The Festering Chaos Lord Barburon leads his diseased renegade chapter, The Pox Pax, against the Imperial Guard and Sisters of Battle to gain control of an Imperial world.
Barburon looked up into the sky, letting out a deep, phlegm filled sigh. The warp storm that had brought the Pox Pax war band to this world was burning brightly in the dark sky. He looked at his brothers, their bloated, rotten flesh protruding through their power armor. He felt pride for these proud carriers of Grandfather Nurgle’s infinite love, they were all eager to spread the diseases they’ve contracted. They had been floating through the warp at random for two years before being birthed back into real space, just above an innocent world. Whether this was by chance or by the will of Nurgle was irrelevant, this world would become a plague world. Barburon swore this when his feet had first touched down on the world.
Strewn out around them was the rotting corpses of imperial guardsmen who came to investigate the location of their war band’s planet fall. Some of the plague zombies had partaken in the putrefied remains, their stomachs bloating in a stark contrast to their near skeletal frames. Birds that resembled crows feasted on the guardsmen. When they had finally had their fill they began to fly off to a nearby city. As Barburon turned his clouded, murky eyes towards it he knew where the theater of battle would take place next. His grip on his manreaper tightened as he thought of turning the imperial city into holy ground of Nurgle.
One the aspiring champions under his command approached him as he meditated. “My lord,” spoke his battle-brother Ugat Tenpai in a deep tone, “the city waits, why have we not made our attack?”
Barburon looked at Tenpai, like himself Tenpai had also accumulated a number of Nurgle’s blessings. His power armor had been painted a feverish shade of yellow with a bright red trim which spoke of the stinging bliss of inflammation. Every movement of his limbs was accompanied by the wet sound of meat as his gangrenous flesh pushed against his shell. The joints leaked out a mixture of blood and pus. He wore no helmet, choosing to show what awaited their enemies should they choose to join the forces of Nurgle. His face corrupt to a twisted parody of what it once was; bearing all manner of sores, boils, and blisters. His lower lips had been ripped off long ago in an engagement with the Blood Angels, exposing what yellowed teeth he still had. The interior of his mouth bled with every word he spoke, as the many cankers within broke apart with every movement of his jaw.
Barburon lowered the blade of his manreaper scythe to the ground. The vegetation around the sudden wound in the earth began to decay as the powers within the blade worked their art. “I wish to savor this moment my old friend. How are our friends?”
Tenpai chuckled “We’re having a bit of trouble keeping our daemonic allies under control. Their anticipation is greater than ours; they yearn to spread Nurgle’s gift. The plague zombies that followed us after we trailed behind Typhon’s last plague crusade have been more… submissive, but I look forward to seeing what they can do.”
“The plague they harbor is quite potent; I want them mixed in with our line soldiers for good measure. What has Maggot-Rage said to you?”
Maggot-Rage was the Pox Pax’s greatest sorcerer, and he was certainly capable of divining the will of their patron god. But he was, as all psykers who give themselves to the dark powers are, very unstable and a liability in actual combat. He was kept as support, being kept away from the front lines unless necessity required otherwise. Tenpai looked at the ground, a gesture that made Barboron bare his teeth. “He sees through the crows who have partaken in Nurgle’s blessing. There is the usual imperial defense force… a regiment of guardsmen. But there are more dangers on this world my Lord. Maggot-Rage speaks of womzaen of the Emperor. He sees temples of the False Emperor; we believe the Adepta Sororitas have placed a bastion in the city.”
“The Daughters of the Emperor… I remember them well.” Memories began to rise to the surface of Barburon’s worm infested mind.
Three Hundred years ago the Pox Pax had been known by a far different name. They were The Vigils of Sol. Formed from the Ultramarines; they were some of the finest warriors the Imperium had to offer. Barburon had been known as Chapter Master Adrian Charlemagne of the Vigils of Sol before the chapter’s corruption. Barburon let a faint smile grace his leprous face as he remembered his foolishness, being so prideful of leading his men to the ignorant lies of an idol. He recalled how starkly their bright white armor differed with their new pale yellow color scheme. He also recalled the marking of an oil lamp upon their armor, instead of their new symbol of a diseased daemon-insect carving three bloody rings into flesh.
They had fought with the sisters of battle at the battle of Sajitar III, a battle that led to their eventual corruption. They had been fighting against a cultist army, led by a defector of the treacherous Alpha Legion. He called himself Lunas Carne. The army itself was nothing, even with the power of the dark gods they were still but mortal men fighting against a chapter of space marines one thousand strong. Bolter fire ripped through them as the Sisters’ flamers scorched living and fallen alike. The Ecclesiarchy would leave no taint behind them.
