With a kine-shield protecting him from the laser and solid slug rounds, Atharva slowly made his way forward to the door in front of him. Channelling his considerable psychic power into the decapitated head of Custodian Udar, Atharva managed to deactivate the weapons and open the door by using Udar's voice and retinal print to fool the prison's security scanners.
During their escape from The Vault, the Outcast Dead came across many more defences, from further automated gun emplacements to squads of Imperial Army Storm Troopers. Throughout their escape attempt, each Astartes of the Outcast Dead made use of their particular talents to defeat the opposition. During ambushes set up by the gaolers, Severian struck from the shadows before the trap could be sprung, while Tagore and Asubha pushed back each new assault with ferocious power and savage blood-lust while Subha protected the weak form of Kai Zulane with his own massive bulk.
When gunfire filled the corridors, Kiron took down his foes with well-placed headshots from his Plasma Carbine. When the escapees were pinned down by substantial fire, Gythua waded through shots, barricades and men alike, seemingly unharmed no matter how many hits he had to bear. None of The Vault's defences could stand against the group, for Atharva deactivated and opened all doors by psychically activating Udar's head when necessary and making liberal use of his Custodes identification ring.
Fighting their way through numerous guard details, Gun Servitors and fixed defensive emplacements in this manner, the Outcast Dead and Kai Zulane finally made it to the entrance of the Vault, and emerged into the crisp mountain air of Terra for the first time in many months. The joy of finally escaping from The Vault was soon replaced with the need to evade a large and growing force of Imperial Army troops moving to lock down the prison before the escapees could get very far. Atharva quickly analysed the situation and made clear that the Outcast Dead's only chance of escape was to use a Cargo-9 air-cutter and fly across Terra.
Upon boarding the air-cutter, Asubha boldly stated that he could "fly it in his sleep" and true to his word, got the aircraft into the sky just as the first squads of Imperial troops reached the landing area and began to fire. Once in the air, three Firelance -class Fighters were scrambled to track the air-cutter and shoot it down. The fighters easily caught up with the relatively slow air-cutter, and were soon within missile range. Requer acquired his target first, and just as he prepared to shoot down the unarmed air-cutter, Atharva reached into his mind and psychically directed him to acquire a missile lock on his fellow pilots instead.
Although Requer shot down his wingmen, he managed to resist Atharva's psychic control enough to also launch a missile at the air-cutter. Shortly before the missile struck its target, Atharva mentally forced Requer to flying his fighter into the side of a mountain.
Time Period :: Early Modern and Modern :: The Outcast Dead
With one of the air-cutter's wings and its aft section badly damaged by the missile strike, Asubha has no choice but to attempt a crash-landing on the nearest flat piece of land. Asubha managed to crash-land the damaged air-cutter into the Petitioner's City , a huge, ramshackle city built in the shadow of the Imperial Palace intended to house the millions of people who travelled from all over Terra to pass into the Imperial Palace and see the Emperor. With a such huge influx of people to hold, the Imperial Palace could not sustain all the migrants and pilgrims, especially during the time when the Emperor was off-world fighting the Great Crusade.
Because of this need, a mega-city had been rapidly built next to the Palace to hold all the immigrants. Built from any and all materials available, as quickly as had been possible, the entire city was an amalgamation of hundreds of different architectural styles and cultural preferences.
Lacking any real economic support structure for its residents, the Petitioner's City was a rundown ghetto where most of its inhabitants lived in poverty, waiting for the day that might never come when they were finally called to have an audience with the Emperor of Mankind. The Petitioner's City was ruled by a particularly brutal criminal syndicate called the Dhakal Clan. The members of the Dhakal Clan were powerfully-built thugs who ran the Petitioner's City through a brutal combination of fear and savage violence.
Many residents believed that even the warriors of the Legio Custodes refused to venture into the Petitioner's City, so the Dhakal Clan ruled as it willed without any challenge from Imperial law enforcement. The Dhakal Clan was led by its most feared member, the man named Babu Dhakal who was more physically imposing than even an Astartes. There was a reason for the man's unnatural size and preternatural fighting prowess.
