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The mood was grim within the conclavium angelus, the silence almost physically palpable. The great hall of the inner circle had seen much activity in the past weeks, such as it had not seen since the creation of that chamber, yet everything remained deathly still. Some things had not changed since the beginning of the campaign. The thick, oval magenta coloured conference table remained unmoved. The thick blast doors stood defiantly upright. The banners of unforgiven chapters hung proudly from the walls. The empty seats relegated to the members of the Angels of Vengeance and Redemption remained empty, eagerly awaiting their arrival. The three great heroes of the Dark Angels chapter remained on their seats as did the chapter master and grandmaster of chaplains of their bone white armoured brethren. Their eyes however converged at the empty seat next to them. The position belonging to the grandmaster of librarians of the angels of absolution remained empty. The solitary, finely engraved force sword that lay on the seat was the only reminder of his previous service to his chapter.

Data sets appeared on the personal displays, tentatively attempting to break the uneasy mood. The keeper of the truth, Azrael looked up with a stern face. Anger and determination flared in those fiery eyes. But before he could speak, the revered Ezekiel spoke, "The ways of the dark powers are intricately woven like a vipers nest. The trap was as intricate as was the bait. We were led in to a trap, which was in some measure our own fault! I shall pay penance every day until the completion of this campaign!"

"You are harsh on yourself, guardian of the book of salvation. The decision to attack without ground reconnaissance was a collective one, made necessary by the presence of imperial and space marine forces and the rapidly changing nature of the intelligence we receive these days. A scout recce would have been valuable, but it is unlikely they would have uncovered the presence of the summoning!" said Azrael. "A more worrying phenomenon is the complete silence from our brothers, the Relictors, who were expected to be in position in the north. Future operations in their vicinity should consider them hostile until proven otherwise." He continued as a matter of fact. Being forced to take arms against loyalist troops on rare occasions was no new experience for the Unforgiven in their quest for redemption.

"The death of our brother weighs heavily on all our minds." began his counterpart, "Azadael was more than our chief librarian. He was a close and trusted friend and had been an icon of strength to our battle brothers. He would be sadly missed and his death remembered by all today"

"I hope you are correct grandmaster" replied Ezekiel "for I too wish deeply, even pray to the emperor, that he is indeed dead!" Four pairs of eyes with enhanced vision fixed him in a cross fire, trying to discern the direction of his conversation, to fathom his meaning. He continued slowly "I believe that the trap was laid not for our strike force. This was no mere tactical ambush. The preliminary data deciphered from data crystals and analyzed in depth reveal that this was indeed a major staging post for the cult of the voice. Fallen 100 had indeed passed through here." If anyone else apart from the five space marine commander were present they would have testified later, that at that moment time, motion and air all seem to freeze. One would have heard the fall of a single atom. Then the moment passed and the old librarian continued. "I am convinced that this trap was set for my own capture! Yet by the grace of the lion, I am here and Azadael there. There is a very strong possibility that this somehow fits in to the machinations of the leader of the cult of the voice!"

"It was not him!" the massive blast door opened and in walked Asmodai, blood stained blades of reason hanging limply by his waist. The urgency was palpable, so urgent that he had not bothered cleaning his revered tool of his trade. "The leader of this particular group of renegades is named Dragien! It was he who plotted this ambush. What their ultimate plan is, none of the pathetic specimens you brought back knows. But one of them has been to what we can determine to be the tactical headquarters of Dragien himself." He looked around the table and slowly composed himself, "Forgive my intrusion grandmasters, but this is grave news indeed!"

Anticipation sliced through the previously gloomy atmosphere. Azrael spoke calmly "Honoured Asmodai, our undying gratitude for your efforts. I am saddened that there were no one worthy amongst our prisoners for you to earn another black pearl, but before this campaign is over, we shall have our vengeance!" Asmodai bowed his head graciously, and slowly returned to his chambers, as Azrael once again addressed the gathering.

Our rapid assaults on the other suspected bases have also brought us much knowledge of the many covens and cults of the voice. Much of this information has been thoroughly analyzed. I must commend the tenth company of our brothers of absolution for their quiet dismissal of the ground control station on Malin's reach, and making it appear to be an accident. The death of a few loyal servants of the emperor is a very small price to pay for their accomplishment. The small docking facility ripped apart taking with it three freighters which were supplying the cult. It is also fortunate that our absent brother librarian insisted on a covert approach as it will have not alerted Dragien's command centre to our presence on the same system. It will also make our assault there that much easier."

"The battle fleets vengeance and redemption have confirmed that they are beginning warp entry through the specified warp routes. Our forces are in control in Dorsia and Subiaco Diablo awaiting their imminent arrival. It is imperative that these forces arrive rapidly and deploy secretly. Our enemy has eyes and ears every where." Azrael activated a three dimensional display of the region of the Cadian Gate. The tactical dispositions were not encouraging. The imperial fleets were on the defensive. Many worlds had fallen to the despoiler's assault. Here and there a few gold flashes indicated the few naval actions that had swayed to the imperial side. "The battle goes badly for the emperor's servants in the Agripinaa Cadian and Nemessis Tessera sectors. Our battle brothers have acquitted themselves extremely well despite heavy casualties. The arrival of two further battle fleets will give us an edge and allow us to take the battle to the enemy fleets. In the coming days apart from the force which shall strike at the viper's nest the rest will support imperial operations in this region. The Battle Fleet Absolution will assist with the defence of St Josmane's Hope while our own fleet will remain in system with the Tower of Angels as we approach the Cadian sector." Azrael paused, allowing his companions to voice their concerns.

Ezekiel considered the audience, "I humbly request even demand that I be given command of the strike force. I have much to repent for but more importantly we must be prepared for greater horrors than that we faced in the recent battle. The name of Dragien shall be moved to the blasphemed second position in the book of salvation. We shall bring the emperor's justice to him and we shall find our brother Azadael!" A slight barely discernible nod was all the response from the others, cementing their complete agreement and sympathy for the librarian.

"Then, by the emperor and the lion, let the angels prepare, let them spread their wings, and let them bring the emperor's justice to the unholy! Until the sword is reforged!"
Doctrinae Unforgiven
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Gathering of Angels
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Chronicled By ( Shadow Guard )
This section provides the narrative history of the events that took place during the Gathering of Angels campaign conducted by the Inner Circle, during Abaddon's Thirteenth Black Crusade. This is in no way the official GW version nor is it in anyway an attempt to infringe on their IP. There are many versions of imperial history buried within the sands of time and this is but just one of them. Read on if you dare!
GoA Volume I: Revelation
GoA Volume II: Nest of Vipers
GoA Volume IV: Battle for Caliban
GoA Volume III: The Grand Circle
GoA Appendices
GoA Volume V: Desperate Hours