The Cult of the Lamassu


[//identVAL=incerto. Pict-capter terminax+]

'Not all who return are welcomed. Not all the family are honoured.'

[//Riverhead of the Kapihe+]

Enlil-Anu, Aegis and Chaper Master of the Marines Saturnine, lay in an induced sus-an coma, injuries sustained at the hands of the Flesh Eaters on Ushant Polios leaving him at the cusp of mortality. 

Even now, the Master of the Apothecarian was working feverishly to preserve the voice of the Endurant creed. All were aware that should he slip away, so too would the hope and the fighting spirit of a significant number of the Chapter. The War gave no quarter for sentimentality, however, and the debate over Succession had begun within minutes of his being repatriated. The argument – for it was proving far from civil – had followed the same refrain for hours now, with no end in sight. 

The High Oracle pinched the bridge of her nose. ‘Astartes,’ she thought. For all their grandeur, their power, their indomitable will, they could also be maddeningly petulant.

[//ident="The High Oracle"+]

Internally, she gave thanks that the Silver Stars delegation had declined the invitation to the conclave; the attending Kapihe member and his staff perhaps intuiting the delicacy of the situation. It did, however, put more pressure on her. The Primarch, she had been told in the Stars' typical soft-tongued manner, was 'concerned' with the actions of the Marines Saturnine. She had no doubt that a hand would be put on the Chapter's reins if they could not be deployed to Myrean League space in short order – and while the Marines Saturnine were staunch in their support of the Partisan cause, she could only imagine how her Chapter would react at a more direct attempt at command coming from outside...


Lifting her hand once more to speak, she began. “My Lords, as I have said already: our Chapter needs direction.” She ignored a barely-perceptible twitch in Baa-Dimme's face at her use of ‘our.’ “With the Aegis on the brink of succumbing to his ordained fate, we must prepare for the worst. We have long been too complacent in this war. We must galvanise.”

Nirgali the Thrice-Dead, a fearful behemoth of the Astartes, and Lugal of the Keep, examined the Oracle through narrowed eyes as he turned to face her. 

“Ordained fate?” His voice was unsettling smooth, despite his ravaged appearance. “Not all my Brothers believe in a fated end for the Aegis".  If the High Oracle noted Nirgali's weighted use of 'my', she did not show it. 

The Space Marine went on. "There is no reason to believe that he cannot overcome his injuries. Many” he paused momentarily, “have returned from worse.” Baa-Dimme gave a short, gruff chuckle. Shalmanaser's brow darkened. 

Nirgali, the High Oracle thought bitterly, was one such Astartes that didn’t know when he was done. Three times her predecessor had seen him die in her visions, and three times Nirgali had returned. He was problematic at the best of times, but now his direct opposition to her was downright unacceptable.

“There are of course outliers. Sometimes even the High Oracle’s visions can be obfuscated. Only the Emperor can see all futures." She held Nirgali's gaze, then looked about the chamber at the others. "I do not know with certainty if Enlil-Anu will die. But have you been to see him, brother? Have you examined his injuries with your own eyes? Did you speak with our Chief Apothecary? No?” 

All gathered were acutely aware that none besides the High Oracle and the Chief Apothecary had been allowed to see the Aegis since he had been carried back on board by his Immortals. The command was at her authority. She looked about, privately remembering her predecessor's advice. Display your power, your influence. But don’t push it too far. Push until they bend, but not so far they break. 

The High Oracle waited to see if her admonishment had been enough to mollify the Thrice-Dead. His mouth was twisted – unconvinced, or merely a consequence of his scars? Whichever, he sat back, folded his arms, and spoke no further. The tension in the room ratcheted back a little.

“Regardless of whether or not our beloved Aegis recovers, someone must assume control of the Chapter.” She said, choosing her words carefully. The Astartes must feel that they determined who that ‘someone’ would be.


A dozen eyes glanced across the room to one another. She saw those loyal to the Annihilistic Creed looking to her. Nirgali, she noted, was also staring at her, though for different reasons, she was sure. Did he see through her words to the heart of the matter? Without a Chapter Master to lead them mid-war, they would be rudderless, and that would not befit the end she had seen for the Chapter. 

