Floods of light spear through the skies of Caliban, an unrelenting display of the fury of gods. The vast gothic monasteries of the Dark Angels lie in ruin, razed to the ground by the forces of chaos and the loyalist's planetary bombardment. Lion El' Jonson looks on in dismay. Betrayal. The forms of five terminators move behind him, their emotions hidden behind the obsidian of their armour. Their foes are beaten. Their brethren flee before the might of their Primarch and the fire of the righteous. Occasionally they come upon the fragmented groups that remain and the Deathwing's bolters speak death to the fallen. Jonson moves on in disbelief. After all that the Angels of Death have achieved for the Emperor, after all that they have won for humanity... He fights back tears of grief and anger. Who has brought this evil upon his legion? The question screams in his mind, demanding an answer that he cannot yet bring himself to give.
Out of the mist appears his destination, the greatest of the monasteries of the Order. It alone has survived the apocalypse raging over the planet. It alone stands to tell of the struggle that he fought to cleanse his world. It alone, now, holds the answers he seeks. For a second his resolve weakens, he cannot will himself to the final confrontation. Images of what he may find flare before his eyes in a blur of colour, and tension builds in the pit of his stomach. The moment passes in a lightning flash. Justice must be served to the traitors that have sullied the honour of his chapter; the fallen must be made to pay. Lion El' Jonson walks on. They pass beneath the monumental arches of the monastery, leaving behind the acrid stench of burning and the cloying mist that swirls over the broken world. The great hall of the monastery stretches before them. It was here that he greeted the Emperor, knelt before the master of mankind and pledged allegiance to his cause. The memory burns brightly in a corner of his mind. It was here that he was given command of the Dark Angels the first of the Emperor's chosen warriors here that the first of his companions was raised to their ranks.
The memory brings him back to the present. The hall has changed since that time. He looks up at the ornate statues carved into the stone pillars around him. The once beautiful work has been corrupted. Where once stood the figure of the Angel of Death now stands a twisted abhoration sired from the darkest depths of hell. The stone seems to ripple as he looks upon it, whispering for him to glorify its master. He turns away disgusted, but finds its equal throughout the hall. Above the pulpit at the end of the nave hang the tattered remains of the standard woven to celebrate the Emperor's arrival. What remains of the precious cloth is ripped and scorched so that only the disembodied head of the Emperor can be seen to look down upon the desecrated building. "What manner of evil is this?" brother Lysias manages, his voice heavy with emotion even through the vocoder of his suit. The question echoes through the hall, met with nothing but a faint mocking laughter.
As they have been standing there the atmosphere has changed. The chill of the grey stone has gone, replaced by a thick stifling heat that buzzes with electricity. Now, the very air seems tainted and a reddish tinge colours their vision. Behind the Primarch, brother Nysaeus lets fly a volley of shells from his bolter as he is assailed by opponents that only he can see. The other Deathwing move to his aid but the Dark Angel is blind to them and they are forced to take cover. In despair they see him consumed by vague shapes that take form from the mist around them, leaving nothing but a scream of despair that bores its way into their souls.
Jonson realizes what must happen now. The final battle cannot be for mortals. He must confront his nemesis alone. "You must leave me now my brothers," he tells them. "Only I may face Luther this time. Await my return on our barge."
"My Lord!" brother Lysias begins to protest, "Have we not fought besides you from the dawn of the legion?"
That you have," Jonson replies, "and I would not ask for any other to join me, if join me any other could. This battle is for me alone. It cannot be fought any other way. I am sorry."
Lysias begins to reply, but catches the look in the Lion's eyes. He will not be swayed. "Then my lord," the Dark Angel replies, "we will await your return upon the plain so that if your need is great we may ride to your aid upon the wings of death."
Jonson hesitates, torn between his desire to protect his sons and the desire to have them near for this of all battles. "You may wait upon the plain," he concedes finally, "Remain there until you see me approach." He unsheathes the Lion sword and its blade glimmers in the faint light. "For the Emperor," he salutes them, and turning, walks into the arms of chaos.
