+ inload: 100,000 Views and a Blind Marine +


+ He was sixty-six years old a and a veteran of fourteen wars when he first opened his eyes. +

+ Iacob Medardus was a Lexicanium of the Librarius – a low-level battle psyker tasked with creating and maintaining the Legion record's – and unique for having been born with a swathe of blank skin above his distorted mouth and nose. Such deviance saw him automatically denied training or incorporation into Legion intake as a mutant – indeed, a borderline abhuman – but his efforts in forcing his way into the recruitment trials, and his subsequent ascension in front of four Primarchs during the inauguration of the Librarius Division itself, would make a story of their own. One for another time. We're coming under fire. +

+ Held in a peculiar mix of disgust and honour by the Legion, 'Blindhelm' had a reputation that pushed him, like me, to the outskirts of the Clan-Company; where we had made a wary bond. The unease with which he was seen left him undimmed. He was filled with a simmering sense of potential and an optimism in the Crusade that made him particularly good company. He habitually wore a bandage around his smooth, blank head on those rare occasions he was called to remove his helm – a sop to others' sensibilities rather than any shame in his appearance – but otherwise preferred to live encased in his armour, which he saw as both talisman and proof of his worthiness.

+ Being associated, we had come to serve together for the Clan and even the Legion on more than a few occasions. I piloted him to conclaves on the Librarius and for sundry other diplomatic missions. On some days, I saw this as an honour – on others, I wondered if the Iron Fathers simply found this an expedient way to rid themselves of us for a short while. Certainly Medardus' particular appearance made an impression amongst the Imperium – most often revulsion, which he bore with the stoicism and used to his advantage. + 

+ During a mission to discuss the Ark Reach Compliances, I had been asked how I – how our Legion – could bear to serve next to a mutant. I failed to bite my tongue at the Blood Angel Equerry's question, and spent the remainder of our time on the IXth's ship in a detention cell. Sometimes I understand why Medardus was not the diplomat, and not myself. +

+ On later occasions, when I had cause to talk with those outside the Legion – to Captain Berabaddon of the Luna Wolves, Brother Helios of the Word Bearers, and to a gaggle of Emperor's Children who had hovered and mobbed me as soon as Iacob had departed to his guest quarters, my answer became rehearsed and measured. My silver tongue tripped easily over the words: The Gorgon himself, our great Father Manus, has spoken of Medardus as an exemplar of triumphing over weakness, a paragon of his own philosophy – and will brook no dissent from his sons, nor his brothers. Iacob Medardus is treated just like me, as any other Iron Hand deserves; with respect. +

This was perhaps putting a certain gloss on matters. Medardus was treated with the same level of respect as myself, it was true, but as I have previously explained, it is unlikely that the bright carvers will fall over themselves to erect statues in my honour or the laymakers compose fond liturgies when I die. +

+ Similarly, it was true that Ferrus Manus had personally approved Medardus joining the Iron Tenth, but it was hardly a glowing endorsement – merely a recognition of Medardus' skill, endurance and tenacity in stealing past Astartes guards to present his case before the council of Primarchs as they discussed the dangers of creating the Librarius. + 

+ Iacob had intimated that the Primarch had claimed Medardus for potential induction into Legion almost too readily. The Librarian had wondered aloud whether this stake was perhaps a conciliatory gesture or mute support for two of his assembled brothers; perhaps as a calculated snub to absent others. The Primarch's glittering silver eyes had given away nothing. When Iacob had recounted this to me, I had listened to his retelling politely, glad of my own faceless helm masking my scepticism. It had seemed ridiculous – the brotherhood of Primarchs were not subject to the same jealousies and internecine politics as lesser men. +

+ Given current events, of course, perhaps I was more wrong than I had guessed. Another series of shells – again a misdirected barrage from the Depression – landed near us. +

+ Medardus' psychic talents had manifested in limited manipulation of physical matter, telepathy and electromalignancy, which made his transition to the ranks after the Edict of Nikea a foregone conclusion – he would become a communications officer (a Teller of Omens, or Arwyddion, in the tongue of Old Medusa), a junior member of the Signals Corps where the mundane part of his Librarius training – that of codifying battles and reports for Legion review – would remain most useful. Unfortunately, of course, the Edict had not taken into account Medardus' particular situation. By obediently closing his psychic nearsense, he would be as blind as his nickname suggested. +

The Iron Fathers had a solution. It was as brutal as it was swiftly enacted, a fact that smacked to me, in hindsight, of morbid foreplanning amongst the Council. Blindhelm would have bionics fitted. In his best interests. To return him to the line, as expediently as possible. +

+ With no optic capability, swathes of his unusual brain would be harnessed to integrate cranial implants and sheets of slimy wetware. It was necessarily an experimental procedure, and one that Medardus was not guaranteed to survive. I imagined him then, strapped down, cylinders of flesh and bone being crudely bored from his skull, the resultant blood and gristle being hungrily gurgled away by the attendant vac-tubes, before probing, stroking metal delicately fingered his bared brainmeat. +

+ He was sixty-six years old and a veteran of fourteen wars when he first opened his eyes. +

+ It is a measure of my own weakness that after the surgery I could no longer bear to look at him unhelmed. It is a measure of his obedience and determination that he learned to see at all, yet alone rejoin the ranks. The effects of the indelicate surgery permanently stunted his previously powerful psychic ability. Even without flexing it, he told me – bravely, without self-pity – that it felt foreshortened; like a mental amputation. +

+ Coalstan and I found Medardus, injured lightly, directing three more of our brothers and one Immortal in gathering and securing a supply cache. It was unexpectedly relieving to see him. +






+++


+ Post Script +
+ The Roman numeral for 100,000 was C. Last week, Death of a Rubricist hit this little milestone in views. Cake for everybody! +

6 comments:

  1. Your account of Medardus is a gut wrenchingly, tragic tale and speaks volumes of the Iron Tenth's hardliner character and approach. I applaud you for writing this as it really hit me hard (in a good way) whilst reading it. Looking forward to seeing your next additions to your Iron Hands.

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    1. Thanks – always great to hear feedback on my writing in particular. I hope it helps to get across the mood.

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  2. Now I want some cake!

    Well done and well deserved on the views. Always a lot of quality posts on here.

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    1. Cake! I would quite like to do something to celebrate... Perhaps a little competition or giveaway? Any ideas for a Rubricist-style prize?

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  3. Congratulations!

    Are those the new containers I see behind the model? Opinion on the kit?

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    1. They are indeed – sharp eyes! I've posted a review of the kit today on the blog :)

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