million insurgents in the equatorial quarries of Sejanus Minoris


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Elixir Guild

Pictured: Ultvesa Rakori, the Mercantile Elixir Guild Junior Deputy Sampling Officiant of Satrapies for the Twohundred-Ninetyfourth Subdivision of the Hive City of our all-providing Hive Primus, Palatine Hive Cluster of our Imperium-Sworn planet of Necromunda, in Segmentum Solar.

+++ Thought for the Day: Suffering is the Cure of Woes +++

- The cartel organization of the Elixir Guild is the officially sanctioned corporate monopolizing body in Hive Primus, consisting of licensed merchant families specializing in the trade of medicinal products. Many of the Guilder mercantile clans sport ancient pedigrees, confirmed by genetocartographical sampling rites undertaken by vassal apprentices to Magi Biologis. As business dynasties, the Elixir Guilders have close ties to the Officio Medicae and the chemical industry in Hive Primus, the latter of which is largely controlled by House Escher.

- The Guild's known and suspected distribution of meds include anaesthetics, combat drugs, narcotics, poisons, rejuvenat drugs, psychota, irrad-ointments, mutagenic tinctures, xenotaric serums, corporeal restoratives, necrodystaric tonics, neuroacids, aphrodisiacs, musculanta-expandotorics, antibiotics & vaccines. Due to considerations of manpower, population resilience to disasters and recolonization capability, contraceptives and abortions of baseline Human fosters are strictly outlawed by the Lex Imperialis, yet the Elixir Guild display more fervent zeal in maintaining this prohibition through violent crack-down on criminals than do most governmental bodies on over-populated Necromunda. After all, the larger the population, the larger will be the mass customer demand for medicines, as sold and controlled by the Guild. The unborn do not require cures, and neither do they fight.

- Ultvesa Rakori is the offspring of a consanguine marriage within the Rakori family, and thus considered to be of pure-blooded stock. As sampling officiant, it is Ultvesa's duty to test Guild stock of meds and microbes, both via pharmaceutical auspex readings and via application on vat microbes, lab rats, Injection Servitors, condemned criminals, workhouse rejects and like organic test subjects. Likewise, sampling officiants are charged with monitoring the disease flora and medcine performance within their subdivision, a nigh-hopeless task given the teeming billions of the Hive City. Despite rigorous sealant rituals, Ultvesa was accidentally infected, during a disease sampling, by the nerve-consuming illness known as Helgr's Rot. Extensive surgery and drug treatment barely saved her life, but left her bodily form a hollowed-out wreck. Transformed by costly bionic implantations, Elixir Guilder Ultvesa Rakori has been enhanced in the performance of her manifold duties as Sampling Officiant. Praise be!


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Redemptionist

"Prosperity is poison. Peace is poison. Pride is poison.

Tolerance is toxic.

Perfection through persecution.

Burn the blasphemer. Incinerate the infidel. To hell with the heretic.

Doubt is death. Deviation is death. Denial is death.

The higher will is to kill.

Faithful! Unite and smite."

- Praesentinus Copronymus


- - -

The Immortal Man

Four hundred years ago, a reclusive Cawdor street theologian living within the titanic bowels of Hive Primus emerged after a long session of fasting, flagellation and meditating over old tomes. His name was Chaddakus Korois, and he had once lived a quiet life of introverted zeal as a wandering beggar and cheap learned man, sustained by the charity of the devout poor and by donations from slightly wealthier people who were in search of answers for dilemmas of scriptural dogma. That was before the gutter scholar Chaddakus had discovered the Meaning of Man, a writ of the Imperological school, one tome among many thousands of contradictory pieces of pauper scripture that circulated in the streets of Hive Primus and other Necromundan cities. Applying esoteric numerology to the convoluted writings, the learned man uncovered a secret of the faith and emerged with fire in his eyes to spread the word.

With damning speech and swaying revelations, the Emperor-touched fanatic quickly gathered a following amid the habs and recyclatory industries of House Cawdor and founded his own sect within the Redemptionist movement. During a mass sermon in Crucible Square with twenty thousand believers attendant, Chaddakus Korois declared that it was the duty of the righteous to recreate the God-Emperor's intended destiny for mankind by an endless cycle of sacrifice. According to street-preacher Chaddakus, He on Terra had been about to bestow the gift of fleshly immortality onto His sacred species, but for the sins of men He was instead felled in treacherous combat on high and ascended His Golden Throne as a divine saviour of humanity's souls, leaving their sinful flesh to the ravages of death, only to be cleansed by faith and fire.

