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The pain that wracked his body was excruciating. It was not just the physical pain but also the ingeniously created implements which constantly kept his pain thresholds down. The pain that he had endured in the past few weeks had been so extensive that he no longer remembered much of them. At first he had constantly concentrated his mind on reducing the pain and suppressing the mental effects of the physical damage meted to his body. Gradually they had worn his defences down. His black carapace had been slowly dissected out, day by day, his jailers taking extreme care to maximise the pain that they caused. There seemed to be no reason for the torture, for that was what was being practiced upon him. They seemed to be doing it for the sheer pleasure of watching his agony. It was only much later that he realised that in during his episodes of pain wracked stupor they had invaded his mind. Despite such efforts some of his mental barriers were still intact. He had tried to psychically will his brain to cease function and to stop his heart, but his ever watchful gaolers had intervened psychically, preventing any such event. Powerful indeed they were but not immortal. It had given him a small degree of satisfaction to see the cabal of word bearers that had invoked the daemon on Myrad's Folly be callously gunned down by their erstwhile allies. He prayed to the emperor and Johnson for his redemption. He feared that his mind had been breached so far that the inner secrets of his chapter may be revealed, but he had some degree of confidence that whatever information his captors extracted from him, they would find it so jumbled as to be of no value. It was late in his captivity when a new fear gripped him, as tendrils of an alien mind penetrated his own. It was only when he saw the his nemesis that he realised the full extent of his hopeless situation. There stood surrounding him a ring of space marines with blue and gold armour, their helmets pulled tight from which a slow chant emanated. There could be no mistaking the greatest sorcerer space marines of old, the thousand sons of the cyclopean primarch Magnus.

If the physical pain inflicted upon him to gradually wear his mental fortitude was bearable then what the sorcerers of the Thousand Sons inflicted upon his mind was indescribably unbearable. Azadael, once the grandmaster of librarians of the Angels of Absolution chapter and close friend of Ezekiel was reduced to a whimpering excuse for a human being. His mind penetrated repeatedly, memories torn asunder and replaced with terrors that haunted him at every waking hour and in his sleep, pain centres constantly stimulated without any physical application and the grinding effect of constant verbal abuse. He nearly broke, he very nearly gave in to the temptation to renounce the emperor and the lion, but a spark still remained within his mind. During lucid moments he gathered his strength and hid it in a corner of his mind until the next moment. Yet, hope was nearly lost within his psyche. He had been strapped to the swivelling wheel ever since he had been brought to this command centre and yet he had no inclination as to what the enemy wanted with him. Just as hope was fading from his much weakened mind, he felt a presence in the warp. It was an essence that he recognized instantly as a friend but was too weak to identify him fully. He wondered if this was yet another trick by the conjurer's of Ahriman, but with his strength fading away fast he had to act now or remain silent forever. Using all his stored mental energy, he lashed out with all his psychic might, crying out to his comrade to end this agony. He would welcome death at the hands of a friend rather than continue to suffer this horrendous torture.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
They had been marching for days now, with little rest and nothing to eat. They had entered forbidden caves and descended through dilapidated flights of stairs and had almost lost track of time. They had been stumbling along for more than a day completely underground, through narrow passage ways. At time knee deep in muddy waters, with swarms of large scavenging animals scuttling away by their presence, they kept their pace, never faltering, for they would lead him to the gates of hell itself. The group was made up of just ten men and they marched with purpose in their gait. Each one a hulking brute by human standards, covered in black robes that covered their faces. The occasional glint of black armour could be seen in the fading light of the tunnels. They used no light sources, their enhanced vision allowing them to see as well at night as the nocturnal predators of the land. One man kept pace far ahead of the others. A scout no doubt, a vicious combat knife in his hand, he was obviously anxious to silence any sentry that they may come across. He moved quickly but silently despite the bulk of his armour. The others followed behind, led by one man. Even in the darkness his charisma lit up like a beacon, the respect the others had for him was more than evident.