They fought with the grace of angels and the fury only the Emperor’s wrath could conjure. From the youngest of their initiates to the Canoness herself, they showed their faith with every blast of holy fire. Adrian could still hear their battle cry in the foaming holes that were once his ears. “For the Emperor! For his Golden Throne!”
Adrian reaped a bloody tally at the battle of Sajitar III. The cultists were being beaten back, but Lord Carne had begun to retreat to his frigate orbiting in the void above the battlefield. Despite the Imperial Navy’s attempted disruption Carne’s ship still managed to escape their grasp. Chapter Master Charlemagne had sworn an Oath of the Moment to bring the broken body of Lunas Carne to the Sisters of Battle so they could purge its taint themselves. The Vigils of Sol left the rest of the cultists, whose moral had broken when their master abandoned them, to the Sisters of Battle to be cleansed. They proceeded to traverse the void and warp to find Lunas Carne.
After much time spent on fruitless searches they found their elusive prey. The ship had become an inanimate wreck, its dark glory a thing of the past. They boarded the ship via a boarding torpedo to investigate, Adrian himself led the party. As they entered the ship was eerily quiet, seemingly abandoned. The occasional mocking voice or cackle would be heard accompanying the usual tones of a ship. Eventually they found what must have been the last trace of life.
There was no one on board save for Lunas Carne. He was drenched in blood and cackling madly. He wore no armor, choosing to cover himself with the intestines of some unknown victims; most likely his own subordinates. He wielded no weapons. His skin was torn and scratched by what seemed like fingernail marks, as if he had been attacked by some fanatical mob.
“The servants of the corpse emperor,” Carne laughed “my long lost brothers! How we’ve missed you. How we’ve longed to embrace you as only family should, why have we fallen so out of touch? For such petty differences as allegiance, is that all? How foolish…”
At the time, Lunas Carne’s words were like chainsword clashes magnified to his ears. “You… your nothing but a heretical dog, Alpha Legion scum! You should never have been born, let alone made into an astartes! I’ll end your life just as Roboute Guilliman slew your treacherous primarch Alpharius.”
Carne looked genuinely hurt at Adrian’s insults. “Has it truly come to this…? I weep for our lost kinship…” Upon saying this he dropped to one knee and knelt before Adrian, his black eyes looking into the amber of Adrian’s. “How misguided you are, you even believe the lies of Roboute’s… victories… I give myself to your mercy…. Brother…” he put hate filled emphasis on the last word. He let out a dry chuckle before continuing. “Spare my life, and open your mind; or kill me and seal your fate. It’s entirely your choice Brother Charlemagne.”
“This isn’t my choice traitor. This is my duty, and my pleasure.” With that, he slashed his blade through Lunas Carne’s shoulder. Adrian knew something was wrong as soon as he sliced into the traitor’s flesh. The first hint of subterfuge was audible. The usual sound of bones cracking was missing; replaced with an abnormally grotesque wet sound. Adrian immediately looked at the traitors insides, easily accomplished as Carne’s shoulder and arm had already been split by half a meter. He saw a thin layer of the typical shade of scarlet expected in human physiology just below his skin, but deeper into his flesh was a disgusting variety of green. His blood came out in yellowish-white spurts like pus leaving a freshly popped blemish. “By Terra!” was all Adrian let out before a burst of virulent gas sprayed forth from Carne’s wound. Both he and his soldiers coughed and wheezed as the gas invaded their helmets, flowing forth by some malignant intelligence into their lungs.
“You showed me no mercy my brother. Do not despair, I shall set an example as the enlightened sibling and take pity upon you. I’ve freed you, though you may not realize it now. No longer will you bow to the Emperor, and follow the edicts of the weak fools scurrying about Terra’s surface. Now… you are free… now… you are with your true family…”
Through his blurred vision Adrian saw two twin obsidian orbs. He saw a mad look of joy in them, a look that despite all his astartes training and psychotherapy made him shudder. He saw the bulk of Carne’s silhouette wither away as his body fell over to the ground. Eventually the choking miasma faded and the Vigils of Sol looked in contempt at the now skeletal form of Chaos Lord Lunas Carne of the Alpha Legion. It took all his strength of will to not crush the cadaver with his armored boot. He controlled his choler though, because of both his oath and a desire to not release anymore of whatever corpse gas might still fill the corpse.
He looked at the helmed faces of his brothers. “Carry this filth back to our ship; I have an oath to fulfill.” With that they began their departure. Adrian noticed a slight itch in the back of his throat but thought nothing of it. Their mission was almost complete and that’s all he cared about.