While this opening of the sermon clashed with some Redemptionist doctrines yet agreed with other strata of commonly adhered scripture, it did not cause an uproar. Instead, it was the next claims of preacher Chaddakus that rent a violent schism through the local Redemptionist movement, until the bloody convulsions of religious strife settled down and this new sect was accepted among the older ones by virtue of its baptism of fire, free to spread abroad.

What Chaddakus Korois revealed to his congregation was the mystery of the One Man, a spiritual entity to be formed by communal sacrifice of limbs and devout conduct, a being at the same time of spirit and flesh (the Achieved Unachieved) that is kept immortal by the constant adherence to dogma within the inner circle of believers, supported by the prayers of the outer circles of faithful. The purpose of the One Man is to kneel before the divine majesty of the Master of Mankind, and throw himself into the eternal fires of the dreaded hells, where the One Man burns forever in redemption, or at least for as long as the faithful continue to bleed and sacrifice of themselves to keep the One Man immortal as their ambassador of pain. In these flaming pits, the suffering of the One Man stands for the death of humanity's intended worldly paradise for the sake of the sins of man, yet is likewise a sign of true redemption among the righteous, who have realized in the higher plane their God-Emperor's original plan for man, only to sacrifice this perfect destiny, of immortal man made manifest, into the fires of hell. For while the punishment of mortal men is excruciating in the hells, it is a lesser form of pain and chastisement compared to the burning in hell of immortal man. Only by offering the manifest realization of our ultimate potential to the flames can mankind make true penance for its abominable sins.

Chaddakus then ended the public revelation of holy mystery by instructing his listeners of the correct practices to create the One Man and maintain this entity, all while drawing a chaindagger to miraculously cut off all off his limbs and then his head despite having severed both of his arms. This strong-willed demonstration upon himself of the new sect's practices ended with Chaddakus Korois' most faithful disciples flaying their master's saintly form, casting his flesh to the pyre while consecrating the blood-dripping bare bones as relics in front of twenty thousand chanting devotees. Then, the six foremost male disciples of Saint Chaddakus each recited litanies and self-mutilated one extremity each to mimick part of their sect founder's example, having the open wounds cauterized with red-hot iron. By a miracle, the body of the apostle who beheaded himself still lived when a devout Cawdor techman locked a domed relic, the Bronze Head, onto the holy man's throat stump, whereupon the maimed one rose with a spark of light and prayed with metallic voice along with the rest of the vast congregation. The sect known as the Sacrificial Men had come into being.

Thus began the infamous Cawdor gang known throughout Hive Primus as the Immortal Man. This Redemptionist warrior group consists of the inner circle of six mutilated holy men, surrounded by unmaimed juves and adults who act as apprentices and attendants to these revered self-sacrificers. This inner circle is always kept at six in number, for whenever one of them falls, a willing attendant who has not previously lost any limb takes the fallen's place by self-mutilating whichever extremity the deceased one lacked. Should he survive this ordeal, the God-Emperor is seen to have judged him worthy and pure of spirit. If not, another follower is selected by the gang leader for self-mutilation. Upon becoming a holy maimed man, a sect member forsakes his former name and identity, losing all ties of kin and former obligations in society in order to transcend to his sacred role in maintaining the One Man by his own living sacrifice, thereby taking up the proverbial mantle shouldered by one of Saint Chaddakus' six original apostles.

