Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

BLACK LEGION

BLACK LEGION is out at long last, with all the words I made for your precious eyeballs. Here’s the Limited Edition:

http://www.blacklibrary.com/Home/black-legion.html

And here’s the non-Ltd. Ed. for hardback, eBook, and mp3 folks. KAPOW:

http://www.blacklibrary.com/all-pro…/black-legion-ebook.html

Please enjoy all of these words. Some of them are about space war. Some of them are not. I hope you like them.

(I’m going back to my birthday party now. Bye!)

 

 

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August 5, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

9 Comments »

  1. Happy birthday mr Bowden. I ordered 5 copies😆

    Comment by Stig-Ove | August 5, 2017 | Reply

  2. Obligatory “Happy Birthday!” – provided, of course, that it really is your birthday.

    Of course, even a Heretic wouldn’t lie to his favored cultists about his birthday, right? Right!?

    Also, glad you managed to churn out another tome designed to voraciously consume our attention. I do recall you having a habit that is oft mentioned in your forewords and/or afterwards describing your challenges with meeting deadlines.

    Comment by Kyle Nguyen | August 5, 2017 | Reply

  3. I can’t wait to read it Aaron.

    Comment by bigblackfiend | August 6, 2017 | Reply

  4. Congratulations. I’ve read one of your Warhammer novels recently and love your words.

    Comment by savageddt | August 6, 2017 | Reply

  5. why is it not available as an ebook on the gw site but available from amazon?
    great read by the way love the namedrop for the sanctified!

    Comment by James Toney | August 6, 2017 | Reply

  6. i have paid the smuggler to buy me one.so i should get it in about 2 months.

    bte have you read gulimen heresy endtimes.here is a story.

    Index
    Zahariel
    Zahariel
    Scholar of Chaos
    Times of Ending : At the Gates of Hell​

    The hunter stalked the corridors of the space station, sliding from shadow to shadow, unseen and unheard by the black-clad transhuman warriors who patrolled the station. Like them, the hunter was taller than any unaugmented human, and he too wore power armor over his transhuman body – but there ended the similarities. Though its colors were faded, the hunter’s war-plate was a deep sea green, and devoid of Chaotic markings. The emblem of a slited eye could still be seen on his shoulder paldron, which combined with the armor’s color marked him as a warrior of the Sixteenth Legion – but any other signs of his identity had long since been eroded away. The hunter wore no helmet, his face hidden in the darkness while the guards wore horned, warped helmets which, along with their suits of armor and weapons, had been mass-produced on one of the Dark Mechanicum worlds that paid tribute to the Black Legion. A bolt pistol was mag-locked to his thigh, and he held in his right hand an old power sword, its markings faded away save for its aquila-shaped pommel.

    A pair of the twisted parodies of Legionaries passed by the tight corridor in the shadows of which the hunter was hiding, their bolters held loosely in their hands. They expected no danger whatsoever – this place was located deep within the Eye of Terror, its very existence a secret known only to a select few of the Black Legion. These precautions had not been enough to stop the hunter, of course. He had tracked his prey through the tides of the Empyrean itself, drawn to its sins by the bounds of the oaths that held him. The Eye of Terror was a realm where the laws of physics held no sway but that which the minds of mortals imposed around them, and a soul possessing enough will could travel between its shores without the need for a spaceship. The hunter had emerged from the very shadows of the station, deep within, beyond the reach of any surveillance array. It had taken him three days to find his way through the machinery of metal and flesh that kept the station running without raising any alarm. Now he was close to his quarry – but first, he had to remove the guards.

    Once the two Chaos Marines had passed, the hunter leapt from cover, his muscles uncoiling with relief and delight after so long spent crouching in the shadows. He drew his power sword and, thumping the activation rune, threw it directly through the neck of the heretic on the right. The blade pierced through the shoddy armor without slowing and severed the spinal column of the renegade before bursting from his gorget. No blood was spilled, the wound being instantly cauterised by the power field, and the traitor was dead before his brain could even register what had happened to him, its cells fried by the heat of the ancient weapon.

    As the corpse began to topple forward, the hunter grabbed the remaining Black Legionary. His right arm tightened around the throat of his foe, and, with a quick twist, he shattered the traitor’s neck. Proper power armor would have prevented that attack – but the hunter had watched the false Legionaries carefully as they passed him by, and noted the weaknesses in their armor. The one he had killed with the blade had had better equipment, which was why he had been dispatched in such a manner. The hunter tore his sword free from the corpse of his enemy and, after listening for a few seconds to ensure that no one had heard anything, he pulled the two bodies into the shadows he had left. They would be found in time, when their disappearance was noticed – but by that time, the hunter would already be long gone, his mission accomplished. With the corpses concealed, he moved forward once more, his bonds tugging him in the direction of his prey.

