Last Son of Caliban: The Gift of Hate
Habbakuk sat in his quarters, looking at the dagger before him. The dull green glow of the stone in its pommel seemed improbable coming from such an ill-cut lump. The stone looked like it had been shaped with crude stone tools, yet it still glowed, even in the dull candlelight of Habbakuk’s quarters. Interrogator-Chaplains lived in quarters far less spartan than the humble cells most of the Dark Angels brotherhood lived in. Their role as both spiritual leaders, and guardians came with many trappings, some easy to understand, some far subtler. Habbakuk hated the banners and the books. Habbakuk hated the litanies and the lies. Habbakuk hated the traitors and the easily led astray. Habbakuk hated everything except the pure, clean truth. But Habbakuk understood the need for shields between the true horror of the Fallen and the unprepared minds of his brothers. He hated their weakness, but he understood their potential. Habbakuk led them in the litanies he despised, steeling them that they might ascend to a higher understanding.
He contemplated the dagger. A weapon of old earth, brought to Caliban and saved from the wreckage of Caliban’s destruction by the watchers in the dark. The Khazd had crafted the stone in ages long forgotten. Habbakuk knew that if he picked up the blade the stone would glow even brighter, responding to the strength deep within him despite its humble-seeming carving. The Khazd must have been master craftsmen, but according to the documents that went with the stone they had been weak. While commissioned to place this stone and other great ones into a necklace they had tried to steal it from a great king of the Telar resulting in a great war. The necklace had been lost but the stone recognized when discovered in the early days of the Emperor’s reign. A thing seemingly crude, yet possessed of a subtle strength it carried a powerful message. One which Habbakuk wished to use.
Every warrior of the Dark Angels possessed a reliquary of weapons. From the humble Neophyte with his noble bolter and simple carapace to Supreme Grand Master Azrael with an arsenal fit to arm a full company in splendor, the warriors of the First venerated the instruments of war, and Habbakuk was no exception to the rule. The Inquisitor-Chaplain had fought for decades before ascending to the chaplaincy, and decades more before taking up the keys and blades of an Interrogator. He brought with him weapons, armor and artifacts dating back to the dawn of the Empire and before. Not to bear to war, his wargear he kept simple, but to use as tools in his quest to save the Unforgiven.
The door chimed as Master Cain requested entry. Habbakuk signaled assent and the door slid aside with a soft chuff. Rising to his full height the Interrogator refused to look up at the towering figure before him. “Master Cain, you have come into much knowledge that we guard most jealously.” He paused a moment. “We protect the spirit of our brothers most zealously” he spat out in a voice suitable to grind rocks.
Master Cain looked back impassively. Looking at the glowing coals of Habbakuk’s eye slits. Even here in his quarters the Interrogator Chaplain sat prepared for war. As if sensing the Master’s thoughts Habbakuk went on, grinding out the sentences. “You must guard this information well, yet use it. You must guide your brothers and your warriors, prepare them for their own day of enlightenment. Grand Master Ezekiel and I hunt the Fallen. You carry out your mission and help us guard the secret. That is all you must do. That is all you shall do.”
Master Cain glared into the lenses, his presence potent. Habbakuk ignored it as a boulder ignores a wave crashing over it. In a flash Habbakuk snatched the dagger by the handle, flipped it and hurled it at the Primaris. Keyed up by Habbakuk’s hostility the Master snatched the dagger by the blade even as its tip pricked his chest. Only his arm had moved, his gaze still locked on the black avatar of hate before him, he lifted the dagger to look at it before unfreezing to examine the beautifully crafted weapon, and the brilliant gem in its pommel.
“This is Nargond’s dagger. The stone comes from old Earth, the blade from Caliban. It has two loyalties, two homes. It serves one Master. Contemplate it as you master your new duties. That is all.”