The Account of a Lifetime

March 20, 2008

Traitors on a Dropsite

Filed under: Cogitations — xisor @ 3:24 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve written something properly creative. This last six months has mainly consisted of critical or slightly reflective work. I’ve added very little to any of my ‘projects’. Certainly, I’ve fallen completely from the Dark Eldar, unable to obtain either the electronic information I’d prepared (inexplicably lost…) or find the muse to write new stuff. I know I’ve let a few people down on this, but I’m still not in the position to make ammends, though it does weigh heavily on my mind.

 I’ve made a few ammendments to my Demiurg works, and I’ve put a lot of thought into a few other things that have played on my mind (Inquisitory stuff, as well as a few more independent thoughts).

Over on the BLP forums, I’ve been quite vocal in my advocation of a new idea for a novel: Traitors on a Dropsite, based on the Horus Heresy novels its supposed to cover the Isstvan V Dropsite Massacre primarily from the Salamanders Legion perspective, but would also deal with the ‘fate’ of Vulkan, the actions of Corax & Ferrus Manus, any dialogue between the loyalist primarchs and the traitors and a whole host of other things. I now speak of my ideas for a trilogy covering this, but being an utterly hopeless writer, it’s really a bit of a way-out dream. Regardless, it’s a decent thought exercise. And a handy distraction from actual studying.

 So, what would the trilogy cover?

I’d like it to start out some time after the reunion of Vulkan and the Emperor. For an opening scene, I quite pleasantly enjoy the idea of Vulkan and some aides conducting an informal tour of their Expedition arm (presumably one of the final expeditions, the one in Legion was 670th, I think, so I’m guessing 597th would be about right), and it being displayed that Vulkan, and his Astartes, indeed, his entire force, operate as a coherent set of mutually independent and interdependent units. That is: The Salamanders rarely operate at Squad level except when it is expedient (i.e. on the Battlefield), at most other times training is conducted in small groups, and the Marines themselves are taught how to facilitate their own duties with little direct supervision. This leads to Marines being found throughout the expedition, intermingling with the Imperial Army, the navy itself, the Mechanicum, plenty of the more obscure denominations and indeed even amongst the Iterators and Remembrancers.

The critical developments of the first novel would outline the problems suffered by the Salamanders during the crusade. The warrior lodges, such as they are, would not be adopted by the legion in the manner the Word Bearers expect. Indeed, my estimation is that Vulkan would himself herald the adoption of the lodges not as a secretive or Astartes-exclusive venture, but with respect to the Emperor, as a regular forum for which people extensively discuss the many issues they face. This would, in my esteem, lead to the Salamanders being a legion which can themselves be held openly accountable by the ‘humans’ of the expedition. An obvious, yet interesting, plot to explore here is the idea that many of the Salamanders resent this and that it is truly a struggle to obtain respect ni such a domain.

A lesser point, here, would be the continued exploration of the Imperial Truth and the fledgling Lecticio Divinatus. I feel the Salamanders, as a well adjusted legion, would be excellent for such an exploration. Indeed, we know that by the 41st Millenium that they’ve adopted some seriously cultish rituals and are on of the more orthodox (for the day) legions, despite their own cult status.

 So far we have:
– Warrior Lodges
– Lecticio Divinatus
– Interaction with the fleet

Been done before, hasn’t it? Well, we can add ‘- Loyalists’ too. But even then we’re still edging quite close to the material important to Flight of the Eisenstein. What is there to differentiate it?

Well, Legion introduced us to new concepts. Imperial Army centred expeditions. To have Salamanders operating under the guide of the Imperium, and not dominating it would be a new experience. Well, we’ve the exploration of Nocturne and Prometheus itself, but then I suspect Nick Kyme will have that covered well in his short story, if it should get into Planetkill (or is it Heroes of the Space Marines  that it’s for?). In any case, it’s an option.

 A further point would be a more detailed look at the Great Crusade itself. Dan Abnett touched on it in Legion and certainly mentioned as much in his blog, but I still feel we’ve not really seen a coherent look at an aspect of it. The microcosms we have seen: the Gene Soldiers in Legion, the Dark Angels of Calaban in Descent of Angels, and the Legions/Remembrancers/Iterators in the other novels. We see a few Astropaths too, at various points. But the run up to the dropsite massacre would show how the entire expedition fleets of the crusade were affected by the dropsite massacre, not just the Astartes themselves.

 So, the running count looks a bit like this:
– Warrior Lodges
– Lecticio Divinatus
– Interaction with the fleet
– Loyalists
– Integrated Crusade & Expedition outlook
– The whole fleet’s involvement in the Dropsite Massacre
– The Cults/Truths & Nocturne/Prometheus

We’ve had the Eldar encountered twice now, but we’ve seen nothing of other races. I’d certainly be keen to try to wrestle my lacklustre skills with Orkish writing. They’d make a viable if traditional antagonist for the likes of the Salamanders, and it’d be very tempting to draw the Dark Eldar into things, as it seems evident that they were Vulkan’s original nemesis as a kid, and the Khan’s final nemesis. Something to mull on.

 Altogether, however, we might round out with:
– Warrior Lodges (‘the Open Forum’)
– Lecticio Divinatus
– Interaction with the fleet
– Loyalists
– Integrated Crusade & Expedition outlook
– The whole fleet’s involvement in the Dropsite Massacre
– The Cults/Truths & Nocturne/Prometheus
– Dark Eldar & Orks

We also know that the Hrud were known and fought around the time of the Great Crusade, as were the Tarellians. To present them in the background would be a truly interesting challenge. A small hint, in my mind, would serve well, asserting perhaps that the Salamanders were with the Emperor when he virus bombed the Tarellian Homeworld would be very interesting to portray in a ‘flashback’ sequence or simply discussion with Vulkan (or some other character) and the Remembrancers. Marking out, even, the possibility of a Salamander (597th) Expedition Fleet vs Demiurg would be a very intriguing possibility, but having them on the cusp of combat and revelation only to be withdrawn back to Isstvan V to rendezvous with Corax & Ferrus Manus would perhaps serve rather well as a plot hook.

 That’s a loose outline, at least, and I intend to try my hand at writing a few scenes scattered through the ‘plot’ before trying to work out a coherent skeleton and framework to affix things to. Only once i’d done that would I bother to start laying serious foundations. But since I doubt I’d ever get near that far with this sort of thing, I highly doubt I’ll need to bother!

In Other News

It’s been a good few weeks. Missed lectures this morning due to a bit of a scare and a desire for tea, but also had opportunity to get my hair cut, and spoke to some classmates and lecturers to catch up my work during the rest of the day. It doens’t help that I’ve spent about an hour or two blogging here, but I enjoy freeing up ‘me noggin’.

 Another interesting fact: I’ve constructed a Catachan army, and am all set to begin painting a coherent Inquisition-Death-World-Veterans-Doubling-As-City-Fighters army which includes a hell of alot of things. Very characterful, but perhaps the worst (in terms of winning games) army I’ve ever built! Could be interesting!

I’ve been a lot less angry of late, and I’ve even started asking/answering questions in class too. It’s actually going rather well!


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