Babu Dhakal had once been a mighty genetically-engineered superhuman warrior who fought for the Emperor during the Unification Wars under his real name, Arik Taranis. An ancient picture of a Thunder Warrior during the Unification Wars era. In truth, Dhakal and his closest warriors were all surviving Thunder Warriors , the genetically-enhanced Imperial troops who had served the Emperor as the predecessors of the Astartes. Unfortunately for Dhakal and his men, their bodies had begun to physically degrade at a rapid rate, as the genetic templates used to create them in the early days of the Unification Wars were flawed and riddled with imperfections.
It was these very flaws that had forced the Emperor to begin his work anew to create the perfect superhuman soldiers, work that had ultimately resulted in first the creation of the Primarchs and then the Space Marine Legions in the late 30th Millennium. In one of the darker moments in Imperial history, following the end of the Unification Wars, the Emperor had ordered the Imperial forces to hunt down and slay the remaining Thunder Warriors, as the Emperor believed that having fulfilled their purpose, their genetic imperfections would ultimately make them a threat to the new Imperium their sacrifices had helped to create.
When the cull of the Thunder Warriors was completed, the Emperor let the Imperial propaganda machine spread the fabricated story that Arik Taranis and all of the remaining Thunder Warriors had been heroically slain at the final battle of the Unification Wars, the Battle of Mount Ararat. In truth, Taranis and some of his fellow survivors had fled the cull and been forced into the criminal underground to survive assuming new identities even as their flawed genetic matrixes caused their bodies to begin to deteriorate unlike their long-lived Astartes cousins.
Taranis, hiding under the identity of Babu Dhakal, kept his remaining Thunder Warriors safe as the masters of the criminal elite within the Petitioner's City, even as they desperately sought for a way to halt the programmed decay of their bodies. Taranis had become nearly as skilled as any Magos of the Mechanicus in his knowledge of the genetic sciences, and he believed that if he could just get a sample of Astartes DNA, he might be able to reverse-engineer the Emperor's accomplishment and save the lives of the Thunder Warriors before their cellular decay had progressed too far.
Following the crash of the Outcast Dead's air-cutter in the Petitioner's City, Kai Zulane awoke to find, to his great surprise, that he had survived the rough landing. One by one, each member of the Outcast Dead emerged from the air-cutter's wreckage bloody but alive. The only member to not survive serious harm was Gythua, who had been impaled through the back by a piece of the wreckage.
After a short debate about whether or not to leave Gythua, the Outcast Dead freed him from the metal spar and set off into the Petitioner's City, carrying the injured form of Gythua between them. Unfortunately for the fugitive group, their presence within the Petitioner's City did not go unnoticed for very long.
Shortly after leaving the wreckage of the air-cutter, Babu Dhakal learned of the fugitives' arrival and sent a group of Dhakal Clan Thunder Warriors after them, led by his right-hand man Ghota. The Custodian Nagasena and his Hunt Team also arrived at the wreckage shortly after the fugitives had already moved on. Astropath Athena Diyos was able to determine which way the Outcast Dead travelled by mentally detecting Zulane's psychic aura and its direction.
While Nagasena wished to apprehend the Outcast Dead and imprison them within The Vault once again, Dhakal demanded that Ghota bring him back at least one live Astartes so that he could harvest the warrior's gene-seed and reverse-engineer it to create a new genetic template that was capable of prolonging the Thunder Warriors' lives. After traversing the maze-like warrens of the Petitioner's City for a short while, the Outcast Dead rested within a rundown, abandoned hab-block. With Severian and Kiron on watch, the remaining Astartes attempted to help the mortally injured Gythua, who was unlikely to survive the injuries he had sustained.
At this point, Asubha realised that Nagasena and his Hunt Team are most likely able to see and hear them through a hack into Zulane's optic implants , a common cybernetic enhancement for Astropaths whose psychic abilities often burned out their retinas, leaving the blind.