Had he known at the time what would happen to him and his chapter on their way back to Sajitar III he would have most likely thrown himself out into the void of space. The warriors who had boarded Carne’s ship returned and dispersed as was usual for them. Little did they know that they were the harbingers of a daemonic plague, their every breath sealing their comrades’ fate. Adrian cursed himself for not realizing what that gas’ purpose sooner. Halfway into their journey back the effects became fully apparent. The service crew was the first to go, their weak immune systems incapable of surviving such a tenacious plague. They became little more than walking corpses that shambled forward blindly, hunting for the astartes. The astartes eventually gave into the plague themselves. Their flesh bloated, maggots writhed through their flesh, sores and pustules formed upon them, and their armor save for their helmets were all but irremovable. The pain was unbearable, and yet none of the astartes could die. By the whim of some cruel deity they were made to suffer the effects of the plague with no release. Adrian blamed himself and wept for his chapter’s suffering. He had hoped the plague zombies would give them a quick release from their agony, but the zombies would merely look upon the affected astartes and shamble away.
Adrian lay where he had fell when his affliction became more than he could bare. Even his Astartes physiology and conditioning couldn’t push out the suffering he felt. Adrian prayed for the Emperor to deliver them from this agony, to at least give himself the strength to get up and aim the ship towards a star. But all he heard was a damned silence, until the laughing began; the horrid, chaotic cackle that mocked Adrian with every breath. He saw a gaunt, skeletal figure approach him. It was the body of Lunas Carne, giving off a smile filled with shark teeth. “Her…et…ic…” muttered Adrian as his spirit ignited with rage.
“Do you still pray to that whoreson? Do you think he cares for you? Why? He’s allowed you to suffer this degradation. My gods give me even the power to transcend death, and to destroy my enemies. You’ve witnessed that first hand.”
“I… I’ll kill… You!” Adrian cried.
“I want you to Adrian Charlemagne; I want you to kill me. But you won’t do it on the side of the False Emperor.”
The agony in his body subsided to his choler. He moved his arm to push his body up by at least a meter, green juices flowing forth from the joints of his armor. “Perhaps the Emperor has abandoned me, and maybe he’s abandoned my battle brothers too. But I have not abandoned them! I would give my soul to any force that would give me the strength to overcome these poxes so I could grab your skull and squeeze out your warp cursed mind!”
Carne’s smile split his face in half and Adrian could see the worms wriggle about through his rotting gums. “It is done, my brother. We are kin once more. Now embrace me… as only brothers should.”
Adrian could feel his agony alleviate. He was relieved and disturbed at the same time as the feverish, horrid pain just left his body. In fact, he felt better than he ever had. Every sore, every pustule, every maggot crawling through his skin seemed to be a source of strength. He didn’t understand what had just happened, but he knew he now had the strength to do what he most desired. “To hell with my oath, I won’t give the Emperor’s whores the honor I deserve!”
Adrian leapt up with unnatural speed and grabbed the former Chaos Lord’s skull with his massive hands. “Yes brother… do what you were meant to do!” Carne cackled wickedly as Adrian squeezed his head slowly. He kept laughing even as Adrian crushed his cranium open, his brains leaking out like some semi-liquid gel. He uttered one last thing before finally departing into the other world. “Nurgle!”
Adrian dropped the traitor’s now limp body. The weight of his last word crushed his spirit. Nurgle… the Lord of Decay… Prince of Pestilence. He knew why his body was suddenly filled with strength and why his afflictions no longer filled him with agony. He sat there for what felt like an eternity as he contemplated all that had transpired. His final decision with how to proceed shocked even him.
He dropped to his knees before the corpse of Lunas Carne and put his hand to his chest in a fist. “Thank you Nurgle. I forsake all oaths I’ve made with the False Emperor, and his rotting Imperium. I swear my undying loyalty to you, give me a sign that you accept me into your service my lord!”
The body of Lunas Carne began to bubble and blister. A voice boomed around Adrian as the body slowly melted, revealing a large metal object that seemed to grow, absorbing the liquid flesh. “Welcome my child! You will be given all the tools to spread my word across the stars, but you must believe in the power of your corruption. Show the rest of man the truth in decay!”
Adrian realized that the metal object was a manreaper, infamous weapons of Chaos Lords dedicated to Nurgle. The bizarre, almost alien scythe spoke of death. He saw the rusted blade of the thing radiate with corruption; it was wickedly curved like the decaying tooth of some horrific warp beast. He reached his decaying hand forth to grab it. As soon as he touched the material of its hilt he felt its power flow into him. He looked up to see his battle brothers and the zombified crew staring back at him. He saw that their agony had ended too; it had been replaced with confusion. “Lord, what have we become?” one of them asked.
