+ inload: Suddenly, Blood Angels +

+ Ciraman Catabin, Adeplhos Phanuel 3:12, Darda'il of the Eleventh Host +




His name took some understanding, and not just due to his command of Gothic, archaic and accented by his upbringing on Baal. 

We called him, half-mockingly, Cinnamon. Insofar as we could tell, he took it with good humour. 


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Catabin joined us three years prior to Isstvan, as part of Lord Guilliman's Conmuto reforms. These were intended to alloy the Legions together by encouraging exemplary individuals to learn from and fight alongside their cousin legionaries. By the same wit, Bar-Krom of the Word Bearers and Holion of the XIIIth were attached to the Clan Caled, though the latter departed scant weeks after the arrival of the Blood Angel.

The Iron Hands are, by and large, insular. An upbringing on Medusa demands self-reliance, and these virtues are honed by Legion and Clan philosophy. We form small circles, as tight-knit as a closed fist. Nevertheless, Caled were not as hostile to the Conmutii as some of the other Clans – some of whom had attempted  to bar such exchanges outright, in open disagreement with the Primarch. 

After some initial reluctance, Bar-Krom and Holion came to be a part – albeit limited, temporary – of Caled's order of battle. The same was not true of Cinnamon. I could not explain quite why he seemed so other. His manner seemed nebulous, though unfailingly conscientious and dutiful. He was exemplary in all aspects of warfare. Full of virtues, yet soft-spoken and humble, he should have been excellent company. Nevertheless, conversations were stilted, stuttering to a halt. There was no similarity in outlook – on some ineffable level, his humours seemed to share no underlying structure with ours.

We are insular; and not given to self-reflection. None of us avoided the Blood Angel outright, but equally none sought his presence save on official business. For my part, I had little reason to associate with him. I had no duties that coincided with his, and so we might have ghosted entirely past each other through his tour with the Iron Tenth, were not due to the our presence in Arc Reach. 

The interminable war necessitated Medardus being shuttled from place to place, and we visited a IXth delegation on more than one occasion. On one such flight, Catabin called on my cell to request – politely, quietly – the chance to accompany us; presumably to enjoy the company of his own kind. I had no reason to clarify, let alone refuse. 


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We spoke little during the journey – I am accustomed to keeping my own counsel – but I overheard him conversing with Medardus as I attended to flight duties while on route to the Emblazoned. Medardus had asked him to elucidate on his name, which we had all found tortuously cryptic. He smiled then. Were I to attempt the expression, it would appear supercilious and arrogant. On the Blood Angel, it was warm, indulgent. 

"My suggenia name is Catabin." His voice was spiced with gold, quite different from the reassuring bark and burr of Medusa. He raised a hand to ward Medardus' unuttered question. "It is a term of Baal; it means..." his voice drifted a little, then returned. "Suggenia means kinship, affinity. In Gothic, blood -brothers is the closest translation, but that becomes... confusing. You have heard of the tribes of the Blood?" Medardus nodded.

"The inhabitants of Baal, of course."

"Yes, the Tribes of the Blood, the Suggenia. It is the same. It is similar to the Medusan caravans, I think?" Again, Medardus nodded in affirmation.

"So Catabin is your... tribe name? And Ciraman your given name?" This time, the Blood Angel nodded in answer to Medardus' question. "But what of the other names. Are they titles? Honorifics?"

"A little of both, I suspect." Catabin drifted then. The space was awkwardly long; I found myself wanting to speak, to fill the void. Medardus seemed as at ease as the Angel. After a meditative silence, he continued. "I am told recruits from Inwit take Gothic names upon their ascension." he began.

"Yes," said Medardus. "Fists replace their name as a mark of surety upon joining the VIIth. Some of the Tenth do so, too – those who feel a particular affinity with Terra. I am one; our attentive pilot another." He nodded to me, mockingly. I realised I had been tracking off-course, absorbed in eavesdropping, and corrected our path with a quiet grunt. 

"My full name is 'Ciraman Catabin, Adeplhos Phanuel 3:12, Darda'il of the Eleventh Host'. The first part is... personal. We retain our birthnames. So much of us changes during ascension. It is good to keep a connection. The second part–"

"No, wait – adelphos – that's your terms for frater, I suppose?" interrupted Medardus.

"Just so."