As he walks up the nave the red mist fades and the hall becomes cold. Shadows reach out across the grey stone floor like fingers, but shrink from the light that plays around Lion El' Jonson's head. He stops beneath the arches at the head of the hall. The steady beat of footsteps reverberates amongst the pillars, growing louder in the stillness. A figure is approaching from the gloom, its features hidden by a black cowl. He stands still unable to react. The figure stops and lifts its hood.
"Look, he is a man not a beast." The knight approaches him. His instincts scream at him to run but something bades him hold. The knight reaches out and brushes the tangle of golden hair away from his face. He stands defiant, eyes burning with intelligence. Although he doesn't know how, he realises this man is a friend...
The face from the past appears from beneath the cowl, his eyes alive with friendship and wonder at this son of the forest. And then it is gone. Luther's face is lined as if he has aged a thousand years since the Dark Angels left. His eyes are bloodshot and narrowed with suspicion and hatred. He wears a suit of the Order's terminator armour, but its smooth ceramite has warped under the fell touch of the dark gods. His mouth is twisted in a snarl of contempt and he holds his great sword before him. "Why have you returned," he spits, "Is the glory of the universe so little that you must return to destroy my sons and I?"
Lion looks at his former friend, unable to comprehend what has happened. "Luther," he manages, "how could you turn from the Emperor's light? How could you subvert my sons?"
Luther's eyes take on a deranged gleam. "Were we not always equals brother?" he forces between clenched teeth, "Was it not I that saved you from savagery? Did not we together unite Caliban, and yet... I am spurned, betrayed... left to rot whilst you... you leave to burn your name across the heavens in the blood of the slain, in the name of the Emperor." Luther's eyes wander slowly to the ceiling of the hall, a faraway expression stealing over his face. "Am I not deserving of his praise? Should not my name be sung on a thousand worlds? But no, I am pushed from the light, so that you - you, nothing but a beast made tame, may claim all victories as yours!"
Lion looks into the crazed face of his former friend and knows it is over. "Damn you Luther, he says quietly, "how could you betray us? We were your brothers. Now we must join you in eternal damnation."
Luther's eyes snap onto the face of the Primarch. "How dare you!" he screams and rushes forward, great sword alight with crimson flame. With a crash of thunder blade strikes blade and the laughter of the dark gods' fills the monastery. Surprise momentarily stuns Jonson as he feels the power of Luther. The servos on his power armour whine in protest, as he casts off the fallen's blade and lunges forward. Luther deflects his blow and locks eyes with his former friend. With a surge of daemonic power he flings Jonson's blade away and spits at the mighty Primarch. At last Jonson feels true hatred and battle commences.
The Lion sword sings as it cuts the air. Jonson is a master of combat, schooled by the Emperor and by the Warmaster, but Luther seems to anticipate every thrust and matches him stroke for stroke. As the battle rages the barges of the Dark Angels continue to blast death from above, crushing the remaining rebels, and causing the very earth to heave under their feet. With a tortured groan the masonry of the monastery splits and begins to crumble. The beautifully sculpted ceiling crumbles as Caliban itself has done under Luther.
For long hours the masters of the Dark Angels fight amidst the destruction. Although he is tired, Jonson knows that Luther is weakening. His great sword takes longer to meet the Primarch's attacks each time, and the strain shows in his taut features. Sensing victory, Jonson redoubles his efforts. The Lion sword gleams as it strikes Luther's blade forcing him to give ground. Ducking under a clumsy swing, Jonson summons all his strength and with a colossal blow, strikes Luther to the ground. The traitor falls defenseless to the rubble-strewn floor. With burning eyes he stares up at the Lion. "Finish it!" he spits, struggling futilely to stand.
Jonson approaches, his blade raised to end the heresy.