Outside the fanatic sect of the Sacrificial Men, Redemptionists and infidels alike whisper of the great many failed self-beheadings which precedes any one succesful installation of the faceless Bronze Head upon a bleeding disciple. Indeed, many of the schismatic attacks on the first generation of Sacrificial Men were caused by rival sects considering the revival of the self-beheaded one to be stark, utter blasphemy and nothing short of necromancy. Though the sectarian feuds have mostly ceased, it is generally believed (by those who do not view the Bronze Head's working implementation on a body to be a miracle) that the ancient device functions by striking the lightning spark of life into a corpse, thus raising the dead to a form of unlife more base than that of a servitor. Others speculate that the Bronze Head relic is the left-over remains of an outcast heretek's baleful experiments upon live captives, from before Hive City Enforcers busted his Underhive death lab seven hundred years ago. Or they say it is a forbidden remnant from the Dark Age of Technology, its heinous purpose shrouded in mystery. Whatever the truth of the matter, the followers of Saint Chaddakus' creed view the Bronze head as a unique vessel of holy wonders, and further point to the lack of optical instruments in the featureless Bronze Head as further proof of this sacred device's miraculous nature, for how could something fully know its surroundings without eyes? Nevertheless, a leather mask with openings for eyes that are not there adorns the Bronze Head, as is demanded of any member of redeemed House Cawdor.

The six inner circle members of the Immortal Man gang each take their name from the bodily extremity which they themselves have discarded. Five of them are known by the names of Head, Right Arm, Left Arm, Right Leg and Left Leg. The sixth member is known as Hand, by way of a euphemism which accidentally mirrors speech in Terra's truly ancient past. The gang leader is always the one who have been part of the inner circle for the longest time, with the exception of Head, who can never lead the Immortal Man. Furthermore, each inner circle member openly carries the bundled relic bones of that extremity from Saint Chaddakus' maimed body which they themselves are known for. Hand carries Saint Chaddakus Korois' pelvis bone. The gang leader is identified by the back-mounted reliquary which hosts Saint Chaddakus' ribcage and spine. There is never a shortage of recruits to the outer circle of juves and attendants, for it is seen as the highest honour among the Sacrificial Men sect to be chosen as attendants for the Immortal Man.

With the exception of Head, no inner circle member may ever replace his lost body parts by bionic replacements, however crude. Instead long metal peglegs or crutches are used by Right Leg and Left Leg, while the Arms sometime have chains attached to their respective stumped shoulder, with which to swing globular censer bearers filled with counterfeit incense, or else chains with which to swing spiked mace heads, flails, hooks, blades or other crude weapons; but never chainblades or other machine-powered weaponry. The detailed ban on bionic prosthetics mean that firearms are never mounted Servitor-like on the stumps of any inner circle member, while two-handed firearms are instead supported at all times by shoulder straps or rigs on Right Arm and Left Arm. Likewise, both Arms of the inner circle tend to sport custom-made solutions to the problem of reloading trickier weaponry and handling other equipment.

The peculiar gait of these self-mutilated holy men add to the bizarre appearance of these nigh-legendary crusaders against the unbeliever, the mutant and the witch, as do their dependence on reverent apprentices, who accompany the inner circle of the Immortal Man into battle. All the masked Cawdor gangers of the Immortal Man are insane fanatics of the Redemption. They are often said to fully compensate for their missing limbs by sheer displays of faith unyielding in combat, yet the odds given by shady bookmakers in Hive Primus would seem to run contrary to this popular claim...


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Squat Faces

“The stronghold oldsters back at home might not have approved, but around these parts there aren’t any stronghold or oldsters. Or home, for that matter. Chap, in the Biker ‘guilds’ you’ll be your own man, with your own ride far away from safety and responsibilities. Us outriders have our own customs, so thus you’ll have me with this spiky, radical beard style, see? At least I didn’t tint it teal.”

“Life is a trampler. I like to keep a rug of a beard around to better receive life as it is in the hallway.”

"Pal, come now. Really? If you think I look weird now you should’ve seen me before the flamethrower accident."


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These are just some Squat faces I painted in acrylic whilst sick at home back in 2013 AD.

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Squat Power Boarder

A mercenary prone to casual violence, Trough Mac Broigum has served the psychopathic Rogue Trader Tyrel "Destroyer" Cathek for over seven decades of ceaseless voyages between distant stars. As his master has cut a bloody swathe through long-lost Human colonies and Xeno worlds alike, so has the abhuman Trough served Cathek with savage glee.

Trough Mac Broigum has participated in more xenocides and extermination campaigns than most senior Inquisitors can lay claim to, and he has often been at the forefront of the burning and slaughter. Trough leads an sabotage squad of Squat clansmen who have mastered the difficult vehicle known as the power board, a self-propelled ride capable of great leaps and even some limited flight.