Adrian removed his helmet, to reveal his grotesque features. “We’ve been blessed brothers. I realize now that the Emperor lied to us. There is no honor to be had in preserving his pathetic Imperium. The only truth is in rot!”
Some of his brothers let out gasps, while the zombies only drooled and stared. “How could you say that Master Charlemagne, you put more faith in the Emperor then any of us?”
“And look at where it has led us. Polluted by his enemies and he did nothing! Why should we give our blood, our lives, and our souls to someone who would let this happen to us? No more. No more will I watch my brothers be felled in service of a god of indifference. No longer will I earn battle scars for no reward or thanks. No more will I be Adrian Charlemagne, Chapter Master of the Vigils of Sol. I will take my name from the home world of Nurgle’s greatest servants. From this day forth I am Lord Barburon, and we are the Pox Pax!”
A long moment lingered, like corpse gas in the room. Ugat Tenpai stepped forward, his eyes weeping corrosive tears. “You… you’re right. I give my soul to Nurgle, and Lord Barburon!”
“Yes… Nurgle will give us the respect we deserve! No more silence!”
“For all the years we kept the Imperium from decaying we were thankless. But the Lord of Decay will reward us for spreading his taint!”
“Death to the false Emperor!”
One by one, every Vigil of Sol became a member of the Pox Pax. From that day forward they were the sworn enemies of the Imperium. They would spread their plagues across the Imperium’s most sacred worlds. They battled alongside daemons, cultists, and chaos space marines of other divisions. They would travel through the Segmentum Obscurus gaining the reputation of Nurgle’s favored sons, second only to Mortarion’s Death Guard. Through their many battles and crusades they arrived to this nameless world.
Barburon looked at Tenpai. “How long have we wandered brother?”
“My Lord? I don’t understand.”
“The false emperor was content with allowing us to wander about the cold darkness of the void. But with the power of Nurgle we shall have our world. Gather the men, Adepta Sororitas or not, I claim this world. Gather the men, unleash the zombies, and have our daemonic kin prepare their hymns and poxes! It’s time for our charge!”
“Your will be done my lord!”
Within minutes the horde of the death lord had prepared themselves. The plague bearers took the front, with nurglings crawling around their feet. “Let our daemonic auxiliaries rip apart the guardsmen, I want the sisters of battle for myself.” issued Barburon. Sirens could be heard from the city as a fog of corruption spread out upon the border closest to the Pox Pax forces. Barburon heard the screams of men’s bodies and minds breaking. The plague bearers would spread their own special contagion, making those guardsmen who would soon lay crippled amongst the dead would bolster their own numbers soon enough. A small victory when soon this entire world would worship Nurgle’s might!
“Pox Pax, charge, rejoice, infect!”
Barburon was at the front and center of the plague marine force’s ponderous march. The closer they approached the boarder the louder the sirens, screaming, and shouts of exaltation to Nurgle became. He could feel bones crack and flesh squish beneath his mighty feet. Nurglings bubbled and giggled as they rooted about the bodies, taking anything that caught their murky eyes.
It wasn’t long until they were upon the Imperial Guard’s front line. To say it was chaotic would be an understatement. The plague bearer auxiliary of the Pox Pax stood roughly eight feet tall on average; each armed with a deadly plague blade that radiated with a visible aura of corruption. With little effort they cut down dozens of the guardsmen, lodging themselves deep behind their lines. Guardsmen trampled each other to get away from the pestilent paladins, commissars and sergeants desperately attempting to gain control of the men’s moral.
“Stop cowering you bloody fools! In the Emperor’s name you must fig-“ Barburon’s first blood of the night, a commissar. He always loathed them. His head fell off with little effort on Barburon’s part; the manreaper tore through his flesh and bone like butter. Behind him the plague marines’ guns were blazing, focused on grazing enemies. Killing the commissar was necessary to help weaken their command structure, without their iron backbone the guardsmen were little more than free kills.
Barburon opened up a link on his vox unit to Ugat Tenpai. “Eliminate all officers; let their men cower in fear as we bring the slaughter to them. Where is Maggot-Rage?”
Even through the clamor of war Ugat could still hear his commander loud and clear. “Being kept in reserve my lord.” Ugat reported as he brought low five guardsmen with carefully aimed bolter shots.