Asubha's knowledge came from his training with his Legion's Techmarines , and he proceeded to rip out Zulane's implants. With Zulane's many injuries, and their resting location probably already compromised by the Custodes hunters, Atharva forced the Outcast Dead to start moving again to find a chirurgeon physician who could treat Zulane and Gythua. The Outcast Dead eventually discovered the house of a chirurgeon named Antioch.
After breaking into his house and convincing him that they did not work for the Dhakal Clan, Antioch proceeded to examine Kai Zulane. Antioch treated the wounds around Zulane's eye sockets where Asubha had ripped out his augmetic eyes and then wrapped a bandage around Zulane's head and provided him with painkillers. Despite knowing nothing about Astartes physiology, the Outcast Dead demanded that Antioch examine and aid Gythua.
Antioch's diagnosis was that Gythua should not be able to survive the wounds he had already sustained and thus there was nothing he could do for the Death Guard Astartes. While Antioch examined the rest of the wounded, Severian spotted an approaching group of huge warriors, armed and armoured. He alerted the remaining Outcast Dead of the danger and Antioch informed them of the existence of the criminal Dhakal Clan and how they ruled the Petitioner's City as their own fief. Before long, Ghota and his men were blocking the Outcast Dead's only way out of the chirugeon's residence.
Ghota shouted out that all he wanted was the Space Marines and nobody else would be hurt if the Astartes came quietly and willingly. The Outcast Dead had no intention of surrendering themselves into the hands of what they viewed as criminal scum and opened fire on the surrounding Thunder Warriors. Tagore and the twins charged out into the fray, hacking and slashing through the Thunder Warriors who proved to be more of a challenge than the other warriors faced by the Astartes, while Severian moved into the shadows and to begin his preferred hit-and-run attacks.
Within Antioch's house, Atharva fired powerful blasts of psychic energy through his hands while protecting Zulane with a psychic kine-shield.
Kiron fired blast after blast from his salvaged Imperial Army Plasma Carbine, claiming a kill with each shot. Shortly after the start of the fire-fight, Argentus Kiron lined up his last shot at the leader of the Thunder Warriors, Ghota. Kiron fired, but Ghota's enhanced reflexes allowed him to simply step aside and dodge the lethal plasma bolt. Ignoring Atharva's warning, Kiron charged forward at Ghota, enraged that he had ruined his perfect kill ratio.
Kiron attempted to batter his opponent with his now-useless Plasma Carbine, but it had little effect on the much larger and more heavily armoured Ghota. At the same time, Ghota struggled to land blows on Kiron with his massive Thunder Hammer due to Kiron's agile and fluid movements.
While the two genetically-enhanced warriors battled on, the World Eaters and Severian finished off the last of Ghota's Thunder Warriors and looked on in amazement at the melee in front of them, not wanting to intervene and detract from Kiron's honour. Unfortunately for Kiron, Ghota gained the upper-hand when he managed to unbalance the Emperor's Children Astartes and knocked him to the ground. Before Kiron could regain his feet, Ghota swung his Thunder Hammer in an overhead arc and brings it down on Kiron's shoulder-guard with nearly impossible force. The blow shattered Kiron's shoulder and arm and slammed him to the ground in agony.
With Kiron barely alive, Ghota raised his Thunder Hammer to strike a finishing blow but turned to find Gythua standing behind him, grasping the head of the Thunder Hammer to prevent the fatal blow.
Despite his considerable strength, Ghota could not break free of the Death Guard Astartes' grip. Gythua made clear that he would not allow the gang member to kill his friend. Ghota realised that the odds were no longer in his favour as the other Outcast Dead closed in on him, so he retreated with a curse and a grunt. As soon as Ghota had fled, Gythua collapsed onto the floor next to the dying Kiron and said that he was not going to let him die without him. Believing that their pursuers amongst Nagasena's Hunt Team would be drawn to the fire-fight, Atharva suggested that the fugitives get moving once more.