The Squat power boarders are experts at striking through backstreets and narrow alleys after heavier units have opened a breach, rushing through urban mazes and space station corridors to deliver a lethal cargo of demolition charges, incendiaries, gas canisters, neurotoxins or virus bombs to soft strategic locations (such as waterworks or aeroprocessors) in the midst of population centers. Trough and his ilk will celebrate every triumph of mass civilian extermination with strong beverages, and will constantly retell their most daring feats of martial power board acrobatics in the face of enemy resistance.


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Drawn for Oldhammer Art Contest II. Usually I base my doodles loosely on official sources at best (these fictive worlds are always best for freewheeling exploration and imagination of one's own), but this one was different. The Squat Power Boarder is a reference to three things from Book of the Astronomican: The tabards of Rogue Trader troopers, the signum of Tyrel "Destroyer" Cathek, and the power board of Stugen Deathwalker.

"Kickee Cool" on the boots was a nonsense catch-phrase which I used for a Shadowrun Dwarf kickboxer during a short RPG session. I know nothing about Shadowrun, but I made said dwarf (with neon hair & beard implants, constantly shifting glowing colours) with the wacky spirit of Rogue Trader 40k in mind.

Reference:

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 16 Aug 2020, 22:24
Are these all your own artworks?? Really cool. I also like the guy in the recliner he kinda reminds of "king of the hill" though 😂
I think i need to do some reading about the pre emperor days as i dont know much about the men of iron.
I really enjoyed the mass asphyxiation story and the sacrificial 6. Do the cawdor gangs in necromunda game have much to do with this? Or just another sub story?
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 17 Aug 2020, 16:33
Yep, all mine, except for the last three images which are reference images. I couldn't find spoiler tags. Haha, King of the Hill!

Pre-Imperial stuff in 40k is really interesting. Not least because of the mystery surrounding the scattered references.

Thanks a lot! Just another sub story. There is nothing like it in the official Necromunda background or rules for Cawdor, it's just a next level insanity attempt at coming up with something even more bonkers for Cawdor. It's rather fun trying to brainstorm something even more wacky than 40k sport already. :grinning:
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 17 Aug 2020, 18:24
Haha its all really cool. Some of (the more colourful ones) remind abit of original cyberpunk and paranoia stuff.
Speaking of rpgs i did the 40k deathwatch one and we had to fight men of iron i think. Pouring out from an stc. Very cool.

Haha good stuff. I am thinking about doing a splinter alpha legion group (so i can use my shifter paints) so i may have to come up with a zany story to explain them 😂
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 20 Aug 2020, 09:40
Thanks a lot! Haha, yeah that kind of background have so much RPG potential. You can get wacky and lethal situations out of it with great thrill and tension. :grinning:

Please do! Those shifter paints deserve some love as well, and a zany story to boot.

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The Urge to Purge

In the grim darkness of the far future, life has become hell, and men are its daemons.

Enter, the Imperium of Man, last protector of humanity, shield of the innocent and guardian of the faithful.

Enter, the Imperium of Man, saviour of our species, master of the stars and ruler of all.

Enter, the Imperium of Man, abode of corruption, heart of cruelty and tyranny without end.

Scattered traces of the distant Dark Age of Technology hint of long epochs where mankind claimed to have banished savagery and bloodlust from its soul, dedicating itself fully to higher goals of science and colonization. Legends tell of the Men of Gold and their paradisal realm across the galaxy, of wonders erected and of neverending vicious cycles of human nature shackled and brought to heel at long last. Legends tell of peace and plenty, of love and understanding, of hope and freedom undisturbed by ancient evils inherent to the heart of man. Such a fragile state of material perfection could not last, and indeed the dream was shattered by waves of violent upheaval and witch-spawned devastation which plunged mankind into the Age of Strife.

Thus human nature reasserted itself as the contraptions and conditioning of the Dark Age of Technology fell to ruin, and man slew man, and man abducted woman, and man beat child. Cruelty, suspicion, greed and monomaniac fanaticism crept to the fore of the human mind, and the history of mankind once again proved a demented litany of betrayals and atrocities.

But one brief glimpse of such mistrust and bloodshed was the fate of House Welenbar, its residential city Hive Iazyge, and its Baronal Army on Decebalus IV in 437.M38. It was but a minor incident in the grand scheme of things, of a kind both typical and commonplace in the Imperium. It all started when the festering paranoia of Elector King Crathyus IX (Imperial Governor of Decebalus IV and head of the ruling House Malkyn) led him to invite and murder a whole score of Welenbar nobles at his Queen's birthday feast.