“Good. Our battle should soon attract the Emperor’s whores. When they engage us I want Maggot-Rage’s powers to be let loose”
Ugat felt the smallest modicum of distress at his commander’s wishes. The last time they had allowed Maggot-Rage to run rampant he caused as much damage to their own men as he did to the enemy. But he would never question the orders of Lord Barburon. “You’re will be done.”
“Back to the slaughter my friend.” Barburon bellowed as he hacked away at the bulk of the guardsmen force. They were like paper and glass to him. Scores fell to the blood stained ground, choking and wheezing as daemonic microbes and bacterium filled their lungs. Lasgun fire pinged off his armor and singed some of his exposed flesh. The Plague Lord laughed at this defiance.
“Why won’t they die?! Why won’t they die?!” a guardsman shouted as he fired his lasgun into Barburon’s chest. Barburon took long, ponderous strides to his assailant. He savored the look of fear as any chaos marine would. “For throne’s sake someone help me!”
“Jenkins! We’re here!” Barburon looked past the one called Jenkins to gaze upon the ten or so guardsmen coming to his aid. They were too late of course; Barburon raised his manreaper in the air above his head and struck a powerful vertical strike down the guardsman’s body. He split in half slowly, bits of blood and other biological matter forming strings that stretched as the two halves separated. “You pus spewing bastard! We’ll kill you for this; the Emperor is on our side!”
“The Emperor no longer has power here,” Barburon said as he reached for one of his blight grenades. He had prepared this particular grenade with special care. Made from the shrunken head of an enemy space marine captain and filled with the strongest of plague gas he could instill within it. He threw it straight into the center of the guardsmen squad Just as they opened fire. The macabre explosive blew as soon as it hit the ground, releasing the power within. In the blink of an eye the gas covered them. The only thing they could do was release a hoarse cry as the gas stripped away their flesh. Their lungs exploded, their blood boiled, and organs corroded; eventually all that was left of them was slime coated bones.
Barburon continued to move towards the city with increased momentum. Three plague bearers were at his side. Behind him his war band was releasing a constant flurry of poisoned bolter fire. The numbers of the Imperial guard were nothing. Even their war machines and weapon platforms were useless; each time the indescribable horror of Nurgle’s plagues leaked into their iron hides through their battle wounds, the operators and pilots were felled. Soon they outnumbered the number of guardsmen. “Where are they? Where are the Sisters of Battle!?”
“Lord Barburon!” shouted Tenpai through the vox channel.
“What is it brother?”
“Our long range scanners have picked up multiple incendiary projectiles being launched into the air from further in the city.”
“Incendiary?” Barburon rolled the word off his canker pocked tongue. He let out a smile as he realized what it must have been. “Have the men form loose formations! Spread out!”
The rocket artillery fire obviously came from some form of Exorcist tank, the strange and powerful Ecclesiarch artillery platform. Like the wrath of an angry war god the missiles rained down indiscriminately upon both forces. More guardsmen were felled by the powerful, concussive bursts of flame than the followers of Nurgle. Barburon suspected that this was intentional.
The flames of the exorcist missiles lingered long after their explosion. Barburon shuddered as his makeshift plague bearer escort was engulfed in a fiery burst of a missile’s impact. The carefully crafted pathogens of Nurgle that raged inside their bodies were lost to the horrors of inexistence. He was saddened to think of the many plagued insects and maggots that had been lost along with them. “Your deaths shall be avenged my friends…” he muttered in a low voice.
Eventually the flames had formed a wall ahead of the Pox Pax, but their attack would not be fettered by such a pitiful thing. Barburon stopped temporarily to allow his brothers to catch up. The ratio of plague zombies to battle-brothers was less than it had been at the beginning of their attack, Barburon felt it necessary to question his subordinates on this. He found Ugat Tenpai to indulge him. “What happened to our beloved companions Ugat?”
“Many stopped to feast,” Tenpai stated proudly, “I imagine their numbers will be bolstered at the end of this night.”
“Soon they will have a whole world to feast upon. How soon should the flames die down?”
“When they arrive my lord, as always.”
As if the words of Ugat Tenpai had been a trigger the sounds of shrieking filled the air. The flames were abated rapidly as armored figures emerged from them. Their armor was a shade dark obsidian, formed perfectly upon their feminine structure. Bearing symbols of battle honors and heraldry they were clearly from a successful branch of the Ordo Militus’ Adepta Sororitas. They carried heavy bolter weapons and flamers that were unreliable by average humans because of their size, but the sisters’ faith allowed them to transcend such petty things as human limitations. To a pure man they would all be considered very beautiful, but the plague marines were merely disgusted by the elegance and vitality in their appearance. They equaled the Pox Pax in number and strength; it would be up to the forces of each side to decide the outcome of the battle. Scattered about their number were penitence engines, the ultimate torture and salvation for those they deemed heretics. The sisters’ victims were crudely attached to the walking death machines with hundreds of various tubes and cables. Barburon and Tenpai wondered if they were even in control of their actions or were just used as a biological power source for the weapon they were contained in.
