The trenches were being dug for miles. Slaves broke the earth with shovels and mighty excavating equipment recently pirated from the Mechanicus on a planet far away. The tundra, that was made the unfortunate battlefield, began to look cracked and bruised by the industry of war. The war host had made planet fall days ago, immediately setting to digging in and preparing for a hard fight. The owners of the citadel they faced were known for not giving up their stock easily. Ranged before the mighty citadel fortress of the Black Templars was an army to behold, an army ran by the insidious Word Bearers. Though the Word Bearers were few, their slave army was vast. They did not come for material items, they came for the souls of the enemy Astartes. Four hundred souls would provide the key to a ritual that only they knew the purpose.
As the digging continued, a poor slave by the name of Olaf found something shiny. “Whats this?” he said as his shovel dinged on a metal object. Only a meter through the ice and he could go no further. His trench line was far from the command section and was only a fall back area. No Astartes came here and few slave wardens patrolled the area. They knew it was slow work with the ice and then the frozen soil. He waved a crew close by, “bring a tracked digger over here, I think I found something.” He shouted, as he slid back into the hole. Barricades had already been built along the ground level to shield them. Long rows of razor wire spanned out before that; and then the empty distance to the fortress. Had this been a siege crafted army, the ends would have been reinforced and heavily guarded, but the Word Bearers were few and cared little for their forces.
Olaf wiped his hand across the metal and noticed it was a helmet of some sort. The digger arrived and with one scoop, it dug down deep. The dirt fell away to reveal a horrific sight. The slaves fell to their knees. They had uncovered an Astartes, one they had never seen. His armor was ancient and corroded. He had servo arms attached at the back. As the dirt fell away, his body slid to a seated position, still half surrounded by frost and soil. “He must have been buried here for centuries, should we tell the masters?” said one of the slaves. “Yes, send word, I don’t want to be flayed alive for failing them. The Dark Gods will frown upon us desecrating one of theirs.” said Olaf.
Word was sent up but no one came. A corpse was no interest to the Word Bearers and they cared little for forgotten relics of other legions. The slaves continued their tasks and the body was placed in a corner of the trench, sitting in a dugout area like a statue. The slaves soon forgot him and sped to their chores. As they dug, more items were found. A bolter here, a broken strut there, parts of a Stormbird, the area must have been a crash site in a forgotten age. The Astartes was all that was found in one solid piece, frozen and immobile.
The war raged on and a few days later large artillery pieces were brought in to the ends of the trench line to help add to the weight being thrown at the fortress. They were having little effect and the Word Bearers were getting nervous. They had cut this region of space off and blocked all communication with their sorcery but they knew that someone would come along eventually. The Templars did not care. They were there to fight and hoped the traitors would come close so they could deal the Emperors justice. After three weeks of heavy bombardment, they had still not breached the walls and the Astartes within were unscathed.
The trenches began to heat up and the ice melted creating puddles. Where the tracked loaders crossed it became mud and as it was trampled on, it became sludge. The heat buildup allowed the slaves some comfort, as their clothes were made for this war, to survive, but not to be comfortable. It became night and a generator was placed close to the statue Astartes. Slaves had left trinkets by him to praise the dead. Water began to run off of his armor as the frost melted away. Olaf was walking along the line, patching the trench where the heat had caused the dirt to fall. He saw the statue in the corner and bowed his head for a second. When he raised it, he saw a faint red light growing in the eyes of the helmet, then it moved.
As his body began pumping blood again and his armor turned back on, he slowly twitched where he sat. His servo arm snapped forward, jerking as it was malfunctioning. He began to stand and the sludge and debris drained off of him. He stood tall and surveyed the scene unfolding around him. Other slaves noticed and stopped working. They fell to their knees. With a voice that had not spoken in what seemed like forever, he said, “Where am I?” Olaf fell before him and said, “This is planet Fador, my lord, we uncovered you.” The giant gazed around and said, “These are not the walls of my brothers, only a fool would build this trash. I am Warsmith Brontou of the Iron Warriors 37th Grand Company. Take me to your masters, so that I may show them how to war.” His servo arm then detached a weapon and placed it in his right hand. He raised his power sword high saying, “For the Primarch, I still live!”
The Warsmith took charge of the siege and within days the walls were breached. As the Word Bearers assaulted, one of their transports made for space. As he flew away he knew the Word Bearers would fail. The Black Templars would kill them all and crush their mortal army. In space he commandeered a warp capable craft. He looked out of the view ports at the world below and whispered, “Lorgar was a fool, but he has blessed me with life once more. His sons will die down there.” He turned to the captain and said, “Make for the warp, I must find my kin.” As he turned away, he glanced back at the icy planet and through gritted teeth said, “…and kill my Primarch.”
(Disclaimer: I do not work for Games Workshop or affiliated companies. This is fan fiction. All items associated are owned by Games Workshop/Black Library with trademarked items to the Warhammer 40K universe.)