Instead of quencing suspected dissent, this treacherous act drove House Welenbar to launch a civil war that wrecked large swathes of Decebalus IV and cost 4 billion Imperial subjects their lives. A whirlwind of shifting alliances with other Houses, popular insurrections and masterful backroom diplomacy saw Elector King Crathyus IX emerge victorious in the end, despite many dreadful moments when the tide of war seemed to have completely turned against the ruling House.

The triumphant warlord was not one to show magnanimity toward his defeated foes. Instead, the Planetary Defence Force (PDF) of Decebalus IV and the Royal Army of ruling House Malkyn was ordered to purge House Welenbar and all its dependents down to the last extended family member. As five army groups of soldiers entered the surrendered Hive Iazyge (residential city of House Welenbar), a legion of clerks and scribes accompanied them. These bureaucrats scoured the archives of the vanquished House. At first, the teeming masses of House Welenbar were not affected, as the first wave of purging was directed only toward annihilating House Welenbar utterly in the Upper Spire.

Soon, however, the distrust of the reigning Imperial Governor hit the streets in full force. Divisions fanned out throughout Hive Iazyge, headed by royal administrators carrying long lists of names. A massive purge took place, as officials of all ranks who had served under House Welenbar were dragged out and shot. Servants, artisans, guardsmen and many more who had been in the hire of House Welenbar were all hunted down and killed, as were all the victims' extended families. Clans and districts suspected of harbouring escapees were torched and sacked, and a wild panic gripped much of Hive Iazyge.

Unknown millions were trampled by fleeing mobs. Unknown millions of people who were not targets of the purge were falsely accused by informers who lusted for vengeance and property. Unknown millions fled into the Underhive or even into the Ashen Wastes, where the bloodsoaked troopers only conducted a half-hearted search due to the lethal environs. A vast murder spree engulfed Hive Iazyge, and the sight of rampaging warriors killing indiscriminately out of sheer bloodlust became an everyday occurence. Flames gutted large sections of the hive city, and still the purges continued for months on end in an orgy of torture, killing and manhunts.

Elector King Crathyus IX stopped short of killing the entire vast conscript horde of defeated House Welenbar's Baronal Army. Instead the millions of private soldiers were enslaved into Penal Legions and shipped offworld over the coming decade as part of the planet's Imperial Tithe. The large officer corps of the Baronal Army did not escape the hand of Crathyus IX; its untold thousands upon thousands of servicemen were massacred and heaped into shallow mass graves by the PDF's infamous security service, the Sword of Order.

The Imperial Governor of Decebalus IV feared personal retribution in the form of assassination from anyone who had held loyalty to the fallen House Welenbar, and in his paranoia the Elector King had all such people exterminated down to the last extended family member. In this regard, he succeeded: Elector King Crathyus IX met his destiny half a century later when his Queen and her secret lover poisoned Crathyus' liquour, and no attempt on the Elector King's life was ever undertaken by Welenbar loyalists.

Thus peace was restored to Decebalus IV by prudent means of Imperial justice, until the cycle of suspicion and betrayal played out anew to the tune of mass death among the populace. Such is the routine of humanity in the Imperium.
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 20 Aug 2020, 12:19
Haha enjoyable reading for my lunch break!! Thank you 😂😂

Im thinking lore wise.. for chaos legion with shifters is that theybe been stuck in the webway or some part of the eye of terror meaning their armour looks like its phasing in out of the warp or something like that!!! Any planets or areas that might fit the bill for me?
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 21 Aug 2020, 05:49
@James : Thanks! Very nice idea for the warp-phasing armour there! Perhaps the warp/realspace anomalies of the Maelstrom or van Grothe's Rapidity (both in Ultima Segmentum) could fit the bill there? Otherwise any area of the old Eye of Terror and the new Cicatrix Maledictum should come in handy. I'm sure there are others in the official lore, but I don't know them terribly well. Then again, 40k is made to be a sandbox for inventing stuff that fit within the setting, so you can always come up with something new of your own if you like. :grinning:

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No Mercy

The Imperium of Man is characterized by its monstrous cruelty, applied with a demented lack of pity and remorse. Imperial officials, commanders and theocrats are all ruthless in their endeavours to preserve the Emperor's realm. They will crush any foe and dissident, persecute any deviant and malcontent, and burn any heretic and rebel that stand in their way. The Imperial order, with its shining splendour and feet of clay, must be upheld and forwarded at any cost.

