+ King of Suns +
+ or, Whatever happened to the Sun King? +
|Much, much later; Master Inquisitor Veck leads his band on Grovsenor II.|
+ Enthusiasm for projects naturally ebbs and flows, and circumstances can make it difficult or impossible to work on something, then allow for a window of frenzied attention. +
+ Such is the case with the Court of the Sun King, a project very close to my ticking mechanical heart, as it contains my blog's titular Rubricist – otherwise known as Childeric – as well as another character that I've been mulling over for more than a decade; Sciriusc the Sunne Cyng himself – although much like the Rubricist, that's not the only name he goes by... +
+ The project stalled somewhat when, having built the model (below) and cranked up to a 'big reveal' of the Sun King, Games Workshop released Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, and rather stole the thunder of the imagery :D +
+ So, here's the Sun King – I hope he's not a disappointment! +
|Sciriusc the Sunne Cyng, in all his glory|
+ Needless to say, Childeric had better watch his step. On a feudal world where a lasrifle would raise stares of wonderment amongst the population, the Sun King has some very powerful friends... +
+ Aims of the project +
+ One of the core things that I wanted to do with this project is to look at an unremarkable world of the Imperium. I think all planets have their distinctive character and culture; but they tend to play second fiddle to great events beyond their borders. Cepheus has millennia of history, diversity of population and lots of interesting things that I want to hold a mirror up to through the Rubricist. For this reason, I'm determined to keep things fairly low-key. +
+ For this reason, You're more likely to see flintlocks and swords than conversion beamers; and skirmishes than armies. I want to make the scale more intimate; so that readers and players (I encourage you get involved in the events, by the way) don't expect mighty heroes and powerful monsters, but rather terrified militia and weakling scribes nevertheless doing the work of the Emperor, unsung and unremembered. To me, the actions and resistance of the weak are more interesting for their very lack of power against the swarming, oppressive, maddening atmosphere of the 41st Millennium. +
+ So why the devil have I introduced Astartes? Of all the overplayed elements of the 41st Millennium, the Space Marines have got to be the apex. I can give just three reasons. The first is fairly throwaway – I simply like making up Astartes; they give the project a hook for a lot of people that wouldn't otherwise be interested in the small grubby backwater of Cepheus and the City. Even then, these won't be storied Chapters of Legend; these will be the Astartes equivalents of the rest of the cast – unknown, untested. Look for some stories of the Stellar Steeds and the Chapter Castellan, along with the last scion of the Scarlet Blades. +
+ The second is contrast. As with painting, as with writing; there's nothing that makes a hero feel heroic than some genuinely dangerous enemies – and it's looking like the Sun King's gang – the Walker Boliti, the Scion of the Scarlet Blades, his as yet-unnamed Scyld guard, the Indocksman and the Owlingmanne to name just a few – are more than a match for a middle-aged Inquisitor and his pals. +
+ Finally, the twist. The plan is for events to ramp up somewhat; and hopefully you'll come along with my story to see why a few choice Astartes will prove utterly necessary... +
+ What's going on on Cepheus? +
If you are new to the project, and don't fancy going back through everything, here's a summary to bring you up to speed. We know the following:
- A stranger has arrived on the planet Cepheus, a chilly backwater Feudal-class planet. He has seized the role and office of the Imperial Commander – here known as the 'Sun King'.
- A civil war has erupted in the City; a vast and grubby urban wasteland. Regiments of ill-disciplined and scruffy soldiery, loyal to the various 'Welltheyareborne' aristocratic families, are fighting, looting and burning each others' territories.
- After a few brief weeks, the Sun King closed off the space port, leaving no official route to the planet.
- The Rubricist, Childeric - or rather, Inquisitor Unfortunus Veck - has arrived clandestinely, just before the port's closure. He is now trapped without hope of reinforcement – except for those few allies he sent ahead of him; or can cultivate on Cepheus itself.
- Childeric is attempting to make contact with Magos Manderghast, an old ally who he feels sure has information on the Sun King's true nature.
- The Sun King has rallied his forces, and with the City in disarray, is planning the first moves in his ultimate - and heretofore inscrutable - goals...