Barburon’s mucus laced words streamed forth. “Listen carefully Brother. Pull in the predators to support the infantry squads; and I want Maggot-Rage to work his gifts, we’ll need it to hinder these vile imperialists.” Ugat turned and began sending vox hails to various tank operation units. It would take the operators some time to come here as the vehicles were usually infested with dozens of nurglings. While the nurglings were an entertaining diversion during the dull flights through the warp and a reliable asset in battle when they gathered in swarms they were still by nature uncontrollable; a tribute to the virulent unpredictability that disease can be.
Barburon motioned for his army to march. Marine and zombie began a ponderous trek to meet the front line of the battle field. He charged at the front, his manreaper held in both hands. He moved at a pace that was quiet similar to the one he strode in his past life as Adrian, despite the girth of his corpse like body. The rusted blade of his weapons irradiated with a malignant energy that spoke of Nurgle’s wrath and joy. “For the Lord of Decay!”
Close combat terminators, long ago sealed within their armor by their own putrefying bodies, moved to join their master with bladed weapons. Armed with power claws, chain-fists, power hammers, chainswords, and other less identifiable things they were truly a fearsome foe. Each weapon was contaminated and rusted, as much an embodiment of decay as Barburon’s manreaper.
The wave of Battle Sisters entered firing range with Barburon. Barburon shrugged as blistering flames erupted from the sister’s flamers and struck him. Unlike the guardsmen before them, these female warriors were unperturbed by Barburon’s approach. “Burn heretic!” They shrieked at him. They were clearly the rank and file soldiers; Barburon brought his manreaper across three of them in a horizontal arc. Slicing through their armor, flesh, and bone with ease. The scythe left them in six bloody halves. He continued slashing through the black armored warriors with daemonic glee. Occasionally he would grab one by the skull to throw back towards the terminators. The fall of the Vigils of Sol did not improve the terminator squads’ speed, so they took their time disassembling and infecting anything that fell their way.
Scores of sisters of battle fell, as did many plague marines. The loud bangs of predator fire could be heard through the din of battle. The Pox Pax’s predator tanks were designed with a top mounted storm bolter cannon that fired demonically blessed rounds. Their most insidious offensive weapon however was the side mounted smoke launchers, long ago repurposed to launch plague canisters. The air of the battle field slowly began to fill with a virulent gas; Barburon resisted reminiscing about Lunas Carne’s deception so many years ago.
As powerful as the choking gas was, the Sister’s of Battle seemed unaffected by its insidious properties. “Fight on sisters! We will purge Kalatora of these blasphemous horrors! The Emperor shall protect us from the airborne afflictions these cowards try to force on us.” A powerful voice shouted.
Kalatora… Barburon reasoned that this must be the name of the planet they had unintentionally landed on. He was disappointed that his war band’s virulent gas screens didn’t faze the sisters of battle, but it wouldn’t hinder his conquest. He continued to slice his way through the seemingly endless tide of onyx maidens. One of the terminator’s bellowed “Lord Barburon, look out!” Barburon had realized just in time that he was about to be brought low by one of the penitence engines’ mighty, mechanized chain-fists.
He parried the chain-fist with the blade of his manreaper. The screech of the blades meeting broke through the stagnant air of the battlefield. The penitence engine was of a pitiful design. The bronze and iron metal rusted long ago by the negligence of the inquisition. The poor creature operating the machine was an emaciated young man. His eyes were gone, leaving only black sockets. If it had not been for the thrashing motions he made Barburon would have sworn that the boy was a cadaver. “I will end your suffering my friend…” Barburon said with a guttural emphasis on the word suffering.
Barburon continued to parry the frenzied strikes of the imperial torture device. With every strike he knew that the opportunity to finish this skirmish was fast approaching. Finally he saw his opening. He parried the blades one last time and swung at the penitent heretic’s belly. Organs and blood poured forth as he let out a loud cry. The machine was slowed, but Barburon wanted it out of commission, he hacked at its right leg with all his strength. The manreaper’s daemonic, rusted steel sliced through the armor and pistons. The machine fell, and Barburon went on to slaughter many more of the sisters of battle.