    The two guards he had slain had been the last line of defense of his quarry, though the hunter knew better than to assume it would be entirely defenceless. At the end of the corridor they had been patrolling was an archway from which leaked the smell of blood and other, less pleasant odours. Without slowing, the hunter passed through, and emerged into a vast chamber lit by red lum-globs and the glow of torches fashioned from the limbs of nameless monstrosities. Life-sustaining and preservation vats lined the walls, containing all manner of flesh-changed horrors. At the center of the room was an operation table, upon which laid the tied down form of a mutant with scaled skin and nine limbs that were neither legs nor arms, its belly cut open and its twitching guts exposed to the cold, sterile air of the laboratory. It still lived, though the stench of its terror and agony was potent, and half-formed Neverborn flashed in and out of existence above it, waiting for it to die so that they might feast upon what passed for its soul.

    And there he was, standing before the autopsy table, a madman in a house of horrors. The hunter knew the look of his quarry well, after a hundred centuries on the hunt. He recognized the blood-soaked cloak made of human skin, the mane of filthy white hair, the cybernetic construction bound on the transhuman’s back, its mechanical limbs spreading like a grotesque spider, never stopping to move in ways that seemed to indicate they were possessed of their own malign intelligence. The hunter was more familiar with his prey’s appearance than he was with his own. There were some variations from time to time, some minor details that changed – a few scars, a specific tool hanging from the belt, the intensity of the smell of lingering corruption – but he always knew his quarry when he laid eyes upon him. The foulness festering within him could not possibly be mistaken.

    ‘Is that you, Borkis ?’ asked the decadent Apothecary in a raspy voice, his back still turned to the hunter. ‘Where is that fool Nar ? Ah, never mind. Bring me the Rak’Gol sample, will you ? I want to try something on this one before its life fades entirely.’

    Without a word, the hunter walked across the laboratory toward his prey, drawing his power sword out of its scabbard in one smooth motion, his thumb hovering above the activation rune. Bile stopped his inspection of the body and cocked his head. For a fraction of second, the entire room seemed to freeze in the hunter’s perception as threads of possibilities unwound in his mind. The moment he hit the rune, Bile would realize what was happening – no Astartes could ever mistake the sound of an activating power field. But the Chirurgeon on the Primogenitor’s back was already whirring and turning, the malign intelligence of the device picking up on the threat its master hadn’t yet noticed. A dozen possible options flashed in the hunter’s mind, and, with an ease born of long, long practice, he picked the one that yielded the best chance of success. He thumped the rune.

    On this blade and by my honor, I pledge myself to this oath of moment : to hunt down the Arch-Renegade, Fabius Bile, and slay him in retribution for his crimes against the Sixteenth Legion, the Imperium and Mankind. By my hand shall the Defiler, the maker of the Black Legion, die, his blasphemous work undone. Until this deed is done, I shall neither rest nor waver. This I swear …

    Fabius whirled the moment the sound of the power field reached his ears, his hands already dropping his tools and drawing his needle pistol. Before he could pull the trigger, however, the hunter was on him, his power sword coming down in a down strike. Bile dodged, moving far more quickly than his gaunt physique suggested he ever could, and the blade cleaved through the mutant body, ending its miserable life before cutting through the operation table in a shower of sparks. Bile aimed his needle pistol at the hunter’s head, but he did not pull the trigger – instead, his eyes widened in surprise as he got his first good look at his would-be killer.

    ‘You,’ breathed the Primogenitor in shock as he recognized the face of the hunter. ‘Garviel Loken … Still alive after all that time, I see. So it’s you who has been hunting me across the Eye …’

    That is no longer my name. You and your kind killed the man who bore it. Now … I am Cerberus. I am the wolfhound at the gates of Hell, the hunter in the dark places. I am your death, traitor.

    The hunter – Cerberus – moved, ripping his blade free of the table’s wreck and aiming at the throat of Bile in a wide sweep. The Primogenitor took a single step back, and the blade passed mere millimetres from his exposed skin, the power field inflicting slight burns upon it that he did not seem to notice. In response, Bile pulled the trigger, and a flurry of toxin-covered needles flew toward Cerberus, each hand crafted by some of the best hereteks in the Eye of Terror and reinforced to the point that they could easily pierce ceramite. Cerberus’ armor would not protect him – but it did not need to. He had other means to protect himself.