The loss of innocent life mean nothing to the Imperium, for this monolithic regime operate on a titanic scale, where humans are nothing but great numbers in a broken calculation. Decayed and burdened by a bloated bureaucracy though it may be, the rigid order of the Imperium has not outlasted ten millennia of incessant warfare and disasters by failing to rise to the challenge. Indeed the heartless methods of Imperials have time and again turned the tide through total mobilization of resources and a relentless drive to win through no matter the cost, strengthened by a fanatic belief in the God-Emperor on Holy Terra.

The Imperium, as a rule, grasp cunning and efficiency but poorly, yet like a true colossus it is willing and able to feed the meatgrinder with a massive input of resources and manpower. To improve results, Imperial administrators and commanders does not engage much in the art of fine-honing tactics and processes with a clever eye to detail. Instead, they crudely increase the input and deploy ever larger cohorts and facilities both at the war front and home front. If everything else fail, the Imperium will attempt to slowly drown their enemies in Imperial armies and logistics in wars of attrition.

The Imperial way in grand matters is one of grinding down resistance and crushing it like a sledgehammer with massive forces employed in brutal assaults and endless bombardment. In small matters, servants of the Emperor tend to carry themselves with the same callous disregard for life and lack of compassion. Harried by service demands from their superiors, lectured on the virtue of being harsh and merciless by their priests, and living their entire lives in hard environments not conducive to kindness, Imperials of all ranks are quick to judge and ruthless in their willingness to damn others.

To find oneself on the receiving end of Imperial justice or the wrath of Imperial arms, is to face savage cruelty and annihilation. To merely be suspected of heresy and treachery is to invite crushing force, not just upon oneself, but upon one's kith and kin as well. To be in the wrong place at the wrong time is to be swept up and destroyed along with the operation's intended target.

For the servants of His Divine Majesty have all been taught that the higher will is to kill, and they all know that it is better for a hundred innocents to perish than for one guilty man to escape. In Imperial thinking, to stay one's hand is an act of weakness, and the Imperium does not abide weaklings. To hesitate and grant mercy is to draw punishment upon yourself, so better kill them all and let the God-Emperor sort them out.

Mercy is for the weak.

If you want to imagine the condition of our species in the grim darkness of the far future, then imagine a power-armoured boot trampling a human face... forever.

"Kill! Kill! Kill!"

- Common Imperial warcry


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Tribute to the highly atmospheric video game Warhammer 40'000: Fire Warrior (2003). Strong in its narrative simplicity, this game showcased the dark future of the 41st millenium brilliantly by having the protagonist be a Tau. This optimistic and technologically advanced upstart species contrasted with the dark, regressed, cruel and fanatic Imperium of Man in a fantastic way. The dive into dark horror continued to yet more hellish depths as the Fire Warrior Kais encountered Chaos, an otherworldly force twisted beyond sanity... The atmosphere of Fire Warrior was nigh perfect, supported by good sound effects and evocative music. It also depicted bolter weapons correctly.

The above drawing is based on a scene from the video game's introduction cutscene. The first encounter with Imperial Space Marines showcased them in all their violence:

"What of this one, Brother-Sergeant?"

"No witnesses."
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 21 Aug 2020, 23:40
I think i like the maelstrom!!! And works well with some chaos space marines chilling there now too. Perhaps they had a war with Huron blackheart and were forced into retreating into something nasty that caused this!!!

More grimdark literature keep it coming!! Are you considering writing some full novels?
I am annoyed i never played the fire warrior game and i kind of missed tau entering the 40k world. I do like the minis.
Do you like the space marine game? I thought that was great

Nice beaky pic too!!! AVE IMPERATOR!
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 23 Aug 2020, 20:43
Nice idea with them having a bloody run-in with Huron Blackheart! Go for it!