Tagore declared that he would not leave the bodies of Gythua and Kiron to be scavenged and mutilated and asked the chirugeon Antioch if there was anywhere that the Outcast Dead could take the bodies of their fallen to be cremated. Antioch told them of the Temple of Woe, a large church-like building dedicated to the Lectitio Divinitatus cult where the people of the Petitioner's City went to cremate their dead and pray to the Emperor.
The Outcast Dead
The Temple of Woe, like the rest of the Petitioner's City, was built from many different materials and was an amalgamation of different styles of architecture from a wide range of eras and cultures. The Temple of Woe was adorned and surrounded by statues, most of them representing death in some way. The Temple was run and maintained by a man named Pallidas Novandio who acted as the priest of the church with the charitable assistance of the Navigator Roxanne Castana of House Castana, a powerful noble family of the Navis Nobilite. Not wanting any more trouble, Antioch informed Nagasena of the Outcast Dead's location and plans.
Upon entering the Temple of Woe, the Outcast Dead were greeted in the same way they were at Antoch's, with hatred and insults due to their resemblance to the warriors of Clan Dhakal. After convincing Novandio and his people that they were not there to harm them, the surviving members of the Outcast Dead took the bodies of Gythua and Kiron to the cremation furnace, declining help and leaving Zulane behind, stating that this was a private matter for Astartes only.
As the Space Marines walked away, Kai Zulane was reunited with Roxanne Castana, the only other survivor of a horrific Warp accident aboard the Ultramarines vessel Argo. It was this incident that had left Zulane inactive as an Astropath. After burning their deceased, the Outcast Dead returned to the main section of the temple. Atharva noticed that Zulane was staring at a particular statue. The statue was an unfinished one with no face that Novandio had named the "Faceless Angel.
Atharva comments that it is most likely a trapped Warp creature, but most likely a rather weak one that cannot escape without help. Outside the Temple of Woe, Nagasena's Hunt Team and the Black Sentinels surrounded the temple and blocked all exits save for the main entrance. Just as Nagasena was about to order the attack, he was informed that two more figures were approaching the temple. Custodian Saturnalia informed Nagasena that he has received orders from the 'highest possible authority' that all within the Temple of Woe are to be killed due to their involvement with the Outcast Dead and for their devotion to the illegal Lectitio Divinitatus cult.
Nagasena's Hunt Team had become a " Kill-team. As the Outcast Dead conversed with the various members of the Temple of Woe, two figures arrived at the entrance to the temple. They were Babu Dhakal and Ghota. As they entered the temple, Atharva was informed that a small shuttle was kept docked to the upper levels of the temple by Novandio, and he commanded Severian to slip away to find and prepare the shuttle.
Realising that another fire-fight with the Outcast Dead would end with similar results, Dhakal tried a different approach -- diplomacy.
Dhakal stated that all he wanted was the gene-seed of a single Astartes so that he could stop his and his fellow Thunder Warriors' bodies from rapidly degrading. Dhakal promised no more fighting and no more death, so long as the Outcast Dead complied with his wishes. Before any deal could be made, the Black Sentinels burst into the temple through the entrances and the ceiling.
When the Black Sentinels entered the temple, they flung smoke grenades which quickly enveloped the temple in a thick blanket of smoke. Due to the thick blanket of smoke, the members of the Outcast Dead were soon separated and Zulane and Castana were left to their own devices. Zulane and Castana started to stumble and crawl their way across the smoke-filled temple in an attempt to escape. Unfortunately for them, they accidentally stumbled into Nagesena and his psychically blank Assassin, Kartono. Just as Nagasena was about to kill the pair, Sergeant Tagore burst out of the smoke and rammed into Nagasena.
This distraction was enough to allow Zulane to make his escape, but not without Kartono pursuing him. As Kortono chased after Zulane, Tagore and Nagasena commenced the unavoidable melee. Nagasena's skill with his sword allowed him to land several blows that left Tagore slashed and bleeding, but the Seer Hunter proved no match for an Astartes, let alone a World Eater in a stimm-enhanced killing spree.