    The hunter shifted, and the needles passed right through his suddenly aetheric form. He took another step forward, struggling against the pressure of madness and daemonic influence surrounding him, and shifted back, re-assuming a physical presence. He felt something crack in his chest and something burst in his right leg, and a flow of pain nearly overwhelmed him. This strange ability he had one day found he possessed came at a price in damage and suffering, but it was one Cerberus was all too happy to pay, for he had seen the hidden costs of the free “gifts” bestowed upon those who dwelled within the Eye of Terror. Before him, Bile smiled, exposing yellow teeth and a black tongue that seemed more at place in a corpse’s mouth than that of a living being.

    ‘What have you become ?’ mocked the renegade, moving backward and loosing another volley from his needle pistol that Cerberus avoided by turning immaterial again, the strain on his body and mind even worse than the previous time. ‘Where has your pathetic quest for revenge led you ? Look at you ! You are more wraith than flesh, more daemon than man ! It will be interesting to cut you apart once you are dead … there is much I could learn from you, oh yes …’

    I am not blind to the changes I have gone through. This place, this infernal realm of insanity and corruption, is changing me. My flesh is twisting on a genetic level, altered into a shape reflecting the nature of my soul. For now, the changes have remained inward – I have caught glimpses of my reflection, and know it to be unchanged. Even if the Dark Gods don’t have a hold on my soul, the energies of this place are still affecting me. I feel the Warp seething in my bones and blood … But I am not tainted. Duty protects me from the touch of the evil that dwells within the Empyrean.

    ‘A silent one, are you ? Not going to curse me for my many crimes against your bloodline ? Not going to threaten me with the inevitable justice I will face for the atrocities I have committed ? You are not like the rest of your brothers,’ noted the Arch-Renegade, his voice conveying his amusement. ‘That is … surprisingly refreshing, in fact. Such things get downright tedious after the one-hundred or so time they happen. Every time I get out of the Eye, your old Legion is always there, screaming for my head. And when it’s not an Imperial Assassin, it’s a slave of the Powers put on my trail because these bloated trans-dimensional abominations got bored that particular day or for any other reason. It’s not like they are especially rational about such things, as I am sure you know. Surely you have encountered their agents over the course of your little hunt ?’

    Cerberus did not reply, and instead moved in for another strike. Again, Bile avoided the blow by a hair’s breadth and fired back, but this time the hunter was able to dodge without needing to call upon his esoteric abilities. It was only when he heard the hissing sound coming from behind him, where the needles had pierced through one of the pods, that he realized the only reason he had been able to dodge the shot was because he hadn’t been the target in the first place.

    Foul-smelling smog filled the room, and Cerberus felt his lungs start to burn as he breathed in a minute amount of the poisoned gas. Without pausing his advance, he blocked his respiration and reached out for his old Mark IV helmet, which hung at his belt. In one fluid motion, he lifted it and clasped it over his head. Bile had no helmet, yet he appeared unaffected by the toxins he had released, which was hardly surprising. The Primogenitor reeked of the cocktail of chemicals that coursed through his veins, speeding his wasted frame and making him immune to all but the most virulent of poisons and diseases. Though his body did not bear any obvious cybernetic augmentation, in truth the Clone Lord was more machine than man – but he was a machine of biological component, each hand crafted by his dark genius to serve precise purposes. Corruption might be eating him from the inside, but he was still strong, still mighty.

    By contrast, most of the mechanisms of Cerberus’ helmet no longer functioned, but its re-breather still did, and its pale eye-lenses were still clear enough to see through. The most advanced prey sight options had long since stopped working, the micro-cogitators processing them melted to slag when Cerberus had looked upon a creation of Bile that was more than nine-tenths daemon, hundreds of years ago. Perhaps that had been for the best – machine-spirits were more susceptible to deceit than the enhanced senses of a transhuman warrior. The helmet could no longer help him pierce the smog, but he didn’t need it – he could sense his prey’s presence pulling at his soul. This close to his quarry, the bonds of oath were even stronger, propelling him toward the Arch-Renegade with irresistible force. Bile was a blazing figure of dark dreams and shattered lives to the hunter.

    Cerberus shifted again, and leapt through the poisonous fog, another burst of needles passing harmless through him. His sword struck, and this time Cerberus only turned back to bone and flesh when the tip of the immaterial blade was through Bile’s throat. The weapon materialized back into reality, tearing through the Arch-Renegade’s carotid before its power field could start to affect the Materium again. The needle gun slipped from Bile’s grip as he fell backward.

    Slowly, feeling the pain of his wounds recede as his body’s healing abilities kicked in, Cerberus stepped toward the collapsed form of his prey, his boot splashing into the pool of dark, tainted blood that was growing from the lethal wound. Despite his cut throat, Bile still managed to gurgle out spite-filled words, glaring at his killer with contempt, hatred, and a sliver of fear in his eyes :

    ‘Do you really think this matters ? You … cannot … stop me … from doing … what must be done.’

