Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night
(D. Thomas, Terran poet, MII)
The charred Astartes was draped in the black of burned worlds and deep darkness of night. He was covered in seals and liturgies, wearing the remains of a fallen empire like a thin layer of scorched skin over his power armour.
At dawn a life time ago, in his old age, he had heard millions of marching feet trotting onwards, relentless, until their footsteps had turned the world around him, his world, pitch-black and moonless.
Time had moved through the immaterium. Not in a linear way, like a river flowing through the life cycles he had lived before. It moved like a stormy sea constantly crashing onto the steep shores of a foreign coast beating and breaking the waves like splintering diamonds.
He had realised then that time would stop when his binary heart stopped as if he walked off the dark side of the moon into the night. That one day, time itself would collapse onto a single spire where he had been all his life.
Now, he was young. Reborn, yet nearer death. Surrounded by the last of his black Astartes brothers. Or were they his first? He could hear the Aether tear in the fabric of the ashen star ship as it rode its thunderous waves like a vessel lost on an unfathomable ocean. It roared and howled like the raging animal it was, a deep chasm wide and alive.
Even nearer death, he revelled in the resounding crash and moan of the cosmic sea, the aeon-old depths of its black troughs. What beauty there was in this, he thought as the star ship broke through into real space: The darkest music of the Primordial Predator made palpable over the faint whisper of human desire, the frail connection between men and a galaxy in flames.
Before him, the destination of his treacherous journey loomed like a massive giant in the night sky. It blocked out all light except for the fires, explosions and etheric signatures that rolled around its impossible body.
Even from afar he could feel the sentient presence of the Primogenitor luring him in.
Drawing by John Blanche © Games Workshop Limited