Tagore easily battered aside Nagasena's sword and lifted him off the floor by his throat while throttling him one-handed. As Nagasena started to feel his life drain away, there was a blinding flash and Tagore's grip suddenly relaxed. Tagore dropped his enemy and slumped to the floor dead; a huge, gaping wound in his stomach and chest from Major General Golovko's smoking Plasma Gun. Unaware of their sergeant's death due to the sight and sound dampening smoke, the World Eaters twins, Asubha and Subha, slaughtered their way through scores of Black Sentinels until they came face-to-face with the Custodian Saturnalia.
The twins and the Custodian quickly engaged in a vicious combat that claimed all their lives. Saturnalia's training and lifestyle as a Custodian proves to be his advantage as he was capable of holding his own against two Astartes. His superior skill allowed him to inflict many wounds on the twins with his Guardian Spear, but Saturnalia slowly started to tire against the constant barrage of attacks coming from the tireless twins.
The twins different styles of fighting overcame the disadvantage they had against one of the Emperor's superhuman praetorians; Subha's brutal and savage style allowed him to find weaknesses in Saturnalia's defences, which Asubha then exploited these openings with his calm and methodical strikes. As he began to lose the advantage in the melee, Saturnalia fired the Master-crafted Bolter on the end of his Guardian Spear into Subha, shredding the World Eater's chest and killing him.
This act was Saturnalia's downfall, as it enraged Asubha into an unstoppable fit of violence and revenge. Asubha struck Saturnalia to the floor in his rage and delivered the final blow from his salvaged Guardian Spear. Asubha cleaved Saturnalia's head in two, but as he jumped onto the prone Custodian, Saturnalia raised his spear, which pierced Asubha through the heart.
With the Custodian dead, the dying Asubha placed his weapon into the hand of his dead brother and promised that they would walk the "Crimson Path" together. As a stand alone it would probably be rated even higher, but there is a glaring plot inconsistency with the rest of the Horus Heresy that stands out like a sore thumb to readers of the series. It would be okay if it was just a one off mention, but it is repeatedly brought up and is a major underlying background piece for the plot and brought me out of the immersion every time.
That being said the parts of the story unrelated to it are exceptional, the characters are rich and diverse, the setting is clear and immersive and the links and mysteries of the past and future are dealt with tactly. With it all coming together neatly into a very satisfying conclusion. The real quality of this story is the Narration of Jonathan Keeble. From the off his voice brings this book to life in a way no one else has quite managed in the Heresy Books so far. Fantastic performance as usual and a great story. Not my favourite book of the series but certainly well worth listening to.
Any book read by his Perfect voice is a treat. The story is interesting but one if the more bland. The narrator is exceptional. The details that are given such as background of the astrotelepathicus etc could have been delivered in a short story or novella. I really enjoyed the story, I didn't expect it to be that good. Fits well into the rest of the series. Your audiobook is waiting…. By: Graham McNeill.
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble. Series: The Horus Heresy , Book Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins. People who bought this also bought Publisher's Summary The galaxy is burning. What members say Average Customer Ratings Overall. Amazon Reviews. Sort by:. Most Helpful Most Recent. Anonymous User Alpharius77 Amazon Customer Eh one of the longest and slowest books in the series. Chris Corey C. Painful McNeil again displays that, while he is prolific, he certainly is not the strongest author working for Black Library. JT Hedrick Show More. Peter Glenn Bridges Cringey Asian accents Neil Gaiman at his best As always natation perfect and Neil Gaiman work is good his name is this enjoy.
Sam Easily the worst Horus Heresy book so far Greatly struggled to finish this book. The performance shines brightly A good story with fantastic narration.
- The Outcast Dead.
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Mr LC Ford Jonathan Keeble is perfection Any book read by his Perfect voice is a treat. Sean Mark Ward