The Conclavium Angelus was once more bustling with activity. The oval conference table was once again pulsing with activity as each and every seat was occupied. The gathered individuals, the powerful and enigmatic leaders of the unforgiven chapters were there at the behest of their supreme grandmaster, Azrael. The data holo-vid displays that were active in front of each one of them were extremely complex. Each chapter was represented by their supreme grandmaster and the grandmasters of the Librarians and chaplains. The flash of polished armour of contrasting colours gave the meeting a slight air of ceremony. Azrael sat in his customary position at the head of the table, flanked by his trusty lieutenants Sapphon and Ezekiel. Unusually Asmodai too was present as an addition following their latest exploits. Both the latter bore evidence of recent battle on their armour, which had been scarred, scorched and dented to such an extent that they were unable to wear their helmets at all. On their faces played a mix of emotions that are common after a victory, pride in the fighting abilities of their brethren, sorrow for their losses, relief for the survivors and above all satisfaction at having served the chapter once more. Asmodai fingered his collection of black pearls gently, pondering the many possibilities that may have been. He looked at Ezekiel momentarily and could not remove that deep seated feeling that they had failed the lion. They had indeed survived an ordeal but had the fallen 100 within their grasp. He, Asmodai, had put bolter shell after bolter shell in to the heretic and was just milliseconds away from decapitating him with his Crozius Arcanum. The coward had vanished in to thin air by some sorcery or teleport device.

Ezekiel seemed lost in contemplation too. He had lost a good friend and a great brother-in-arms. Azadel and he had spent much time together, particularly since the beginning of the campaign and had been inspirations to each other. His lost would be felt dearly, not least of all the Angels of Absolution. But they were the sons of Johnson and they would carry on with their work until the legion was repented. They would hunt the fallen no matter what and would seek out the truth. They would never flinch from standing in harms way or from taking the battle to the enemy. Despite centuries of experience one thing had been driven home to him in the last few battles. He too had much to learn. He looked up as the young grandmaster of the Angels of Vigilance chapter, clad in his polished golden armour continued with the tactical briefing.

Thadius was the supreme grandmaster of the golden armoured chapter, based around the world of Pervigilium and during the campaign had shown his tactical and strategic brilliance on more than one occasion. He had been appointed to present the tactical briefings, which he was able to perform superbly, his brilliant analytical mind able to comprehend even the slightest event of tactical value. He continued to explain and bring together all the events of the campaign to date, from the early days of rapid concentration by the unforgiven to the initial forays gathering information. Much had been accomplished and many were the fallen who had been captured during that time. He covered everything in detail including their losses in men and material, ships and vehicles, their impact on individual chapters and the unforgiven as a whole. A moment of silence had been observed for the fallen heroes, especially librarian Azadael before they began the discussions in earnest of more dire events. The discovery of the keep by the foul forces of chaos, the identification of Dragien, the coordinated assault on the Tower of Angels and the final battle with Cypher, and the mysterious disappearance of both those heretics. But most of all they debated the wisdom of using the oracle in the future and the degree to which the fallen had almost succeeded in not only destroying the Tower of Angels but in creating a second eye of terror. As he completed his appointed task Azrael began to speak.

He laid out the strategic direction that the unforgiven would in the near future. "Brother grandmasters! This has been a most harrowing time of our lives. The despoiler has indeed gained a foot hold in the gate. The consequences to the Imperium for his achievements are dire indeed. He now has some degree of access to real space without the constraints that were previously imposed upon him. However, I cannot agree with the Cadian High Command and Creed as they lament this situation. Despite the massive losses in population, industry and war material we now have the unique situation of being able to choose our own time and place to strike. The despoiler now had planets and real space to defend outside the eye of terror. He has to garrison, guard and patrol these worlds. That provides us with the opportunity to go on the offensive and keep his off balance as he will be required to pour resources to hold what he has gained. He would not dare to retreat to the eye once more. That gives us an advantage that we must surely utilise."

The gathered commanders listened on in abject amazement at this radical view point as Azrael continued. "What would have been disastrous is that had our brethren not sought out the fallen without hesitation and had our esteemed librarian Ezekiel and Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai not interfered with the fallen's plot, their sorceries would have released the full strength of the eye of terror through our brother librarian Azadael's min in to the oracle. The result would have been a warp spawned explosion within the Tower of Angels which would have created and expanding second eye of terror, which would have ultimately coalesced with the present one, expanding Abaddon's territories and wiping out the entire Cadian sector. That was the tragedy that we as a legion prevented, and that must remain within these walls. Silence played in the room as the gathered angels absorbed the enormity of their accomplishment and how close they had come to failure. "We now have complete control of the Caliban sector. I have come to the conclusion that it is time for the angels to once ore gather. The old legion will be reborn in spirit if not in name. The Tower of Angels will move to the Caliban system for the near future. We will not only have the ability to maintain our control of the region but also provide better protection for the keep until other arrangements could be made.

Finally, our position would allow us strategic access to the Despoiler's rear. Our presence in strength in the Caliban sector would force him to deploy considerable forces to guard against a major thrust from that direction and that is exactly what we will prepare for. I ask that we all pledge for the continued deployment of the angels in full strength. Let the angels who gathered now spread their wings in unison."

A unanimous roar of approval thundered in the room. "For the Lion and the legion! Let ye Angels gather once more!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The massive continent sized segment of Caliban floated gracefully in to the space that it had belonged to ten millennia ago. It was as if the asteroid cluster of Raquia, where the keep was hidden, was welcoming the return of what was once part of its own. The fortress monastery of the Dark Angels had returned to Caliban space after millennia of wandering the galaxy. Two solemn figures stood at the highest steeple of the monastery. Looking through the thick protective but intricately designed arched window Azrael spoke.

"Something troubles you my friend! Since your assault on Dragien's headquarters you have been in deep contemplation."

"I am after all the grandmaster of librarians, Azrael. It comes to me naturally." Ezekiel smiled knowing that his friend would not be persuaded so easily.

"Perhaps it is the actions of Cypher that confuses you?" asked the supreme grandmaster.

Ezekiel was constantly amazed at the astuteness of his superior officer. Friend he may be and psyker he may not, but this man was able to read most situations to a degree that was incomprehensible to others. Perhaps it was fitting that he commanded the unforgiven forces as they continued their concentration as a legion.

"Cypher was in fact assaulting Dragien's fortress. Outnumbered but not out manoeuvred. They knew each other from their reactions as they confronted each other. The animosity was palpable. I think it was due to his sabotage that we entered the complex unopposed, though I did despatch the sabotage team quickly. I would still do the same in hind sight."

"You are troubled by the fact that fallen 100 was trying to stop Dragien's devious plot?"

Ezekiel nodded as Azrael continued, "Reasons abound as the why the fallen fight each other. Whatever they do in their lives, righteous or otherwise, loyal to the emperor or disloyally, whether they fight for the lion or against, it matters not. What matters is that one day, ten millennia ago they stood against the lion, by choice or by default and for that they will forever remain the fallen. We shall never rest until the last of them have been redeemed in the emperor's eyes."

Ezekiel smiled at his friend. He would follow this man to the gates of hell and back. "Let the angles spread their wings" he thought to himself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


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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