It is a difficult thing to stand in the light, when you were made for darkness. When all around you falls to the shadow, revels in it, but instead you stay pure, unsullied. I think it is a gift. A new chance, for honor, for redemption.
But I am getting ahead of myself, or perhaps aside of myself if I am to be truly honest. Let me start this tale again.
I was born for the third time on Mars, billions of miles from my birthworld.
They had stuck me away, to see what was wrong with me, to see what had failed. When those tests failed (as I knew they would), they put me into stasis and stashed me away in a dusty corner on the red planet. Stashed me away and evidently forgot me. My entire existence was forgotten. Who I was, where I came from, my brothers, buried in the deepest recesses of the Imperial archives. We had built the Imperium together, they tried to tear it down. I and many others stopped them. I stood the walls. But I was forgotten.
Time rushed by and I, safely ensconced in a stasis field, remained blissfully unaware. Until some enterprising tech-priest and his retinue poked their noses into my dreary world.
They woke me up.
Light once again entered the darkness. Several hours later, once the screaming had died down…
What? Do not give me that look, I was merely startled and acted out of instinct. I regret what happened.
Then another group of mortals came. Yelling prayers and benedictions like zealous madmen, I laughed in their faces and pointed to the Aquila on my chest. I explained what had happened. They showed mercy once they had me restrained. At first I could only speak haltingly in Gothic. It was not my first language. My voice still carried the sibilant tones of my homeworld. A murderer’s tongue they called it.
They put me through more tests and when no taint was found they asked me my name.
They left me alone again in the comforting darkness. Precisely 8.45 days later they came back. Told me they had done some digging in the Imperial archives. I was there, they said. I was a hero, an anomaly. For some reason I had kept true to the Emperor, refusing damnation as my brothers descended into an orgy of madness. I had stolen a ship and made my way to Terra. I stood the walls on the Emperor’s palace.
They then told me the year.
I blacked out.
When they woke me up again later they told me I had to relinquish my name and granted me the chance to pick a new one. I chose Pax. I loved the irony of it.
It became harder when they told me I needed to repaint and reconsecrate my beloved Mark V armor. I would no longer go to war in midnight clad.
I wept for the second and last time in my life.
The man, who told me he was an Inquisitor, next told me that I could still serve. Gone was my legion’s symbol, gone the lightning and the midnight blue, all replaced with the blackness of the void. Yet I would serve the light as an apothecary once more, beside other Astartes, facing the slavering darkness that cries out for humanity’s blood.
Forgive me brother, but I see you are fading. I am sorry for this monologue, and prolonging your pain, but moments when I can speak the truth come but rarely.
Your duty is done, it is time for you to rest. Let me grant you the Emperor’s peace and know that you have done him proud.
Pax’s chest heaved with exertion. His limbs had been energized with fury. All the melancholy, all the rage, had exploded out from him in an exorcism of his inner daemons. He was filled with a new vitality. His heart still ached with sadness at his misfortune and the dusty memories of an age gone by, but now he fought for the moment and not for the past.
Daemons and cultists exploded into red mist with every shot fired from his bolter or every caress of his lightning talon. He was a vision of war cloaked in darkness. The Black Shield culled the traitorous filth with reckless abandon. Booming and sinister laughter broadcast from his helmet speakers. He held the decapitated head of a bloodcrusher in one hand, regarding it as a Magos Biologis examines an interesting insect before tossing it into a group of cultists. The daemonic object hissed and spat causing pain and cries of anguish to rise from this scattered group.
This fury, what contemporary space marines would lable righteous zeal, was an alien emotion to the apothecary. Even as he killed he examined the emotion’s source, turning his mind in as his body performed that which it had been trained to do. Where before there had been naught but spite, anger and profound melancholy, now existed a small kernel. A startled gasp hissed from the former Night Lord’s mouth. He recognized the emotion. It was trust.
The Black Shield fell to his knees, stunned and insensate. He was immune to the clamor and hue of the battle around him. Freyr, Octavius and Grimaldus rushed to his side.
A massive roar shook the battlefield as the possessed finally revealed their hand. In their multifarious and blasphemous forms, the possessed surged into the embattled Astartes.
A red armored approximation of an Astartes, its flesh bulging with unnatural mutations, scraped words from a malformed mouth. “Die loyalist scum!”
It charged at the knot of marines. Grimaldus and Freyr leapt to intercept it from attacking the kneeled apothecary. Before they reached it, Pax surged to his feet, An ancient battlecry screaming from his mouth. It was time for redemption, for Pax’s past and for his future.
+KILL FOR THE LIVING! KILL FOR THE DEAD! FOR THE EMPEROR!+