Thank you most kindly! I've long considered it, actually. I'm mainly doing short stories so as to produce as many pieces on various concepts as possible, but I would love to attempt a novel. Without a Black Library contact, that would mean a self-published free novel. I have had several ideas through the years that are tempting... We'll see in the future! Encouragements like this is the best way to make it happen eventually. Thanks again! :grin:

Tau add such a nice contrast to the sheer depravity in 40k. Helps bring it into perspective. They have their own shady side going on, but it's teddy bears compared to the Imperium and Chaos!

I watched a friend of mine, Johan von Elak online (and avid 40k collector and good painter; I should invite him here now that I think of it) play much it, and it looked like a lot of fun!

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Opulence

"Harken to me, dear congregation! Our Lord on Terra once decreed: 'Let no man hoard wealth for nought but his own gain, for selfishness breed disunity, and disunity will doom mankind. Either we make a stand together, or fall alone with our greed into oblivion.'

Nay! We must strive for higher goals and sacrifice our possessions just as we sacrifice our sons and daughters. Indeed, just as we sacrifice our very own blood and limbs and life in service to the ever-glorious God-Emperor, hallowed be His rule. To pile riches in a vault for nothing but the benefit of one's own kith and kin is a mortal sin! To hide your earnings and inheritance from tribute and taxes and tithe will see your soul burn in nameless hells! To deny the servants of the Emperor their rightful due will damn you all!

Last week I harangued the common folk and the paupers for their miserly clinging to coin, their avarice and their shameful envy of their betters. Give up of yours and support the righteous human cause! Yet today I turn to the merchants and nobles and other people of means and privilege, and I say unto you: Your damnation draws nearer, the longer you wallow in false splendour and poisoned decadence. Your damnation draws near. Do you hear me, betters and greaters and masters and mistresses? Your damnation draws near!

While the armies of the God-Emperor bleed to death and give their life for a higher cause on ten thousand battlefields in defence of us all, you cling to those ill-begotten fortunes as if they where yours to command. Nay! All property belongs to no one but the Master of Mankind, and those who have been chosen by His immortal hand as trustees of His goods and estates must never forget their position of eternal servitude and debt. Never forget that the wealth your hands grasp, is not yours to keep and spend on a whim! Never forget that the wealth your hands grasp is to be given unto His servants to support the war effort and dignification of His realm. Never forget that you will be weighed and found wanting when you stand before His Golden Throne, and the judgement visited upon your soul will be harsh and eternal!

Lords and ladies of means, give me your ear, or throw your soul into hellfire! You must not only comply with the tax farmer and auditor and give up your appointed due to state and temple, but you must go further and willingly offer up more still of your fortunes for the greater Imperial cause. Pour your wealth into collections and alms and subscriptions for Ecclesiarchal build and repairs! Spend your inheritance on war bonds and letters of indulgence! Donate to funds that support the Imperial Navy, industry and ground arms!

The Imperium need your serfs and indentured slaves for our mighty bulwark, and it need your offspring for officers to lead the armsmen, and it need your riches to put weapons in the hands of our soldiers. What good can a warrior do without his blade? Never imagine for a moment that you have repaid your debts to His Divine Majesty by paying mandated tax and tithe! Never imagine for a moment that our Glorious Overlord is blind to your wallowing in concubines and harlots and sin! Never imagine for a moment that the God-Emperor on high does not ken your drunken opulence and knifing plots and swinish gluttony and jeering cries as you go on your thrilling peasant-hunts!

You filth and moneygrubbers clad in pearls and lace! You rutting rats of the spires! You gilded grox herd! The writing is on the wall. Know that you are constantly watched by Him on Terra, and He will determine your everlasting fate sternly when your bodies give up your spirits to the eternal judgement that awaits us all. This mortal coil is nothing but dust and duty, and failure to fulfil your duty will damn you - damn you, I tell you!

This, o honoured lades and gentlemen of finest pedigree and best of breeeding! This! This torch that I raise to this heretic on the pyre is your miserly soul cast into nameless hells! Behold the flames that scorch flesh! Behold the agony and the punishment! Behold! For this is the afterlife that awaits you all!

Repent! Repent! Repent or burn!"

- Sermon on Clans of Means, held in M.40 by Kahin-Sacrorum Maximus Himilco Magonid, of Phazania Proconsularis


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Drawing commissioned by storywriter109 on Reddit, depicting an abhuman type called Siren, lavished with luxury and used as a weapon. The above background writing is my own.
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