Barburon reaped a bloody tally as he continued to trudge forward with the terminators. A sinister sneer cracked across his face as he heard his vox unit emitting Ugat’s voice. “My lord, Maggot-Rage is in combat! He has already started some sort of ritual… what are your orders?”
Barburon laughed, his voice a vile cacophony. He set his vox unit on the public channel. “Brothers, witness the power of Nurgle!”
Maggot-Rage raised his rotting hands to the sky while he chanted his praises. “For you Grandfather Nurgle! The fallen of this battle, the fallen of tomorrow, this world and all others belong to you oh Lord of All! All falls to decay, all feeds your power! We are but your humble servants… please… your children beseech you! Aid us in claiming what is yours by right and action!” With these blood laced words spoken the sky was lit by strange lights. Putrid shades of green, fevered red, and a malignant yellow danced in the sky. Many of the Pox Pax stopped to look up at the show, and the Sisters of Battle’s nerves were truly tested. Small flashes emerged between the dancing tears in reality. It soon became apparent to all what the flashes were as they began to approach the planet with unnatural speed. The small comets broke through the atmosphere, and plummeted to the ground like artillery shells. Barburon looked up, for the brief second he saw these “comets” his spirit soared. They were made of an organic material similar to rotting flesh. When they crashed to the ground they released a thick cloud of spores, far stronger then the virulent gas exuded from the modified predator tanks.
Hundreds fell from the tears in the warp. There was no doubt that these were a boon from The Lord of Decay. A menagerie of daemons burst forth from each of them, ripping away the decaying skin like foul egg sac. Millions, if not billions of nurglings began to move like a crawling sea of flesh swept up the Sister’s of Battle. Plague Bearers emerged in entire war bands, wielding rusted axes and swords. Some of the larger ones even carried Great Unclean Ones, who began spewing forth more nurglings from their open entrails. Even with their faith in the God-Emperor could save them now.
Barburon marched on slowly, taking in the scene that was unfolding. The Sisters of Battle continued fighting to the very last with unreal bravery. But eventually every soldier and war machine was brought into Nurgle’s embrace. All but one; the canoness, leader of the Sisters of Battle. He looked upon her; she had multiple wounds which were already beginning to ferment with infection. She continued fighting the daemons who had slaughtered her forces with a power sword. “The Emperor protects! You won’t take me beasts!”
Barburon moved closer to her. “It’s pointless to fight on. We’ve won… accept it.” She responded by letting out a battle shriek and stabbing her sword through his shoulder, easily piercing his worn armor. His flesh sizzled against the blade; his only reaction was a morbid chuckle. “I feel no pain dear; my lord granted me that boon.” He butted her with the handle of his manreaper causing her to fall to the blood stained ground. He pulled out her sword and tossed it to the nurglings; they giggled and thanked him for the gift. His wound oozed with dark ichor, giving him a malicious idea.
Her faith had only given her so much strength, now she was succumbing to her wounds. She could barely move on the ground. Nurglings surrounded her jeering and mocking her. They would have devoured her were it not for Barburon’s interest in her. He put his foot to her chest and forced her harder against the muddy ground. He looked at her wounds once again, which trailed up her left leg and on her side. Pustules began to form, a bright white contrasting starkly with her black armor. The skin around the bleeding wound began to flare red, pulsating with a life of its own. “You’ve only just begun to understand his blessing.”
She scowled at him. “You traitors… The Emperor will make you pay!”
Barburon smiled softly. “My dear, your Emperor is a shining example of Nurgle’s power. On millions of worlds they worship him, a corpse on a golden throne. He is a rotting, festering cadaver that has remained there for ten millennia. The only difference between us is that my god answers my prayers, while yours gives you nothing. Let me give you true enlightenment.” He slung his manreaper on his back, and then put his right hand to his left wrist. With a brief exertion of force he ripped his gauntlet from his hand, along with its skin. His hand dripped slowly with blood. Maggots writhed through his flesh, feasting on the corpulent meat. He kneeled down so that his helmed face was close to the canoness’ own. “This is his blood, partake of it.” With his still armored hand he forced open her mouth. He put his bloody hand above her and clenched it into a fist, wringing out a steady flow of dark, viscous fluid. She squirmed as the infected ooze went through her throat. She attempted to scream but merely choked on the blood as it went into her lungs.
He rose and left her there, as his blood began to overwhelm her body, infecting her with the same diseases he possessed. “Damn you! You’ve doomed me! The Emperor has no use for a corrupted wretch like me now!”