He stopped momentarily on a signal from the scout. The group froze in place, becoming immobile statues, hands ready at their close combat weapons. Momentarily he remembered the flashes of the past. It had been so long, so very long, that he had forgotten the desperate moments of that fateful day when everything had changed. He had done his very best, but to no avail. He could momentarily remember the shouted orders and the clamour of the preparation for battle that occurred on the day his world was torn apart. He had learned of the nature of the galaxy by accident. The vanity of men, the emotions of men which made them weak, the capacity for even the most righteous to fall from grace, for brother to turn on brother, he knew them all. After all, had he not witnessed such acts of debased ignominy over the past ten millennia. He remembered the tendrils of doubt that had seeped in to his mind, forcing him to question everything that he had held so dear. He had dared to doubt his brothers, his comrades and even his mentors. He remembered with a heavy heart the day he had discovered the truth and had gathered his closest men together. They were not dissimilar to the ten who followed him now. In fact two of them had been there with him. He could remember the urgency in his mind, the anxiety in his heart and the fear in the pit of his stomach as they had raced through the tunnels to do their duty. His urgency was for the safety of his home, the anxiety for the well being of his father and the fear for his failure. For his failure would have devastating consequences. He could not fail for he was the foremost of his mentor's lieutenants. He was the eye within the eye. He was the first amongst equals chosen by his father. Yet for all his abilities he could hear the shrill scream of missiles being launched and defence lasers firing. He had been too late. He had been too late to prevent the tragedy that would unfold. He was too late to protect his brothers from the sky. But today would be different. The circumstances were uncannily similar. Today he resolved would be a different outcome. He will be there on time.

Agonizing seconds passed and the scout signalled safe passage once again. They reached the end of the dank passage and he signalled the men to gather around him. In a simple curt voice the last orders were passed. "Zamius take the south tunnels, the defence sensors and grid are yours. Return immediately. Do not hesitate!" There was a sense of urgency in the voice now. "Maddius follow me and then take the route to the northern sector. Come in when you hear us enter. We must not fail!" The final orders were passed by signs and the men split up in to three groups, one heading down a separate passage way. The leader looked at the second group and nodded and they too moved off ahead of the main group.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ezekiel focussed his mind deep in meditation. A sense of peaceful calm washed over him as he sat in the small sanctum that had been allocated to him. His left hand stroked the large, heavy tome that he always carried in to battle, the book of salvation. His right lay across his chest in salutation to his father. He prayed for guidance from the lion and from the emperor. They had come a long way from the heady days when the angels had gathered to plan their strategy in this gargantuan conflict. The thirteenth black crusade was hammering away at the imperial defences. Much had been destroyed, the imperial defences were reeling with each hammer blow, the populations of many worlds culled by the depredations of the foul beings from the warp, yet the line was holding. Brave warriors of the imperial guard and navy, along with the super humans of the space marines, the enigmatic elder and apparently even the dreaded metallic warriors of Necrontyr were taking the battle back to the enemy. The sons of Johnson and Russ had fought side by side reliving the past days of the great crusade. Everywhere you turned there was death, disease, wanton destruction and sheer uncompromising misery. But there was hope too, with each battle fought to a stand still and each bloody victory wrested from the despoiler, the beacon of hope shone ever so bright.

The weight of his responsibilities had become heavier by the day. The loss of his close friend Azadael, and the implications of his imprisonment by the forces of evil had been foremost within his mind. Now he was far away from the rest of the unforgiven and his chapter home at a time when they were heading in to mortal danger. The enormity of the decision by the supreme grandmaster to move the Tower of Angels in to the battle zone was not lost on him. He had regretted the fact that he was not on the Tower in this time of great peril. But he had had no choice in the matter as the evidence gathered so far by their interrogator chaplains was far too dangerous to be ignored. For all he knew he may well be heading in to a trap like the one set previously in to which Azadael fell. He reached in to the depths of his psyche, struggling to untwine the strands of fate for a mere glimpse of the possible future. It was to no avail, as the warp storms engulfing the region had limited the ability of most psykers.
Doctrinae Unforgiven
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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