The man clad in darkest black ran madly at the group of Orks, his brethren rushing along beside him. Through the red-tinted eye of his mask, the man took in the Orks, the red turning green crimson, while his other eye merely saw the greenskins for what they were: something to kill.
There are few being more ferocious than an ork across the wide galaxy. Some would say that the children of Khorne were the most ferocious of all, others would claim that the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Kraken had right to that title. But watching the once golden-clad man, now wrapped in black and red, rushing towards them, the Orks knew that the title belonged to the Blood Angel's Death Company, led by the former 3rd company captain, Erasmus Tycho.
The Ork nob leading the group smiled as he rushed into battle, eager to sample the battle that the Death Company would give. He had little time to experience it though, as the Dead-Man's Hand went through his stomach, and the greenskin fell, under the stare of Tycho's mask. Many had called it 'baleful' in the past, others 'proud.' But now, it was merely a stare of madness, the sanity and honour of the noble angel of death long since gone from him. But still, his utter detestation of Orks remained. He threw the nob into his boyz, then attacked them all in a furious assault.
He had once been the potential next Chapter Master, when his mentor Dante finally ended his tenure. But even the greatest men may fall, and when they fall, they fall the furthest. Only two had overcome this madness that was the black rage, and one had contained it. They were the greatest of their bretheren, but he was no longer a great man. He had lost his sanity to the broken images of Sanguinius' last stand. He had lost his mind, but now he understood what had happened to his primarch, as did his fellow Death Company, but by a twisted fate, the ultimate enlightenment of their own nature came at the expense of their sanity. They were no longer angels of death, but they were themselves death.
There was once, many millenia ago, a man who said 'Let 'Blood, Blood Blood!' be your motto,' and it certainly fitted the former angels of blood. Tycho ran through orks, slaying each one in turn, the Dead-Man's Hand. Dozens fell to him, and hundreds were crushed between his companion's feet. He could not hear the thunder of Stormravens overhead, nor the shouts of command of the new 3rd company captain. He could not see the walls of the hive city crumbling under the fire of ork weapons. He could only see and hear his foes, and ran to slay them.
The company of death ran towards an Ork Nob squad, which were right at the walls of the city, cutting the guardsmen who defended it into pieces. The black-clad warriors charged into the fray, chainswords whirring, and power weapons cracking with energy. The fight was fierce and bloody, and the Nobs gave many of the death company the peace of death in battle. But Tycho still stood, and with his power fist he struck down ork after ork. Soon it was only him and the leader: a lesser warboss, who were left to fight.
Tycho and the ork struck at each other again and again, Tycho slowly pushing his opponent back into the city wall. Then Tycho smashed the ork's axe with one strike, then grabbed the ork and threw him at the wall. The ork stumbled back up, but Tycho was in front of him in a second, and he thrust straight through the ork's chest and breaking into the wall behind him. The ork slipped off the fist, and Tycho looked around for his next kill. However, he had killed his last greenskin. The wall that he had struck was damaged by ork fire, and the strike of the Dead-Man's Hand had broken it down. The wall collapsed, and the last thoughts of that tiny part of the marine that was still Tycho were 'peace, at last.'
998M41-Baal-Blood Angels Chapter Fortress Monastery-Chapter Master's Quarters
Dante nodded at the news that his brother had brought him. The millennia and a half year old eye had not shed a tear ever, but now, they were closer than they had ever been before. His chief librarian, Mephiston Lord of Death, who had brought the news now remained silent, knowing how Dante had chosen Tycho to be his successor one day. But fate had chosen otherwise.
Dante sat in his chapter master's chair, one that had been his for more than a millennium, and sighed, "If in the Emperor's service we fall, it is a good death, yet I wish that death had not come for him so soon."
Mephiston nodded, "It is a sad thing that the madness took him, but at least in death he understood the truth."
"And do you, Calistarius?"
Mephiston flinched slightly at the name, one he had not been called in many long years. "Yes, I understand the truth."
"Would you mind telling me?" Dante asked.
"If I told you, your fate would be the same as Tycho's most likely."
Dante smirked behind the mask that he never removed. "Would it? Let's see..." Dante reached up with one golden hand, a gripped the mask, as the bolts that had been fastened for more than a millennium undid themselves, and the mask came free from the armour. Behind the mask was a face that made Mephiston understand.
Mephiston nodded, "Your fate would be different from his, but you already know the truth, don't you, my father."
Brother-Captain Tycho: Former Blood Angels 3rd Company Captain.
Lord Commander Cervan Dante: Blood Angels Chapter Master for the past 1100 years
Mephiston, Lord of Death: Blood Angles Chief Librarian, one of two Blood Angels to survive the black rage
Dead-Man's Hand: Tycho's special power fist.
Death Company: A special company of the Blood Angels and successor chapters, made of those space marines who have lost to the black rage: a condition that turns the afflicted into a mindless killing machine.