“But Grandfather Nurgle loves you now, and he asks for nothing in return. Nothing but that you would spread his blessing.” He turned to his daemonic horde. “Ransack the city, corrupt all you find!”
Hours passed as the hordes of Nurgle terrorized the city. Many were slaughtered; many more were converted to Nurgle’s collective. The streets were filled with rendered flesh. Skin was nailed to the walls of the buildings. The bones were used to make effigies to Nurgle. Barburon wandered the streets as his men went to work. He was being pulled by some force he could not quite understand.
Eventually he was drawn to a large building. It was a decaying, temple like hovel. He cut away the doors with his manreaper. The building was empty at first glance. He moved about, still sure that there was some kind of essence emanating from this place. He found another door; behind it was a winding stair case that led down. He went through it, having slight difficulty traversing the narrow passage. His astartes form made it difficult enough, but his bloating made it practically impossible. Still he trudged on, scraping his armor against the stone walls.
When he reached the end of the staircase he could feel his body tremble at the sheer vastness of the power he felt emanating from the next room. He entered, and his jaw dropped open. Within this room a thousand bodies laid sewn together. They covered the floors, walls, and even the ceiling. The bodies weren’t dead however. Even with his heightened senses he still became dizzy because of the impossibility of the room. The bodies writhed gelatinously, giving the room itself life. Occasionally one of the beings within the decaying blob vomited forth a fermented broth of bodily fluids or released a geyser of pus from a popping sore. He was overwhelmed, and could only manage one word. “Perfection…”
He walked further into the room, and the living corpses began to speak with one voice. “Our savior! You have come!”
“You were the ones who called me here?”
“Long have we lived in bliss with the God of Corpses, he is our lord. Long did we live under the regime of a false corpse. The warrior women were closing in on us. They would of purged our very being, denying us the embrace of Nurgle. We called out to him, we did this to ourselves to show our devotion. In return, he gave us our salvation, you Lord Barburon. ”
“Everything falls to decay my brothers. I am humbled by your praise.”
“Humbleness is for those undeserving of praise! No! You have accomplished great things Barburon. Through us, Nurgle shall reward you!”
“I don’t understa-“ The gelatinous bodies of the Nurgle Cult began to detach from the walls and ceilings. Blood and skin remained on the walls from where they had peeled off. The bile and juices they had been excreting began to pump with more generous bursts. For a split second Barburon felt fear, until he realized what was happening. “Yes… Yes!” The gelatinous mass enveloped him. The twisted flesh was so corrupted it burned his already plagued body. His body was wracked with a pain he had not felt since he was first filled with the spirit of The Death Lord. He could feel a power rise within him. Unrelenting, unnatural, but controllable. It took all his mental power to sustain his own essence within the now spherical mound of liquefied bodies. Slowly and agonizingly the bodies were absorbed into his own. We forfeit our essence to you, our savior. Feast upon it, ascend past mere mortality! The thought raced through his mind. He began to rejoice in the power, even through the agonizing pain of it all.
The few minutes that it took for his body to absorb the power felt like an eternity. His own body grew in size and power. His flesh began more putrid, more decayed, and more diseased. A cape of maggots flowed from leaking sores upon his mammoth sized back. A single horn now pierced through his skull like a jagged, onyx stalagmite. Jaw reconstructed itself into a jagged maw, with thousands of rotten teeth. His eyes had become the triad sign of Nurgle; yellow orbs inside infected, red sockets. While most of his body had become bloated to disproportionate size his arms became skeletal. Festering skin wrapped around the long, boney arms and claws he now dawned. Most shocking of all was his new armor, formed from the chitin hides
“My… My Lord?” Barburon could saw the quivering form of Ugat Tenpai. Barburon noticed his manreaper had been laid on the floor. He gripped it with his new claw and tossed it to Ugat.
“You and I have just been promoted.” Barburon said as Ugat gripped the daemonic weapon.
“Promoted?” Ugat looked at his transformed master with confusion.
“I have ascended past mortality, and become a Prince of Rot. You, old friend, have become my apostle…”
“Yes… of course my lord. What are your orders?”
“The psykers of this world must be going mad. Solidify our rule of this city and spread. Pestilence and Decay shall spread across this entire planet! Then we will tear open a hole to the warp that will take us within our Master’s realm! For Nurgle!”
The Imperium would always remember the terrifying reports sent out detailing the rise of Daemon Prince Barburon of the Pox Pax. How in merely two days he overwhelmed the combined forces of the Ecclesiarchy and the Imperial Guard of Kalatora. But most importantly how the world was sucked into the warp itself, to forever be twisted by the whims of the Lord of Decay.