    Cerberus didn’t waste anymore time listening to the mad ramblings of the traitor. He had already listened to them many times in the past, and understood the Primogenitor’s corrupt ideology and beliefs better than anyone else in the galaxy – perhaps even better than the madman himself. Bile’s sanity had long since been corroded away by the tides of the Warp and the burdens his abominable existence placed upon his wretched soul. He struck downward with his weapon, triggering the power field around the blade at full power as he did so. The sword pierced through the Clone Lord’s armor and through his back, stabbing into the deck beneath. Holding his victim in place, Cerberus watched the light fading from the eyes of Bile. For several seconds, the hunter remained motionless, staring at the corpse of his victim, waiting for the burden laid upon his soul to finally vanish. But it did not even budge, and he sighed. It seemed that he still had work to do before the chains of duty would allow him to rest. In truth, he had not expected anything else. After so long spent in the Eye of Terror hunting down his quarries, he had difficulty even imagining any other existence.

    The warrior who had once been Garviel Loken pulled his blade free and left the room without looking back, abandoning the corpse of Fabius Bile behind him. Already the body was falling apart, decay spreading through it at an accelerated rate as the alchemy holding it together faded with the cessation of its biological function. Cerberus did not need to look to know what was happening; after all, this wasn’t the first time he had killed Fabius Bile.

    Nor would it be the last, for his oath of moment was still unfulfilled. The hunt would go on, until the desecration of the Warmaster’s legacy was avenged, the sin against Cerberus’ Legion washed away in the blood of the Arch-Renegade. No matter how long it took. He would go back into the shadows, and fade away from this place, moving through the unreal tides of the Eye of Terror as he sought the new incarnation of Fabius Bile that he was now pursuing. He would kill that one, and move on to the next, over and over, preventing the influence of the Primogenitor from growing too strong even if he could not put a true and definitive end to it.

    For that is my vow, unto the end of eternity itself.

    [​IMG] ​

    ***

    AN : and so, the grand reveal is accomplished. Yes, Fabius Bile, creator of the Black Legion, Defiler of the Warmaster and Arch-Renegade of the Emperor’s Children, has clones of himself. Lots of clones, in fact.

    I have always liked the character of Fabius Bile, even though I would try to kill him without a shadow of remorse should I ever meet him in person. If I remember correctly, the Codex mostly paints him as a general “Mad Scientist” archetype, but there is so much more to his character, and the recent books have done a lot to change that image. There is a vision behind Bile’s madness, and it is a terrifying one for a great many reasons. The Dark Gods themselves fear what he might accomplish, but at the same time, he is simply too valuable to kill. Consider also this last, dreadful truth : during the Heresy, Bile served Slaanesh and helped plunge his Legion down the path of Excess. But later on, he abandoned the Dark Prince and the Dark Gods entirely to pursue his own vision. Think about it : he turned away from Slaanesh. That is not supposed to be possible.

    This chapter was a lot shorter than the others, but don’t worry. The next one will be a lot longer. I am happy to see that the start of the Times of Ending for the Roboutian Heresy has received such an overwhelmingly positive return from you guys. The reactions from the mention of the Taus was especially … interesting. I have great plans for the blue-skinned aliens, don’t you worry.

    I look forward to reading your reactions to this chapter. Don’t forget to follow and favorite to be warned when the next update hits ! Also, go check Nemris’ work on Deviantart, not just the amazing piece he did for this chapter. When I look at how many great works he has done for this alternate universe, I am truly reminded of just how far what started as a simple “Well, the Dornian Heresy appears to be dead, I should make my own version” thought has truly grown into something I can be proud of.

    NEXT : The Siege of Terathalion

    Comment by jorawar | August 7, 2017 | Reply

  7. Congratulations Aaron.
    Can’t wait to read it.

    Comment by Perturabo | August 10, 2017 | Reply

  8. Hate you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You shall come to feel my wrath.

    :-[

    Comment by bigblackfiend | August 11, 2017 | Reply

  9. I bought ‘black legion2Ebook’ on reflex for stupid-ugly-kindle-software, because i cant buy from black library. I wanted to export the ebook and convert it. amazon hotline told me how to export ebooks but also warned me of copyright violation. I canceld the ebook-Deal and sniffed a trap after the trap sprung: aborted export. Erasure.
    P.s. the Bebop-picture-pun is not meant as an insult.

    Comment by Juan Pascal | August 18, 2017 | Reply


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