"...and Phanuel?"

"That is my atroatican name. I cannot think of a good word in Gothic. It is just... Atroatican. I do not think it would mean much in modern translation. Perhaps choir? Ring?"

"A Baal idiom, then. Am I right in thinking 3:12 is a rank?"

"You are full of questions." There was mirth in the Blood Angel's voice then. Medardus' reply was clearly split by a grin, too.

"My apologies, cousin-adelphos." He did not stumble over the word; pronouncing the Baal term as fluently as the Angel.

"No, no. I enjoy this interrogation. It is good to remember Baal."

Again, that interminable silence. I gritted my teeth. 


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"3:12 is a binder; a codifier. The atroatican names are ancient. There are not many. As a result, there are many repetitions. At first, we used suggenic names to distinguish between us – Ambriel Hemas and Ambriel El-Aster, for example. After the arrival of blessed Sanguinius," he paused. My eyes were pointedly fixed on the pict-screens in front of me, but I had seen him sketch a brief gesture in the air on the other occasions he had cause to mention his Primarch, and supposed the ellipsis owed to this, "We grew fast. There were many then. Many hundreds of Ambriels, many hundreds of Kerubiels, many Phanuels... and so on. You understand."

"And so you took numerals, too? So there is a Phanuel 1:11, for example?"

"Yes – Phanuel 1:11, and many like it. Phanuel 17:4, Lucifer 2:16, Tzaphqiel 19:19, and so forth. The numbers remind us we are Imperial. We belong to the Angel, and through him, to the Emperor." Both paused at this point to chorus the familiar blessed be his name before Catabin continued. "In any case, we were uneasy about using the suggenic names. It is good to know where you come from; but more important to know to whom you owe your loyalty. That is who you are."


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He went on, explaining he was the 12th in his Choir, which was the 3rd in his Host. I took these to be equivalents to companies and clans, or possibly squads and some other grouping, though by this point, I was starting to make adjustments for the approach and could not spare the concentration. By the time I was finished, he was explaining the term Darda'il to Medardus. They had chuckled at the similarity between the Librarian's name and the Angel's title.

"You are a traveller, then?" said Medardus.

"Indeed. It is a new rank; one coined for Lord Guilliman's reform. The Darda'il of Baal travel to learn; but they also travel to watch." He said it as airily as anything else he had said, but there was a sudden air of tension. Medardus' voice took on a note of poorly-hidden suspicion. 

"Watch? What for?" 

Catabin's voice took on an edge of its own. 

"We look for those who remember His name. We watch that it is kept." 


+++

The conversation had finished more abruptly than it had started. We had landed shortly afterwards, and the Angel had given a stilted, formal bow to Medardus and myself before he hurried away into the depths of the Emblazoned. Neither Medardus not myself spoke of that conversation, not while we were accompanied by the IXth's Honour Guard, nor again once back on Medusa.

In truth, I had rarely thought of that troubling memory in the time since, until the Angel appeared to us amidst the smoke and ash that cloaked the burnt-black surface of Isstvan.

+++





6 comments:

  1. Nice background, and I am really looking forward to the explosion of color given wings that a blood angel is!

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  2. Nice work overall with your true scale! I am thinking of giving this a go as well. How do you handle or intend on handling heavy weapons? The arms are smaller on the weapons. Also, I would love to chat further but I see no email contact in your blog.

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    1. If you'd like to discuss, the best place is probably on one of my blogs on the Bolter and Chainsword: here's a noospheric inloadlink – http://www.bolterandchainsword.com/topic/322479-may-you-live-forever-%E2%80%93-a-company-of-bitter-iron/

      Regarding heavy weapons, watch this space... I'll be posting up the first Heavy Support marine in a short while. :)

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  3. The background for this latest project continues to astound-- in particular, the way you've given a little more flavor to each legion without becoming heavy handed. Speaking of astounding things, that praetor torso seems made for such a model, balancing the bulk of your truescale marines with the ornamentation one comes to expect from the angels.

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    1. Thanks very much! I was pleased with how well the Praetor torso integrated; I only needed to build up the flanks and back a little for it to fit nicely.

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  4. You've nailed the otherness of the IXth without being heavy handed. Beautiful stuff. I hope to read more work on the Blood Angels if you get the time, absolutely fascinating read.

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