No, if anyone would ensure that they came to their end, at their appointed time, it should be… well. She knew the answer. She also knew no one else in the chamber was privy to her thoughts – but could they be baited? 

One of the Immortals standing guard at the portal shifted his stance. It was only a slight movement, yet the plates and servo braces of his relic exosuit armour clattered and whined. All eyes fell to him. He spoke with a voice that the High Oracle recalled hearing during his Ordeal a century prior. Nameless for his tenure to the 1st Sataba, she alone here knew his name, his true name – though she wouldn’t dare voice it now. 


“It would be unwise to reform the Immortals in the middle of a war.” He said, his voice modulated by the confines of his suit of armour, and the archeotech vox within. “And it would be blasphemous to choose a successor whilst our current Chapter Master yet lives. I carried him upon my back after Ushant Polios. The Immortals know, in their hearts, he will yet recover.”

“And in the interim?” She said, her lip curling with disabused frustration. “While Enlil-Anu gets back on his, aha, feet, the Primarch's advance falters. The Firebreak are all but lost; the Argent Heralds crumbling; the Riven Lords scattered and rudderless." Letting an uncharacteristic bitterness tinge her tongue, she practically spat the next words. "Who has this Chapter's best interests at heart? And the strength to lead you all to an end fitting of Astartes of your pedigree?”

There was a crash. All were on their feet.

A voice like a peal of thunder, bassy and profound, silenced the room, and made the High Oracle flinch, despite herself. 



The Cult of the Lamassu

'Naught that is good need be hidden. And naught that is bad can be hidden for long.'

[//Otred of the Riven Lords+] 

[//Supposed 'Lamassu Cult' Mark+]

'Nor was the cult limited to a particular rank. Cutting through the Chapter like sinew through meat, the influence of the strange creature was felt all through the ranks. When the Oracles of the Marines Saturnine alluded to the Cult, it unsettled those of the Primarch's inner circle, the Kapihe, gathered around the silver pool on the command deck of the Primarch's flagship. 

'It felt like the forbidden Warrior-Lodges of Old. Maron of the Storm Tyrants spat in distaste; and the mournful Otred of the Iron Guard shook his head. Alone amongst them, the Primarch's eye settled on the Riven Lord, Claustus. The green-armoured Marine had endured much, and suffered more than most. His voice was steady, his eyes hooded and black, as he spoke:

"The Red Talons send the dead against us; the others their newborn. Your hesitancy is fit for nursemaids, not warriors. True warfare calls for courage. And the courageous do not shy from grasping a weapon, even if its haft is painful to hold."
[//Fragmentary record, Myrea+]


[//The Twice-Risen; Shalmanaser of the Third Sataba, Warden of the Lamassu Cult+]

Shalmaneser is a staunch believer of the Endurants creed, having himself met his foreseen death twice, only to rise again, near-miraculously, in the hands of the apothecaries.

A prominent figure of the Lamassu order, crushing the enemies of mankind with the most extreme prejudice is his prerogative. But far from being a mindless butcher, he is a fervent idealist and strong supporter of his Chapter Master.



The armour remembered.

It remembered betrayal. Brother's blood. Heresy.

It remembered the void inside those that had worn it. The void where a homeworld had been. Where lost kinship had left a hole of despair, filling now with rage and the righteous fury of the survivor.

There was war around it, again. Its bearer carried another void within, grief and hatred fighting to take over. This was nothing new for Dur-Sharrukin, Fortress of Sargon.

The armour remembered.


[//Brother Maruk+]

Maruk sat, the helm cradled in his hands, and pondered the Primarch. The peculiar bascinet-style was uncomfortable – but better than breathing the wasted air of the place the Wormwood Sons dwelled. He was sorry Laton had died. Too many had done so; on both sides.


[//Brother Atab-En, 6th Sataba+]

The Lamassu had come, then. The Oracle-in-the-Green's prophecy had been fulfilled after all. 

Atab-En paused. If that had come to pass... what else?

It had been foreseen – the coming of the Lamassu, and then blood. Waves and waves of blood. A tide of blood, drowning a silver star.